It’s a new day, and students have reached the midpoint of finals week.  As a result, the Illini hoody and sweatpant count have reached a new high. During this time it’s quite hard to be fashionistable when your pulling “all-nighters” to ace an exam. Luckily, I stumbled across a Fashionista who knew exactly how to get an A in fashion and her course work. All dressed in leopard,and embellished with pearls she gives you Chanel and Betsey Johnson. Find out how Heather keeps it classy and edgy  for finals week. 

Name: Heather Clark

Major: Education

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista: What are you wearing today?

HeatherClark: Today I am wearing Express black rider-inspired jeggings with a single button blazer from H&M, and a polyester animal printed shirt with a pair of black, patent leather Dr. Marten Boots.

CF: Who are some of your major fashion influences?

HC: People who influence my style of dress. Are Amber Rose and Rihanna. I love their sense of classiness mixed with a bit of edginess.

CF: When are you planning to Christmas shop?

HC: During Black Friday, I was able to take advantage of the sales , and luckily I’m almost done.

CF: What are some of  your favorite trends for Winter 2011?

HC: Some of my favorite winter trends range from wool-felt hats, colorful scarves and boots that are both warm and stylish

CF: What advice can you give to students shopping on a budget?

HC: Some advice I can give to students like myself, is to remain versatile. Purchasing an item that can go with a number of outfits is a smart way to save money and remain stylish.

CF: Finals week is here, so what’s some of your “go-to” looks?

HC: As a busy college student always on the go, putting on a pair of jeans, a school hoody, and a pair of boots is what I can always be found wearing. Throwing on a colorful scarf or black fedora always adds a bit of spunkiness to my “on the go” style.

How To: The blazer is the framework, and everything within it is the masterpiece. You are the artist of  your fashion creation , so make sure you choose patterns that represent your sense of style. Heather chose a leopard print shirt to  spice up her chic attire. You might like color and may chose to add a multicolored blouse underneath. I love this look because it’s so versatile for any occasion. If you’re a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Fashionista then strands of pearls are for you, but if your going for a more edgy look, try mixing metals by adding multi-layered chains and rings. Remember to add black jeggings or dark denim to keep the ensemble cohesive. Lastly, the shoe represents the concluding piece to any look. Make sure your choice reflects your fashionable personality


Thanksgiving break was simply a tease for the Illini student body. With one more week of exams, projects, and papers left in the semester, how are the Fashionistas and Fashionistos managing style with this academic frenzy? Well, I found this Fashionista leaving the library wearing an assortment of blacks complemented by gold accent pieces to add glitz to her ensemble. Yep, notice the Michael Kors watch on her arm. This is definitely a must have for the season. Watches look really great with meanswear attire, and this particular brand tops my list of must-haves for the season. Check out Laura’s secret on how to stay chic during finals week. 

Name: Laura Leschwe

Major: Broadcast Journalism

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista: How do you maintain style during finals week?

Laura Leschwe: It’s quite simple. The key thing is to manage your time wisely. I usually lay out my outfit the night before that way I’m not rummaging through my closet to find the perfect outfit.

CF: Did you shop for Black Friday?

LL: I’m not an early bird, but I did manage catch some great online deals.

CF: How has your major influenced your fashion sense?

LL: As a broadcast journalism major, presentation is everything in this competitive field. This business is about that clip you submit of yourself. Like any job, you don’t want your clothing to stand out more than your talent. This could potentially make our break the employer’s decision to hire you. Dress according to environment is very important.

CF: What piece of your esemble is most meaningful to you?

LL: I would have to say my Michael Kors watch. It was giving to me as a gift from a dear friend of mine. Any gift giving from a loved one holds incredible value no matter what it is. I’m so thankful.

How To: To get Laura’s look, simply browse for a black blazer. This shouldn’t be hard to find. If you want different price points and styles, check ShopStyle. If you’re a fan of color, try to incorporate a burgundy blouse. I understand it’s getting cold out and shorts and tights may not be the right fit for you, so try some corduroys or denim pant. This look is interchangeable, so don’t be afraid to add your own flare to it.



