All posts by Laura Duncan

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Hats Off

Finals are officially over and spring is finally in the air! Well, for the most part. It’s near impossible to predict Chicago weather as it changes so frequently. The sun may be out, but temperatures tend to not match the visual warmth you see through your window. Therefore, finding the happy medium of comfortable, casual that will keep you warm, but not too hot can be tricky. You want to blow off some steam, and stroll along Michigan Ave., but the question remains, what to where? This week’s Fashionista is the perfect example of how to dress for a day out in the windy city and her accessories are just the perfect touch to the overall look.

The ensemble is simple and comfortable. Leggings with a slight texture and sheen make them look a little more dressy than the average. The gray jacket with the double breasted detail is perfect to throw on when the wind picks up and plays up the comfortable motif.

Straw hats are a risky accessory to sport in a city known for the wind. However, it’s a cute risk and I support the fashion aspect. The hat is simple, but plays well with the Fashionista’s booties. The detail on the side of the shoe is cute and summery. They are easy to move in and are good for walking distances while allowing our feet to breathe. The Fashionista’s bag is a nice touch as well. It adds some texture and color variance to the ensemble.

There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable, constantly tugging on an outfit that may look cute, but lack function for a day out. Dress like this Fashionista and keep the look simple while playing with accessories to diversify the look.

Spotted: Casual looks and simple shapes were shown in the Tucker 2014 spring ready-to-wear collection. Inspired by ease of movement and pretty patterns, this collection exudes chic comfort.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Fierce From Head To Toe

The year is finally coming to a close and my level of motivation is rapidly declining. In lieu of this finals week slump, my roommate and I decided to binge on classic America’s Next Top Model episodes for some fierce Tyra Banks filled inspiration. While the whole of ANTM gave us a few good quotable lines and insurmountable laughter, Tyra offers some valid advice (from back in the day of course). Thus, my Fashionista meter was heightened this week as I searched high and low across the city for this week’s CollegeFashionista.

Then I spotted this gem. She is put together from head to toe and smizing something fierce through those adorable glasses. The look is simple, but shows what you can do with a pair of jeans, graphic tee and jacket combination. The addition of details and accessories are what make it pop. Even her jeans aren’t your regular run of the mill pair. The added zipper detail on the pocket adds a cute edge and hint of personality. Her loose tee, clad with Lady Liberty herself, adds spunk and character to the whole look. This Fashionista is a grade A example of what personal style stands for. You know who she is without having to ask.

Now, her accessories are the epitome of perfect accentuations to an already chic ensemble. The gold watch and gold necklace complement the casual, street vibe of the whole outfit. It presents an added sense of luxury. Not to mention, it complements the gold zipper on her bag.

The bag is a great alternative to a backpack if you want to implement both function and fashion into your ensemble. Her sneakers also play with this concept. The white Converse sneaker is sleek and sporty at the same time without admonishing the ensemble’s cohesion. The glasses in general are such a fresh touch that provide the outfit with a hint of wit.

I can’t obsess enough about this Fashionista’s outfit. It’s chic, relaxed and embodies genuine street style so effortlessly. Now, many beautiful CollegeFashionistas stand before me, but only one will become America’s.. Next.. Top.. CollegeFashionista. (If you didn’t read that last sentence in Tyra’s dramatic voice, I invite you to reread it as such.)

Spotted: Sleek, chic, minimalism defines Jasmin Shokrian’s spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection. There is something so edgy about the simplistic oversized pieces and how entirely wearable they are. Though they are a little femme as compared to this week’s Fashionista, they embody that effortless appeal she draws upon in her ensemble.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Expressionistic Chic

Fashion is a form of artistry. Colors, patterns, lines and shapes all begin with a moment of inspiration. People tend to forget that clothes aren’t always manufactured out of necessity for the industry. Rather, they were once a thought so profound that a designer had to extrapolate from his or her own mind to create a tangible entity. It’s not a necessity to the masses that clothes are produced with forethought, but the necessity from the designer’s perspective to express something in a different way so that we as a society may receive an emotional connection to clothing.

