All posts by Elizabeth Sensky

Class of 2013: Elizabeth

Upperclassmen always like to tell you when you’re a freshman, “Enjoy, it goes by fast.” Although you believe the words, you can never understand their true meaning until you too are in their position. Now that one more final and a walk across a stage are the only things that separate me from my diploma, I too wonder like those before me, “Where does the time go?”

The end of college also means the end of my time writing for CollegeFashionista. I can honestly say that I grew up with CollegeFashionista. Ever since discovering the site during my freshman year, I have been hooked. I officially became a Style Guru during the winter of 2011 and have been reporting every semester since. I never could have imagined all of the wonderful opportunities that have come to me through this experience. I collaborated with brands like ASOS and Juicy Couture. I wrote exclusive features for USA Today College and The Huffington Post. I was even featured in Seventeen Magazine. But what I value most is the growth I have experienced personally and the connections I have made. These are the things I am grateful to take with me and develop further.

Although my future plans are currently up in the air, I feel confident and ready to explore. My passions lie in the world of sustainable, eco-fashion and I hope to take a part in growing this industry. Fashion has always been my main interest, especially how it is translated through personal style. That’s why I have been motivated to write each week. I am sure that my fascination with street style won’t fade, even after I leave the CollegeFashionista team. But it looks like I will need to find a new excuse to take that Fashionista’s picture.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Find Your Uniform

What is your go-to outfit? You know, that simple combination that never fails you on those days when you scramble for what to wear. As the school year comes to an end, it is easy to forget about fashion. In the midst of finals, moving and preparing for our summer adventures, what to wear is often the last thing on our minds. That’s why a time-tested uniform can sometimes be our best friend and ally. As Bill Cunningham famously said, “Fashion is the armor to survive everyday life.” Today’s Fashionista exemplifies this fact.

With a foundation of all black, this Fashionista creates a slimming and versatile silhouette. I find that black is the best option when your clothes need to carry you through long days. When you have a chemistry final on your mind, the last thing that you need to think about is spilling coffee on a white shirt. She pairs her black foundation with a distinctive army green cargo jacket. This piece provides a nice contrast while adding just the right amount of color. What truly makes this outfit special are her accessories. Take a look at her spiked side bag and ankle boots. This edgy hardware adds a bit of glam, making her ensemble more interesting than any basic uniform. This uniform has subtle style.

Find a uniform that works for you. Don’t know where to start? Basic black pants and a slouchy T-shirt, like today’s Fashionista is wearing, are a great place to start. Another staple to incorporate is an army or motorcycle jacket with many pockets for storage. Think of your accessories as the frosting. A bright bag or embellished flats sweeten the deal. These wardrobe essentials will fill out your closet and take you through the end of the school year in style.

 

 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Make A Match

Take a moment to think about some of the best moments of your life. Those times where the universe seems to open up and give you a gentle pat on the back. When things feel light-hearted, exciting and destined to be, as if the genie from Aladdin had his blue hands pulling the strings for awhile. Now, I’m going to take a stab and guess that none of those moments ever involved a plan. I would wager that your all-night karaoke session or an evening spent watching a magical sunset wasn’t written in your weekly schedule.

This brings me to my simple theory that a rich life stems from the unexpected. The events we never see coming often end up as the most rewarding. The same is true of fashion. As I walk to class each week, I bear witness to this truth when, without fail, I am caught off-guard by a fabulous Fashionista or Fashionisto. Some feature of their outfit, whether it be their leather jacket or the way they tie their headscarf, inspires me to take their photo.

Today’s Fashionista is no exception. Her offbeat color combination is out of the ordinary in the best way possible. Cheery orange sandwiches a neutral middle of navy, black and gray, proving that matching your top to your shoes can be not only current but also chic. I daresay that this practice, once widely accepted as the only suitable way for a lady to dress, is making a comeback. With current trends favoring a less “matchy-matchy” approach to dressing, this blatant coordination feels fresh and pulled together.

She grounds her ensemble with a pair of steel-hued tights — they aren’t a color you see every day. This neutral is muted enough to tie the look together but unique enough to make a statement alone. Also, take note of how her polka-dot skirt adds a dash of whimsy to the ensemble and eliminates the need for bold accessories. Not to mention, this Fashionista is wise to keep her makeup and accessories to a minimum in order to let the funky mix of her outfit shine. Kudos all around.