My favorite part of any fashion show is the unveiling of the muse. The last look presented on the runway emphasis the designer’s vision.  It represents the  climax of the story, or better yet the ironic ending to a poetic piece. Believe it , or not you might receive the same feeling walking down the angles sidewalks of the main quad.  After the bell rings, the rush hour period begins with students flooding the streets.  This period usually last about ten minutes rushing to their next class or meeting. Well, I came across my “muse” in the final minute all dressed in black wearing a sick leather bomber jacket, tank, and tights. This look is all about her metallic shorts, and metal accented angle boots. Check out Nicole’s eccentric fashion identity and get the story behind her signature style.

Name: Nicole Leigh Maurice

Major: Advertising

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista:What are you wearing? 
NicoleMaurice:Jacket from a store in my hometown, oversize thrifted tank, DIY shorts, belt handed down from my mother, Urban Outfitters tights, and boots from a discount shoe store in Key Largo, Florida. Bullet earrings I shot and made myself. The bag was a free gift to my mother from a makeup counter. I'm not sure she had any clothes left after I moved here for college.

CF:Describe your style.
NM:Somewhere between eclectic and eccentric. I like to express my mood through what I'm wearing, which is why I sometimes change 2 or 3 times per day. I usually wear heels (the taller the better), and there's a lot of leather, glitter, and sequins. I got mistaken for a drag queen once, and I have no one to blame but myself.

CF:What influences your fashion identity? Designers? Pop culture? Family? Friends?
NM:I am pretty heavily influenced by fashion blogs and the people who create them. Rumi from Fashiontoast, Jane from Sea of Shoes, and Karla from Karla's Closet are the three I look to for inspiration most often. I also frequent The Sartorialist and Who What Wear. Beyond that, I am inspired by (read: prone to shamelessly stealing from) the sartorial whims of my friends, and movies set in decades past (West Side Story, Heathers, Grease, etc.).

CF:How did you design those stellar shorts?
NM:I grabbed some old jeans at Goodwill and fabric paint at Hobby Lobby. I mixed metallic fabric paint with metallic powder and coated the cutoff shorts with it. I ended up with a silver pair and a gold pair. Initially, they feel a little bit like wearing new leather, so I'd advise people to go up a size with the shorts to compensate for the stiffness. I'm very pleased with how they came out though.

CF:If you were a designer, what would you have in your collection?
NM:Some pretty extreme shoes, lots of neutral basics, and tons of embellishment. Everyone needs plenty of basics, but wearing basics exclusively makes life dull. Boring outfits can be easily transformed with fun shoes and one or two flashy accessories.

CF:What advice could you give to students on a budget?
NM:I'm a big believer in thrift shopping. I keep this running list in my head of things I want to add to my wardrobe, and I look for them relentlessly. You can't be afraid to alter things. Replacing buttons and removing shoulder pads are easy fixes. I also like to annoy my family by going home with piles of things to hem and take in. With experience it's pretty easy to learn what is and is not fixable. Also, committing to hand washing doesn't hurt. It costs less than doing normal laundry, and makes delicate clothes last longer.

How to: This look is all about pushing the boundaries of fashion. If your bold just grab a pair of shorts, and test your artistic skills like our Fashionista. Fabric paint can be purchased at any craft store. One of my favorites is Jo-Ann Fabric. This store has all of your creative tools for unique fashion art. No ensemble is complete without the perfect shoe. I recommend adding a shoe with color to make the outfit pop.  I encourage my readers to participate in the art of thrifting because you’ll never know what you may find. Good luck fashion hunting.


I love a Fashionista who’s classy with a slight edge. This  week’s Fashionista Spotlight goes to a young lady who gracefully walks the  streets of Champaign. Notice how she takes a neutral preppy look and adds a touch of edge. The short-sleeve cardigan is paired with an almond skirt for contrast, but what I absolutely adore about this look is her peep toe zebra print shoe. It’s those unique adds that make an ensemble come to life. Check out Nicole’s secrets from a graduate student’s perspective.

Name: Nicole Johnson

Major: Educational Policy

Year: Grad Student

CollegeFashionista: What are you wearing today?

