TREND: Black and White and Striped All Over

After a whirlwind summer spent scouring the streets of Boston for fashion in rain, shine and high humidity, I'm struggling to understand how this could possibly be my final post for CollegeFashionista. Since I started writing in December, the past three seasons have been made even sweeter by weekly style hunts and uninhibited photography (I've certainly mastered the art of approaching strangers on the street). Inspired by the memories and challenging experiences I've collected since my first week as a Style Guru, I knew I had to end on a high note and find someone with truly applaudable style for this week's post.

And so, here's my final Fashionista, who I spotted rocking a zebra-chic ensemble on Newbury Street. She managed to create a completely eye-catching outfit without the help of any colors, just the simple mixing of two shades. But then again, black and white is a timelessly chic combination, and you don't need to be named Audrey or Chanel to work it. With fall 2011 trend reports in full force, we're already seeing the effects of black and white in androgynous, structured tuxedos, geometric patterns and an outpouring of polka dots and sequins.

The featured Fashionista modeled black and white just right, layering a breezy open-knit sweater over a striped maxi dress (and I love that she added a trendy touch by knotting the sweater at its hem). She kept her accessories clean and simple with the thoughtful addition of a thin black headband, leather wedges and a quilted bag draped neatly over her shoulder. Immediately, I was compelled to shoot this Fashionista's magnetic look, which showcases her trendsetting capabilities and polished personal style.

Hint: For a class-friendly way to rock a black and white, I swear by striped sweaters. It's my personal belief that you can never have too many, and they're easy to throw on with jeans or dress up with a skirt or tailored trousers. This sweater by Ever has a laid-back, nautical vibe, while this one by Alice + Olivia is the perfect length for a flouncy skirt or high-waisted trousers.

TREND: Strength in Numbers

This week, I stumbled upon a group of Fashionistas (and a Fashionisto!) who I've dubbed "style nomads." Four fashionable friends moving from place to place throughout Harvard Square, looking effortlessly cool and ultra hip. This stylish quartet was walking proof that style wields even more power when it travels in packs. And what's more, this fabulous foursome looked as if they had stepped right out of a grunge-chic lookbook, managing to pull off four completely different looks while maintaining a cohesive theme between them — and this earned them some serious style street cred in my book.

There was somewhat of a grunge invasion on the runways this year, with a handful of designers producing collections with attitude and a harder edge than usual. Charlotte Ronson gave us grunge with a touch of glamour with fall 2011 ready-to-wear, while rag & bone's fall collection put a modern spin on classic '90s grunge with bright colors, chunky furs and lots of plaid. Even Chanel had a major grunge moment in Paris with its signature tailored pieces in more sinister colors that demanded our attention and worked the runway with rock 'n' roll attitude.

The featured Fashionistas and Fashionisto brought the same statement-making attitude to the streets of Cambridge, rocking thoughtful ensembles and current trends with total confidence. One Fashionista donned a monochromatic look with lightwash skinny jeans and a pale blue shirt skewed off one shoulder. She stacked colorful bracelets on her arms to match the bright red feather in her hair. Sporting dark aviators and clutching an iced coffee on a hot day, this Fashionista was the epitome of cool. The second Fashionista from the left matched her friend's laid back vibe with a boxy aztec-printed top, burgundy cut-off shorts, black tights and camel-colored oxfords; her black Ray-Bans and long, wavy hair were the only accessories she needed. The third Fashionista toughened up her look with well-worn lace-up boots and a black crossbody bag, while the crew's lone Fashionisto embraced a quirky graphic T-shirt, a red bandana and Converse sneakers. Individually, each of these stylish subjects exhibits personal style with a flair for ease and edge. Together, their styles blend together seamlessly to create something even better.

Hint: If you're digging the grunge trend this fashionable foursome pulled off without a hitch, now is the perfect time to try it out. With chillier weather approaching, oversized knits and leather are practically begging to be worn. This striped boxy pullover and this open-knit sweater, both by Free People, are cool, casual and easy to pair with anything from denim cut-offs while the weather is still warm, to leather leggings when fall makes its entrance. And don't be afraid to make a statement with daring, powerful shoes. Needless to say, Jeffrey Campbell shoes are at the top of the list; if you're not afraid of heights, lace up the 99 tie wedge or the pointy platform loafer for style that gawkers won't be able to look away from.

