CLASS OF 2014: Elana

I would be lying if I said my college career was easy. Frankly, they were the four most challenging years of my life. Both academically and personally, I was pushed every day. Being a student in college looked more like Legally Blonde than Old School. That said, it was during these four years at Union College that I learned the most about myself and as a result, grew tremendously.

After fighting my way through my tumultuous freshman year and watching Ellen DeGeneres’ 2009 Commencement Speech at Tulane University too much, I decided to enter sophomore year with fresh eyes. If there was one thing Ellen has ever taught me, it’s that you have to do what you love. So, I adopted a new mantra: to grow where I am planted. Ever since, it has been a guiding principle in my life.

During my sophomore year, I made the crucial decision to commit myself to everything I loved. That included taking more intellectual and cultural history classes, costuming in the theater and writing for the Arts section of the school newspaper. It was during this pivotal time, that college became more enjoyable because I was finally pursuing what made me excited. Finally, I was growing where I was planted, and I encourage everyone else to do the same—both in college and beyond.

Consequently, this new mantra led me to my internships with CollegeFashionista, which have been one of the many highlights of my time at Union College. When I look back at my life, it makes sense that I became interested in fashion. I was obsessed with Barbie, Polly Pocket and even Bratz, as well as, taking an early liking to awards season. Fashion was and continues to be one of my favorite forms of creative expression. That is why, when I received the opportunity to become a Style Guru for such an impressive and unique website, I did not hesitate to say yes. Ultimately, I am so proud that writing for CollegeFashionista has been an integral aspect of my Union College career.

While my future is still fairly uncertain, I am excited for what is to come. Whether I continue to pursue fashion, theater, film or anything else that my heart desires, I will always remember one thing that Ellen said, “You’re gonna be ok, dum de dum dum dum, just dance.”


The truth is, we all wear sneakers. Whether you’re out and about on campus or at the gym, sneakers are and will forever be a staple in all Fashionista/o’s closets.

Since fall 2013, sneakers have become hugely popular and widely upgraded. Say goodbye to basic kicks and hello to bold new options. Such examples include Isabel Marant’s iconic wedge sneaker and high-tops by Lanvin. Both have been sported by the likes of Miranda Kerr, Beyoncé and Ana Beatriz Barros. While you may still be tempted to teeter around in pumps or stilettos, take a note from these fashionable celebs instead. Trade in your high heels for some upscale high-tops, just like the Fashionista pictured here.

These high-tops are the perfect combination of sporty and chic. Designed by an up and coming shoe company, Forsake, these sneakers are ready for the outdoors and the classroom. They are waterproof and breathable all without sacrificing style. If an accessory is both all-weather appropriate and trendy, honestly, who can say no?

What this Fashionista did best was take a sporty sneaker and pair it with a feminine springtime ensemble. The navy on her striped quarter sleeve shirt complements her baby blue high-tops. She created a nice connection with the various shades of blue. Also, her hot pink shorts offset all of the blue. Overall, the refined color palette was the right choice for making her kicks a seamless part of the feminine look.

The Fashionista topped off her outfit with mixed bangles from Alex and Ani and silver floral earrings. Again, her feminine style was most prominently featured but it was her sporty and chic high-tops that stole the show.

Spotted: Chanel fall 2014 ready-to-wear collection featured fashionable sneakers in various fabrics and colors.


Now that it’s officially sandal weather, I’m sure everyone is scouring the Internet for the perfect pair. While I am partial to the “ugly sandal” trend, which has been defended by Lucky magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen, I know there are other options out there. I realize that Birkenstock’s can’t be for everyone.

One of the biggest trends over the last few seasons has been apparel and accessories with laser cutouts. This trend takes leather or suede and creates unique designs by cutting. These designs are often in distinct patterns, which adorn the garment or accessory.

A few years ago laser cutting was only available from haute couture brands like Alexander McQueen. But thankfully, due to innovations in technology and manufacturing, it is now available to Fashionista/o’s from some of our favorite stores like Zara and Forever 21.

This Fashionista’s laser cut sandals are the perfect example of this trend. Her soft pink sandals are decorated with laser cuts in the form of a floral design. Try a similar pair from Koolaburra in a pale pink or with a heel from Uad Medani. Ultimately, these laser cut sandals are the perfect alternative to simple sandals or flip flops.

In terms of her ensemble, she paired the laser cut sandals with a navy cardigan, basic T-shirt and trendy maxi skirt. All the colors she chose are complementary and create a cohesive look. The Fashionista further accessorized with dainty and gold floral jewelry. Overall, her look and sandals are cutting edge.

Spotted: Alexander Wang spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection featured laser-cut jackets and gloves.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Tote-ally Union College

I won’t be the first nor the last to say that Union College students have a lot of school pride. From the college’s unique history to its beautiful architecture, the students are always rallying behind it.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that this Fashionista chose to sport one of Union College’s greatest treasures, the Nott Memorial, on her tote. This brilliant building was built in 1858 and is situated right in the center of our campus. Due to its great architectural beauty, it has become one of Union’s most iconic symbols.

