Style Guru Bio: Lily Sanders

Now that this summer has started, I am beyond thrilled to start my second semester blogging for the CollegeFashionista team. I am a soon-to-be junior at the University of Kansas studying journalism and Italian and when I am not analyzing my textbooks, I am always analyzing the hottest trends pictured in the pages of Vogue and Elle. Growing up in Kansas all my life, I wasn’t exposed to haute couture or high fashion on a regular basis, but luckily films, travel and an effortlessly glamorous mother drove me to love fashion and everything that it represents.

I am constantly in awe of fashion that is inspired by different cultures of the world and movements in history. For example, designs by Isabel Marant and Balmain from Paris immensely influence my personal style, and I often find myself channeling Jackie Kennedy looks from the 60’s. However during the summer, I am most inspired by beauties from the 70’s. More often than not, you will find me dressed in bohemian silks and vintage dresses while still trying to maintain an American Classic look.

Most importantly, fashion is able reveal the way one’s style can reflect his or her own inner spirit. It can reveal our inspirations, mood, personality and creativity that not many mediums of art forms can do. In addition, fashion and personal style have the ability to provide us with confidence and pleasure. As one of fashion's most famed photographer, Bill Cunningham, once said, “Fashion is the armor to survive everyday life.”


When the term trench coat comes to mind, I naturally think of my go-to jacket for rainy days or the beautifully captured kiss in the rain from Audrey Hepburn’s classic film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Summertime is one of the last words I associated with trench coats until recently. I spotted a University of Kansas Fashionista donning a modern version of the timeless trench coat on campus that I instantly fell in love with. Unlike the original silhouette, her trench coat had no sleeves, making it a trench vest. It still had the clean structure and shape of a trench coat, but her version was completely fashion-forward and appropriate for hot and humid weather. She layered her neutral vest over a creamy silk dress and threw on a floral pastel scarf, cream loafers and oversized aviators for an ultra chic look. Not to mention, she carried around her unbelievably adorable Dachshund puppy, which generated even more attention from people on campus. Despite this Fashionista’s irresistible accessory in hand, her fashion-forward ensemble had quite the head-turning effect on its own!

To have the same effect as this easygoing trendsetter, start by investing in a trench vest similar to hers. I recently bought this vest from Forever 21 and have been layering it over almost everything. For a daytime look, I combine this vest with a pair of boyfriend jeans, a simple white tank top and some edgy jewelry for a fun and laid back outfit. As for my internship, I wear my vest over white slacks and a black tank top for a casual yet professional look. Also, as the picture demonstrates, a puppy goes amazing with this vest too.


Although Kansas’s weather is always changing by the hour, I think it is safe to say summer is almost here. With that being said, it is time to retire our little black dresses for an all-white ensemble. If you’re anything like me, it might be close to impossible to trade in all of your black garments for white clothes, but with summer quickly coming and winter quickly fading, I can assure you that white can provide all the key essentials that you would usually opt for in black. In addition, if I can’t sell you on all white, then check out the spring 2012 runways, like Diane Von Furstenberg's or Alexander McQueen's, collections that are filled with some killer all-white looks.

I spotted this University of Kansas Fashionista sporting this trend notably well. She took a bohemian approach to her all-white outfit by pairing a creamy lace skirt with a simple white tank top. Not only was her outfit deemed appropriate and comfortable for campus, but she also looked effortlessly natural and beautiful.

To emulate this Fashionista’s romantic style, pair this cute ivory cropped top with this lace pencil skirt. Add some chunky heels and minimal accessories and you will be perfect for a Sunday brunch or date night. If you are trying to obtain a more professional look this summer, invest in a pair of white trousers to pair with a classic button-down or trendy blouse to make quite the impression at an interview or internship. Don’t be afraid to incorporate a splash of color into your look by rocking a fun statement necklace or a bright bag like this one from Urban Outfitters. 


As a self-proclaimed girly girl, I must admit that I will never tire of a fashionable floral print. Whether it is a printed maxi skirt or my duvet cover's botanical pattern, I always find myself gravitating to anything that blossoms. Floral print is ladylike, fun, and above all, it is classic. For example, think of the beautiful floral designs on the clothes on Mad Men or the flower child look during the Woodstock era. Nowadays, trendsetters like to add a little edge to this chic print by pairing flowers with pieces that are considered a little more masculine or rugged. Christopher Kane’s ethereal spring collection showed that metallic floral can appeal to any Fashionista, while Chanel is always known for its feminine frocks that are designed with flowers.

Now that you know I am a flower fanatic, you can see why I chose to photograph this University of Kansas Fashionista. Her garden-inspired look was a fresh and cool way to wear flowers without looking too girly. I love how she paired her dark flowered dress with worn-in combat boots to add some edge to her outfit.

