FASHION NEWS: May I Please Have Some More, Dior?

I look forward to autumn the moment summer begins. Hot coffee tastes more delicious when it is slightly cooler outside. Both books and film seem more interesting when you can wrap up in comfortable sweaters and scarves. What’s more, the fall means that holidays are just around the corner. As the leaves change to beautiful shades of red and orange, it seems as if everything in the world is simply….better. 

If these reasons are not enough to convince you to fall head over heels in love with autumn, perhaps this years runway shows will. The designers gave plenty of options when it came to upcoming trends: fur, beige, romantic brocade prints, and my personal favorite, equestrian attire.

While gazing through Christian Dior's  fall collection, I could not help but be reminded of Oliver Twist. No there were no pickpockets, but the clothes were strikingly similar. 

Models strutted down the runway in clothing that appeared to be both French- Victorian and equestrian themed. The show primarily consisted of romantic dresses paired with long leather coats and boots. Wool pencil skirts and baker boy caps helped to create an old-fashioned atmosphere.

Designer John Galliano utilized the current fur and knit trends, but in a more subtle way. A fitted blazer may have a slight fur trim, or a plaid dress suit often came with a small fur handbag. Other noteworthy pieces included a cozy knit cardigan-coat, and two knit dresses. 

While Dior's collection is the equivalent to paying for college tuition, a similar look can be achieved without burning a hole in your wallet. Embrace fall's colors by wearing shades of olive, brown, or maroon. Newsboy caps  give a more modern look to the Oliver Twist era. Layer tights, leg warmers, long tailored coats and cardigans for a look that is both polished and comfortable. 


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WEEKEND FORECAST: Rock the Rendezvous

“Dress to impress.” I often repeat this mantra before a night on the town with girlfriends or a cute, new crush. Needless to say, this phrase is easier said than done. How is it possible to look dressed up, but not too formal? How can a look be casual, without being bland? This Fashionista quickly answered my unsolved questions. 

The University of Iowa sophomore put together a variety of trends without looking over the top. A cinched black belt help to add shape to the outfit. She layers chic black and white colors that create a classy look. Her blouse is made of a lightweight fabric that helps keep things cool in the summer sun. A unique feminine flower pin brings attention to her face, and makes the outfit appear out of the ordinary. While this outfit is dressed up, skinny denim blue jeans are a comfortable staple that encourage a fun and relaxed environment, rather than intimidating. 

Hint: Wearing jeans are not the only option when deciphering casual date attire. Colorful flats can dress up denim or dress down a summer mini dress. Add in unique accessories that exemplify who you are. Colorful nail polish, Grandma's locket, or even striped toe socks. Whatever it be, your date will find that being yourself is more hip than any fashion trend. 

WEEKEND FORECAST: Itsy-Bitsy-Teenie-Weenie Polka Dot One-Piece

The thought of wearing an itsy-bitsy polka dot bikini makes me cringe. Before going to the beach, I must muster up enough courage before exposing every bulge and freckle on my pale summer skin. Yet to my much-needed relief, flattering one-piece swimsuits are no longer a trend of the past, and have made a splash this summer. 

This type of swimwear is great for every body type; the trick is to find a style that highlights your best features. For short frames, find a suit that that is cut higher in order to accentuate the leg. To enhance your chest, find a one-piece with a V-neck or ruffled top. Halter-tops often help support wider frames. 

Although the idea of a one-piece seems bland, bold colors and prints can make them seem anything but modest. Polka dots, floral, and paisley prints help create a look that is both chic and fun. Besides being stylish, this look is functional. One-pieces allow ladies to swim without worrying about exposing the top or bottom half. 

Want to show off more skin? Monokinis have become popular in recent years. Side cutouts show off more of the stomach and appear as two pieces from the back. 

Photos by: Brenna Norman 

FASHION NEWS: What the Blog?

What does a fashion blogger do when not scoping for campus trends? Look at countless other fashion blogs! This week I have been hooked onto the website This site has gained worldwide attention in the press, and with good reason. 

Lookbook is different than most fashion websites in that Fashionistas can only join via invitation from other lookbook users. Members upload stylish photographs that are scored with a unique point system called “hype.” The more hype points that an ensemble receives, the more likely it will appear on the initial home page. Lookbook is currently one of the cyber world’s leading fashion sites, with over 50,000 participants. 

What is more awe inspiring about such websites are the young fashion icons that arise. Numerous celebrities have gotten their start through the Internet. Style muse Cory Kennedy was discovered in 2005 when a photographer posted a picture of her on his blog. An instant online IT girl, Kennedy was soon on the cover of Nylon magazine inspiring fashionable hipsters across the nation. Today she can be found on MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and her own blog,

My personal favorite Internet muse is Parisian Louise Ebel. The art history major has been presented in European’s Envy magazine, as well as Glamour. She is often shown wearing romantic ruffled dresses, floral apparel, and dark gothic frocks. I first came across Louise on her Flickr website, and soon saw that she was on Lookbook’s home page. Her own blog,, is filled with images that make me want to pack up for France in attempts to achieve the oh-so-chic looks of French women. 


