STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: The CollegeFashionista Bucket List

Recently I’ve been re-watching episodes of How I met your mother, for those that aren’t familiar with the show they often have flash backs of the days when Lily, Marshall and Ted were in college. In season one Lily was struggling with her regret of unfulfilled dreams she’d had when she was a student. It got me thinking about the differences between college life and “the real world”. College seems to afford us the chance to make our own rules, let our hair down, try new things, make mistakes and express ourselves creatively with no judgment. When you graduate there’s an expectation that you have to pull your socks up, knuckle down and start acting appropriately. Our bohemian dreams of wandering the world are put on the back burner as we search fervently for an entry-level job that will help us to survive. It’s enough to make anyone want to study forever! But enough talk about the future that’s another chapter, right now its time to relish our freedom. I decided to compose a College Bucket List of ten fashion trends you must try before graduating. You never know it may inspire you to mix things up in “the real world”.

The College Fashionista Bucket List

1. Suit up and wear a dinner jacket or party dress during the day (consider your accessories though perhaps make the look more casual with a ballet flat, loafer or basket bag)

2. Dye your hair pink and teem it with a lady-like look in block colours such as Rachel Roy’s luna reef print pencil skirt paired with Prabal Gurung at J.Crew’s exploding bow blouse. As us Australian’s are heading into winter a coat slung over your shoulders will complete the look.

3. Forget the bus, buy a vintage bicycle in a pastel hue complete with handle basket and bell.

4. Swap your thinking cap in favour of a Piers Atkinson hat as worn by the likes of Anna Dello Russo and Lady Gaga.

5. When taking notes feel academic in a pair of novelty spectacles whether they be prescription or decorative.

6. Add some exotica to your most boring class by sashaying in summers latest obsession “jungle fever”. ASOS’s ruffle hem pencil skirt is reminiscent of Prada’s spring 2011 collection partnered with a print top and jacket. Accessories are key to this tropical look so pile on the coloured bangles and beads, wrap a scarf around your head and say “wedge please” to these foot delights!

7. Trade in your old boring school backpack for something a little more on trend like Alexander Wang’s Walker Doodle print backpack or Marc Jacobs’ duffle bag.

8. Take a literal approach to your art history class and transform yourself into “walking art”. Look to Salvador Dali and Elsa Schapparelli in this Vivetta dress it will make you melt!

9. Make your own outfit. Scour second hand shops for vintage patterns and create something unique and eye catching. Whether you can sew or not its bound to be surprising.

10. Invest in a mink. This is really a life essential for a fashionista. Whether bolero, jacket or floor length a pelt adds a bit of class and luxury to any normal college day.


Milliner extraordinaire, Stephen Jones wrote, “Hats are the important accessory. A hat makes clothing identifiable, dramatic – and most importantly, Fashion.” Why and when did we discard this showstopper? The hat no longer tops off the accessory pages of fashion magazines. Men and women roam the streets with bare coiffures exposed to the world, seeming incomplete, not quite “done”. As Jones so eloquently put it “It’s the cherry on the cake, the dot on the “i”, the exclamation mark; the fashion focus.”

In second year at Whitehouse we partake in the most wonderful class, where we learn and practice the art of millinery. What makes this class so delightful, so inspiring is our teacher, Mrs. Hats as she is known around campus. She’s like something out of an old MGM film, chic, stylish, bursting with charisma and never- NEVER seen without a hat. In our very first lesson she bestowed to us the secret of dressing, “You’re never fully dressed without a hat.”

Today's Fashionista dots the “i” in her wide-brimmed felt hat and white trench channeling a modern day Bianca Jagger. What is most refreshing about her ensemble is her hair, it has been pulled back into a simple bun. I couldn’t get over all the hair falling in lifeless strands like curtains around the faces of all the guests at “The Royal Wedding”. If you are going to wear a hat or fascinator scrape your hair back into a low elegant chignon or sleek ponytail à la Victoria Beckham so your hat sits neatly on a smooth scalp.