The key to this Fashionista’s look is bold color and fearless mixing. Find your hue of choice and choose two items in that color to incorporate into your outfit. For instance, this coral cargo top and these matching vans will do the trick. Have fun with shades of neutrals for the rest of your look. Try a graphic print skirt in black and white with gray tights, in the style of today’s Fashionista. Remember to keep your accessories simple and let your clothes do all of the talking. Have fun and surprise yourself because, really, isn’t that what life’s all about anyway?

 

 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Keep It Easy Like Sunday Morning

There is an unspoken rule in life among Fashionistas/os. Do you know it? It is quite simple, really. Here it is: the less you try, the cooler you look. I think it is safe to say that ever since James Dean popularized the white T-shirt and jeans look in the fifties, fashion has had a soft spot for taking it easy. Today’s Fashionista is the perfect example of this effortless cool.

One distinctive skirt is all she needs to make her statement. A blue, checkered maxi print grabs the eye while keeping this Fashionista comfortable on an unusually warm day in Columbus. A basic white tank top and a bold pair of platforms complement this piece, giving off a carefree vibe.  I love how she wears no jewelry with this ensemble. Instead, she opts for a pair of whimsical, heart-shaped glasses and adds a couple of rhinestone clips in her ombre hair. These two additions are all she needs to complete her look.

Today’s Fashionista inspires me to, as Thoreau famously wrote, “simplify, simplify, simplify!” Not only will this approach save time in the morning but it will also require me to choose only the best pieces. If every item in your closet must stand-alone and have the ability to carry an outfit, then each purchase holds a new weight. This dressing philosophy demands more thoughtful shopping, and ultimately, reduces waste. Treating each shirt or shoe as a carefully curated piece in your collection proposes an exciting challenge.

Want to give it a try? Rule number one: buy quality. This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Shop at a thrift store for unbelievable deals or peruse People Tree, a remarkably on-trend fair trade and sustainable retailer. Mimic this Fashionsta’s look by finding a distinctive skirt and pairing it with your very own staple white T-shirt. Add some funky platforms and a pair of cheery shades and voila, you have a charming outfit. It’s as easy as pie, and just as sweet too.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Own Your Look

If you’ve ever had an unfortunate dryer experience where your favorite pair of pants emerge tailor-made for a Barbie doll or if you have ever cringed in pain from a major wine stain on your lovely silk blouse, then you understand the angst.

No, we aren’t talking about existential angst here (although sometimes it may feel as dire), but this material angst can easily cause you to lose perspective (because we all know that screaming at the dryer doesn’t actually accomplish anything…). Yes, for better or worse, most of us Fashionistas/os feel an attachment to our clothes.

We spend hours combing vintage racks, scrolling through online shopping pages and trying on these things in order to curate the perfect wardrobe. We craft an image through pieces of cut and sewn cloth as if to say that we have some level of control. We style ourselves in order to project who we think we are at any given moment into the world. Okay, so now things are getting existential.

So when you recognize a stranger for their personal style, in a way, it is validating their attachment to these material objects. These objects are no longer just objects. Rather, they are transformed into the purest forms of communication. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a fabulous outfit has to be worth at least a million. With so many words to interpret, the possibilities are endless. A great outfit will mean something different to everyone who sees it. For example, for me, today’s Fashionista telegraphs funky confidence.

I am in love with her outfit combination. With only three bold pieces, she appears both pulled together and “out there.” She balances the crazy print of her sweater by keeping her skirt and sneakers solid. However, these pieces are also eye-catching in their own right. Her cobalt skirt has a subtle bandage silhouette that hugs her body in a flattering way. She kicks things up a notch with her sneaker wedges that are comfortable enough for a long day of classes. The overall look gives off an updated ’80s vibe with a no-nonsense attitude. No accessories are needed for this ensemble either — a simple topknot polishes it off.

