STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Study in Sophistication

Syllabus week is over and it’s time to start cracking down on your fall semester goals. One of the best ways to make a good first impression on your professors is by dressing well. Sweatpants, a cutoff tee, and/or last night’s hair and makeup doesn’t exactly scream hardworking student. Today’s Fashionisto shows us how to combine preppy pieces to create a crisp yet casual look that will convey a positive attitude. 

Today’s Fashionisto started off the semester in style with an orange polo and patterned blue shorts. He accessorized with a pair of tortoise Ray Ban wayfarers, a classic wristwatch, and his battered Sperry Topsiders to create an effortless ensemble. While this Fashionisto's outfit isn't too formal for the hot August day, he gives off a vibe that stresses he didn't just roll out of bed and stumble to class. 

You can find high quality pieces like today’s Fashionisto is wearing at Southern Tide, a brand with a fresh new look that combines pieces like woven shirts, polos, and watershorts to create a sophisticated yet comfortable line of authentic sportswear. Conveniently enough, Austin Burke Clothiers (my favorite local men's clothing store) in the heart of downtown Iowa City carries Southern Tide apparel, so be sure to support our beloved local businesses in style. 


Combat boots are the latest trend in footwear to explode all over the runways as well as the sidewalks. They come in a variety of styles and colors and are extremely versatile. These lace-up boots can easily be worn with any attire from a floral sundress (for some mean contrast) to distressed skinny jeans (for a more grungey look). 

As we venture into the fall season, we look for new ways to expand our wardrobe. Combat boots are the most practical of all the practical. They can be worn throughout the fall, into the winter and during the springtime. When it's extra cold, pair your combat boots with some slinky socks to keep cozy. 

Today's Fashionista wears her combat boots with a casual, athletic look. A cropped sports T-shirt, high-waisted denim shorts, aviators and vintage jewelry all surround her Aldo boots in a simplistic fashion. She accessorized the ensemble with a gorgeous oversized ring

As the temperatures cool off, try to invest in a pair of laced up combat boots. My pick for this year is the Troopa by Steve Madden. 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Whiten and Brighten

Many high schools required girls to wear white dresses for their graduation ceremony. If you're a college student involved in a sorority, you may have to wear a white dress for certain chapter events. Regardless of the occasion, we've all been in that unfortunate circumstance where we need a very specific uniform for a particular situation. It's always a pain to try and find something perfect (and in your price range), and the experience can scar your idea of the piece you're searching for.

I'm like that with white dresses. Ever since I spent weeks trying to find a communion dress when I was in elementary school, the idea of a simple white dress gave me a headache. From the on, I couldn't wear a white dress without feeling like I was going to some special event with a bland dress code.

Today's Fashionista reminded me that a white dress can be pulled off without looking like you're coming from your City Hall wedding. All you need is a bit of color. While some prefer to accessorize their white frocks with metallic details, adding some matte color is also a great way to liven things up. This particular Fashionista decided to use the navy blue found in her dress' embroidery to add on to her ensemble. This can easily be done with items such as scarves, sandals, handbags, cardigans, headwraps, and all types of jewelry. If you're feeling extra spontaneous, go ahead and grab a simple white sundress and spice it up with whatever you please.

If you're reading this and thinking of the old rule, "Thou shall not wear white after Labor Day," please… it's 2011, Fashionista! This rule has been broken plenty of times before!


As the fall season begins to gradually roll around, our wardrobes are beginning to turn over a new leaf. Or maybe more appropriately, a crisp, golden leaf. Warmer, cozy colors come into play and less skin is exposed. Hoodies, scarves, and tights are back out on the store shelves. While it might still be 90 degrees outside, fall fashion is out on the store floor, and it's time to start shopping for back-to-school gear! 

As we transition into autumn, look for pieces that play on summer looks but are more conservative for those warm August afternoons. A kknee-length frock, like this Fashionista is wearing, is one of my favorite pieces for this season. And don't be afraid to put away your sandals just yet! While flip flops might not be the best shoe for the fall, ankle sandals are a great alternative to closed-toe flats and Sperry Top-Siders until your toes start to get too cold. 

For the boys, classic go-to picks are always on-trend: black denim, aviator sunglasses and a trusty pair of All Stars are all great pieces for the fall season. 


I love cognac. It gives me a head rush; it makes me warm and happy inside. The funny thing is, I’m talking about the color, not the drink.

Last week I stressed the importance of adding gold accents to your wardrobe. But now that it’s August and the last weeks of summer are starting to trickle down (tear), it’s time to begin thinking about your transition into fall. For this coming season (and quite franky, any season), I am head over heels in love with cognac. While it's an extremely versatile color for winter, spring, summer or fall, I think it is ultimately the color of autumn. Cognac is the same rusty hue of natural leather, and yet the same warm tone of the leaves that crunch under your feet as you begin another semester at school. I love cognac accessories, from handbags to strings of leather bracelets, but I especially adore the color on riding boots.

When I met today's Fashionista in Chicago’s Loop neighborhood at the end of July, she was enjoying her last few weeks of summer. In an outfit suitable for the workplace, she sported a navy blue tee, khaki pants, gladiator sandals and a cognac bag and matching belt. Her hair was effortlessly swept into a bun, and her tortoise sunglasses shaded her eyes. The look was a classic; it was perfect for class yet still great for a summer internship. The natural leather accents pulled together a timeless color palette.