Nicole Johnson: Short-sleeve cardigan and skirt from H&M. I purchased the shoes and handbag from a local boutique.

CF: How would you describe your style?

NJ: I usually dress according to setting. As a grad student, I try to dress professional since I’m transitioning into the career world. If I’m out with friends and family I like to wear vintage because it’s so timeless.

CF: How has being a grad student influenced your style?

NJ: I can recall undergrad where I would wear sweatpants and hoodies. I guess I’m trying to show myself and others that I can show a sense a seriousness in my attire.

CF:What are some of your favorites trends for this season?

NJ:I love seasonal handbags and boots. I’m really big on detailing so any bad with embroider design or studded buckle looks nice.

CF:What advice can you give to other graduate student who struggle to place style and their studies?

NJ: I know it’s hard to strip away from comfort, but find alternatives that will help prepare you for the real world. Reputation is everything.

How To: The weather is changing, but don’t worry all you need is a pair of printed tights or leggings for warmth. Also, remember layering is the best way to keep warm in the fall. You might have a hard time finding some of these items due to the season transition, so I recommend visiting your local thrift stores or favorite places to shop online.  Let’s not forget about the zebra peep toe. I instantly thought about the Sam Edelman Fall Collection. Get inspired and go on a fashion hunt for similar styles! Most importantly don’t forget to add your own flare to this look. Whether it be a nice watch, or a boutique handbag make it your own.  The best fashion is your fashion!


Say it ain’t so! This might be the last of sunny days on the orange and blue campus! As I walk along the quad side, I notice how rich the fall scene truly is. The leaves are falling and are rich in color. Fashionistas and Fashionistos are battling the tricky weather coming through the Champaign-Urbana area. Today, I found this Fashionista who understands how to balance her style and comfort.  Notice how she balances textures and patterns to create her own fashion identity.  Her floral tunic is the focus, and is framed with a solid cardigan and leggings. She lightly accessories with a floral ring and earring, which really emphasizes on the phrase “less is more”. Who would’ve thought she was dressing for comfort! Check out Odera’s interview for hints and suggestions on style.

Name: Odera Agbim

Major: Sociology/ Psychology Minor Gender Women Studies

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista:How would you describe your personal style?

OderaAbigm: Comfortable and cute

CF:What designers influence your fashion identity?

OA:I don't know what designers specifically, but there are pieces that I love. I like things with character.

CF: Do you dress according to mood or comfort?

OA:Both, I think they go hand in hand with me. There are some days that I am in the mood to be cute and don't really care about comfort

CF:What Fall trends do you love and hate?

OA:I love scarves, especially the ones with the print. I don't think that I hate anything, I have a general appreciation for fashion.

CF:When it comes to mixing patterns, what advice can you give to our readers?

OA:I would say that sometimes keeping it simple is way more bold than multiple pieces that are bold alone.

How To: If your looking for a comfortable, but chic style this might be the look for you. To emulate Odera’s style it’s all about mixing textures and prints. I recommend checking out ASOS for some of the latest floral patterns. Make sure you keep it simple. Try building off of one pattern, and let it be the focus similar to our Fashionista’s floral tunic.  Remember to add a cardigan and leggings to battle the weather shift. These two finds are easily accessible at your local department stores, but if you want an exclusive piece check out different boutiques around your area


The weather continues to trick the Fighting Illini campus! I swear, one minute you're pulling out your fall boots from storage, and then the next week you're back to strappy sandals. Whatever the case is, Fashionistas and Fashionistos manage to retain their fashion sense on the streets of Champaign.  I ran into this sassy Fashionista on my break, and I must say she is a definite fall trendsetter. Rocking a Native American-inspired crop top and black denim, she definitely understands how to work a trend without over “trending”. This tends to be a problem when consumers get ahold of a popular trend. Luckily, for this Fashionista this is not an issue. Notice how she incorporates the plain suede crop with crystal-layered jewelry piece for great contrast. Typically, a moccasin shoe would work, but I much rather go with the boot of her choice. Check out how this leading lady maintains her chic style.

Name: Aryn Terry

Major: Advertising

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista: Describe your style.

