The DM Manual of Style: Gossip Girl

by Stefanie Zychowski | 11/7/08 4:43am

Spotted: Dartmouth students having a not-so-secret love affair with WASPy prep-school staples -- luxe tweeds, proper plaids and argyle sweaters. From FoCo to the Choates, girls in knee socks and boys sporting cashmere scarves are ubiquitous this fall, thanks to "Gossip Girl," the television program New York Magazine has dubbed, without a hint of hyperbole, the "Greatest Show of Our Generation." The super-addictive soap opera, which chronicles the lives of Manhattan's privileged elite, has ignited a sartorial frenzy that brings tony Upper East Side style to Hanover. For those who have not yet embraced the aristocratic swagger of Gossip Girl's pampered teenagers (and their preternaturally preserved parents), there are plenty of ways to embrace the trends currently sweeping campus.

A well-fitted blazer has undoubtedly been the standout item of the show, providing the basis for every great outfit. From leering rich kid Chuck Bass's dandy fluorescent Band of Outsiders coat to free-spirited heiress Serena van der Woodsen's pinstriped Ralph Lauren jacket, expertly cut blazers anchor every ensemble, giving a posh update to old jeans and a T-shirt. Rugby -- Lauren's younger, hipper and more affordable collegiate line (now available online at rugby.com) -- has an excellent selection of blazers for both guys and girls, offering up unique jackets that are playfully patrician. Wear one over a "Team Serena/Blair/Chuck/Nate" T-shirt from Fred Flare to show support for your own personal style icon from the show.

Kilts are also integral to the Park Avenue Princess look. While the Gossip Girl gang is required to wear theirs as part of the uniform for Constance Billard School for Girls, a plaid skirt in forest green, navy or gray is classic and timeless, regardless of age or high school attended. Head straight to the source to find the ideal private school separates: Official uniform purveyor Flynn & O'Hara has authentic tartan skirts identical to ones sold at J.Crew for a fraction of the price. Paired with flashy flats and quirky jewelry, a kilt is the perfect off-duty, daytime outfit for the young socialite who lives to have her picture taken by Patrick McMullan at the Met's latest benefit.

For those who admire the Gossip Girl aesthetic but don't have the money to fund the fabulous lifestyle of the wealthy 10021 crowd, don't fret. Achieving that perfect Upper East polish doesn't necessarily require investing in a $4,000 Valentino bag or stealing a custom-made Chanel dress from your friend's closet. Gossip Girl style is all about the details and not about breaking the bank. According to Eric Daman, the show's costume designer, accessories are key to achieving the look. For example, the headband is a signature of Gossip Girl's resident Queen Bee, Blair Waldorf, and incorporating one in a hairstyle is a wallet-friendly way to freshen up and lend personality to an old outfit.

Quirky Brit designer Luella has launched a girly line of hair accessories that includes oversize headbands with ribbons, bows and a small logo heart right in line with Blair's ladylike style. For the guys (and stylistically adventurous girls), an easy way to instantly incorporate some dapper prep into your wardrobe is to add a bowtie, a la Mr. Chuck Bass. Marc by Marc Jacobs has both basic black and outrageous print bowties, all for under $50. Wear one with an oxford, dark denim skinnies and Converses to recreate Chuck's high society, evil Little Lord Fauntleroy style.

While throwing on some opulent duds might not automatically make you a glamorous It Girl -- complete with British lords for boyfriends, school nights spent dancing on tables at 1Oak or a private suite in the Palace Hotel like Blair and Serena -- any thing is possible when you dress as fabulously as Manhattan's glitterati. Throw on your most luxurious clothes and let the scandals began...

You know you love me. XOXO.

S. is a staff writer for The Mirror.