This fall, I urge everybody to invest in some cognac. One or two pieces in this fabulous tone can bring together any look, as we see here. Cognac is versatile and goes with any style, whether you're preppy, bohemian, athletic or something all your own. This Fashionista's gorgeous cognac handbag is part of Michael Kors new fall collection. Skinny leather belts, great atop denim or high-waisted skirts, are in abundance across all price points, but I love this one by Linea Pelle.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Golden Opportunities

The study of fashion will always teach you that what we wear depends on how we feel as a society. If you’ve been watching the news, you know that the price of gold has skyrocketed. In turn, gold jewelry is becoming more popular among the elite, and consequently of that, the rest of the fashion world is starting to wear more gold, gold plated, and gold toned jewelry.

That’s exactly what today’s Fashionista is doing. Her flamboyantly colored ensemble, composed of a floral tank, hot pink mini, navy blue blazer, and multicolored totes caught my eye in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Her perfectly coordinated gold tone jewelry was what drew me in as I got closer to her. They complemented her classic Tory Burch flats without flaw. 

But what really fascinated me about this Fashionista's choice of jewelry was its unique style. Snakes that wrap around your finger as a ring and chunky bangles are always a great way to add some funk to an outfit. Don't be afraid to overdo it, either. As you see here, the famous quote, "the more the merrier," rings true in fashion, too. 

If you absolutely adore today's Fashionista's jewelry like I do, check out the Whitney Abrams website, where you can find every piece in today's ensemble. Without doubt, I would advise all Fashionista/os to start looking into the beauty of gold jewelry if you haven't already. 


STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Romance in The Workplace

You know that cute coworker of yours? Off limits. That is, unless you can find a way to keep your relationship under cover while you're on the clock. As we all know, relationships within the workplace that are more than “just friends” are taboo. But there is romance that isn’t prohibited in the workplace, and that’s the romance of ruffles.

Unless you have a strict uniform at your workplace, it’s easy to play around with your daily work attire. One of my favorite ways to do this is shown on today’s Fashionista, and that’s the romantic ruffles we see here.

This Fashionista stays workplace appropriate by staying within sensible means—soft colors, neutral shoes, and conservative pieces. She does, however, add some flirty flavor by choosing a dusty pink ruffled tee to top her pencil skirt. The blouse she chose has an appropriate cut in a shy color, making it perfect for those days at work when you want to feel yourself. 

Even if you work in an environment where business professional is dress code, you can try to walk the fine line between appropriate and not by adding some soft ruffles underneath a blazer. If you do take the leap and try this, be sure to keep the rest of your ensemble conservative in order to stay uniform.

Oh, remember when I said the chunky white watch is a must-have accessory? Don't forget to take a look at this Fashionista's watch.


A handbag can be a Fashionista's best friend. It carries all of life's essentials. Many of us could probably live out of our handbags, at least for a few days. I've always believed that handbags (and shoes) are something we shouldn't hesitate to splurge on. A sturdy, versatile bag can last a lifetime; it's an investment in itself. Almost every known designer has at least a few handbags in their collections because they know that well made, practical handbags sell. 

In addition to her romantic yet still workplace-appropriate ensemble, today's Fashionista is sporting the Jane by M Z Wallace handbag. An accessory comparable to the popular Longchamp bags we see everywhere, M Z Wallace bags are affordable, unique and practical. With plenty of pockets, leather detailing, and water resistance, an M Z Wallace handbag may be my next handbag purchase. I'm currently eyeing the Sophie crossbody in cobalt blue with funky red edging. 

This summer, take the time to find the perfect handbag, then save up the cash for it. While you may find one at a bargain or at a sky-high price, a practical bag that will last years is a promising investment. 

Remember when I stressed the importance of a chunky watch in the workplace? Today's Fashionista just happened to be sporting the exact same Michael Kors watch we saw a few weeks earlier

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Primary School Rules

Today's Fashionista exhibits a style all her own in three easy steps. From her off-season sweater to her royal blue A-line skirt to her shoes that lack any detail whatsoever, this Fashionista manages to put together a great look from a variety of different pieces. What I love about this outfit is that it's not something I've seen before yet I can relate it to other trends I have seen both on and off the runway. 

My advice this week inspired by today's Fashionista: Try blending different textures and colors to add some flavor into your ensemble. Some of my favorite looks are created by adding a funky piece, such as this Fashionista’s chunky sweater, to a simpler piece in a primary color. Red, yellow and blue can all be paired with almost anything as seen in the latest Michael Kors collection. Feeling a mod vibe? Combine all three primary colors in some basic pieces, then top if off with some '60s-inspired sunglasses to create a funky look. 

This Fashionista's shoes were the perfect addition to complete her look. Like a pair of classic black Tory Burch flats, her Charles Philip Shanghai slippers are timeless yet less iconic and a bit more unique than the popular leather ballet flat. (I'm feeling a fad coming on!)

And remember, in the Midwest, cable knit sweaters aren’t just for the wintertime! Embrace this inconsistent weather we've had the past few weeks by showing off your versatility in fashion. You can even try to add some spark with knee-high socks or a combat boot.


As a blonde with fair skin, I have always shied away from anything yellow — mustard, golden, neon, whatever. I believed it washed me out and clashed abnormally with my hair color. Oddly enough, I’ve never really seen a lot of yellow hues out on the street in general, even on those with darker skin tones or different hair colors. Yellow has always been a hard color to pull off. While I have only two or three T-shirts in this hue, I really wish I could feel more confident in this sunny style.

Today’s Fashionista proves that a fair-skinned person can pull off sunshine yellow in a business casual uniform. Simply adding more color to a classic button-up blouse maintains a summery look. This Fashionista did just that with her necklace and a turquoise Vera Bradley tote. For a more casual look, this Fashionista could have replaced her conservative skirt with some dark denim and gladiator sandals.

This week, I challenge all of you to take a leap of faith with one of the less coveted colors around, and invest in a yellow piece this summer. Whether it’s a detailed tunic or simple T-shirt, a yellow piece will add some sunshine into your wardrobe.