Current trends may have an air of toughness (studs, menswear) and minimalism, but there are still plenty of ways to add a feminine touch to your look.
A little bit of softness - a pretty pink here, a peek of lace there - really goes a long way in adding a youthful, feminine touch to everything you wear.
Of course there's no need to go overboard and too cutesy: try just adding an element of girliness and mixing it with something casual, classic or even menswear.
For example, you could try a peplum top with a pencil skirt. Or wear a lace-trimmed blouse under a traditional black pantsuit.
Here are a few ways to add an updated girly touch to your wardrobe:
Peplum - Here's a trend that has snuck back onto the style radar, and for good reason: it gives you an instant hourglass shape and even hides a tummy. It looks deliciously feminine and allows women who might not be able to carry off a straight chemise to wear a fitted one-piece dress. You'll also find jackets with peplums come this fall, giving everything from military-type jackets to leather jackets a girly touch.
Ruffles - If ever there was an instant fashion fountain of youth, it's the ruffle. I've seen everything from a ruffle-front houdstooth jacket to a tiered skirt of ruffles pulled off with ease. Ruffles around the face and neckline soften your face; ruffles around the skirt and hemline add a flirty element to everything.
Black lace - I must confess: I have always loved black lace. This season it is a huge trend, in everything from straight black shifts to little peeks of black lace trimming on tops. It's sexy, ageless and classic. You can't go wrong here.
Slit skirt - Ask a man what one of his favorite looks is and he's likely to point to the slit skirt as utterly feminine. The long slit skirt is back and I'm happy to see it return. This is a great way for us girls of a certain age to show a hint of leg without letting it all hang out.
Bows - Whether it's an oversized bow on the shoulder (Michelle Obama's favorite fashion trick) or a bow at the waist, the bow is probably the single most girly icon you can add to your wardrobe.
Gloves - So ladylike, so chic, and so something I didn't already own enough of. Look for luscious colors and textures to wear with everything from coats to bracelet-length jackets. Try brights for a fun, casual look, sleek leather for an urban look or even chunky knits:
Patterned tights/hose - I became a patterned hose convert when my celebrity stylist friend talked me into dressing up a basic black dress with a pair. Since then, I have come to love patterned hose and tights. Although black fishnets are a classic, I like everything from chain-stitch to paisley and floral prints (all of these in black.) It feels younger than pantyhose, but still gives my legs some coverage.
Sheer -A little sexy, a little girly. I like the effect of a sheer neckline or sleeve; even a sheer overlay on a dress looks pretty and fresh.
Florals - Now you can take girly florals into fall and winter: designers have cooked up dark floral prints that continue the bloom trend all year.
Feathers - Is there anything more completely girly than feathers? You don't need to go full-on feather boa to get the effect either. Feather-trimmed dresses - either at the hem or neckline - add an ethereal feeling to everything.