Thanks to a custom collection with Vineyard Vines, this Fashionista has been able to carry the Nott around with her every day. While the canvas tote is a classic from Vineyard Vines, the inclusion of a bit of Union College architecture sets it apart from the rest. The pattern is fairly simple, but it also catches the eye with its garnet accents, which is Union College’s school color. But, Vineyard Vines also makes other standard versions with cute patterns such as the crab classic tote.

Best of all, this tote is ideal for any Fashionista because of its size. Like most college students, this Fashionista filled up her tote with countless books, a planner, a wallet and still had room for more. The tote is spacious for larger items, but it also has little compartments for miscellaneous things like chapstick, college ID and pens. Overall, it can suit any Fashionista/o’s needs.

Along with her Nott Memorial tote, this Fashionista also donned aviators, dainty silver jewelry and a classic pair of Sperry Top-Siders. All of these additional accessories underscored her classy personal style and how much she stays true to herself. Overall, everything about her style is simple yet trendy.

After all, who doesn’t love the opportunity to show a little school spirit while also looking tote-ally fashionable?

Spotted: Chanel spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection featured totes with their classic emblem.


Over the last few seasons it seems that a good ol’ pair of socks are no longer considered an underrated accessory.

During the most recent New York Fashion Week, it seems that there has been a reappraisal of socks and the important role they can play in an ensemble. Just because they go on our feet, doesn’t mean that socks can’t be an opportunity to wear something stylish.

While mid-length socks have been a widely popular trend recently, knee-high socks are another trendy option. Much like the Fashionista pictured here, knee-high socks are the perfect way to accessorize a cardigan and casual dress with oxfords. The overall look felt colorful, whimsical and reminiscent of a character out of a Wes Anderson film. The socks are quirky but not costume-like. The distinction is important as it allows for the socks to remain a fashion statement rather than something that looks out of place.

The Fashionista opted for a basic set of white knee-high socks, but there are other adventurous pairs to choose from as well. If you prefer a sheer pair be sure to check out American Apparel. However, if knit is better suited to your personal style, Urban Outfitters has a cute ruffled pair. Each set is the perfect start for experimenting with socks this season and beyond.

It may be easy to forget about such a minor detail like socks but taking the time to pick a trendy pair can go a long way. Not only will this change avoid any and all “sock ruts” but also, you’ll simultaneously revamp your closet and future ensembles.

Spotted: Ralph Lauren spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection featured knee-high socks in black.


This Fashionisto’s style is part John Wayne, part John F. Kennedy.

While this mash-up seems unlikely and a bit disastrous in theory, it works especially well in practice. From the blue flannel with elbow patches to the cowboy belt and a pair of rugged Sperry Top-Siders, this Fashionisto gave a whole new meaning to the wild, wild West.

As someone who considers himself a cowboy at heart, but with a love for preppy attire, this Fashionisto took the best aspects of each worlds and made it his own. Rather than looking like he’s wearing a costume, there is a nice balance between each source of inspiration.

In terms of balance, the blue flannel from J.Crew best embodies both preppy and western styles. The best aspect of the flannel is the unique construction with its warm brown buttons and brown suede elbow patches. They are classy touches on the overall look.

Along with the buttons and elbow patches on the blue flannel, the Fashionisto chose a brown leather cowboy belt as an additional accent. The brown belt is braided and adorned with silver. It picks up the brown colors from the accessories on the flannel and creates sartorial unity. Most importantly, this belt is especially indicative of western dress.

The Fashionisto further accessorized with a gold watch, Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Sperry Top-Siders.

Interestingly, his watch is modeled after one worn by Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill. It was a gift from President of France, Charles de Gaulle. This Fashionisto underscored that recycling trends and styles are welcomed. The same is true for his Ray-Ban Wayfarers, which have been sported by countless iconic figures and are still trendy today. He topped this ensemble off with rugged brown Sperry Top-Siders, which pulled it all together.

Ultimately, this Fashionisto truly is a country club cowboy.

Spotted: Chanel pre-fall 2014 collection featured ensembles that embodied the American West.


Maybe it’s my undying love for the Broadway musical Hair, but I have always had a special place in my heart for fringe.

From fringe vests to cross-body bags, I have tried it all. The only fringe accessory that I still wear regularly is a pair of chestnut moccasins, just like the Fashionista pictured here. As this Fashionista illustrates, moccasins are not merely reserved for those with a bohemian style but also, basic outfits as well. Try them with a light sweater and jeans or even a simple dress.

This Fashionista’s black Minnetonka moccasins with gold beading are the freshest take on this timeless shoe. Typically, moccasins are seen in neutral tones such as brown and taupe. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and would like to try a wilder pair, look for moccasins with leopard or tribal print. Both options are trendy and add a bit more spice to this simple shoe.

What is especially unique about this Fashionista’s black moccasins is the thunderbird beading in gold. Moccasins are especially simple in construction but the addition of gold beading is a deviation from the typical blue, red and white beads. This difference in color makes this pair of moccasins an ideal shoe for both sophisticated and casual ensembles. As a result, they would make a seamless transition from class to dinner with friends.