ArynTerry: I would describe my style as being feminine, chic and bold. I think when I'm getting dressed I always mix very simple items with other bold pieces. I don't like to really categorize myself into a certain group because many times I find myself really liking different kinds of items whether they are chic, classic, and avant-garde. I love prints, colors and glamorous items that add a little luxury to my outfit.

CF: What are some of your must-haves for this season?

AT: I am obsessed with lipstick! I have a growing collection. So my must-haves for this season are darker tinted lipsticks like dark purple and hues of orange that fit into the fall season. As for clothing, I am still on the search for the perfect brown leather combat boots because I have yet to buy a pair. My other must-haves include collar necklaces and chiffon shirts.

CF: What are some of your favorite places to shop?

AT: I enjoy shopping at mainstream places like Akira, H&M, ASOS and of course, Forever 21. Oh, and I love Nordstrom's shoe department! When I find myself in the mood for thrifting, as this takes a lot of patience, I make a trip to my favorite vintage re-sale store when I'm in Brooklyn called Re-Dress NYC. This store caters to plus size women and I can find some very old items that have the potential to either cause stares of confusion or stares of admiration.

CF: Are you a splurger or, do you consider yourself a Recessionista?

AT: I like to trick myself into thinking I'm a recessionista but tend to find myself spending more money on clothes than wanted. So it comes down to this: I splurge on shoes and tend to only spend lots of money on single articles of clothing if I find myself really falling in love with it.

CF: What advice can you give to students?

AT: As students, most of us don't have a steady flow of income to really splurge on everything we might have acquired in our ideal wish-lists. My advice is to pick out those items that you really love. Sometimes I test this by putting something on hold for a day in the store and if I find myself saying “I gotta have that!” I'll go back and make that purchase. I tried this little technique when I wanted to slow down my spending habits, and I've surprised myself on how much I actually don't make that return trip.

CF:What designer influences your fashion identity?

AT: Designers that I really pay close attention to are Whitney Port for her sense of femininity, Angela Simmons for her evolving eclectic style and high-end designers like Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs for their innovative use of construction.

How To: If you want to go for this look, it’s important not to over exert the trend. If you love the suede crop top, try visiting Forever21 for great options and price point. Denim is nice, but it wouldn’t hurt to try this with a skirt or leggings. I think accessories are key for any look! I would go the layered necklace or maybe a feather earring. Pick one or the other because you don’t want to oversaturate the trend. To get our Fashionista’s boots try ALDO or Endless Shoes for a great selection.m


When the weather is gloomy, and not a single ray of sunshine is present, you often see students wearing sweatpants, hoodies, and gym shoes. As I’m heading for class, I notice how the Flight Illini Fashion show starts to fade. The students, aka the models, have changed from haute couture street fashion to comfortable chic in a blink of an eye. The glitz and glam was now a vivid memory. Luckily, I came across this Fashionista rushing to class wearing a pale pink poncho, sweatshirt, leggings, and a vintage Marc Jacobs bag to complement. She definitely puts a twist on the casual apparel. Check out how she manages to dress for any occasion.

Name:Ymijan (Yumi) Baftijari

Year: Senior

Major: Advertising

CollegeFashionista: How would you describe your style?

YmijanBaftijari: On most days I would describe it as a bit of grunge revival mixed with soft prints and fabrics. I definitely like to mix contradicting pieces together.

CF: What designer(s) influence your fashion identity?

YB: Hands down, I live for Marc Jacobs and Jeremy Scott. They have such quirky designs and unique pieces as well as simple pieces that really work together and that really speaks to me. They continue to revolutionize their brand and I appreciate that about those designers. I've also really been into the brand UNIF because of the edgy flare that their clothes (and shoes) have.

CF: What are some of your favorite trends for the fall?

YB: I love anything sheer for the fall! From maxi skirts to buttoned down blouses to bat-winged cardigans. It goes so well with the sudden boom and popularity of leather and spikes. Let's not also forget a bit of leopard print – it somehow always manages to stay in style.