Looking at this Fashionista’s pants I see a pattern derived from a deeper context than just splatter. Jackson Pollack, a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement, did not just throw paint on a canvas. Rather, there is an inherent energy to his paint distribution and bouts of color that I feel is reminiscent in this Fashionista’s pants. I love that the pattern is flattering in a way you would not expect. It’s kind of a new take on camouflage with a feminine edge. There’s a watercolor sort of feel to it that keeps is soft, but bold.

This is primarily due to the color placement and choices of neutrals on a white base. The pops of coral are a nice touch that allow the pants to transition well into spring. I like that the Fashionista paired a white blouse with the pant to keep the outfit relatively light. This also allowed the play with hard and soft by infusing leather pieces into the ensemble. The black jacket and bag do not over power the pants, rather it enhances the nature of the pattern itself.

This Fashionista’s infused pattern, texture and an artistic appeal creates an unexpectedly sleek ensemble. The pattern is energetic, playful and sophisticated which makes the perfect combination for a fashion artisan.

Spotted: Maria Grachvogel introduced a beautifully artistic take on pattern in her spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection. Light, ethereal fabrics were used that allowed the patterns to appear life-like. The garments looked like pieces of art effortlessly floating down the runway.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Punk Princess

When life hands you leather, you take it and rock the heck out of it! Leather pieces are an extremely versatile way to wear dark colors without being too one note. It’s an edgy, fun material that allows for a multitude of styling options. Regardless of the outfit’s angle, leather will forever be a tribute to rock and roll and an era of icons with attitude. This Fashionista infused that rocker edge with a little girly touch, making the ensemble her own.

The black leather jacket is a great piece for any outfit. This Fashionista chose a skirt, tights and boots to play up the lines and details of her jacket. In a way the leather jacket is structured as a blazer which adds greater versatility to the outfit. There is a body-conscious appeal to the ensemble that reads extremely well for daytime activity while maintaining the intended edge.

I love the blue snake skin print bag. The blue is more of a gray-blue which really makes the bag pop in a pleasant way against the all black ensemble. The patterned bag enhances her outfit instead of distracting from it. All in all, the bag totally plays up the punk princess vibe I’m getting from the look. The bag juxtaposed with the little pop of pink in the necklace is a great added touch as well. The pink color reminds me of Cyndi Lauper which just makes me smile.

Leather, snake skin and neon sound like a recipe for some creature from your nightmares. However, fashion takes on many forms and this Fashionista was able to combine these qualities to assemble a really rad outfit.

Spotted: Alexander Wang’s resort 2014 collection combined leather elements with materials of comfort. He played with shapes and materials while keeping everything relatively simple.

 

ACCESSORIES REPORT: The Spy Who Wore Pink

Who doesn’t love a good spy movie? I happen to be partial to James Bond, but The Pink Panther definitely comes in a close second. I mean, how can you not be obsessed with Bond and take inspiration from the gorgeous women staring opposite of him? The Bond girls, as they are widely referred, are described as “ubiquitous symbols of glamour and sophistication”. I can’t help but feel a similar sense of femme fatale from this week’s Fashionista.

There is absolutely nothing more classic than a trench coat. The Fashionista looks incredibly sleek by keeping the colors simple and bold. Pink and black can often look very junior, however the clean lines and simplicity of the outfit counteract the potential undesirable effect. Instead, the color combination plays up that feminine mystique in a way that translates well to the streets.

The accessories add to the overall look by remaining cohesive and sharp. The tote is great, not only for practical use, but gives the eye a unique shape to look at. Her rain boots are super chic in the way that they resemble riding boots with the gold detail on the back. The boots are a nice example of functional fashion. I also like how the small piece of hardware on the shoe plays well with the Fashionista’s gold wristwatch. The watch was a nice touch to add a little contrast to the solid, matte palette. Her sunglasses add a bit of girly edge and surprise to a primarily linear look. The trendy baroque swirl design on the sunnies present a cool juxtaposition to the slicked back hair and minimalistic ensemble as a whole.

