TREND: University Uniform

Fordham University classes start this Wednesday, September 1st and why not kick off the collegiate calendar year with a stylish start. I spotted this darling trend-setter on campus and was instantly drawn to her school girl inspired style. She sports a gray and white gingham jumper over a blue and white striped tee shirt that reminds me of a grammar school uniform that has grown up. Her glasses add a dashing dapper vibe and she boldly dons a pair of geometric black and white sandals. The cut of her jumper is fun, flouncy, and flattering while the back adds some vogue variety. This Fashionista rocks her remixed uniform with collegiate confidence that transforms the look from elementary to erudite. She looks cute, cool, and completely fashion forward in an ironic throwback to the playground days of elementary school.

Take note of this Fashionista's ability to balance prim and proper with charm and charisma and a splash of stylish swagger. This a perfectly appropriate and comfortable outfit for those grueling hours in class or for lounging with friends around campus in the warm autumn weather.

Hint: Find uniform-inspired items such as this at Lands' End or J. Crew. Add yours own unique twist with one of Urban Outfitters headbands or Topshop's stockings.

TREND: Edge and Elegance

It's back to school time and fall staples are beginning to premiere on the streets. This Fashionista adds some edge to her casual striped top with a black pleather aviator jacket. She sports standard dark wash denim and adds a splash of color with a saffron yellow patent leather tote – perfect to lug around heavy text books in style! Finally she wards off the blazing sun with a trendy, cool pair of black wayfarer sunglasses. I admire this Fashionista's ability to transform a romantic, French-chic cotton shirt into an off-beat rocker-chic ensemble. She flaunts bold primaries against a backdrop of black, white, and navy neutrals. She gives off an air of effortless edginess and elegance at the same time.

Hint: Looking for fierce, funky fall fashions? Check out stores like 80s Purple and Topshop.

Style Guru Bio: Cara McLaughlin

My name is Cara McLaughlin and I am a sophomore at Fordham University in New York. I am not a local East Coaster though; I was born and raised in San Francisco, California. Although I am in love with my hometown and enjoy the lack of a brutal winter, I must admit that I absolutely love dressing for the northeastern seasons. When it comes to fashion I am all about change and variety. I like to expand the use of my clothing as far as I can. I am somewhat notorious among my friends for wearing pieces in ways they were not meant to be worn. I also have a tendency to swap my top with my skirt and vise versa to create a different silhouette. In fact, one of my favorite tops happens to be a pair of heather grey boxer briefs. I believe that fashion is limitless and even the most unflattering garment can be morphed into something beautiful. My own personal style is constantly evolving and changing but I am greatly inspired by the looks of my classmates and would love to share this inspiration with you!

TREND: A Lady in Layers

It is still summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but with autumn lurking just around the corner it is time to look toward fall fashion. The transitioning season between a scorching summer and a shivering winter, accompanied by the excitement of a new school year, provides abundant opportunities to mix and match winter and summer favorites. The key to keeping content on a crisp autumn day: layering. This Fashionista knows a thing or two about keeping cozy and stylish in the autumnal months. She sports a comfy pair of charcoal leggings tucked in to a classic pair of tall, slouchy, black, patent-leather boots. She adds shape with a flowy top and adds a light-weight coal-colored cardigan in case a cool breeze blows by. This Fashionista accentuates her figure by cinching everything in at the waist with a belt that matches her shoes, creating a flattering and feminine look. Finally she throws on a snug chocolate sleeveless vest with a hood (should it rain) and handy pockets. This outfit works perfectly in fall because she has three potential levels of warmth. She can remove or add the vest and sweater to her liking. Her outfit does not look overly busy because the neutral shades compliment each other and allow us to focus on the shapes and textures instead.

Gear up for a fashionable fall semester by checking out stores like Lulu's and Mod Cloth.

TREND: White Denim Dreams

Denim can be heavy in the summer, but shorts can sometimes be inappropriate. When such a dilemma occurs, the option of stark white denim is always available. This Fordham Fashionista dons a fresh pair of eye-popping alabaster skinny jeans which struck me a half mile away. She adds youthful vibes by pairing her pearlesque pants with a vibrant black and technicolor tank top that establishes a cool, compelling contrast.  She ties the diverse pieces together with a simple black shoulder bag and a slick pair of gold t-strap anklet sandals. This Fashionista strikes a perfect balance between bold and beautiful.

Instead of tamely matching your white jeans with other neutral colored items, make a bold statement in bright colors and funky patterns. Add some eye-catching sparkle with metallic shoes or accessories. Going out with the girls? Try adding sky-high pumps to elongate your legs and a loose tank to show of your shoulders and add some shape.

It's best to try on jeans before buying them, but sites like Shopbop have a wide variety of white denim if you already know what brands and sizes work for you. For more options, head to department stores such as Nordstrom or Bloomingdales and try a few pairs out.

