Play around with fashion’s favourite fall-back: hard versus soft.

Hard versus soft, masculine versus feminine. The two dichotomies represent the type of fall-back inspiration many designers often spout to describe collections that carry sharp tailoring and pretty dresses. If it ain't broke, why fix it? It's an inspiration that is explored time and again, quite simply because it sells well. It's also a look reliant on clever styling tricks and investing in just the right balance of the two moods.

By teaming pretty dresses with punkish accessories you're left with a failsafe look that amps up the cool factor on otherwise saccharine dresses and pretty pastels. And what's not to love about dressing with an edge? It's an opportunity to show two sides of your personality through colour, texture and detailing.

For his recent autumn 2017 collection for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld created a collection that touched on democracy: 100 plus outfits that had something for everyone, including sweet fuchsia pink juxtaposed with rugged denim for a look that played on that same hard/soft idea.

And although it's a fabric associated more with the spring/summer season, several designers have played with the idea of lace tops and dresses - in winter weight and in more subdued tones that work well layered over slips, stockings and skivvies. It's an opportunity to work with a soft texture that contrasts surprisingly well with this season's myriad suede skirt offerings or a pair of jeans and a leather jacket.

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Jewellery is a great complement to this particular look - explore more dramatic pieces this season, including the wonderful new "Zenith" collection by Meadowlark. The brand's international polish has won it many celebrity fans who love the brand's haute-Goth aesthetic, its jewelled septum rings and tribal-inspired earrings - the perfect offset to twee separates.

Charmaine Reveley lace top $220. Lazy Oaf cardigan, $145, from Good As Gold. Ingrid Starnes skirt $289. Mimco flats $199 and earrings $99.90. Deadly Ponies bag $680. Citta Design stool $259.

Charmaine Reveley lace top $220. Rolla's suede skirt $620. Harman Grubisa ankle boots $599. Topshop belt $55.

Camilla & Marc faux fur top $1440. Twenty-seven Names skirt $580. Jessica Aggrey green quartz ring $255. Karen Walker gold ring $1409. Mimco earrings $99.90.
Mi Piaci ankle boots $330.

Kate Sylvester dress $729. Twenty-seven Names coat $680. Mi Piaci boots $360. Jessica Aggrey Jewellery smoky quartz cocktail ring $255. Deadly Ponies scarf $320. Meadowlark white gold and diamond septum ring $625.

Ingrid Starnes lace top $399. Urban Precinct skirt, $90, from Farmers. Seed Heritage lace-up shoes $169.90. Mimco necklace $249.

Stockists

Camilla & Marc
• Charmaine Reveley (03) 474 9125
Citta Design
• Deadly Ponies (09) 376 3469
• Farmers 0800 327 637
Good As Gold
• Harman Grubisa (09) 963 6129
• Ingrid Starnes (09) 555 9452
Jessica Aggrey Jewellery
• Karen Walker (09) 309 6299
• Kate Sylvester (09) 307 3282
Meadowlark
• Mimco (09) 523 2412
Mi Piaci
Rolla's
• Seed Heritage (09) 376 3850
• Topshop 0508 TOPSHOP
• Twenty-seven Names (09) 524 7027