CF: Do you usually splurge, or do you budget your style? Explain

YB: Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a sales queen! I love budgeting my style because, for one, it saves me money, and it allows me to DIY some things that may not be “on trend” that ended up in the back rack sales section.I've found shoes that retailed for $100+ for $1 and shirts, pants, skirts, etc. for $3-$5 and I feel on-top of the world when I can score these great finds for such a low price (I also love thrifting for the same reason), especially because I am a self-assessed shop-a-holic. I do, however, splurge on shoes. There's something about shoes that I can't pull away from, despite the price tag, unfortunately my wallet suffers a bit.

CF: What advice could you give to students wanting to revamp their style?

YB: Buy and wear what makes you comfortable! Being fearless and dominant in what you wear makes a difference. Don't feel ashamed to browse the sale's section and don't feel pressure to look like everyone else. You can revamp your style by adding your own flare to your items, such as studding the collars of a buttoned down shirt, or cutting the sleeves off of an old tee- you don't have to buy new things to recreate your style. A big way I revamp my style is by changing up my makeup and nail polish color, it's the subtle things that add up!

How To: This is definitely a go-to look when your trying to maintain comfort and style. Ponchos are hot this season! I recommend visiting TopShop for the latest styles. If you’re shopping on a budget check out ASOS for a broad selection in price. As for the sweatshirt, leggings, and shoes I would definitely go for the sale. Try fashion serch engines like ShopStyle for different price points. I suggest splurging on the poncho, and keeping the other pieces to a reasonable price. Remember you are the artist to your ensemble, so continue to add accent pieces to your masterpiece. I would suggest adding a rose gold watch with a simple necklace to this look. If you have any questions about this look, please feel free to comment below.


The weather has finally changed with fashion, and let’s just say the orange and blue campus is looking mighty fierce! The  sleek transition from summer to fall is always interesting to see. Watching fashion migrate to a new stage is like watching the seasons change. Leaves change to rich orange and reds whereas the bright color block fades into a warm rich color appropriate for the fall. I came across this Fashionista  wearing a stunning vintage look for the fall. Her ensemble consists of a detailed lime green and blue sweater paired with an A-line skirt with pockets. To complement her classy apparel she adds tights and pointed flats. Take away from helpful hints and add to your closet!

Name: Beanca Nicholson

Major: Business Marketing

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista: How would you describe your fashion identity?

Beanca Nicholson: A “hot mess.” Part Kurt Cobain grunge, a little classic Jackie Kennedy, and a healthy dose of Badu soul circa her Common era. I dress how I feel, I wear what makes me happy. I love the idea of taking something old or thrifted that I found at the bottom of the 50 cent bin and combining it with a big ticket label that I saved months to afford.

CF: What style icons influence your personal style?

BN: Corrine Bailey Rae and Solange. They wear what they want and not to mention their hair. If I could combine their closets with my mothers, all would be right with the world. Along with that trifecta, I wake up to  “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” album just bout every morning, it helps me clear my mind and pick out an outfit, so I would say she's and influence as well.

CF: What are some fall trends you can’t live without this year?

BN: I can not wait to master the technique of blending textures and patterns to create a multi-layered look. I must say I’m dying for a fur vest this year, and what girl does not love jewel tones!

CF: Would you prefer to shop online? If so, what sites would you recommend?

BN: I am a huge fan of the hunt, I like to be in the stores/thrifts shuffling and digging through bins with the crowds. However, if I need to be distracted in class I'll do some Ebay,Jetsy, and Modcloth browsing. The key is to really search through the sellers and items to make sure you are getting the best deal.

CF: What advice can give to Fashionistas and Fashionistos desiring to revamp their style?

BN:Find one great piece, something different from everything you own and slowly build it off of that. You don't have to dump everything you have in a weekend and start all over, take it slow, and only buy pieces that you really love.

How To: To achieve this look its all about the thrill of thrifting! Are you ready for the fashion hunt? I recommend visiting your local vintage boutique to find a unique piece. Like this Fashionista mentioned make sure you buy that one piece you love. For instance, if you want the sweater she wearing, visit store like Modcloth  to get something similar. Once you have your unique piece, in this case it’s the sweater, find items to further personalize it. Try adding a vintage broche, or try layering with textured scarfs. Grunge fashion is what you make of it. Remember your ensemble is the canvas. It’s up to you to create a work of art!


