ACCESSORIES REPORT: Student Style Essentials

When school starts, there is always such an awkward transition between the seasons, especially in the Midwest! You’re tempted to pull out the big, comfy new sweaters you just purchased for fall, but it’s still somewhat hot enough to wear shorts to class. I’m always sure to pack transition pieces that can be worn year-round, like lightweight scarves, Tory Burch flats and menswear watches.

Although it is already September, fall weather isn’t in full swing in Chicago.The past few weeks, deciding what to wear has been a daunting task. However, this Fashionista showed me the way by donning the ever-popular infinity scarf. I thought her outfit was perfect for a day of classes in downtown Chicago. This Fashionista paired bright blue shorts with a white tank top over a black lightweight sweater. The accessories featured in her outfit included a floral infinity scarf, a white watch and black and gold Tory Burch flats.

I absolutely adored the accessories that she used to complete this look. Lightweight scarves are a great and versatile accessory that add a stylish, layered look to an outfit. Printed scarves are also great statement pieces, especially when added to a T-shirt.

Tory Burch flats are also a very popular trend right now around many campuses. These flats are a great investment because they are completely stylish, they’re basic enough to go with just about anything and comfortable enough to wear around campus all day.

A watch is also a great investment because it is both functional and fashionable. Michael Kors watches are another trend that I have seen around campus. I personally love big-faced watches (but then again I’m partial for making a big statement with any accessory).

Although we can’t pull out the big cable knit sweaters just yet, remember that there are a few back to school essentials that are classroom ready all school year long. Invest in a few lightweight infinity scarves with patterns, some good quality flats or a menswear watch and your back to school style list will be complete.

Spotted: 3.1 Phillip Lim showing some amazing shoes in his fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection.


Ever since I started wearing accessories I remember thinking that there was some mathematical rule about the amount of jewelry one should be wearing. I also took caution whenever I wore busy patterns because I didn’t want to overwhelm my outfit with big jewels and big prints. However, now that I’ve had practice in the accessories department I’ve realized that no mathematical equation or secret number can tell you how many jewels will top off an amazing outfit.

I came across this impeccably dressed Fashionista last weekend when out to dinner. She was wearing a flowy and flattering black and white patterned dress. I couldn’t believe that this dress was from Forever 21. It looked expensive and had amazing details like an open back with zipper detail and high-low hem. You can find a very similar style on Forever 21’s website. 

Although this dress has a busy print, this Fashionista dressed it up well with just the right amount of accessories. Although most would sway away from big statement pieces when wearing a pattern, I think that every outfit should have at least one statement piece. This Fashionista chose to wear a metallic rhinestone statement necklace that accentuated this patterned dress perfectly! In addition, she added a leather bracelet with gold chain detail that was simple enough to go along with this patterned dress and statement necklace.

I think that big, metallic statement necklaces are great pieces to turn an outfit from day to night! If you purchase metallic statement necklaces in neutral tones such as gray, black, gold and silver, you can pair the piece with just about anything — even a patterned dress! Juicy Couture always has a great selection of metallic jewels such as this collared rhinestone piece and this cool rhinestone and pearl necklace.

So next time you’re thinking of going without jewels remember that sometimes more is less!

Spotted: This awesome Jason Wu handbag is the perfect metallic piece to help your outfit make a statement!


As summer comes to an end, there are certain favorites in every Fashionista and Fashionisto’s closet that must make their final debut. In my opinion, one of these pieces is the maxi dress. The maxi dress is the single best boho piece you can add to your wardrobe. However, it takes accessories to really make your look stand out.

I recently encountered this Fashionista who was sporting the epitome of a boho chic outfit. The centerpiece of this outfit was the perfect black maxi dress. Under this V-neck black maxi dress, this Fashionista wore a grey lace bandeau. A bandeau is the perfect accessory trend! The lace was a great addition to this outfit as it gave the basic black maxi dress a little extra flare.

Her hippie-femme inspired look was finished off with a turqoise stone long necklace and turqoise aztec-inspired woven sandals. I loved that she decided to add a bold color to this black dress. Basic pieces are always a great investment because you can dress them up with fun shoes and accessories the way this Fashionista did.

