Over this spring semester, I've had the wonderful opportunity to capture some of the most unique and inspiring fashions seen on the guys at Columbia College Chicago. And all in all, I must say that we have some of the most stylish men in the entire city.

This Fashionisto proves no different. From head to toe he has garnered a look that's smart and sophisticated with his Buddy Holly inspired “geek” glasses and his navy blue loafers with red shoestrings.

His red and blue striped necktie serves as the central point of his outfit and gives his look that extra pizzazz. Slinging on a tan, cross-body messenger bag and he's ready for a business meeting, class or even a date. The versatility of an outfit is always a plus; no one wants to do quick changes throughout the day.

The pattern of the tie you choose proves just as important as any other detail of your outfit. Go for color and patterns that accentuate your ensemble, not distract from it. You can find a great selection of patterned ties at places like Express, Neiman Marcus and Ralph Lauren.

Hint: And lastly, dress for you. Keeping up with trends in fashion can be daunting, we understand. But inner confidence is the key to truly pulling any ensemble off!

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: The Denim on Denim Trend

Denim on denim is in… again. While we're all still cringing from those matching head-to-toe denim outfits Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake wore back in 2001, we can acknowledge that when done correctly, the double denim trend can actually be quite stylish.

This Fashionisto certainly pulls the look off exceptionally, wearing a pair of cuffed, dark denim jeans with a short-sleeved, lighter denim button-down. The wash differences in his denim choices help break up the outfit and keep him from looking dated.

He adds his own quirk and flair with a red bow tie, white socks and brown loafers. Michael Jackson may have made it cool to rock “high water” pants and white socks, but only a few are brave enough to pull it off. So hats off to this Fashionisto for making it look so good!

Hint: Want to try this denim trend but afraid you'll look too retro? No worries! Try pairing different shades of blue denim like this Fashionisto or even go with black. Keep your accessories basic with a simple leather belt or jacket. And please, leave the denim blue cowboy hat in Mr. Timberlake's closet.


Hello Fashionistas and Fashionistos! Mariah here bringing you your weekly Windy City forecast on this fine spring day. Let's see what we've got: Rain. Rain. Wind. More rain…and wind. Seems like saying “spring showers” in Chicago is a bit of an understatement with the pelting the city has been getting the past couple of weeks.

With that, I'm sure we've all fallen victim to the “it's-raining-so-I'm-not-getting-dressed” philosophy at least one of these days. So you can imagine my shock (and pure ecstasy) spotting this stylish Fashionisto on his way to class.

What makes his outfit so great is his combination of dressy and casual pieces. Looking at him from only waist up, you wouldn't expect him to be wearing a pair of sandblasted denim jeans or Jordan sneakers. But the pairings fit together perfectly, making him look cool and sophisticated.

I especially love this Fashionisto's gray vest which he layers with a navy blue blazer. Vests should be a staple in every man's closet, as they are a trend I don't see going away anytime soon. Or at least I hope not.

Hint: Ditch the dress shoes and dress it down with sneakers. Celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Kanye West are good for showing up on the red carpet in three-piece suits and their favorite pair of high-tops. It's a great way to be dressed up, yet dressed down at the same time.

Oh, and don't forget the umbrella!


LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Kick it Old School

Fashion is an ever-evolving continuous cycle. What can be “in” one day, can be “out” the next and then “in” again the day after that. Okay, maybe fashion doesn't recycle that quickly, but what goes around always seems to come right back around.

Take for instance this Fashionisto's retro-inspired ensemble. From head-to-toe he reminds me of a character from some early '90s sitcom. Donning a thrifted, funky-patterned button-down underneath a turquoise and gray pullover and a pair of denim jeans, his inspiration is clearly one of the past.

However, this Fashionisto's outfit looks anything but dated or “old.” In fact, patterns like this are once again all the rage, as bold prints have taken over the runways for both men and women. Cool, daring prints are what defined the '90s, and it looks like we're borrowing the theme.

This Fashionisto takes things a step further with a nod to the famous comedy duo “Kid 'n Play” with his perfectly sculpted high-top (emphasis on the “high”) fade hairstyle. It's definitely a bold look, but one that he pulls off brilliantly.

Hint: Going retro doesn't have to mean dressing in complete 90s gear — Dungaree overalls and all. The key is to take a signature old-school piece and modernize it. Take a crazy print and dress it up with a blazer and a pair of cropped pants. Or take a pair of acid-wash jeans and style it with a light-colored tank top. Or go for the Dungarees… if you dare.


Despite all of the “fashion rules” and standards for what's “in” and what's “out,” fashion should be effortless. Going with the flow of things and keeping it simple can help shape a personal style that others will definitely admire.

Take this Fashionisto's outfit choice, for instance. He couples a pristine, white button-down with a pair of brown slacks and black loafers. For flair, he adds a vibrant orange belt and a set of turquoise and gray socks. He slides on a pair of black Ray-Ban Wayfarers and is ready to take on the world — or at least the oh-so-windy city of Chicago.