While most of us College Fashionistas won’t be attending any Royal Weddings at present, an elegant chapeau will finish off your ensemble with great aplomb. In the winter felt and velvet materials fabricated into little cloches, pill-boxes and berets are versatile and lovely to wear. Try teaming your warm winter trench or pea coat with either a neat little Dandy Bow Cloche from Mimco or Helen Kaminski’s wide-brimmed felt hat similar to that of our College Fashionista’s. For those up north getting to bask in the glorious sun a boater or straw hat is very suitable to protect your alabaster skin, and would look just divine with a full-skirted floral summer dress and flower-filled hand-basket to match! For the boys you can’t go wrong with a fedora or Panama. They both exude a gentlemanly air of polish and flair- just remember to politely tip your brim when the ladies stroll by!

A hat gives the wearer a presence and equanimity that no other accessory can achieve. It says, “This is what I am like – or this is what I would like to be.”

Hint: Make sure your hat fits. You don’t want to be pushing it out of your eyes all the time. Co-ordinate your hat with your outfit but please don’t follow a lot of the sinamay examples on display at The Wedding last week. They looked very mummsy and fussy. Opt for a hat with a good line – it’s always attractive without any trimmings at all.


Why is the patterned woollen sweater considered a fashion pariah? Is it because they’re usually hand knitted by a mother or grandmother as opposed to a high-end designer rousing untreated teenage angst of parental embarrassment? Is it obligation? Someone has spent their time making a sweater that they think you’ll love; you pull it on begrudgingly over your ensemble – out of politeness not sincerity. The jumper is then tainted, a mark of your unwilling undertaking stuffed into your mothball scented bottom draw with all your other knitted paraphernalia. Or could it be that they are often emblazoned with naïve Christmas iconography such as Colin Firth’s reindeer jumper in Bridget Jones’s Diary? Regardless of its scratchy, purl stitched existence I think the patterned woollen sweater could be a winter essential if you just know how to wear it.

Don’t be predicable. Banish all thoughts of denim jeans and skirts, beanies with earflaps, Canadian slopes and pine needles. Think bold. Think bright. Think Pendleton. The famous wool mill has recently collaborated with Opening Ceremony to create the most fashion forward collection inspired by Navajo prints. Woollen jumpers and dresses are patterned in effervescent colours that give the humble sweater a modern twist. For a neat tailored look inspired by Jil Sander’s latest fall collection, try Pendleton’s cropped pullover with MIU MIU’s ankle length skinny pant. Alternatively, capitalize on fashion’s latest obsession- colour, in this vibrant poncho teamed with a pair of red high-waisted shorts.

Let’s now look at today's CollegeFashionista. She is patterned in reindeers yet still manages to look fabulous by adding unpredictable elements like her knee-high socks and penny loafers. I often wear my grandfather’s red and navy patterned jumper as a dress with bright red tights and boots- a look that never fails to keep me warm and draws attention! Take this See by Chloé oversized cardigan for example, like our Fashionista’s dress it too is generically covered in reindeers but if accessorized with Kate Spade’s mod dot tights in chili and a pair of yellow Hunter gumboots the look is fresh, quirky and eye catching. The next time you are bestowed with a hand-knitted jumper at Christmas don’t be so quick to dismiss it. For if Bridget Jones judged Mr Darcy on his reindeer jumper we never would have had such a great love story!


When I write my weekly “style advice” I am always reminded of that scene in The Devil Wears Prada when Miranda is lecturing Andy on the origin of her cerulean blue jumper and how the high-powers of fashion that be dictate our every trend without us knowing it. When I spotted this week’s College Fashionista in her off the shoulder leopard print top it made me wonder if she was aware of the woman who made the spotted pelt a fashion icon.

Mitzah Bricard was an enigma shrouded in mystery oozing that certain je ne sais quoi with her lioness-like allure and as Christian Dior put it “indefinable, perhaps slightly neglected chic.” Its not hard to see why she was the designer’s muse, evoking the kind of elegance that lasts for eternity. She seemed to live in a dream world projecting an image of perfection in her leopard print hat, pearls and stiletto heels. Bricard seemed to appear from nowhere, no one knew of her origin. Was she Romanian? English? Austrian? She was rumored to have liaised with Russian princes and capture the hearts of European billionaires. 

