Class of 2013: Lisa

I started my journey as a Style Guru for CollegeFashionista in the summer of 2011. I will never forget the first street style photo I took as part of my application for the position. The photo was of a couple walking their dog on a Sunday afternoon. I remember neither were dressed in to-die-for looks that involved high-fashion pieces, but looking back on it now, my work over the years as a Style Guru has taught me that it isn’t those things that make you a CollegeFashionista, it is personal style. Because while neither of the two students I photographed were wearing designer clothing, their look and overall fabulous aesthetic is what caught my eye.

It is definitely safe to say that my time as a Style Guru has taught me to appreciate the personal style of each unique Fashionista/o I come across on the University of Iowa campus. Whether it be their quirky way of mixing unexpected pieces together to create an awesome look or their daring ability to walk down the street looking like no one else on campus. I have learned that being a CollegeFashionista can mean a lot of things. For me, being a Fashionista on a college budget has helped me fall back in love with all the great pieces I have in my closet. Running into and photographing so many amazing Fashionistas/os here on campus has kept me inspired throughout my years as a college student, and when endless amounts of homework and due dates to meet have me stressed, it is those unique street style looks that keep me smiling.

I am beyond sad to be exiting my position as a Style Guru, leaving behind the fashionable folks at the University of Iowa. But I do so knowing that I have learned so much about what it means to have personal style. And while my time scouring campus for stylish students is over, I know that wherever life takes me next their will be streets, and on them, amazing style that will keep me forever inspired.


It is safe to say that if it weren’t for my mom, I would not be the Fashionista I am today. Now, over the years I didn’t always take her style advice when I should have, but there is one tip that she has given me since day one that I think is important for every Fashionista to remember: a simple look, created with classic pieces and cuts is always fashionable.

Her prime example for this piece of advice used to be Jennifer Aniston. While she isn’t typically the number one famous Fashionista on everyone’s list, her classic everyday looks that consist of jeans and T-shirts always prove to be simple, chic and cool. I usually refer to this fashion tip when I have tried on everything in my closet and can’t come up with a decent outfit. At this point I can always tell I am trying too hard, which we can often do as Fashionista’s trying to create the perfect look.

When this Fashionista caught my eye, I instantly thought of my mom’s advice. Her outfit was so simple, consisting of a basic T-shirt, scarf and classic denim shorts that she had spruced up herself with a fun pattern on the back pockets. Just the fact that this Fashionista’s classic outfit still caught my eye, proves my mother’s advice to be true. As Fashionista’s, we can often get carried away with all the latest trends that we often neglect the trends that have managed to never go out of style.

This Fashionista’s look is not only great because it was simple and classic, but because she took the basic look and added her own little touches to make it her own. By adding her combat boots to the jeans and T-shirt look and adding a bit of personalization to the back pockets of her shorts, she was able to take this outfit and make it her own. The best part about a classic ensemble is that you are able to accessorize to showcase your personal style in ways that trendy looks never could.

So next time you are feeling frustrated with your outfit choices, try to start simple with pieces like jeans and basic T-shirts. When you start with the basics and add your favorite accessories, you are bound to achieve a look that is simply cool and simply you!


Transitioning into spring can be awkward. When days start off cool and brisk only to turn warm and sunny later on, it is important for a Fashionista to layer when headed out for a full day of classes on campus.

While winter sweaters are “so last season” come mid-May, light, loose-knit sweaters are perfect for the ever-changing temperatures of spring. This Fashionista’s outfit was perfect for the day I spotted her. That morning had been sunny but had turned to cloudy and breezy just before lunchtime, proving that this Fashionista’s decision to grab her jacket before heading out the door a smart one.

Her light-weight knit sweater allows her to stay cool when the sun comes out and her maxi skirt keeps things free and breezy as she walks from class to class. She accessorized with a long vintage-inspired necklace and saddle shoes to make the look her own. While the weather was still undecided, the floral print of her maxi skirt was undeniably spring in its own monochromatic way.

While this Fashionista chose a sweater in a neutral color, Gap and Old Navy have similar spring knits in the season’s hottest neon and pastel colors. Try pairing your spring knit with a pair of cropped, colored denim for a preppy look, or a maxi skirt in a spring pattern for a more feminine feel.

Since layers are key when transitioning from one season to another, remember to grab an extra layer before you head out the door. While this Fashionista chose a military-inspired jacket, jean jackets or a long cotton cardigan are also great choices and the perfect way to add detail to your ensemble.


While Diane von Furstenberg is currently busy dominating the children’s fashion scene, she will forever be known for her clever use of prints as well as her invention of the perfect-on-any-body wrap dress. There is just something about Diane’s designs that have a special way of making a woman of any shape look absolutely gorgeous.