I think we can all take a cue from today’s Fashionista the next time we get dressed. No need to complicate things with layers and accessories. Instead, wear your favorite sweater and a bodycon skirt. Add some funky kicks and don’t forget to have fun with color. Yep, that is all we need to do to turn heads, as this Fashionista proves. In the end, fashion is a form of visual pleasure. Yes, we all can get irrationally attached to our threads, but we have to remember that this attachment is only beneficial if it enriches our lives. At the risk of sounding cliché, clothes don’t make the person but the person makes the clothes. So, go forth and own them.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Spring Into Sportswear

As the school year draws to a close, it is easy to become nostalgic. Some of us may act out this nostalgia by combing through old pictures on Facebook or perhaps by calling up long lost high school friends. Sometimes, the nostalgia goes a step further and grabs hold of our wardrobe. I’m sure you’ve seen the #tbt blowing up your social media feeds as of late. These “throwback Thursdays” are only more evidence that the throwback is, indeed, in the air.

Today’s Fashionisto is throwing us way back into the land of West Philadelphia, where the fresh prince was born and raised. His vibrant, neon windbreaker brings to mind images of Will Smith in clashing prints and polyester tracksuits. Ah, those were the days.

He pairs his colorful jacket with a graphic T-shirt highlighted by fluorescent green lettering. The happy energy of this combination makes for a cheerful sight on the way to class. This Fashionisto has reason to celebrate too — the first signs of spring are here on campus! To mark the occasion, he complements his windbreaker with a pair of khaki cut-offs and clunky black boots.

Sportswear influences are turning up in a lot of collections right now. For the first time in years, editors and other fashion industry notables are even seen wearing sneakers on the way to shows. Who could have seen that one coming? The trick to making this trend work for you is to balance the sportswear details with opposing elements. Today’s Fashionisto, for example, countered his audacious top half with neutral bottoms and shoes. Although these pieces are still casual, they add a touch of grunge that keep the look from being too over-the-top sporty.

Find a bold windbreaker of your own and contrast it with classic chinos or a pair of black skinnies. Don’t be afraid to throw a bold graphic T-shirt into the mix. Eco Boutique offers some interesting options. Finish your look with a great pair of sunglasses — the best way to keep yourself looking fresh this spring.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Mind Your Fit

I’m sure we’ve all heard the cliché phrase, “eyes are the window to the soul.” We are always trying to figure out others, seeking a connection that we can relate to. For the body, the eyes represent the most direct method. However, since it is not socially acceptable to gaze into strangers’ eyes, fashion comes in as a close second. Fashion is another way for us to judge a potential friend. Yes, it may be superficial but it is a fact of life that clothes say a lot about a person. That’s why fit is so important. Today’s Fashionisto understands how a well-tailored ensemble crafts a confident and polished image.

The pieces don’t have to be fussy. He wears classic items, like straight-leg denim and a black peacoat. But take note of how each garment fits his shape with ease — there is no excess fabric while there is also breathing room. It is the perfect balance. This Fashionisto also layers a zip-up jacket and a chambray button-down underneath his peacoat — simple layers that indicate an artful command of dressing. I love how he exposes these items, offering a bit of subtle texture and interest. His sophisticated level of fashion taste comes through if you direct your attention to his monochromatic color palate as well. With slight variations of dark neutrals, the outfit remains understated and chic.

So this week I urge you to consider how your clothes fit. Don’t settle for slouchy separates that hide your frame. Not only will you look slimmer with a precise fit, but you will also appear more confident to the world. Not sure where to go? Nordstrom offers in-house tailoring for their customers. Or, just find a store that works well with your body type. Use today’s example as a guide. Find a pair of boot-cut jeans and layer a button-down and jacket over top. Keep it simple. Look for a traditional peacoat with arm seams that hit at the edge of your shoulders. This item will complete any ensemble during these last, lingering days of winter. Check out the men of The Sartorialist for further inspiration. Scott Schuman is always offering his fine-tuned perspective on the subject of fit. Who knows, you might just capture the intrigue of others — no eye gazing necessary.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Maximum Winter Style

We all feel like shouting “Come out, come out wherever you are!” Yep, Columbus is in the midst of a cruel game of hide-and-seek. It seems that spring is winning because it is nowhere to be found. Rather than trying to tempt it out of the shadows with wishful dressing, savvy Fashionistas and Fashionistos choose warmth and keep the spring staples stowed away for a bit longer (*sigh*). But just because spring clothes are not an option that doesn’t mean that style is sacrificed. Today’s Fashionista is the perfect example. She invokes warm, fall colors for a cozy and chic look that has us all forgetting which season it actually is.