Dior could not create without Mitzah Bricard. She roused in him nostalgia of the women from his childhood smelling of exotic perfumes, bedecked in rich furs and glittering in enormous diamonds.
Today she would be better known as a stylist, for her role at the House of Dior was far more hands-on then merely looking elegant. Bricard would take something seemingly ordinary and turn it into a fashion statement, like her leopard print scarf that she tied artfully around her wrist, supposedly to hide a scar. 

Mitzah Bricard’s love of leopard print is still influencing the House of Dior fabricated into wiggle dresses, draped evening gowns, swing coats and reinventions of the New Look. The Dior Mitzah Bricard make-up collection is the most recent addition. The series consists of a leopard print eye shadow and two limited edition nail polishes in ebony and camel. 

Looking back at the example put forth my Miranda Priestley, Bricard’s influence has infiltrated the rest of the fashion pack. Channel the muse’s inimitable elegance in Alice and Olivia’s leopard print sheath teamed with a black relaxed trench from Whistles topped off with a little pill box hat. Or give the look a modern touch by shrouding a leopard print coat over a pair of skin-tight leather pants. Our clothes tell a story, not just our vintage ones but our new ones too. When you get dressed in the morning consider your look’s origins for it is likely things past have inspired it.


Who is your style icon? Lady Gaga? Audrey Hepburn? Carrie Bradshaw? Surely someone that oozes savoir-faire, whose outfits are analyzed in best dressed lists and fashion editorials- a dictator of style no less. Sorry, what was that you just said?…No?…No! It’s your literature professor! Your physics tutor! Professor Henry Higgins and John Keating. Is it possible that our professors are teaching us more than the works of Proust and Hemmingway, are they actually giving us style advice? It must be process of osmosis. Being ensconced in the illuminating world of academia has influenced our dress, our style- we’ve swapped Vogue for textbooks! Well carpe diem I say suede elbow patches and all.

This week’s CollegeFashionista demonstrates perfectly how to bridge the cavernous gap between fashion and Albert Einstein. Her red velvet blazer and buttoned-up floral printed shirt are symbolic of the professor’s attire, seemingly restricted and confined by the knowledge she garners rather than her obsession of vanity and beauty. On the other hand, her skintight jeans, Lennonesque glasses and main of titian hair appear extremely fashion forward and reflect our Fashionista’s style consciousness. Her white socks peeping cheekily out of her worn out brogues are intentionally quirky, tying the whole look together.

When choosing your perfect “English professor” jacket I suggest a boyfriend blazer fabricated in tweed or wool in a loose fitting style or with a slight nipped waist. Veer away from anything too short and too boxy – the only designer that can pull off this look is Chanel. Follow our Fashionista’s lead and opt for a skinny jean as anything else, be it wide or boot leg, will just look frumpy. A printed shirt from Karen Walker, is a necessity as it enhances that '70s air. Seize the day College Fashionista’s, the next time you’re dozing off in your economics lecture pay close attention to your professor because they could be your next style icon.


The Doctor is in – Dr Marten that is and he’s prescribing College Fashionistas with a dose of grunge. Do you think Dr Klaus Marten knew what kind of shoe he was creating when he was looking for a comfier alternative to his military boots after a skiing accident? He created a sub-culture phenomenon. A shoe that spoke to rejects, outcasts and rebels, its air-pumped thick sole, staunch black leather laced up the ankle was a rebellion against conformity. Today The Doctor is treating style icons such as Agyness Deyn, Chloe Sevigny and Alexa Chung- fashionistas all known for breaking fashion rules and setting their own trends. I often find it quite ironic when symbols of anti-fashion become actual trends but this shoe’s jarring bulk always seems to shout “up yours” to the masses.