TREND: Panama City

Here we are on the brink of September, and I'm still not ready to give up summer. But, despite this week's misleading title, we're not talking about vacations today; we're talking about hats. For many Fashionistas capping off their summer wardrobes, a straw fedora is the go-to topper for sun, wind and even the inevitable bad hair day. And while the temptation to title this week's post "Adore-a-Fedora" was almost too great to resist, it was another hat that caught my eye as I trolled the streets of Boston in search of today's Fashionista, and I think it's about time that hat had its own day in the sun.

The Panama hat (which I like to think of as the fedora's underrated sibling) often has a flatter, less tapered crown and a wider brim than the fedora. Considering Panama hats were extremely popular among men in the 1950s, it's easy to conjur up images of Cary Grant sporting one with a three-piece suit, but nowadays, Fashionistas are taking this sunny accessory to a whole new level. Just as the fedora has become accustomed to simple ensembles made up of jeans, T-shirts and sundresses, the Panama hat has the style and functionality necessary to work with almost any outfit.

The featured Fashionista put a casual spin on her chic black and white get-up with the simple addition of a straw Panama hat. In fact, it was this Fashionista's thoughtfulness and creativity that allowed her accessories to shine against a relatively blank canvas. She kept things simple and straight-forward with a flouncy, high-waisted skirt and a white tank, and that simplicity landed my eyes on her statement-making gold necklace. Her accessory indulgence carried on right down to her feet, where this Fashionista gave us a sneak peek at fall footwear with brown moccasins, enriching her laid-back vibe and showcasing her flair for thoughtful, stylish add-ons. In a single ensemble, I saw a Panama hat meet a black skirt, suede moccasins and a neckline of gold; talk about versatility!

Hint: If you haven't experimented with this heady trend yet, you still have a few weeks left before summer fashion makes a break for it. Don't be afraid to pair a Panama hat with more fall-friendly styles to make the transition a little easier. Throw on a Panama with cuffed boyfriend jeans, some flat sandals and a striped top, and you can still greet September with a little piece of summer on the brain!

TREND: All Dolled Up

Despite my obsession with neutrals, I still have a soft spot for the ultimate girly hue. But when it comes to pink, I like it mixed with a little edge. I spotted today's Fashionista on Newbury Street in Boston and immediately loved the way she rocked a darling pink ensemble with tattoos and dark sunnies. Her playful look popped against quirky accessories that showcased her style and personality, qualifying her as the perfect Fashionista to shoot this week.

From head to toe, everything about this Fashionista's get-up is thoughtful and unique. Her dusty pink tank, sprinkled with a lovely pattern, is something I want hanging in my own closet, and I love how she paired it with a crisp and refreshing white skirt. A rose quartz pendant hung from her neck, accompanied by a gold watch, polished pearl earrings and several rings decorating her fingers. She broke from her rosy color palette with an unexpected pair of bright yellow peep-toe flats, but my favorite aspect of this Fashionista's look is her headband. There is only a handful of people who can work a bow in their hair without even trying, and unfortunately I'm not included in that lucky handful. But this Fashionista's pink studded bow – the cherry on this style sundae – sat daintily atop her head, proving that she has fun with her whimsical style and doesn't take herself too seriously.

Hint: If you're digging this Fashionista's flair for hair bows but aren't sure you can pull one off yourself, fear not! There are tons of other ways to rock a bow and get the same charming effect. This silk blouse from Juicy Couture features a floppy bow at the neckline and looks easy and sweet with a pair of jeans or tucked into a skirt . (I have it in both colors!) You can even go bow-happy on your hands and feet; check out these platform pumps from ASOS or invest in a pair of gloves with precious bow detailing in preparation for fall.

TREND: Style Medley

I'm sure any Style Guru would agree with me that stumbling upon the perfect subject to shoot for CollegeFashionista is a little like discovering a hidden gem among the hustle and bustle of the street — which is why an encounter with a stylish twosome immediately doubles the thrill. It's fashion in numbers, and the equation is easy: one Fashionista plus another equals twice the style. So you can imagine my excitement when I spotted this dynamic duo strolling down the sidewalk looking cool and confident in their respective ensembles. One part bohemian edge and one part femme floral, today's Fashionistas fell right into step with impeccable taste and distinct individual styles.