I love the ease of this Fashionista’s ensemble. She exudes laidback, feminine cool with her use of subtle, bohemian details. A maxi skirt in a rich hue lengthens her silhouette while making a powerful color statement. With this piece as her focal point, she builds on the look with black complements in the form of her patterned top and velvet wedges. The unexpected pairing of her flowy skirt with a puffy winter jacket adds an appealing offbeat vibe to the outfit as well. She tops it all off with a chunky, tan scarf thrown effortlessly around her neck. This color enhances the rust tones in her skirt and emanates the warmth that is missing from the environment. My favorite part of her look? It has to be her charming ankle bracelet. This is an accessory overlooked by most Fashionistas, and I love the carefree attitude it gives off.

So if you too find yourself in the throws of winter, take a cue from today’s style example. First, find a bold skirt that reaches your ankles. Try a red hue, like today’s Fashionista, or opt for an exuberant print that will liven up your surroundings. Next, pair your bottom with black or neutral accents, like this patterned top or this classic, chiffon blouse. Finish the ensemble with accessories that speak to your personal style. If you are more boho, like today’s example, maybe give an anklet a try.

It is a good thing that we have the fall 2013 ready-to-wear shows to look to for layering inspiration. Try browsing the stunning Givenchy collection to help fight off the winter homestretch.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Re-imagine The Puffer Coat

People always say to love your enemy. From your grandma to the bible, this phrase repeats throughout time. Despite the repetition, it can be an easy adage to forget, especially when it comes to fashion. There are some pieces that we swear off as the antithesis of fashion. But sometimes these enemies can become our best friends.

Take today’s Fashionista as the perfect example. She creates an easy yet stylish look from items that I would never dream of wearing normally. Leggings and a black puffer coat are usually pieces that land students on my worst dressed list. I often view these ubiquitous cold weather staples as a fashion cop-out.

However, today’s Fashionista breaks down this stereotype of mine. Even though her look remains simple, a few bold details completely change the feel. Her bright red boots and massive white headband lend an interesting graphic quality to her ensemble. She also allows a hint of plaid to peek out from underneath her coat. This touch creates another layer of visual interest. Overall, she is able to avoid the typical by keeping her accessories striking and sophisticated.

Free yourself from your conceptions of what a clothing item represents. How do you do this? Well, start by updating seemingly boring pieces with daring additions. Take a simple, sporty coat and add bright shoes and a thick headpiece. Don’t be afraid of black, like this Fashionista, but be sure to add a touch of pattern in order to keep things exciting. Look to examples, like this Burberry ensemble, that understand the importance of spicing up an all-black coat. Oh, and remember to never say never. Another clichéd phrase that rings true for today’s style advice.

 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Casual Chic

Spring break fever has finally broken. The anticipation will kill us no longer. With classes put aside for a week, we can spend some time absorbing the sun in a far flung destination or simply spend our days lazing around close to campus. I caught up with today’s Fashionista on the sunny campus streets of Los Angeles. Her easy, breezy vibe perfectly captures the spirit of the city and washes all memories of snowy weather gear far from my mind.

With a figure-flattering , floor-skimming maxi dress, this Fashionista looks pulled together yet classic. Notice how the cinched waist creates a pleasing silhouette and emphasizes the pleats of the fabric. I also love how she contrasts the billowing form of her dress with a more structured military jacket. She melds the feminine with the masculine, the soft with the hard. A few distinct accessories are all she needs to complete her ensemble. A pair of round glasses conjures up images of John Lennon and adds a dose of hipster to her look while a ruby ring contributes a touch of charm. Some bold black nails polish off the vibe in perfect Lana Del Ray style.

So whether you are stuck in winter or off on holiday, use today’s Fashionista as inspiration. Search for soft shapes in a subtle, eggshell color, like this maxi skirt or this eyelet dress. A tough motorcycle or military jacket provides the ultimate counterpoint. Finally, a pair of bold shades will protect your eyes from the warm sun or the blinding snow. Wherever you are spending your break, the relaxed Cali vibe can find a place in your closet.