Sometimes Fashionista’s tend to buy gold or silver jewels thinking that it will go with everything. However, bold accessories can truly make an outfit pop and are pretty cheap investments! I love fun colored costume jewelry because it’s unique and can turn a plain black maxi dress into a hot and trendy bohemian summer outfit! Juicy Couture has very fun jewelry that will add oomph to your outfit. Free People also has a lot of pieces that will add a boho edge to your final summer look. Don’t be afraid of pieces you might consider to be “out there” because those are usually the pieces that draw the most attention.

So, break out that maxi dress to create the perfect canvas for all of your boho-chic accessories!

Spotted: An update on the boho look at New York Fashion Week. Whit’s spring 2014 collection is filled with easy breezy dresses with big and fun accessories that really make the looks pop!

STYLE GURU BIO: Alisa Helstad

My name is Alisa Helstad and I could not be anymore thrilled to be returning  as a Style Guru for fall 2013! I’m currently a rising junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Marketing with hopes of working in the marketing department for a fashion house someday (if I can’t find someway to make shopping a career).

I grew up in what I consider the small town of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Although there are many reasons why I love my hometown, fashion is not particularly one of them. City life was calling my name and I took the opportunity to move away for school as soon as I could. I now call Chicago my new home and could not be happier with my decision. The latest trends can be seen by just strolling down Michigan Avenue. Chicago is such an inspiring city and I feel more immersed in fashion than I ever have before.

I’m also beyond pumped to be writing the ACCESSORIES REPORT this semester as I am known for my love of statement necklaces and am guilty of having a large collection of costume jewelry. In my opinion accessories can truly make an outfit. Whenever I walk out of the house without at least a necklace on I feel like my outfit looks so bland. A big statement necklace can make the plain black tee and skinny jeans outfit into a memorable and fabulous look. I’ve found that J.Crew has an excellent selection! Some of my favorite accessories (besides my big collection of statement necklaces) include a menswear watch, messenger bag, black combat boots and patterned scarves.

This summer I had my first-hands on experience in the fashion industry that included something other than being a self-proclaimed Fashionista with a knack for assembling cute outfits. I had the opportunity to work for the high fashion house, J. Mendel. This particular internship was not just filled with coffee runs and errands but valuable life lessons. I was able to help out in many of the different departments and it was exciting to see how they all interact to create and promote a successful collection.

Although my personal style is always evolving depending on the latest trends, you can usually find me shopping at BCBGeneration, Free People or Shopbop if I am too lazy to leave my couch. Fall is my absolute favorite season and I’m really looking forward to daytime looks filled with oversized cable knit sweaters, skinny jeans, high socks, combat boots and scarves. However, when daytime turns to dusk I’m quick to trade in my flats for sky high heels and playful dresses paired with a statement necklace because like the saying goes, “Life is too short to wear boring clothes!”



This summer many Fashionistas are getting their fashion inspiration from festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza. When Coachella occurred back in April, many fashion websites were talking about fashion trends at Coachella and sharing their favorite pics of Fashionista attendees. One of the biggest trends that I noticed was wearing high-waisted shorts with a crop top. Last weekend, the pictured Fashionista attended Lollapalooza, another music festival, and she donned none other than this festive combo.

This Fashionista wore a patterned crop top with patterned high-waisted shorts and sandals. She went for a comfy yet festival-appropriate look. That day I noticed many other Fashionista’s wearing similar outfits.

I also came to the realization that festivals haven’t been the only place that the combo of high-waisted shorts and a crop top have been worn. I have seen this combination worn at the mall, on the streets of New York City and at the beach. This festival inspired attire has become a super trendy must-have this summer .

There are many stores where you can find your favorite version of the high-waisted shorts and crop top combo. Brandy Melville sells this great short-sleeve scooped neck crop top that would look great with a pair of high-waisted shorts or high-waisted skirt for a more feminine vibe. I also love these high-waisted white shorts with eyelet detail from Free People. They look so comfy and feminine, the perfect investment for the warm August days ahead!

Whether or not you plan on attending a festival this summer, don’t be afraid to invest in this festive duo. High-waisted shorts and crop tops are trendy pieces that are here to stay!