Today's Fashionista goes all black with her loose fitting top and skirt casually tied in a knot at the hem, their soft drape at complete contrast with the severity of her Dr Martens. This seems to be a popular trend on Whitehouse’s campus at the moment. I have spotted many College Fashionistas donning floral dresses with heavy black boots. The key is balancing The Doctor with something feminine like Opening Ceremony’s finely woven wool dress or a soft silk crepe number like Marc by Marc Jacobs’ Mimi dress. For those “Material Girls” try Betsey Johnson’s hot pink “poof” dress with Dr Marten’s coloured boot. The shoe was all about being part of the anti-conformist uniform like safety-pinned pants, flannels and leather, but now The Doctor requires a few milligrams of contrast to the prescription.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Spice Up Your Life Nineties Style

For most of us CollegeFashionistas we didn’t get to partake in the full panoply of '90s fashion. Still in our single digits we were on the periphery of certain trends learning what we could from shows such as Beverly Hills: 90210 and Clueless, the subjects of which went well and truly over our heads and only now that we are older and wiser actually make sense! I longed to look like Cher with her knee high socks, plaid minis and matching vests, not to mention her cute little patent backpacks. However, my mother was my stylist and dressed me in neat pinafore dresses with detachable collars, pleated skirts and matching ensembles with my sister- I felt so uncool. I’ll never forget the day when I received a hand-me-down skirt from a friend. It was long and black with tiny little red flowers all over it that I happily paired with my black 2 inch heeled riding boots. Oh I felt so trendy, just like Neve Campbell in Party of Five! In retrospect this is not a look I would dare to resurrect these days, however it appears that designers such as Vena Cava and Alexander Wang would. The latter’s particular influence on the fashion set and high street style has resulted in a '90s comeback.

This week's Fashionista gets to experience the era entirely the second time round; with the benefit of hindsight forgoing trends best not revisited such as black riding boots! She casually slouches her oversized chambray shirt over her grey body-con dress teamed with white converse shoes- very Brenda Walsh or Kelly Taylor. Try not to be too literal in your interpretation of the trend. Best steer away from side pony-tails, overtly floral patterned skirts and "mum" jeans. Instead opt for something plain with hints of interest like Porter Grey’s grey chiffon skirt with blush inserts. Another popular trend of the time was wearing a sheer slip dress over a simple tee and mini skirt.

Opening Ceremony has reinterpreted this look by overlaying a short straight skirt with a gather of floor length chiffon. Midriffs dominated the fashion scene of the '90s, if you dare to bare then please make sure your tummy is in tip-top condition and balance the look with a high-waisted bottom. Only in fashion are you able to relive previous decades so make the most of the 90s before the Noughties come back around!

FASHION NEWS: Whitehouse Graduate Fashion Parade

Fashion editors, headhunters and modeling agencies are always looking for the “next big thing”, and what better place to spot this phenomenon then at Whitehouse’s graduate fashion parade.
This year’s graduate parade was quite a landmark as it heralded the opening of Whitehouse’s new campus in Surry Hills. A multi-storied industrial building kitted out with pattern making rooms, computer labs, a flash library and an entire level devoted to the parade. The catwalk paved the concrete floor like a white nave, the school’s appellation emblazoned on the white walled curtain that hid the forthcoming parade from view. Styling students had created amazing installations that framed the walls like little fashion tableaus.

While guests sipped on champagne discussing hemlines, behind the veiled wall pandemonium broke as students scampered around doing up zippers, finding mismatched shoes and yelling for their missing models. Bun rush and bedlam are two words I would use to describe this experience, a side of fashion not many get to see!

As guests settled down into their allotted seats, lights dimmed and Temper Trap’s sweet disposition resounded hauntingly through the room signaling the first model’s entrance. An array of different themes and looks strutted their way down the catwalk such as western lolitas, Kill Bill anime warriors, ram-horned glamazons and dancing ballerinas. While most of the looks were quintessentially “Whitehouse” (think asymmetry, feathers, patchworks of different fabrics, even what appeared to be rubber tubing strangling the models bodies), it was the seemingly simpler looks that stuck a cord with me. On closer inspection these garments were so beautifully constructed, with such acute attention to detail they wouldn’t have look out of place in a couturier’s atelier. Designers such as Ellie Toohey, Jessica Lewy and Vinh Huynh created eveningwear that took your breath away. Fabricated in finely tatted lace, beaded embroidery and silk chiffon, they were so delicate and feminine, arousing notions of fantasy and empyrean realms.

