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Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

It seems that birds of a feather do indeed flock together. How else to explain the surplus of plumage that permeated the runways of multiple designers this season? Whether full-out on dresses or featured on collars, feathers are the frippery of choice for winter 2012. Here's how to take your look to new heights (yes, even at the office).

1. Remember that, just as with any other dramatic detail, less is more when it comes to feathers: Piling them on can evoke Big Bird or, even worse, messy-haired songstress Ke$ha. To avoid such allusions, stick solely to feathery accessories. Necklaces or fringed scarves are your best bet.

2. A monochromatic outfit will tone down the formality of feathers: Look to Roberto Cavalli's fall presentation, where feathery neck pieces and scarves were worn with head-to-toe metallics, for guidance. At work, however, stick to an office-friendly palette of black, grey or navy. Save the sparkle for evening.

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3. When wearing a show-stopping piece such as the feather necklace pictured here, remember to pair it with structured separates. A tailored dress and jacket will up the professionalism, keeping that accent both unexpectedly fun and work-appropriate.

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