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The Edward Hopper era was a time in which "Women were embracing a modern aesthetic, wearing masculine-inspired clothes but still maintaining their feminine sense of style," famous designer Suwha Hong said. Hopper's realistic paintings of urban women in the early 1900's are what drove Hong to her creative fall 2008 line of tailored jackets and wide leg trousers. Yet surprisingly, Suwha did not always study fashion. The Korean native began working at a law firm; a career path she felt would be more practical. This stint lasted approximately five years. In 2006 Hong decided to settle in London with her husband. Thus marked the beginning of her studies in fashion. In a matter of months, Hong was designing items that placed women fashion forward in a once proclaimed "man's world." 

This Fashionista is proof that summer barbecues and tailored attire are not just for the boys. Simple beige and white colors help to keep the look casual. A classy button down and leather belt add in masculine flair. To top of the look, the Fashionista sports a hat, giving an edgy vibe to this laid-back outfit. 

Hint: To make this look appear trendier, accessorize with a pair of oxford shoes, a messenger bag, thick-rimmed glasses, or a tailored vest. These looks were big hits this past fall, but often reappear in new and innovated forms. Take advantage of the fall and winter clearance sales of these items, and make the look summer appropriate. Mix and match masculine oxfords with a chiffon or floral print dress, illustrating the gender dualities in fashion. 

FASHION NEWS: Nostalchique Boutique Gains Campus Exposure

As a model and photographer, University of Iowa graduate Alexandra Feig had always been interested in fashion. In the fall of 2009 Feig took first place at the Pappajohn Elevator Pitch Competition. With the 2,500 dollar prize money the young entrepreneur was able to open up her own online shop, Here Feig describes her experience in being both a model and a business woman. 

1) What inspired you to start up a boutique?
Last year, I spent a year studying abroad in Japan. One day, while shopping at a used clothing store in Harajuku, I kept finding tons of vintage clothing items that I had seen selling on eBay for 3 or 4 times as much. I shopped frequently on eBay to find vintage clothing, and I realized that I could start my own store, selling vintage clothing, called Nostalchique Boutique.

2) Could you talk about your experience in the modeling industry and how that altered the way that you looked at fashion?
I think that if I hadn't had modeling,and photography experience for that matter, I never would have started Nostalchique Boutique. Obviously, having access to cheap vintage clothing is the most important thing, but because I am able to model and photograph the items I sell myself, it's possible to have my store. More importantly, because I have experience on both sides of the camera, I think I have a really good eye for how to display things and how to create visually appealing images.

3) What were some obstacles that you had to face when opening up a boutique while still balancing college course work?
 Opening and running a store is very challenging and hard work. When I opened it, I was a senior, working on finishing two theses, and on top of that, taking 18 semester hours, so I don't think I really had enough time to commit fully to the Boutique. Now that I have graduated, I have a little bit more free time, and am hoping to really grow it. 

4) What types of clothes do you sell? How would you describe your store’s “style?”
I sell vintage clothing, mostly from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, but I do have some pieces from the 50s and 60s. Since I sell vintage, it's hard to say that Nostalchique Boutique has an exact "style" or "look" because I really try to get all sorts of different items that will appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Personally, I am particularly fond of 50s and 60s clothing. 50s clothing tends to have really amazing cuts that create hourglass shapes, and 60s are fun and funky.

5) What are your future plans as a business owner?
This summer I'm focusing on growing Nostalchique Boutique and increasing sales. I hope to return to Japan in the fall to continue advanced language studies, and perhaps continue the store there. I love the idea of running/owning a clothing store, so it's definitely something that I could see myself doing in the future. Who knows- maybe there will be a Nostalchique Boutique in Harajuku someday!

6) How do you begin advertising your online store?
As an online business, most of my customers find me by searching on eBay or google. My website is which has links to both the eBay store and the blog about fashion and makeup. I am also now on Etsy ( and have a Facebook page and a Twitter account as well. I've also been trying some new and different free advertising campaigns (for example, I write my website on ever $1 bill I get).

7) What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
 Starting a business is incredible challenging and rewarding. It can seem daunting, so try to find local organizations that help. I contacted the Iowa Small Business Development Center, located in Iowa City, where I was able to work with a graduate student in the University of Iowa Business School. He helped me put together a business plan and gave me advice. Also, start reasonably. I have a friend who desperately wanted to start a restaurant. He put hours and hours into writing business plans and meeting with potential financiers, but he needed about $250,000 and had almost no experience working in restaurants, and so wasn't able to get the money he needed. While my ultimate goal would be to have a physical store for Nostalchique Boutique, I knew that it would be better to start off small, decrease my risk, and work my way up.

