ACCESSORIES REPORT: And The Weatherman Says…

As the season begins to change here in Ames, we have days where the weather just can’t make up its mind. It might be crisp and chilly when you leave for class in the morning but by the time 2:00 p.m. rolls around, you’re probably sweating in the sun. Dressing for the day is not exactly easy! Though you could dress in layers as my mother always used to tell me as a kid, it's sort of a pain lugging around a big sweater from one corner of campus to the other; us college students have enough to carry with us. However, the Fashionista I found this week brilliantly used her accessories to carry her through a day of changing weather.

A lightweight infinity scarf, like the one utilized by this week’s Fashionista, is a perfect way to maintain comfort, despite the season. When the temperature is colder, it provides necessary warmth to any outfit. But when the day gets rolling, the fabric is lightweight enough that you won’t be too warm out in the sun. On top of it’s functionality, a light scarf is also practical; you can just throw it on, and if you do happen to get too warm, take it off and tie it on your bag. Two accessories in one! Some of my favorites, ranging from basic to busy patterns, have been found at Topshop, Madewell and Lilly Pulitzer.

There are other methods of adjusting to weather changes during the day as well. Vests are very transitional because they're an extra layer for warmth in the brisk morning hours but they don’t have a sleeve, which makes it more breathable than a sweater or long sleeve T-shirt. Hats, no matter the style, provide a surprising amount of heat in cold weather but can always be removed, or be worn simply as a fashion statement.

Spotted: Custo Barcelona’s fall 2012 ready-to-wear line displays scarves with all different lengths and fabrics showing their true versatility.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Bold Words

Making a statement in the right way isn’t always easy. While the goal is to grab the attention of those around you, it can often come on too strong. On the other hand, if your statement piece is too subtle it won’t be the attention grabber your outfit needs. Utilizing statement pieces is an art form requiring the balance of elements and harmony within an ensemble. The Fashionista I found strutting her stuff around campus this week managed to use statement pieces not only effectively, but also marvelously!

Upon first glance I see this big, intricate, gleaming black necklace set on top of a bright, turquoise backdrop and it absolutely steals the show. Similar pieces can be found at Banana Republic and Charlotte Russe. While the top is also a bold color with a loud voice, it has simple lines that allow the necklace to truly shine without overpowering it.

Along with the necklace, this Fashionista used other accessories to gently reinforce the statement the necklace makes. Her black, flower stud earrings have the same shine as the necklace, but they're small enough that they don’t take attention away from the main attraction. She added a pair of black and white Sperry Top-Siders with a patent leather shine, which ties in the overall theme creating a complete, cohesive look.

All in all, statement necklaces are what can set you apart from the rest. Letting your piece speak for itself without overpowering allows for the most powerful, successful effect.

Spotted: Lanvin’s fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection features lots of statement necklaces of all kinds.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Tough Girl Glam

Sometimes ensembles have this funny way of pulling themselves together all on their own. Looking separately at a classic, white polo on one hanger and a pair of leather shorts up on the shelf in your closet can make those garments feel nothing but…separate. However, on closer inspection, pairing traditional with edgy can actually be quite fabulous!

Today’s Fashionista has brought the absolute best of two different worlds into one unified look. The first aspect of this outfit is the epitome of diva: an all-sequin, gold tank top. With simple lines, this tank lets the color and the shimmer speak for itself. The accessories in the outfit show off the combination of styles. With the glamorous, attention-grabbing top, this Fashionista adds a pair of black, lace-up boots that hit between ankle and calf. The boots have a combat vibe, bringing to the table a tough-girl feel. The necklace picks up both softer and harder features that help to incorporate the two different impressions given by the outfit. The big black gems pull in the color of the boots with the shine of the gold top. At the same time, the raw metal and the harsh way it's wrapped around the gems gives of a rougher vibe.

This Fashionista snagged her boots from Target and I’ve found many similar pairs at DSW, like these beauties by Steve Madden. Another pair I fell in love with are from American Eagle. Combat boots are super hot for fall, so keep any eye out and snatch up your pair before winter is upon us! Her chunky, layered necklace is from Forever 21 and I also like this one from Piperlime.

Spotted: Theyskens’ Theory’s pre-fall 2012 line features the contradiction of lace-up combat boots with delicate fabrics, like tulle, and lots of sparkle.

ACCESSORIES REPORT: Hot Pink Heaven

Neutral colors are critical in the fashion world. They act as gateways from one color to the next, make perfect accenting colors and can sometimes make up an entire outfit ensemble. Now, when I talk about neutral colors, I’m referring to black, brown, white, gray and beige. Think back to Alexander Wang’s fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection; this designer is definitely not afraid of bringing neutral colors into play!

Whether you’re running late, having an “I’m too busy to think about fashion” kind of day or if you’re looking for a dramatic effect like today’s Fashionista, neutrals tones can make up the majority of an outfit effectively without looking too plain.

This Fashionista has used neutrals to create a sense of interest in her outfit. Decked out in extra flattering black skinny pants and a beautiful flowing gray and white tunic, she has utilized neutral colors in both her top and bottoms. The dramatic piece of the ensemble exists in the shoes. Wearing a pair of neon pink flats with this outfit makes for an unexpected visual dynamic. The hot pink brightens up the black, catching the eye of anyone in sight. Another plus to picking flats? You can walk in them for days! This Fashionista scored her flats at rue21 and you can find similar products at both Target and J.Crew. Before the color choice scares away the pink-haters out there, keep in mind that you can pop any bright color with a neon! If it’s bright, the effect will be the same. J.Crew has a wide assortment of colors to choose from in their flats, as does Urban Outfitters.

Spotted: Pops of neon have been featured in Blumarine’s fall 2012 runway show. Celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, have also taken to pairing neutrals with neons on the red carpet and at other various events.

Style Guru Bio: Mackenzie Downs

My name is Mackenzie Downs and I'm a first-year Style Guru at Iowa State University. I'll be a sophomore this year majoring in apparel merchandising and design with an emphasis in product development. Here’s how I came to be the lover of fashion I am today!

The way my mother brought me up ensured that my future would be intertwined in fashion. As an infant, if I spilled on my shirt my mom would change my entire outfit. I could never wear mismatched clothing; not even socks! My first vivid memory of fashion is at the age of 4, I went to Macy’s with my godmother, a true Fashionista, and we were choosing between an all-lace, long-sleeve top and a black leather jacket with a faux fur collar; we decided on both.

Reflecting on my history of style choices, I tend to go through phases. Sometimes I dress preppy and polished, other times more low-key and relaxed. In more recent years my style has definitely become more eclectic than ever before. I find inspiration from literature, artist Cy Twombly’s paintings, music, and the Olsen twins. My favorite go-to shopping spots range from Urban Outfitters to J.Crew to local secondhand stores.

Even though my aesthetic is ever changing, I'm confident that my style has evolved in a positive way. Over the years, I’ve learned not to be scared of anything. If I step out the door and love the way I look and feel, that’s what matters. I believe every Fashionista/o deserves that confidence and adrenaline of being bold, paving the way for others, rather than following the crowd down the sidewalk.