We've heard a lot about the domination of maxi skirts and floral prints this season, and these style-savvy ladies worked each trend with attitude and flair. The Fashionista on the left captured the essence of geometry in motion, creating defined shapes and lines with her billowing striped maxi skirt and boxy cropped T-shirt slightly askew. Her earthy, understated color palette exuded a free-spirited vibe that laid the foundation for this look, and she built on it with ease, pulling her hair up and away from her straight, chic bangs and adding a chunky statement necklace. Not only is she completely on trend, but this Fashionista works a neutral combination of gray and mustard yellow flawlessly and with total confidence.

The Fashionista on the right played with a totally different trend, combining rich colors with a little bit of whimsy and toughness. I love that she layered a burgundy infinity scarf over a flouncy floral dress, adding something heavier than a necklace to an otherwise light and easy outfit. A bright burst of color popped unexpectedly at her feet with rosy red flats, and she demonstrated the functionality of her canvas bag by casually slinging a utility jacket through the shoulder strap when the weather started to heat up. I was lucky to stumble upon these clearly seasoned Fashionistas who modeled nearly identical hairstyles but gave me twice as much to fawn over with their dramatically different looks.

Hint: With so much depth and detail in both of these outfits, you can probably find bits and pieces of your own personal style in each. If you love the look of powerful horizontal stripes, try this racerback maxi dress by Splendid or this statement-making column skirt by Free People; both are perfect summer pieces and easy to style and transform with a tied blouse or cropped T-shirt. If you're digging functionality combined with florals, toughen up a long, flowery dress with the harder edge of a canvas jacket (a timely investment, as fall is quickly approaching!).

TREND: The Daytime Gown

If you think floor-length dresses are strictly reserved for elegant evenings and only worn with heels, today’s fabulous Fashionista is sure to change your mind. This summer’s omnipresent maxi dress trend has paved the way for floor-length sheaths that can be worn anywhere and anytime — even on a city sidewalk in the middle of a hot afternoon.

As sure as beachgoers have flocked to the coast this summer, Fashionistas have flocked to maxi dresses (in response not only to the heat, but also to the relentless appearance of maxis on spring runways). Rebecca Taylor gave us flirty floral dresses and sweet, feminine skirts that ended at the ankles; Max Azria showed off decadent, billowing fabric that appeared to have strut right off a Grecian beach; Tommy Hilfiger maxed out prepster-chic with nautical colorblocking and columns of yellow and white. Between these designers and plenty of others, styles changed but the maxi trend remained the same. Forget short summer hemlines; this season, it's all about length — and the longer, the better.

In the heat of the summer months, we’re used to seeing lightweight cotton maxi dresses at the beach or as comfortable cover-ups at dinner after a day in the sun. But today’s Fashionista capitalized on the maxi trend and proved that a floor-length dress in a high-quality fabric can exist off of the red carpet. She upped the ante in a breezy chiffon dress with a drop waist and a whimsical polka-dot and bow pattern. This off the shoulder silhouette just skimmed the surface of the sidewalk, creating an easy, ethereal look that was flawlessly styled and effortless at the same time. I loved that this Fashionista embraced a unique color combination (orange is currently making a fierce comeback as one of the season’s hottest colors) and kept her look cool and simple with just a fedora and a brown shoulder bag. This Fashionista, who stood out in a sea of people dressed in shorts and T-shirts, is a textbook example of how to style an elegant maxi dress for even the most casual of occasions.

Hint: Looking for your own version of this Fashionista’s glam gown? She bought hers in the Far East, but you don’t have to travel around the world to work this trend. Urban Outfitters has an eclectic selection of floor-skimming chiffon, including this floral piece and this boldly striped sleeveless number (a trendy take on a spring Prada print for a fraction of the price!). If you're looking for lighter fare, this pleated chiffon skirt by Wink adds texture and volume to any outfit, and this wildly popular full-length skirt by American Apparel is an easy go-to garment. Dress down any floor-length piece during the day by topping it with a cropped T-shirt and a floppy summer hat, and you'll float down the sidewalk as easily as today's Fashionista.