To emulate this outfit, start by investing in a floral design that people will notice. Since printed pants are all the rage for spring, try this pair from ASOS and wear it with this Wildfox Couture top to add some funk to your floral look. Another amazing look perfect for going out or to a concert is this crochet flowered dress with these combat boots and this straw fedora.


My mother has always had a philosophy when it comes to ice cream: “If you’re going to get chocolate, make it mint chocolate.” Although I wouldn’t normally apply this quote to fashion, I am making an exception, considering the icy green hue’s current comeback. Seen on the spring runways of Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler and Mulberry, it's no wonder that mint green is now the hottest color trend of the season. With pastels being the most sought-after palette recently, incorporating this fresh shade into your wardrobe is a must. I admit that I am absolutely crazy about mint green’s roaring resurgence. I went as far as buying a mint green vintage-inspired bicycle to match my nail polish and rain jacket. With that being said, take notes on how I would style mint green for a lust-worthy ensemble.

When I ran into this University of Kansas Fashionista walking to class, I immediately knew I wanted to photograph her amazing look. I spotted her seafoam green pants a mile away and knew she would be a perfect candidate for a spring post. Pairing her pastel pants with a vintage concert T-shirt is a perfect way to look chic and campus-appropriate. She didn’t overdo this specific hue either, whichs makes these mint green pants the ultimate statement piece.

To emulate this Fashionista’s trendy look, start with investing in one mint garment that really sticks out, like these Hudson mint leopard shorts that scream summer staple, or this versatile tunic top. After investing in something mint, either pair it with a neutral color, like this sweater, or be brave and pair your light green with a complementing pastel piece, like these coral platforms. If you’re afraid of color, try a mint green handbag or nail polish to still stay fashion-forward with this spring trend.


A button-up has always been — and will continue to be — a major staple piece for the most fashionable and chic ladies and men of the world. Whether it turns up as an oversized boyfriend shirt, like Jane Birkin would don, or a sleek, ladylike piece inspired by Jackie Kennedy, this classic blouse has come back into vogue.

Recently, the most coveted blouse option is neither exceedingly masculine nor extremely girly, but manages to find a happy medium in between the two styles. While the denim shirt isn't exactly the biggest thing to come to Fashionistas across the globe, the way it's being worn by Hollywood style stars and amazing bloggers has me inspired to rock one too. It is commonly associated with utilitarian fashion and rugged Hollywood Icons like Clint Eastwood, but now different approaches to wearing the denim shirt are more versatile and unique. Whether it is styled with a rocker chic look or a downtown hipster ensemble, the denim button-up works in an assortment of ways and can easily be incorporated into any of your favorite outfits.

This University of Kansas Fashionista created an eccentric look with her denim shirt by pairing it with bright green jeans, a skinny belt and white flats. I like that she chose acid wash denim over the classic natural blue denim. Overall, this Fashionista's outfit is comfortable, funky, and most of all, cute, making it a perfect go-to look for campus.

If you wanted to maintain an eclectic look like this Fashionista's, invest in a denim shirt that sticks out. This button-up from Urban Outfitters will create a head-turning effect with its cutout shoulders. Pair it with a neutral pair of floral trousers and a floppy hat to emulate the biggest fashion icons this spring. For a more relaxed look, don this classic button-up with feminine shorts to add a girly touch.


Summer is almost here, and with it comes music festivals galore. Although I won’t be making it to this season’s kick-off festival, Coachella, I plan to be there vicariously by listening to Florence + the Machine and Gary Clarke Jr. on my iPod repeatedly. Once summer approaches, hopefully I will find the means to go to Outside Lands or Lollapalooza, to make up for my lost time at Coachella. Aside from listening to a multitude of major artists playing live alongside a sea full of people, my favorite part about watching live music is the fashion. All the girls look so stylish and cool, but remain functional and comfortable at the same time. Whether attending a music festival or not, these free-spirited looks are appropriate to wear when the sun is out and the music is playing.

When I first saw this University of Kansas Fashionista, I immediately thought of Woodstock, and I gravitated towards her heart-shaped sunglasses and vintage cut-offs. Although she kept the base of the outfit simple with a white T-shirt and Levi’s cut-offs, she complemented her look with stacked necklaces, a killer pair of shades and a functional handbag.

To achieve a festival-inspired ensemble like this Fashionista, take note of a few essentials that are both school and concert-appropriate. Inspired by the Milan runway of DSquared2, start off your outfit with a simple T-shirt and cut-offs. I prefer James Perse T-shirts because they are super soft and fit nicely. For cut-offs, try a local thrift store and make your own for a fun D.I.Y. project! As for accessories, I suggest jewelry by Vanessa Mooney, like this colorful necklace or these tribal-inspired earrings. Because The Hunger Games is all the rage right now, channel Katniss Everdeen by rocking a pair of gladiator sandals. This Free People pair is so chic. To make your outfit complete, top off your look with a fun pair of sunglasses, like this heart-shaped pair. No matter if you're headed to class or a concert, snag a few of these items to turn heads!