Fashionista by day, secret agent by night. This girl is ready to take on the world, look good doing it and break a couple hearts along the way.

Spotted: No one, and I mean no one, does a trench coat like Burberry. In Burberry Prorsum’s spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection, color is abound. The collection successfully experiments with sophisticate shapes, bold solids and sheer materials giving the line a contemporary edge. The classic trench is flirty, yet aloof, something I have not seen from this brand before.

 

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Practical Perfection

Unless you’re Mary Poppins flying above the rooftops of London, breaking out an umbrella probably means the weather is a little less than delightful. In most instances, umbrellas provide practical value in the case of a rainy day. However, umbrellas also have the potential to provide more than that! Let your umbrella act as a multi-purpose vehicle for both shelter and style.

This Fashionista takes full advantage of the dreary day by accessorizing with an adorable umbrella. She does a great job keeping her outfit simple without being boring. The little black dress and patterned tights incorporate detail and texture that break up the outfit, keeping it interesting. The pop of purple is a fun added touch as well that plays with the bright color of the umbrella. I especially like that the umbrella is bright in contrast to the black colors. The polka-dots also add an element of fun that brightens up the whole ensemble without being too juvenile.

Truly, umbrellas are underrated and are not utilized enough. They can make a world of difference with virtually any outfit. Take advantage of this accessory that will protect you from harsh elements while playing with a new way to stylize your wardrobe.

Spotted: Though the collection does not explicitly involve umbrellas, Elie Tahari’s fall 2014 ready-to-wear collection uses umbrellas as the backdrop for their photo shoot. The overarching aesthetic of the collection encapsulates a sports wear or “on the go vibe” that translates well with any working Fashionista. The use of umbrellas was not only artistic, but implied fashion, function and practicality with each outfit.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Tastefully Tartan

Tartan plaid is a powerhouse pattern when it comes to versatility. As a whole, it is integrated within fashion’s history and has inspired designers to use the pattern in almost every decade. By reworking it in innovative ways, plaid has lasted from the traditional Scottish kilt, the groovy ’70s and the ’90s grunge period, to the hipster nation of today. Plaid will forever reign in the fashion world as a playfully uniform pattern. And, this pattern can look extremely sleek, if used properly.

Plaid is particularly wonderful because you can either use a lot or a little. It’s ultimately up to the Fashionista or Fashionisto’s discretion and critical eye to decide how plaid can be used and enhanced with accessories. This Fashionista uses plaid as the central focus of her ensemble. Her cape-like overcoat uses a more traditional, darker color combination of red, charcoal gray and black. Her accessories are styled around the pattern to keep her uniquely draped coat as the main focus.

The black shoes and black tote allow her to implement a sense of monochromatism. Thus subjecting the accessories to subtly fading into the plaid coat. Had she combined the ensemble with taupe or khaki pieces, the plaid coat would have pushed the accessories to the forefront of the look.

By using black accessories that infuse leather details, this Fashionista created a look that was both edgy and grunge inspired. Above all else, she accomplished a look with a modern twist on a classic that will never go out of style.

Spotted: Saint Laurent is known for the gothic grunge inspired look that is both aggressive and chic. The fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection infuses these ideas using various oversized plaid pieces paired with slinky leather numbers that evoke an overwhelming sense of sheer feminine strength.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Sunny Honey

Break out the shades ladies and gents because the sun is out! To tell you the truth, I never thought I’d see the day. After probably the longest winter of my life, any kind of sunshine is welcome with absolute warmth and affection. The clear skies are a nice change of pace from the stale, gray 30 degree days. Despite a distinct nip in the air, I’m beginning to see more of a turn and self expression among the fashion scene. Pops of color, patterns and a general lightness are making a comeback to accessories across the board.

Playing with sunglasses are a great way to start channeling summer, even with a chance of snow still quite probable. This Fashionista rocks an exaggerated pair of cat-eye sunnies. The overall ensemble is casual while the sunglasses add drama to the look. Her coat emphasizes the drama due to the boxy structure and sleek faded camel color. The darker piping and gold buttons on the coat coupled with the brown beanie also make the black angular glasses pop.