On this week’s “Fighting Illini Fashion show” several styles graced the streets of the infamous orange and blue. From left to right, students strutted their stuff to class in unique attire. I felt like a reporter covering the latest in fall fashion. Overwhelmed by the high volume of style I came across this Fashionista wearing a paisley peach blazer, floral top, skinny kaki, and to die for cognac leather! Her style resembled a fashion spread tailored to the readers of Cosmopolitan, so I had to ask a few questions about her lavish fashion appeal!

Name: Shannon Smith

Major: Broadcast Journalism

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista:How would you describe your style?

Shannon Smith:My style changes up pretty frequently, but I guess I could describe by saying that it’s preppy and classic with a dash of fun. I like to wear classic blouses with a pair of jeans and Sperry’s or switch it up with motorcycles boots and a bright v-neck. I’m a huge fan of boots and scarves.

CF: What designers influence your fashion identity?

SS: I have a few brands that I love, particularly Sperry’s have become my all time favorite shoe. They influence what I wear because I can pair the different ones I have with v-necks, leggings, jeans, crop tops, denim, shirts, skirts, blouses, virtually anything! Although I’m not a huge high-end designer type of girl, I would say Chanel and Calvin Klein influence my preppy and classic looks.

CF: Where are some of your favorite places to shop?

SS: Some of my favorite places to shop are Forever 21, H&M and my older sister’s closet.

CF: What is your go-to look on a typical campus day?

SS: For my relaxed days, my go-to look on a campus day is a pair of leggings, an Illini sweatshirt and my tan leather Sperry’s, or my thigh high boots.
For my better days, my go-to look is a pair of light jeans, leather Sperry’s, a colorful v-neck and a cute colorful scarf to top it off.

CF: What are some helpful hints for students seeking style advice?

SS: The best advice I can give is to be yourself. It may sound cheesy, but you don’t have to dress in the lastest trends to look good. Experiment with different color combinations and remember that you don’t always have to match perfectly. Fashion looks better when it appears to be effortless. And just because you’re going to class doesn’t mean you can’t look stylish!

How To: This look is fairly simple and fun to create. A blazer is a key piece to any preppy look, but of course there are different style to choose from which might become overwhelming. I recommend the menswear blazer from H&M or TOPSHOP due to quality and price. A nice flower print blouse or button down from American Apparel complements the blazer. Finally, leather goods enhance any ensemble. I would try searching on ShopStyle for boots and handbags.


Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is over and it seems like the Fighting Illini are adapting well to the latest fall trends.  Students are transitioning from summer hues to fall blues. They are in tuned with mustard yellows, olives greens, and burnt oranges when it comes to creating a stellar fall color palette. After purchasing a book for my fashion class, I was lucky to have finally met a former Style Guru. Impressed by her ensemble I was able to get the rundown on her style. This Fashionista is wearing a bandeau, under denim, paired with an olive high-waist skirt and strappy sandals to match. Check out her style profile filled with fashion secrets!

Name: Bianca Nichols

Year: Senior

Major: Creative Writing

CollegeFashionista: How would you describe your fashion identity?

BiancaMaria:I would describe my fashion identity as vintage-urban-chic. I like the more popular styles of the city so I try to put my own spin on them by incorporating my love for vintage pieces.

CF:Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?

BM: I get my fashion inspiration from almost anyone and anything. I definitely recreate looks that I have seen on campus, read on blogs, discovered in magazines or even taken from my mother. There is a little bit of style in everyone and I vibe off of that.

CF:What trends are you looking forward to wearing this fall?

BM: I cannot wait to see different styles of boots this fall! Especially the vintage ones. I am a big fan of shoes and how they can easily enhance a look.

CF:Where do you shop on campus?

BM: I mostly thrift on campus, there are two salvation armies not to far away. I also love LeShoppe, a small thrift store with loads of jewlery, and Dandelions a more “high-end” vintage shop in downtown Champaign.

How To: For vintage style like this Fashionista try online shops like Modcloth for similar skirts and bandeaus. I understand the weather is changing, so why not substitute the bandeau for a tank and the sandals for a flat, or short boot.