TREND: Caught in a Little White Lace

This summer, in honor of the fashion industry's latest obsession with all things lace, hang up your LBD and debut your LLD: little lace dress. Don't feel too guilty; the LBD will always be timelessly chic and a go-to for easy eveningwear, so it can handle some closet time. The LLD, on the other hand, has already made quite an impact this season and deserves its day in the sun. When the heat starts to threaten your summer wardrobe, opt for a dainty lace dress that will keep you cool and trendy at the same time.

Serving as a contemporary take on the traditional summer sundress, a simple white lace dress is a breath of fresh air on even the hottest of days, and easily one of my favorite aspects of the lace trend that has been sweeping runways since the spring. Simply put, white lace is sheer genius. D&G gave us tiers of layered lace mixed with bohemian elements, while Marchesa and Oscar de la Renta kept things classically chic with black and white and Ralph Lauren took his white lace for a romp through the Old West. Each of these varied looks is a testament to the versatility of white lace, disproving the old-fashioned notion that it is most useful as a fine tablecloth or a pair of antique gloves. On the contrary, white lace is a white-hot summer craze, making great strides in shift dresses, blouses and even shorts.

Today's Fashionista made great strides herself, looking elegant and refreshing in a delicate Urban Outfitters lace dress belted easily at the waist for a practical, all-purpose look. I love that she took a classic silhouette and styled it with thoughtful details and bold, colorful accents to make it her own. She kept the dress neat and polished, but cinched it with a braided leather belt and wore flat sandals wrapped at the ankle to create a more casual vibe for a day out in the city. The addition of a long beaded necklace made for an extra feminine touch (what's more girly than lace and pearls?), but the standout accessory was her colorful Coach cross-body bag. A playful mix of patterns and bright hues, this Fashionista's bag popped in combination with clean white lace and her fabulous red hair! Today's Fashionista is walking proof that the little lace dress is not only a hot commodity, but is also capable of having a little fun.

Hint: The best thing about this Fashionista's dress is that it can instantly go from day to night with a swift change of accessories. This Fashionista is rocking the daytime look, but she can just as easily take her dress out for a night on the town by leaving it unbelted and pairing it with a sleek blazer, a chunky bib necklace and platform heels (these by Vince Camuto are not only well under $200, but are also studded from heel to toe for ultra-edgy appeal!).

TREND: Feeling Shorted

Given my tendency to over-indulge in silk blouses and chiffon tops, it comes as no surprise that I have an affinity for lightweight, breezy shorts in the summer. I love the ease of slipping on a pair of silky shorts with almost any top and heading out the door into July's refreshing weather. Of course, denim shorts are classic and wonderfully casual, and will always be the old standby when it comes to beachwear and outdoor excursions, but one of the chicest ways to beat the heat this summer is with full, loose-fitting silk shorts. Effortlessly structured and sweetly draped, silk shorts are feminine and flattering, and present the illusion of a skirt with the practicality and comfort of a pair of denim cut-offs.

If you're not convinced that silk shorts are a smart investment, their versatility will surely win you over. From solid colors and basic cuts, to bold patterns and detailed edges, silk shorts cover the full spectrum of stylish bottoms and can be easily paired with a variety of tops. Cropped sweaters, thin blouses and basic T-shirts are instantly glammed up by elegant shorts, and you can get away with wearing almost any shoe (heels and wedges especially – they instantly elongate your legs and accentuate the fullness of silk shorts!).

Today's Fashionista embraced summer florals and silk shorts all at once with her cool, carefree style on a humid day in the city. While the charming pink pattern of her shorts is what initially caught my eye, I realized upon closer inspection that there were several things I loved about her outfit. A simple black tank kept her look easy and understated, allowing her printed shorts to really shine. Flat-soled brown sandals laced all the way up to the ankle added a little edge to her dainty shorts, and the addition of a long, thin scarf in her tousled hair appeared to be a genius afterthought. This Fashionista's look is no muss and zero fuss; as simple as it seems, there's clear evidence of rugged elements mixed with delicate, feminine features to create a get-up perfect for combatting summer heat in the street.

Hint: As hot as this trend is during the summer, don't be afraid to invest in some full shorts for fall! When it starts to get too chilly for silk bottoms, try a pair of suede shorts, like these from Madewell, or these by Wink. They're a cozy mate to fall sweaters, and you can even throw them on with tights and boots for full, cold-weather coverage!