WEEKEND FORECAST: Declaration of Denim

Denim blue jeans are as American as apple pie and baseball games. The comfortable closet staple is not a new trend, but often reappears in innovated and interesting forms. At the May 2010 Chanel fashion show, models walked down the runway in faded denim, cropped denim tops, and wide denim flares. Jeans are a perfect way to keep things casual and to rock patriotism this Fourth of July. 

This Fashionista incorporated both faded denim and dark denim into an eye-catching ensemble. She layered a simple colored hoodie, polo, and tights that did not make the outfit too busy, but instead helped the denim pieces stand out. While this Fashionista’s denim is appropriate for cooler weather, sport short denim overalls, a jean vest, or romper if temperatures rise. To incorporate Fourth of July flair, add in nautical stripe prints or elegant white blouses. For more ways to gain inspirational ideas for your denim, check out or for the latest in celebrity and brand name denim news. 


FASHION NEWS: Derek Lam Takes Cues from Woodstock

The year was 1969. The United States was amid a war in Vietnam while on the home front, a young subculture was formulating. They were interested in finding peace, and hoped to spread free love and music across the nation. Millions of free spirited individuals came together to hope for a better tomorrow at the world-renowned Woodstock music festival. Together they made profound statements through songs, speeches, and even fashion.

In Derek Lam’s 2010 fall collection, he brought back the look of the bohemian spirited individuals. Models walked down the runway decked in neutral beiges, whites, and blacks. Accessories such as cowboy boots, hats and fringe belts , scarves, and purses were a common theme. To further resemble the hippie subculture, models let their long, pin straight locks to flow freely. Despite the fringe and cowboy boots, Lam’s collection seemed very urban. Long coats and clean silhouettes helped to give crisp look. 

As the summer music festival season approaches, use history to help decipher your outfit. During the 60s era denim blue jeans became a popular must have. Music lovers around the country sang in lightweight peasant blouses and fringe items. Get groovy by adding a denim jacket, or simple cut off jeans with a lightweight blouse or sundress. Cowboy boots and fringe accessories can help give a bohemian vibe. As Lam’s collection illustrates, these western influences can be worn elegantly, and will most likely reappear in the fall. 

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BOUTIQUE OF THE WEEK: Following the White Rabbit

Hidden behind crowded Iowa City bars and restaurants lies a haven of unique vintage clothes and art: White Rabbit. The shop does not advertise, but simply uses an eye-catching display of colorful shoes and worn apparel to lure college visitors and anti-mall shoppers alike. By displaying local work from young aspiring artists vintage apparel, The White Rabbit proves to be a rare entity among the college town. 

The local venue was formed in December of 2006. After studying Biology for three years in college co-owner Cortnie Widen decided to switch to a more creative outlet: printmaking. Widen began selling her own designs along with local artwork in order to help keep the Iowa City culture alive. “There was more of a focus on local artists 15-20 years ago. That all sort of disappeared. There are a lot of creative people in this town, but not many keep their roots here,” she said. 

While paintings and photographs cover the sea foam green walls, it seems as if the clothes posses an art of their own accord. “Basically, we are not selling things bought from China. We are trying to support handmade or reused things that are already out there.” She casually points to a 1950’s dress with a matchbox print. “That type of thing is rare to find,” she smiles. The sales racks primarily range from the early 1960’s to 1990’s. The White Rabbit staff hunts for vintage treasures through online auctions, states sales, and even gladly accept items customers bring in. They eagerly search for pieces with an interesting shape and cut that evokes hanger appeal. 

For Cortnie, searching for vintage gems is one of many highlights of her job. “I like being around the creation process. I have always been into clothes and jewelry. It’s fun to have that weird job. I enjoy talking to the people that walk in-I don’t know what else I would rather do.” 

BOUTIQUE OF THE WEEK: Lyla’s is Taking Care of Business

Five to nine. Cramped office space. Enless work. Closed toe shoes. These words are enough to make nearly every college fashionista cringe. Yet as the summer sun begins to shine and transform our wardrobes, allow the light to cast a colorful glow on dim and dreary business attire.

Examples of how to have fun with professional clothing are illustrated in Iowa City’s Lyla’s Boutique. “For the woman in love with life,” reads a logo outside the glass window. Bright pink pillows and zebra print couches catch the curious eyes of shoppers. Owners Lisa and Twyla began the store in hopes of inspiring women to look and feel their best. Dresses, which are the best selling item to date, seemed to be the much-needed ingredient for a boost in confidence.

Whether it be a casual dinner with friends or a much frightened work environment, dresses prove to be a fashion savior. Before entering a summer internship, it is important to maintain professionalism by wearing something simple and conservative. Yet bold colors and simple details can help bring the sunshine into the office. Assortments of bright purple and blue dresses are displayed throughout Lyla’s Boutique. These colors are both feminine and summer appropriate. Simple decorative elements such as a ribbon tied around the middle or a ruffled sleeve enhance femininity. Throw on a simple blazer or pair of ballet flats to complete the look.