This Fashionista further accessorized with simple silver jewelry and a statement watch. But, it was her bold black moccasins with gold embellishments that stole the show.

Spotted: Tod’s spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection featured moccasins with fringe and a bow in red and cream.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Suspend What? Suspenders!

When you think suspenders, you may picture Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby or Jaleel White as Steve Urkel. Both are beloved characters who knew how to rock this classy accessory.

Either way, this old school accessory has made a recent comeback for both Fashionistos and Fashionistas. Just last year Jason Wu and Aganovich spring 2013 ready-to-wear collections featured suspenders. They were paired with dresses and pants in a variety of colors such as pale pink and jet black. Even this year, spring ready-to-wear collections featured suspenders such as in Givenchy and Rodarte. It seems suspenders are back and bolder than ever.

Suspenders were first introduced for practical means, as a way to keep pants sitting properly on the waist. However, as belts became popular as another practical accessory, suspenders slowly dwindled in popularity. Fashionistos, like the one pictured here, is part of a stylish minority who are still holding on to this accessory. Why not? They’re sensible and trendy.

This Fashionisto utilized navy blue suspenders as the perfect compliment to his preppy ensemble. The rich color and style are chic and round out his look. What this Fashionisto did best was opt for an upscale fabric pair over elastic. The navy blue fabric and leather accents are classic, making this ensemble sophisticated and also, ideal for evening wear. For Fashionistas, check out this black pair from ASOS.

Along with the navy suspenders, this Fashionisto sported a crisp white collared shirt with green chinos. Look for similar styles at American Eagle and J.Crew. The simple brown leather belt polished the look off. With his suspenders secured, black leather watch, black backpack and chic sneakers, this Fashionisto’s preppy outfit was campus ready.

Spotted: For women, Max Mara spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection showcased suspenders. They were thin and simple.


ACCESSORIES REPORT: Well-Worn Combat Boots

We all have that one pair of shoes we simply cannot live without. It could be a pair of Converse high-tops, oxfords or even ballet flats. Either way, everyone has a pair.

For me, no matter the season or the ensemble, I almost always wear my favorite pair of boots, the Veronica Short by Frye. I consistently find ways to work them into whatever I am wearing and as a result, I’ve retired several pairs over the years. They are comfortable, versatile and the perfect color. Sadly, they don’t make the transition to summer. But, it makes the following fall that much better.

The same is true for this Fashionista. Her well-worn and well-loved combat boots are her go-to shoes and she wears them more often than not. These combat boots are the ultimate pair of shoes for almost any season and especially, this recent and weird transition period. Technically, it may be spring but it surely feels like winter. Despite these boots being best suited for colder temperatures, it is also possible to sport them this season. Try pairing them with lace tights or socks as an accent.

As well as being timeless, this Fashionista’s combat boots are the perfect color. It is basic and neutral. The Fashionista picked the right color and style combat boot for her bohemian look. Undoubtedly, the billowy printed pants are the focal point of the ensemble but the combat boots enhance it. The chestnut color picked up hints of orange and red in pants, making it look cohesive.

The Fashionista further accessorized with mismatched and unique earrings, illustrating her quirky sense of style. She also included a bright yellow scarf, which was weather appropriate and trendy. Overall, this Fashionista took a boho look and made it her own with such distinctive accessories especially, her well-worn combat boots.

Spotted: rag & bone fall 2014 ready-to-wear collection showcased combat boots in various basic colors such as beige and black.



Stones, studs and gems. These are the makings of a perfect statement necklace.

By now, it is no secret that I have an affinity for all things statement necklaces. Much like decorating a cupcake, statement necklaces are the sprinkles on top of any ensemble.

When statement necklaces became popular a few years ago, they may have seemed slightly ridiculous. Even now, there are moments where I feel like Flavor Flav. Yet, over time these necklaces have become more refined and are an ideal accessory for casual or upscale looks.

If you’re not sure where to begin, check out DANNIJO or Pam Hiran via Anthropologie. Both designers offer ideal pieces to get you going. Start by picking a color palette and shape that best suits your personal style.

This Fashionista’s outfit illustrated the sheer power of a statement necklace. She is wearing a basic long-sleeve shirt, printed skirt, tights and riding boots. It’s a trendy ensemble but it is the statement necklace that makes this look an absolute sartorial knockout.

Her bib statement necklace is comprised of pearls and pink stones. They are delicate, yet chunky. In this case, chunky is not a bad thing. The layering of the various beads created a full look. Not surprisingly, the statement necklace was the center of attention.

Along with the bib statement necklace, this Fashionista rocked a complementary pair of earrings. Much like the necklace, her earrings were comprised of peals and pink stones. Rather than looking too put together, the pairing looked cohesive and classy. She topped her look off with dainty gold midi-rings. This final touch of gold pulled all her accessories together.

Overall, whether it’s a bib or collar variation, a statement necklace is one of my favorite accessories.

Spotted: kate spade new york showcased several statement necklaces in their spring 2013 ready-to-wear collection. Flowers and gold galore.