Leaping from safari expeditions and military uniforms to women's closets and office-appropriate wear, the khaki pant has been a part of the world of fashion for decades. Although this fabric was recently considered a fashion faux pas amongst trendsetters, this wardrobe staple is now making a comeback in an unarguably cool way. Despite being known as a mundane fabric, khaki can have a head-turning effect because not only is it comfortable and cute, but khaki pants serve as an effortlessly chic alternative to jeans. Khakis are now available in variety of styles and colors, making this classic garment suddenly cool and covetable. Take notes on this Kansas Fashionista and her chic look in khakis.

This Fashionista deftly blended neutral shades, including khaki, black, and beige, to create a nuanced and adorable ensemble. She took a modern approach to her khaki-based outfit by cuffing the bottoms of her pants, a style tip that is perfect for crisp spring mornings. In addition to her pegged and cuffed pants, she layered neutral hues for a harmonious and sophisticated outfit. My favorite part of this Fashionista’s look, which she described as “casual professional,” is her funky accessories. Her cheetah-print flats and gold beaded necklace added a touch of style and youthfulness to the look and disprove the khaki's negative connotation.

Although this Fashionista played up her cuffed chinos with neutral tones, one of spring’s most sought-after trends, the pastel palette, would also work perfectly with khaki pants. Rolled boyfriend khakis paired with this candy-colored top make for an easy and fresh outfit on campus. To add sex appeal to this neutral anchor, pair this black cropped top with a neon belt and strappy heels for a look perfect for date night or the weekend.


Springtime has an abundance to offer: the blooming of picturesque cherry blossoms and dogwood trees, infusing shorts and little dresses back into your wardrobe, and most importantly, March Madness. Having grown up as an avid Kansas Basketball aficionado, this exhilarating tournament will always capture my time and attention. There is no better way to show my devout love and affection for the Kansas Jayhawks than sporting the team’s notable hues, crimson and blue, in my ensemble.

While searching for Fashionistas/os on campus this week, I realized that crimson and blue are inescapable on campus. Although most students showed their school spirit by wearing Jayhawk-affiliated T-shirts and sweatshirts, this Kansas Fashionista went above and beyond to illustrate her Kansas pride. She paired a patterned blue button-up with red slacks from J.Crew. In addition to her totally chic yet completely spirit-filled outfit, this Fashionista showed off a cute fedora hat and leather sandals to remain casual and comfortable. She did a fabulous job showing that it is possible to stay fashion-forward while supporting your favorite team.

For Kansas Fashionistas who want to sport a similar trendy look during March Madness — or anytime — start by investing in a pair of blue or red pants, like these cream-of-the-crop J.Crew slacks. For a cheaper option, try these pants from Old Navy. Not only are colored pants perfect on game days or for a cool look for campus, but they are also perfect for staying on-trend with this year’s colored bottoms craze. After purchasing a pair of bright slacks, search for vibrant and fun patterned tops like this Forever 21 top or this arrow print button-up. Top off your cool ensemble with fun accessories, like this straw hat.


In 2005, Rolling Stone magazine named Lawrence, Kansas one of the “best little college towns” in America. The University of Kansas, which is in Lawrence, is known for its thriving music and art scene, and the city prides itself on its quirky yet remarkable restaurants and bars. This University of Kansas Fashionista’s delicately rugged style exemplifies the easygoing energy of Lawrence.  Sporting a grunge-gone-girly look, this Fashionista had me head-over-heels for her outfit on this chilly winter day.

For starters, I was crushing hard on her romantically draped Free People dress. The chiffon detailing and asymmetrical cut was flirty and will serve as a great transitional piece for spring and summer. She styled her feminine dress with a killer leather jacket made by Michael Kors, black opaque tights and white loafers. To top off her outfit, this Fashionista incorporated a pop of neon by adding a bright green-and-black scarf. This trendsetter’s effortless style absolutely reflected Lawrence’s laid-back and unique fashion.

This Fashionista revealed her love for ‘90s style icons such as Courtney Love and Rayanne Graff from short-lived television series My So-Called Life. These ‘90s tastemakers were typically adorned in velvet, floral, ripped denim and flannel of some sort. To steal this Fashionista’s sweet-but-strong style, shop for grunge-inspired basics and whimsical dresses. Pair this fringe dress with a cropped leather jacket and gold loafers for a modern take on ‘90s fashion. Keep accessories simple with this Urban Outfitters necklace or this vibrant scarf from Forever 21. Most importantly, to truly channel a legendary ‘90s woman, exude confidence and work an attitude.