To me this Fashionista exudes everything Diane von Furstenberg hoped and dreamed fashion would be for women. Walking down the middle of campus on one of the first warm Sunday afternoons of the season, this Fashionista looked flawless and more importantly, confident. Most girls might be nervous showing their legs at a time early enough in the season when they still have yet to be exposed to much sun. This Fashionista on the other hand was smiling, with her hair blowing freely in the wind as she sat with a friend eating frozen yogurt and enjoying the beautiful weather. It seemed as though her von Furstenberg inspired wrap dress was in fact made for these sorts of causal occasions.

It is in fact the wrap dresses’ ability to bring out the best features of a woman’s figure that has cemented it as a classic piece in the fashion pantheon. The tie-at-the-waist style accentuates the smallest part of the body creating the womanly shape every female strives to achieve. However while the shape is classic, there is nothing like a pop of pattern to make a woman feel beautiful.

While you may not own a wrap dress, or have a hard time finding one in a pattern or color that suites your fancy, take a hint from this Fashionista by sticking to classically cut pieces. Whether it be a wide-leg trouser pant, a shift dress, or a pair of pumps, it is pieces like these that all Fashionsitas must learn to turn to when seasonal trends fail to impress.


There is just something about the ’90s that is so close to my heart. There was Clueless, jelly shoes, overalls and Lisa Frank, all of which played a big part in my youth as a Fashionista-in-training. Within the last few seasons, ’90s style has had a bit of a revival thanks to the re-emergence of trends that peaked in that decade including, high-waisted denim, Dr. Martens and the most surprising (and most recent) comeback, overalls.

To me, this Fashionista’s look is the essence of the ’90s from head-to-toe. Starting at the top with her blunt bangs and oversized black-denim jacket, and working down to her powder blue corduroy skater-skirt and classic black Dr. Martens. With this look, she would surely blend right into a scene of Full House.

While everyone has those specific ’90s trend that bring back bad memories of their childhood, (mine is overalls, they were never long enough and always rode-up in the wrong places) I must say, I am simply ecstatic about the revival of the ’90s when it comes to fashion.

To get a look similar to this Fashionista’s, start by reminiscing about your favorite trend from the ’90s. As long as it doesn’t involve scrunchies (I pray to the fashion gods those never come back in trend) you are bound to be able to put together an outfit that is just as trendy today as it was in junior high. Some of my favorite ’90s looks to rock today include flannels tied around the waist, distressed black denim and platform sandals.

And when in doubt, always turn to the number one ’90s Fashionista, Cher from Clueless. While not all of us have the luxury of picking out our outfits via computer database each morning, each of us can relate to Cher’s love of everything ’90s fashion.


When the spring season begins to creep in, it can be difficult to determine exactly when it is appropriate to break out bare legs. I usually begin with a cuff at the bottom of my pants, cropping my pants a bit to expose my ankles. Soon things escalate to actual cropped pants, skirts and high boots and eventually, shorts and skirts with fully exposed legs. This time of the year can be daunting for a Fashionista and her legs who have been in hibernation for months.

When I spotted this Fashionista the weather was gloomy, a complete bummer following a day of 70 degree sunshine. Days like these are always frustrating in terms of choosing an outfit. Since it is April, spring is technically in full bloom even though it doesn’t always feel like it. This Fashionista managed to find an outfit perfect for spring without prematurely exposing to much leg.

This royal blue hi-low dress is the perfect transition dress for spring. While the dress can be worn to a fancier event, this Fashionista dressed hers down with a jean jacket and black bootie. The matching blue tote adds a fun casual look for a day out and about town.

Even though the weather wasn’t in full spring effect, I loved how this Fashionista’s outfit still exuded the warmth of the season. The bright blue color of her hi-low dress is the perfect color for spring while the high-in-the front, low-in-the-back hemline allows her to slowly break out her tight-less legs as they get used to the fresh air again. Transitioning into spring isn’t always easy in the fashion department, but leaving the house in an outfit that involves fewer layers and brighter colors always brings excitement for spring.


Being a Fashionista in college really teaches you a lot about being practical with fashion. First of all, we are all on a budget, so we learn to find the best bargains. Second, we learn how to transition outfits from one event to another. Whether it be from class to a night out with friends, work to class or group meetings to coffee dates, Fashionistas/os have being stylish while on the go down to a T.

I noticed this Fashionista as I was waiting to go into an afternoon art history lecture. She too had an interest in Pop Art and was coming straight from her work at a campus art gallery to attend the lecture. What I love about her look is that she made business wear look chic and comfortable, a combination that fits perfectly into the life of a Fashionista.

Instead of throwing on a classic suit, this Fashionista threw together her own blazer/trouser combination in a way that reminded us all that it is finally spring on campus. Her chambray blazer is a piece that I believe everyone should have in their closet. The denim material is classic and the weight of the jacket is perfect for spring. Her wide-leg trouser pants are also a great piece for those on the hunt for a fun pair of pants. The light material and striped denim look make these pants the perfect piece to dress up for spring. With a pair of nude flats, a simple T-shirt underneath, a pop-of-color belt, funky arm party full of bracelets and of the moment mirrored sunglasses, her look is the ideal uniform for any working Fashionista.