TREND: A Great Sight on Date Night

Warm summer nights are a great opportunity to flaunt a fabulous outfit and show off some skin on a hot evening date. Whether it’s your first date with someone, or with your boyfriend of two years, it is always great to look and feel amazing. Your outfit should be classy, but a bit flirtatious—revealing, but leaving plenty to the imagination. This Fordham Fashionista, for example, dazzles in a delicious coquelicot silk camisole. The miniature buttons add a unique twist to the otherwise classic design. She shows some skin in the sweltering summer evening, but does so tastefully, looking confident and classy. Her accessories, including her Louis Vuitton purse and pearl bracelets, spruce up the ensemble without overpowering it. What really caught my eye, however, when I spotted this Fashionista rushing toward the Ram Van, were her cute and quirky shoes. She sports snakeskin slip-on flats comprised of large, girly bows. Her fierce footwear is fashion-forward and spunky, while comfy and casual. Her outfit is perfect for dinner and a movie, a picnic in the park, or a concert with her adorable arm candy. This Fashionista’s ensemble reveals that she is both fabulously feminine and fantastically fun.

If you have a date coming up, try donning a flattering top in a solid shade that compliments your coloring. Accessorize, but don’t let your jewelry or bag steal the show. Flaunt your sun-kissed skin flirtatiously, but don’t overdo it. Finally pick a pair of shoes that are comfortable but full of personality!

For great date night tops, check out C&C California, Urban Outfitters, and ShopBop.  If it's fabulous footwear you are looking for, head to 80s Purple and Aldo.

TREND: The Not-So-Classic White Tee

I spotted this Fashionista curbside post-grocery shopping and was struck by the stunning, yet subtle simplicity of her ensemble. Jeans, sneakers, and a white T-shirt is a classic go-to outfit for casual days and is not typically associated with glamour. However, this laid-back lady gave the modern staples a feminine twist by pairing a slouchy-yet-fitted, flutter-sleeved ivory top with a pair of body-hugging black jeggings. The comfortable, classic, Chuck Taylor Converse shoes give this Fashionista's outfit an aura of effortlessness and are perfect for running errands on an overcast day. She throws her belongings in a taupe grey, patent leather, hobo handbag and sports a bold but tasteful gold watch. This Fashionista proves that simple, classic looks never go out of style if you add your own touch.

Most people likely have these items in their closets already. Pair your favorite jeans, leggings, or jeggings with a simple cream-colored top in a unique, flattering shape and spice up the whole look with a bold accessory such as a purse, a hat, or a piece of alluring jewelry.

For various styles and shades of Chuck Taylor's, check out Converse Shoes. If you are looking for a handbag, head to Urban Outfitters.

TREND: Barbecue Blues

There's a heat wave sizzling through the northeast, and it's time to whip out the grill and get cooking or head to the park for a picnic. A flowy summer dress is a classic when it comes to outdoor festivities, and this Fashionista cools down the scorching temperatures with a rich blue shade with white lace embroidery. She pairs the fun and flirty dress with a pair of fashion forward anklet sandals and an oversized chocolate tote bag–perfect to fit a swimsuit, towel, sunglasses, camera, magazine and whatever else she might need for her outing.

Look for solid bold colored summer dresses in shapes that flatter your figure at Forever 21.  If you are looking for unique sandals, check out Bakers.

TREND: Putting It in Neutral

Summertime is often associated with bright colors and crisp whites, but a new color palette is emerging this season: the neutral palette. I spotted this Fashionista roaming Rose Hill flaunting a cream silk top and a mocha and black skirt. The tame shades complimented her sun-kissed skin and auburn hair beautifully, and the contrasting silk and cotton fabrics added great texture. The floral embroidery on her top adds some fun seasonal sass to her outfit, and she rocks gold t-strap sandals and a gold watch to complete the ensemble. This look is perfect for a daytime internship or luncheon. To bring this look into the evening, pair the top with a dark bandage skirt or a pair of dark skinny jeans and add strappy cream-colored wedges.

For fresh summer wedges check out Aldo, and for silky neutral tops, like this one, head to Topshop.

TREND: Patriotic Patterns

The birthday of our nation is coming up, and it's time to celebrate in style! Maybe you have contemplated putting on your American flag t-shirt and light-wash jean shorts for the fifth year in a row, but it's time for a change.  Not sure where to start?  To flaunt your patriotism without decking potentially cheesy star and stripe patterns, try wearing bold reds, whites, and blues in a funky, untraditional pattern. I spotted this Fashionista strutting around campus in her darling polka dot blouse and was immediately inspired. Independence Day 2010 is a fantastic opportunity to break away from boring and predictable American attire and try out equally festive, but superiorly stylish, threads.

This Fashionista pairs a brilliantly colored red, white, and blue sleeveless top with black high-waisted sailor shorts, which lend a summery nautical vibe to the ensemble. For a more patriotic look on July 4th, swap out the black shorts for a white pair in the same style, and throw on some gold sandals to add holiday sparkle. If it gets chilly at night, top the look off with a navy cardigan to cozy up in and watch the fireworks.

Polka dots not your thing? Try floral, checkered, tie-dye, or paint-splattered numbers instead.

For pretty patterned tops, check out C&C or Free People.  I am personally a fan of Le Fleur Tee and the Lacey Corset Cami.  A great pair of shorts is the Lucca Couture Sailor Short, which come in navy and ivory.