It’s the beginning of August, which means school is right around the corner. It’s a little nerdy, but I’m not going to lie: I still use the fact that I’m in college to go do a little school shopping. I’m not only talking about getting new pencils and notebooks, but also about getting a few new clothing items for the new school year. The beginning of August marks the time when you start to see all the stores pushing their summer dresses and tanks back to the sale sections and changing their floor sets to include chunky sweaters and lightweight jackets.

On a brisk summer evening I fell in love with this lightweight military jacket worn by this adorable Fashionista. She paired this embellished military style jacket with her Free People dress and heels for a night on the town. I absolutely adore this jacket, and so did this Fashionista as she claimed it was her “most prized possession.”

A great lightweight jacket is one of those fall must-haves that should be on everyone’s school supply list regardless of age. I think a military style jacket is a great option because it’s a masculine jacket you can put a feminine twist on. The military style jacket this Fashionista is wearing has embellishment that gives it the perfect feminine edge. Military jackets are also great because they can be worn as a casual piece during the day with a great pair of boots or as a dressed up addition to a night-out look with heels.

I know it may seem like I’m a little overeager to start shopping for the perfect lightweight coat, but I’ve already got my eye on a few great styles! I especially love this caramel military jacket from Free People, which features a patterned tapestry. The Patchwork Parka is also another amazing investment to consider!

So start making your fall fashion must-haves list and give yourself a reason to go shopping before school starts. Put a military style jacket on your list! You’ll thank me once this heat-wave passes!


When designers presented their spring 2013 collections, it was obvious that stripes were on their radar. I was one happy Fashionista considering I love patterns, specifically stripes. Stripes are a reoccurring trend and a pattern that continues to stay relevant.

As I was walking to work this week, I spotted this Fashionista donning this classic pattern in a cool and chic way. Like me, this Fashionista was on her way to work. She wore a fit and flare striped dress. I loved that this dress was detailed with stripes of different widths and thought the fit was quite flattering. Sometimes Fashionistas worry that horizontal stripes will make them look wider. However, as long as the garment you’re wearing fits you properly, horizontal stripes will not come across as unflattering. The red skinny belt with this dress added a great pop of color to its black and white pattern and was the perfect contrast. She accessorized with a classic rose gold big-faced watch and thick strappy wedges.

Stripes have truly come back with a vengeance this season. However, they are undoubtedly here to stay. Marc Jacobs presented this bold and classic pattern in his spring 2013 show in various sizes, widths and colors and on different garments. Just to prove that stripes will continue to be in season, you can preview J. Mendel’s resort 2014 collection and this beautiful striped gown worn by Chanel Iman at the 2013 Costume Institute Gala.

If you’re looking to don this trend yourself, look no further than Diane von Furstenberg. This silk jersey striped dress has an amazing detailed pattern. The dress is comfy and stylish while still being work or weekend appropriate. It is definitely the perfect item to splurge on! If you are looking for a striped garment on a budget this top from EXPRESS is the perfect option. Dress it up with a high-waisted black skirt and colored heels or dress it down with black skinny jeans and wedges.

Whatever the occasion, stripes are always a wonderful option. Consider the trend when you are out and about on your next shopping spree because it is one that is here to stay!



As much as I love dressing up, I always look forward to casual Fridays at work. It’s like a breath of fresh air after a long week of interning where I can forgo all the business dresses and pencil skirts in my closet in favor of a printed, flowy blouse and a great pair of skinny jeans. Last Friday at work I was inspired by my fellow intern’s casual Friday hippie-chic look.

This feminine and fabulous Fashionista paired a great pair of dark skinnies with a psychedelic floral blouse with bell sleeves. The bell sleeves on the blouse add the perfect feminine touch without being too over the top. This blouse also goes well with her brown wedges that were the perfect shoes to dress up the skinnies and blouse appropriately for work.

Not only did this Fashionista pay great attention to putting together the perfect ensemble, but she also added the perfect accents to this outfit: her bright pink lipstick and gold monogrammed necklace. The lip color is the perfect hue to accent the colors in her blouse. Her monogrammed necklace was also right on trend and a timeless and versatile piece that can be paired with just about any outfit.

