Alexis Bledel

While growing up in the limelight isn't easy--we've seen many lovely ladies attempt it with mixed results--Alexis Bledel has risen like a sartorially savvy phoenix from her coffee-swigging, sweater-and-jeans days as Rory on Gilmore Girls to become a graceful young woman with a singular sense of style. Working with stylists Kemal + Karla, lately the actress has created loads of memorable red-carpet moments marked by a cohesive selection of classic silhouettes and captivating footwear. Always feminine, but never fussy, the stunning brunette's highly polished outfits are just as exciting as her upcoming projects. With a slate of movies set to premiere after the first of the year and an unfailing intuition for how to expertly assemble a cocktail look, we're sure Bledel will continue to step out in equally laudable ensembles making her the ideal subject for today's Style Spotlight.

While we could wax poetic about the many ways in which Bledel's sartorial selections garner A+ rankings, her eye for a truly unique and exciting cocktail frock is decidedly noteworthy. Take, for example, her appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York earlier this fall to celebrate W Magazine's September issue (bottom row, left). The Burnished Gold Dress ($2495) from Prabal Gurung's F/W 10 collection is absolutely stunning--we love the one-shouldered ruffled silhouette and the rich metallic sheen--and we appreciate how she kept her accessories simple with Cecelia's Black Python Convertible Clutch ($750), Giuseppe Zanotti's Suede and Patent-Leather Pumps ($650), and the lust-worthy French Galalith Bracelet ($1480) from House of Lavande. The overall look is festive, yet refined, and--take note, dear readers--serves as ideal inspiration for the upcoming holiday season! Bledel opted for another standout dress--this time with rich dark waves--in a similarly restrained black-and-gold palette for the Independent Filmmaker Project's spring gala in New York last May (far right). The 3.1 Phillip Lim dress (which is from the S/S 10 collection) offers a cerebral mix of black lace and patterned appliqué, a combination that's architecturally intriguing and spot-on for the artistic nature of the evening's event. Additionally, Bledel's eye-catching footwear, Loeffler Randall's Keira Snap Sandals ($695), is delightfully unexpected, providing yet another layer of graphic interest to her overall look. However, Bledel doesn't always opt for decadent cocktail attire; sometimes she picks a chic, understated dress, as demonstrated at a benefit for the arts in public schools this past September (bottom row, right). There, Bledel effused a sleek femininity--and a touch of downtown cool--when she contrasted a silky button-down dress with edgy cut-out heels and blunt bangs.

While thus far you may have noted that our rising style star often favours a neutral palette, occasionally Bledel uses a dash of on-trend colour or a touch of pattern (or both!) to spice up her look. Case in point: to attend the Elle RISD Design Awards at Lincoln Center during fashion week, she started with an unfussy base of Carven's Flannel Dress ($740), added some classic-minded baubles with a Dea Ring ($6500, 310.395.6706) and Alladin Earrings ($2400, 310.395.6706) both by Jamie Wolf, and then swiftly incorporated two of fall's key trends via a leopard-print clutch and Charlotte Olympia's Red Paloma Pumps ($996) (top row, right). The overall result is a sleek look constructed from a well-balanced mix of staple pieces and more cutting-edge items. Adhering to this same passion for crimson heels, yet this time being a wee more adventurous in the trend-indulging department, Bledel chose an of-the-moment Isabel Marant Wilfried Lurex Sweater ($405, 212.219.2284), MiH's Paris Kokomo Jeans ($174, 305.576.0056), and a Stella McCartney satin blazer ($1895) from S/S 11 for Mulberry's fashion week party at Soho House in New York with other PYTs like Kate Bosworth, Alexa Chung, and Dree Hemingway (top row, left). She finalised the look with a Russell Jones Ring, Cecelia's Black Python Convertible Clutch ($790)--we love the textural mix at play--and red Sergio Rossi pumps.

Finally, when it comes to fall's minimalist looks, Bledel proved she is pro at interpreting this top runway trend when she attended the launch party for the Vogue Eyewear / CFDA Capsule Collection and the YSL Belle D'Opium fragrance launch earlier this year. For the former event, our muse of the day infused traditional menswear with effortless sex appeal by pairing alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet's Patty Button Down from their pre-fall collection with Helmut Lang's Smoking Wool Pleated Pants ($345, 323.951.0994) for a strikingly chic look (bottom row, center). Bledel brought in her usual artful flair via a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti Rosette Heels ($925, 305.868.0133), Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co.'s Bone Cuff ($800, 800.526.0649), and Judith Leiber's Alleta Minaudiere ($1495). And last but not least, for the aforementioned YSL event, the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants star looked ever the lady in head-to-toe YSL, selecting a black mid-calf length dress from the Edition 24 capsule collection and shoes from S/S 10 (top row, center). Bledel's beauty look of a slick-backed bun and statement earrings completed the outfit, adding up to a sophisticated ensemble that truly reflects her burgeoning sartorial maturity.

While Bledel does have an eye for the finer things, approximating her signature soignée can be a piece of cake with the right pieces! First upgrade your wardrobe with a few key cocktail dresses; we like Penumbra's Drape Dress ($250) for a ladylike version that still has some slinky sex appeal or Robert Rodriguez's Black Label One Shoulder Draped Cocktail Dress ($540) for an au courant metallic iteration--perfect for the holidays!--that's nearly identical to Bledel's Prabal Gurung pick. However, if you dig our style subject's taste in simple, sleek frocks, we'd recommend scooping up Acne's Awesome Silk Shirtdress ($269)--note the chic, uneven hem--or James Perse's Cotton Twill Shirt Dress ($225) for a more daytime friendly version. Pair either with Aldo's Alimo Shoes ($42) for a fashion-forward vintage-inspired look with individualist appeal.

Next, if the subtly trend-driven ensemble Bledel wore to the Elle RISD soiree struck your fancy, we can get you on your way to channeling that exact outfit. While Bledel's two-tone look is actually a single Carven dress, you can achieve a similar result with separates by pairing alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet's Amy Pleated Shoulder Top ($121) with Z Spoke by Zac Posen's Felted Wool Skirt ($235). Add the necessary on-point accoutrements like ASOS' Dune Leonardo Print Envelope Clutch Bag ($95) and slip on a pair of directional pumps--either Charles by Charles David's Pure Pumps ($83) or Christian Louboutin's Bianca Back Zip Pumps ($845) will do the trick--and you'll have a head-to-toe Bledel-inspired ensemble.

Finally, one of the most striking aspects of Bledel's style is her perennial polish, so we suggest infusing your wardrobe with a similar sense of refinement with a few key investment pieces. A great blazer, like Bledel's Stella McCartney version, is always an essential, so get your hands on Topshop's Shawl Collar Tux Jacket ($110) which looks equally lovely with skinny jeans or a winter-floral frock. Next, scoop up a sturdy pair of black pumps--a must-have for any wardrobe--like Miu Miu's Black Patent Leather Platform Pumps ($448). Finally, snatch up an evening-worthy clutch like Ted Baker's Bobble Kisslock Leather Clutch ($73) to accent everything from slacks and a button-down to an LBD and you'll invoke an air of sartorial sophistication wherever you go!--Liza Kaplan