Denim first emerged as the working man’s clothing. It is durable and good for daily jobs because it does not wear out quickly. Originally donned by gold miners, denim only became fashionable in the ’30s, when actors wore them in Western films and Levi Strauss emerged. Denim has an illustrious history in the fashion industry, but it’s still regarded as a casual style.

Denim on denim has been spotted on numerous Fashionistas/os this season, including Kanye West and Katie Holmes, and is generally worn as weekend wear. It is rare for a light wash denim to be sported in a formal or evening setting; however, this Fashionisto shows that a staple denim shirt can be easily dressed up for more than a run to the grocery store.

Worn with a navy knit tie, cream cardigan, trendy oxblood pants and classic Clarks desert boots, the shirt ties in seamlessly. While the jewel-toned pants initially catch your eye, the textured detail in the shirt and tie truly distinguish the ensemble. By pairing the tie with a more casual chambray, this Fashionisto dresses up the denim. This look could be worn on the street or on a dinner date. It is important to make sure that your clothes can be worn transitionally, from day to night. Light-wash denim’s versatility has rarely been explored as an option for formalwear, but this Fashionisto does it right.

For Fashionistas, translate this look by subbing out the tie for a pair of high-waisted leather shorts, like these from ASOS. Pair a light wash chambray, like this one from Madewell with a statement necklace, some tights and booties to create a fashion-forward outfit that revolutionizes the traditional usage of denim. Not ready for that kind of adventure? A simple pair of black jeans with a peplum top and heels can easily be worn to an evening event.

So, next time you think you have nothing to wear, go through your denim. Diane von Furstenburg once said, “accessories are the punctuation.”  A little black dress is known for being formal, but paired with a cardigan and printed flats, it can be a daytime look. While a denim shirt may not be the first thing that comes to mind for an evening ensemble, the accent pieces transform this working -an look into that of a professional. All you have to do is be a little creative.


My name is Amina Khan and I am so excited to begin writing my weekly Style Advice of the Week posts as the new Emory University Style Guru for CollegeFashionista. Atlanta is not a high fashion capital of the world. We are not Paris, London, New York or L.A, but somehow the street style of the city reflects aspects of each of these. It is thrilling to be able to photograph the diversity in street style throughout the city and the Emory campus.

Last summer I interned in production with an established fashion designer based in New York City in order to gain first-hand knowledge about trends demonstrated on the runways. On my first day of work, I ran into the famous fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, standing on a street corner and photographing the people around him. Mr. Cunningham’s immense notability and acclaim is a result of his appreciation for the fact that what everyday people are wearing has a strong impact on what designers put onto the runway. The fact that his work was displayed in the New York Times and Women’s Wear Daily aptly demonstrates his influence.

Cunningham’s influence has been channeled to me throughout the years via my avid readings of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, W Magazine and Nylon without my knowing. I grew up learning about the latest trends but never gave any thought to how they arose. Over the years, as my love for fashion grew, I began reading fashion blogs like Fashiontoast and The Sartorialist realizing for myself the importance of what everyday people are wearing.  I personally saw a designer base his designs off of what his employees wore to work. It is not the people who closely follow what is being worn on the runways that inspire what is in Vogue; it is those who can be trendy while simultaneously conveying personal style and character. One can easily don a pair of oxblood pants and be on trend, but it is the velvet bow in her hair that makes her stylish. My goal is to find people around my campus who are able to make trends their own and display their character through their clothes. Anyone can read Vogue and copy the outfit, but it takes a true Fashionista to make a trend unique.

I am thrilled to be able to find people who coherently make fashion their own and exude personal style. I want my column to enable readers to evaluate what they wear on a new level, and learn to combine what is trendy with who they are. I can hardly wait for the inspirational fashion I hope to discover around Emory, and am anxious to share it with you.