Whenever I’m shopping, I always look for pieces that can be worn not only on Friday at work but also on Monday when the dress code is less casual. Printed blouses are great pieces that can be transformed to fit many different occasions. You can tuck them into a leather pencil skirt for a trendy and appropriate business casual look or pair it with skinnies like this Fashionista for a feminine yet casual look.

This white blouse designed by RAMY BROOK is a great basic blouse that has romantic appeal and would be a worthwhile investment. It could easily be worn at the beginning and the end of your workweek. It definitely has a romantic, hippie-chic vibe that will leave you feeling trendy while work-appropriate. Lately, I’ve also been obsessing over this site called Pixie Market that carries great labels and amazing printed blouses that you could definitely wear to your internship.

So Fashionistas, never feel bad about buying too many blouses! They are the best way to dress up and dress down during your workweek!


Now that I’ve been living in New York City for two weeks, I definitely get what people mean when they New York City is the fashion capital of the world. Every day on my way to work I notice many Fashionistas and Fashionist’s proudly displaying their unique senses of style. I’ve seen more trends from the runway walking through the subway these past two weeks than I have in my entire life. This week, as I was on my way home from work ready to freshen up for a night out, I came across this Fashionista, who I admired for perfecting the New Yorker night out look.

This Fashionista was wearing red skinny jeans, a white sparkly tank, pointed strappy heels and a statement necklace. I love how this Fashionista put so many different trends together to form this effortless night out look. Red jeans are perfect year-round. Red is a color that can be worn during the winter holidays and on late nights in June. The sparkly white tank was the perfect accent to the jeans, as it was muted enough to pair with the bright pants but also decorated perfectly for a night on the town.

What truly made this outfit, I believe, were the accessories that this Fashionista wore. I was obsessed with her strappy heel sandals. Strappy heel sandals are one of my favorite trends this season. Rachel Roy has the most fabulous strappy heels right now. They are definitely on my list of must-haves for this season. I also loved this Fashionista’s statement necklace.  A piece with a little bling is the best for a night on the town. Juicy Couture has great statement necklace options for the season. I love that this Fashionista paired her statement necklace with minimal jewelry and the white tank; it allowed for all of her other great trendy pieces to stand out.

This Fashionista was obviously a New Yorker who was well aware of her fashion capabilities. She effortlessly put together an outfit that was not only trendy but also timeless. It’s not easy to pair so many different trends together without them fighting for the spotlight but she did it with ease. So take a cue from this fashion-forward girl and experiment with your wardrobe this week when you’re getting ready for a night out with friends. Try throwing a few trendy and stylish pieces together to create your easy and effortless trendy look.



As many Fashionistas know, lace is a tricky fabric. Some Fashionistas may veer away from lace fearing that it might appear too risque. However, there is a way to be lacy without being too racy.

When I was shopping in SoHo last sunny New York weekend I came across this feminine Fashionista wearing this pretty ivory lace dress. The garment was a fit and flare dress that was perfectly flattering on her petite shape. The leather bow sandals added an extra feminine punch to this dainty look.

This lovely lace trend has made an appearance on several runways during the resort 2013 season. J. Mendel has several beautiful and feminine lacy ready-to-wear options. Lace in pretty pastel tones is perfect for a daytime affair while black lace may be better suited for a night on the town.

You can create your own lace look in many variations. Skirts, dresses, ballet flats and even tops would be perfect for lacy ensembles. Express has a variety of great lacy tops in different colors that would be perfect for a look that could go from day to night. You could simply wear a lacy top to work under a blazer and take it off after 5 PM for a feminine date night outfit.

A lacey dress, in my opinion, is a must-have in any summer wardrobe. alice + olivia carries several white lacy playful dresses suitable for various summer daytime occasions. When you’re in a crunch for time, a white lace dress is always a fabulous option.

So be a lady this summer and don some lacy attire. Whether you are on your way to the mall or on your way to work, lace is an easy never-fail option. Lace is no longer a fabric associated with the risque. It’s one for ladylike Fashionistas like you and me.