TREND: Casual Leopard Luxe

In a memorable episode of The Rachel Zoe Project, Zoe's former sidekick and sassy assistant, Taylor Jacobson (now stylist to the stars), donned a fierce animal print dress for an event and declared that she loves to "make an entrance with a leopard." Of course, my favorite one-liners come from Rachel herself, but this particular statement stuck with me because it simply sums up the power of a great leopard print garment. While capable of appearing over the top, smart placement and styling of this ferocious fabric — for instance, in basic accessories or tailored pieces — can instantly transform it from flashy to classy.

No matter what your opinion is on this trend, it's safe to assume that leopard is a print that's here to stay, season after season. Some of the fashion industry's most renowned labels swear by leopard luxury, as evidenced by Valentino shoulder bags, Alexander McQueen scarves, Dolce&Gabbana blouses and Prada wedges. But the runway isn't the only place to take a walk on the wild side; it's just as possible to take the leopard trend to the streets, and regardless of your personal style, there's almost always a way to work it into your wardrobe.

Today's Fashionista, who had just stepped off of a plane, made an entrance in her leopard with a loose-fitting jacket cuffed neatly at the elbows to reveal a classic black lining. She hit all the right notes in this ensemble, letting her leopard jacket serve as a statement piece and keeping the rest of her look clean and simple, pairing a basic white blouse with sleek black shorts. This Fashionista's eclectic style is reflected in her clever mix of accessories: classically chic Ray-Ban Wayfarers, a vintage-inspired saddle bag and brown leather sandals with gold embellishment. I also couldn't help but notice her luggage. Opting out of a traditional suitcase, this Fashionista chose to jet set with a practical bowler bag. Still, the true star of this look is her jacket, which is a perfect example of how to tailor the jungle trend to fit your style and project a cool, classy and polished vibe.

Hint: Feeling fierce enough to try some leopard on the bottom? Embrace the high-waisted trend and rock a pair of printed shorts, like these by camilla and marc, or get leggy with these leopard jeans from Urban Outfitters. And don't be afraid to stray from this catty print's traditional colors and try a bold maxi dress or a baby blue romper.

TREND: Necessary Neon

As an avid fan of neutral colors and darker tones, I get a lot of grief from friends who rummage through my closet and discover upwards of ten gray sweaters and probably more beige than anyone should ever own. So when spring and summer roll around to shake me out of my snow-induced winter slump, I try to branch out and invest in some brighter colors that typically scare me in the off-season. (After all, nothing accentuates a tan quite like a bright burst of color.) Still, the aforementioned friends would probably be shocked to hear that I invested in a very bold pink shirt today. I figure now is as good a time as any to embrace a little color in my life, especially after seeing this week's Fashionista rock a neon ensemble in the street.

Over the past couple of months, we've seen electric energy hit the runways of designers who injected their spring collections with neon, such as Issa, Jil Sander and Rachel Roy. No longer just a thing of the past (it's no secret that the '80s and '90s were highlighted by loudly patterned Hammer pants and leggings), neon colors have made quite a comeback this season, making their way into some of the most contemporary trends, from maxi skirts and structured blazers, to trousers and chunky jewelry. In fact, there is some evidence that loudly patterned pants might be making a comeback of their own. Lately, everywhere I turn I run into a pair of brightly colored silk trousers (Madewell and BCBG have two of my most recent finds). There's really no getting around the neon trend when it's lurking around every corner this summer, and that became all the more clear when I spotted today's Fashionista.

Her unique flair is dictated by a pink and white striped top underneath a graffiti print hoodie. She mixed elements of edge and femininity to create her own style and wasn't afraid to don some invigorating colors on an otherwise cloudy day. While the intensity of her top is what initially caught my eye, I loved getting a closer look at how this Fashionista accessorized her look. With the addition of leopard print flats, giant hoop earrings and a charming pink bow, she demonstrates the right way to take risks and have fun with this summer's neon trend.

Hint: Follow in the featured Fashionista's footsteps and focus on incorporating a monitored amount of neon into your outfit. While electric colors from head to toe may work wonders on the runway, they could also be a little intimidating on a college campus. Try this Fashionista's technique of pairing a neon piece with a basic solid. For starters, try American Apparel's electric blue zipper pant with Free People's open knit Sahara Star sweater, or tuck a simple white T-shirt into this bright pink maxi skirt by Tibi. You'll achieve the trend's full effect with half the neon!