However, it wouldn’t have been a fashion show if it didn’t have shock value. While Shayli Harrison’s kaleidoscopic bugs transported us to an extraterrestrial territory it was Janna Spong who showed us a sophistication often seen on the runways of Gareth Pugh and Helmut Lang. Drawing inspiration from prisms, Spong artfully tailored garments to form the most striking geometric shapes. Experimenting with different treatments of fabric she created her very own textile using a disused cargo parachute which she cut up and coated with silicon. The result was a semi-sheer rubber-like material that she crafted into tailored shirts. My favourite was a white space-like dress fabricated out of resin-coated cotton that encased the wearer in origami-like folds. This is the kind of genius we would expect to see in Paris.

The parade was a rousing end to three challenging and exciting years. It’s like being on the spring board of the swimming pool, there is an electricity surrounding the momentum of what is yet to come and I’ll keep you posted!

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: The Man Wears the Pants?

Where will I begin? Usually I like to approach my “style advice” by establishing a certain context, whether it be cultural, historical or fashionable, that I can refer to when critiquing my weekly Fashionista/o’s outfit. After taking their picture I generally have a pretty good idea about what I would like to talk about. That was of course until I met this weeks Fashionisto. When I first caught sight of him I was apprehensive about taking his picture for fear I wouldn’t know what context to draw upon. Androgyny? Is it a dress or a top? The '80s? Had he been able to predict what Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were going to send down the catwalk for their fall 2011 D&G collection? All I could bank on was instinct and my instincts were telling me “this Fashionisto is bloody cool”.

However, upon reflection I have decided that any reference to a certain context would demean the undeniable uniqueness and creativity of this Fashionisto’s ensemble. He is breaking the rules by being himself. I love how he stands nonchalantly against the fence almost bored, a pose that contradicts his bold and eccentric outfit- a modern day Pierrot.

Despite not wanting to dilute this Fashionisto’s sensational style by turning it into a trend I think there are elements of this outfit that can be easily adapted to suit your own style. I like the idea of starting with a black canvas be it leggings, opaque tights or body suit and building on top of that with a vibrant palette and print. Equally an abstract silhouette like our fashionisto’s would also add another dimension to your wardrobe. Be a piece of walking art in Karen Walker’s Baroness dress or Romance Was Born’s frill concoction.

Fashion is the one medium that allows everybody the chance to be as unique and as creative as they would like to be, which I think is something we often forget in a world that is constantly dictating to us the latest “it” thing.


When I say the word “plaid” or “tartan” what are you envisioning? I see a gentleman with a walrus-like moustache playing a round of golf in woollen red-checkered breeches with long socks, matching jumper and a pom-pom atop his flame-like mane. How stereotypical and narrow is that interpretation of a pattern that goes back centuries and has been reinterpreted over and over again into wearable and even fashionable attire! Over the course of history the pattern has checkered Scottish clans, fashionable English royals, Westwood punks and even, as noticed by New York Times photographer, Bill Cunningham, women on the days following 9/11. It seems the ordered grids gives the wearer a sense of regularity and security. Plaid’s universal appeal is most recognised in contemporary menswear as its one of the few patterns men will wear.

This week’s Fashionisto shows us the right way to wear plaid. He’s debonair and dashing, smartly teaming his buttoned up shirt with neatly cuffed jeans and a pair of beautiful braided leather loafers. The pattern is simple with only a few intersecting lines of white and purple. The pinky red of the shirt updates the look giving a fresh, modern feel to an age-old pattern. For a smart preppy look like our Fashionisto, try a vibrant plaid shirt  with a slim coloured chino or do the switch and wear a pair of patterned pants with a simple shirt and perhaps top it off with a bow tie. If you prefer the lumberjack “lets rustle some cattle” look try a traditional tartan shirt with a distressed jean. For the girls go anglomanic in this Vivienne Westwood concoction or be one of the boys in a flannel shirt tucked neatly into your high-waisted jeans.

Hint: Beware  plaid can be both high fashion and low humour as advised by plaid mad Jeffery Banks, “That’s what a classic is. A little black dress if its too short it’s vulgar. And tartan is the same way.”