There is something special about wearing vintage clothes. They tell a story that makes your outfit so much more interesting. When I ran into this Fashionista, everyone else on campus was trotting around in their brand new Easter dresses and bow ties. And while spanking new outfits are undoubtedly ALWAYS fun, pre-loved clothing is equally exhilarating. This Fashionista explained that her look was inspired by her small bag, which her dad had uncovered while cleaning out the basement.

That’s the thing about spring, it always involves cleaning out your closet, weeding through the things you will never wear again and jumping for joy when you find an old treasure you forgot you had. On Easter Sunday, this Fashionista got dolled up in a vintage inspired polka-dot dress for an afternoon of studying with friends. The warm weather allowed her to go tight-less however she added a pair of stripes socks and leather loafers that went along perfectly with the studious activities of her day. Finishing off her look with a menswear-inspired vest to juxtapose the feminine strand of pearls around her neck, this Fashionista was left with a look that had passers-by like me dreaming of the good ole days.

But we cant forget that purse. The one true vintage piece that had this Fashionista beaming when I pointed it out. “My dad gave it to me!” she said, with a joy that made it seem as though her father had gifted her a family heirloom! But I understand her love for the piece, its box-like shape, aztec pattern and small signs of wear and tear make this item a true vintage treasure that leave us wondering where it has been over the years. It is old revival pieces like these that makes an outfit and leaves us craving everything and anything vintage.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Don’t Let The Weather Get You Down

It isn’t April yet, but I keep checking my calendar to make sure the cold weather streak that won’t leave Iowa isn’t some sort of cruel April Fool’s Day joke. Thats right, it is still snowing here on the University of Iowa campus and most students are back from Spring Break, hiding under their beds, refusing to come out until the snow melts—for good this time.

At this point, my snowy afternoon of Fashionista-searching, with frozen fingers and a runny nose, wasn’t looking too promising. That was until this lovely Fashionista came out of the local bread market as if sent down like an angel to answer my fashion prayers. While all of the other students were still in hiding or giving their uniform UGGS and NorthFace jackets a last run for their money as they scurried about campus, this Fashionista left her house that morning thinking, “Snow? Who cares!” and let me tell you, her look could have left every weather-depressed student on campus inspired.

What I love about this Fashionista’s outfit is her incorporation of both spring and winter items. Because, while it may technically be spring, it definitely isn’t time to pull out your pastel shorts and crop tops. In her navy dress with a springy floral pattern, she was able to dress a little bit for spring while keeping warm in her tights, lace-up booties and fabulous faux-fur scarf (a piece I will miss when spring weather decides to come our way.)

As you can tell from the photos, this Fashionista didn’t let snow in March get her down but instead, embraced Mother Nature’s mixed signals. While you may be sick of everything that falls under the “winter” category in your closet, this Fashionista is the perfect example of why pulling out your favorite warm scarf and digging into your tights drawer one last time may just put a smile on your face.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Preparing for Spring

I don’t know about you, but here in Iowa we cannot wait for the weather to turn from this snow/rain combination to something warmer and sunnier. These days when the sun pops out from behind the clouds and the temperature rises to anything above 30 degrees we are all stripping off our coats and breaking out our swimsuits (okay maybe not the swimsuit part just yet).

With Spring Break just around the corner, I cannot wait to break in all my warm-weather clothes including my new skirts and open-toe heels. When I saw this Fashionista walking down the street on a partially sunny day I couldn’t help but giggle to myself knowing that she too could not wait for warmer weather.

What I love about this Fashionista’s look is that she incorporated a warm-weather piece—wooden-wedge sandals— into her largely wintery look, yet she did so in good taste! Most people are in fact scared to wear open-toed shoes with tights and I must admit in many cases it doesn’t work. However, something about the way this Fashionista casually threw together this class-ready look works in all the right ways.

I stared at this ensemble for a while after taking this shot, pondering what it was that made the tights/wedges look work so well. For me, I think if this Fashionista would have paired her open-toed heels with plain black tights it wouldn’t have worked as well. The pattern tight adds texture taking away from her covered toes peaking out at the chilly March weather. Also, because she chose to wear a black tight with a brown shoe that came across the front of her foot in not just one, but two places, there is just enough contrast, bringing the attention away from her toes and onto her entire look.

Now, I am not encouraging everyone to sport this tights/open-toe heel combo. However, this Fashionista is the perfect example of how to tie a warm-weather piece from your spring wardrobe into a outfit appropriate for colder temperatures. She proves that you don’t have to wait until the weather has gone full-blown spring to experiment with your favorite spring pieces.

So next time you are staring at your winter wardrobe in boredom, pull out that spring piece you are most looking forward to wearing and work it into your outfit. Pair your favorite cut-off denim shorts with a thick pair of colored tights and a baggy sweater to show off your spring-ready legs. Layer your favorite floral blouse under a cozy sweater exposing the bright pattern while still staying warm.

In my opinion, the best Fashionistas never get bored with what they have in their closet, they only get creative and this Fashionista’s creativity definitely paid off.