I like how the outfit plays with neutrals, texture and an infusion of sophisticated sportswear. I didn’t even register that the entirety of the outfit is a basic sweatshirt and leggings because of the styling. There is an ease to her outfit that made the casual qualities obsolete. The graphic tote also pulls together the look with color and some personality while the shoes add a bit of an edge. By adding the coat, sunnies and slight pop of coral on the lips, the outfit became a chic way to enjoy a breezy, spring day.

Spotted: Erdem implements sunnies into their 2014 resort collection which play well with feminine shapes and playful patterns of the garments. The sunglasses work well with the simplistic nature of the pieces and bold, geometric florals.

 

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Zig-Zag Swag

One of the most fun things about attending a university in the heart of downtown Chicago is getting to show off a unique sense of style. It impresses me that Chicagoans especially are able to find that perfect balance of practicality and fashion. The key, I have found, is to dress concisely and straight to the point. This is especially true in winter when you have to get from outdoors to indoors before frostbite sets in. One way many city-dwellers accomplish this “less is more” concept is by creating an outfit that surrounds a bag.

This Fashionista, for example, chose a backpack with a pretty distinct style aesthetic. The backpack itself has a bold pattern that stems from a bohemian or tribal realm. It definitely caters to the layered look she is sporting. I appreciate the overall naturalness of the outfit from the faded jeans, slouchy sweater and print top. The print top particularly plays well with the fun patterns on the backpack. It’s also hard to go wrong with a classic pair of Chucks to tie everything together. The outfit in a way takes me back to summer and gives a nice opposition to the darker colors people tend to go for.

This outfit is comfortable and simple with a bit of a grungy, street vibe. Often times, folks downtown dress quite professionally, although I welcome the relaxed change of pace from this Fashionista. Instead of opting for a structured tote, the looser backpack presents a new kind of edge that brings about a different beat. Backpacks, tote bags and sacks alike are all an important factor to staying fashionably functional.

Spotted: Tribal prints are abound in Mara Hoffman’s fall 2014 ready-to-wear collection. Her collection maintains a sleek sense of sophistication with an added effortless boho appeal. Hoffman’s aesthetic parallels the comfy-chic personal style of this week’s Fashionista.

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ACCESSORIES REPORT: High Hats And Arrow Collars

Irving Berlin references “High hats and Arrow collars..” in his 1946 version of the song, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Of course, he’s referring to an age of decadence and a luxury our generation can hardly imagine. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this Fashionista is specifically channeling Berlin’s lyric with her arrow printed pants. However, the hat and arrow combo reminded me of the song.

I love that this Fashionista chose these arrow print pants. They make the outfit look effortlessly stylish. The rusty red color is extremely versatile. It looks great with the off-white cardigan and brown lace-up boots. I also love how the small arrow print ties in the colors of the cardigan while the red beanie complements her pants. There is an earthy element established by her color choices that varies from the typical sea of black that city-dwellers tend to opt for.

The shape of her pants add an element of intrigue to her overall outfit. Skinny jeans would have provided a more streamline look, but these pants give the look a playful, boho vibe. Because the pants are a statement on their own, I like that the Fashionista’s remaining accessories are relatively simple. The gold necklace adds a metallic tone and brings about a sense of cohesion in a unique way.

There is a richness to this Fashionista’s style aesthetic that I really admire. Her outfit is simplistic in quality, yet playful in shape. These combined elements in a way channel an era lost to time. In regard to this Fashionista, Berlin’s lyric might be “Beanie hats and Arrow pants..,” but sometimes a good thing should be left alone. This Fashionista, however, dresses to the tune of her own song anyway.

Spotted: Topshop Unique’s fall 2014 ready-to-wear collection does a great job of adding prints to an already “wow” collection. These subtle prints play with the texture of the fabrics, enhancing the overall aesthetic.