While there are times to be flashy and wear crazy colors, it's cooler to stand out when it looks like you're not trying too hard. When keeping it casual like this Fashionisto, leave the glitz to your supporting pieces and accessories. You'll look so much cooler than the guy who showed up to school looking like Eddie Murphy in his 1987 stand-up special Raw (or any guy in the '80s for that matter). 

Hint: Pay attention to the details. Yes, this post is all about making fashion easy, but putting in a little more thought into the accessories that accompany your outfit isn't difficult at all. Opting for a brightly colored belt or some funky socks will only add to your look. After all, a wise man (well, Robert Kardashian, whose coming out with his own line of dress socks) once said, “I feel like everybody likes a dress sock. No one wants to see a boring tube sock.” We concur.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Polka-Dots, Pastels and Plaids, Oh My!

First, let me state that I am in love with this Fashionisto's look from head to toe. His use of different colors and patterns all come together to make for an outfit that exudes an easy style and grace.

The pastel purple, blue, green and pink on his striped scarf works perfect for this spring season. Guys usually shy away from pastel colors, either because they look too soft and feminine or maybe because they bring up some horrid childhood memories about Easter eggs (you've got to admit, the Easter bunny is a little creepy). Either way, they're nothing to be afraid of and are actually a nice route to go for adding color to your wardrobe, as opposed to going neon.

The pastel trend was forecast last fall at fashion weeks in both New York and London, with brands like Acne, Jonathan Saunders and Mulberry blazing the trail on the runway.

This Fashionisto's blue chambray polka-dot blazer from Topshop is my favorite piece of his ensemble because it offers a chic and unique take on the standard men's blazer. His addition of a plaid handkerchief in the breast pocket just adds the icing on the cake!

Hint: The color black is not your friend as the temperatures steadily climb as we near summer. For one, black (and other darker colors) absorb heat, which we're sure you want to avoid when it's a sunny, 90 degree Chicago day. So, as the temperatures warm, warm up your wardrobe with whites, yellows and pastels. You can thank us later.


Today we'll define “swagger.” According to the trusty Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it can be defined as “to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence.” While that may be the original definition, translated to its street value, it simply means “cool,” or according to Urban Dictionary, “to dress in a very stylish and quirkily fashionable way.” Needless to say, I like that definition a lot better.

This Fashionisto's entire aura screams “swagger” (or “swag”) to me, from his slicked-back hair, to his dark Ray-Ban Wayfarers all the way own to his rugged, brown combats (his knuckle tattoos are pretty cool, too). He makes getting dressed in the morning look as easy as tying your shoes. 

This Fashionisto softens up his tough look by adding a collared button-down and a light, pullover sweater that doesn't quite go the preppy way but makes him look clean and very well put together.

Hint: “Swag” is all about self-confidence and the way you carry yourself. If you're comfortable with what you're wearing, whether it be sweats and a hoodie or a three-piece suit, the “swagger” will follow.


Let's get this clear now, guys. White is perfectly fine before, during and after Labor Day (fashion rules are meant to be broken). Sure, it's months away and this Fashionisto is clearly within the unwritten guidelines, but let his look be inspiration for you down the road.

At the height of rush hour on the famous “Mag Mile,” I picked him out of the crowd for his laid-back, preppy look. He styles his light blue oxford shirt unbuttoned and untucked to give his outfit a looser feel. His white, cotton pants are stylish yet they look comfortable, which is always a plus.

A nice pair of white pants should be in every Fashionisto's closet. If not for its indisputable freshness then for its versatility. You can take them a step further than this Fashionisto and dress it down more with a open, denim button-down and a fitted v-neck shirt. Or, you can dress it up with a patterned oxford shirt, vest and blazer. Add a skinny tie and voila, you have the perfect outfit and you don't look anything like a sailor or a milkman.

Hint: Because white will nearly always look pristine and clean, let the rest of your outfit go the more rugged route. Break out your favorite pair of worn down brown loafers and some wooden jewelry to highlight the contrast. And if you want to go the extra mile, grow a beard!

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Kind of Fly for A Bow Tie

I spotted this Fashionisto freshly imported from France on Michigan Avenue, braving the high winds for some vacation time in the Windy City. Clearly, he brought some of that impeccable French style over with him.

Pairing a gray sweater with black lining and a red, black and white plaid button-down worked out perfectly and stayed away from the “lumberjack” look that I warned of in this previous post. The plaid print on his sneakers somehow doesn't clash and pulls together with his dark, black velvet pants to make a well put together outfit.

My favorite feature of his ensemble has to be his bow tie. In fact, it's what caught my eye in the first place. Bow ties seem to have always been popular in the fashion world, seen on such notables like Fred Astaire and Pee-wee Herman (back in the day) and more recently on Karl Lagerfeld, Andre “3000” Benjamin and Justin Timberlake.

Now while you probably aren't itching to look like Pee-wee Herman in a gray checkered suit and red bow tie (or maybe you are — no judgement here!), you can be thankful for the accessory's versatility — either dressing it up with a tuxedo or going more casual with a button-down, sweater and jeans like this Fashionisto did.

Hint: Not sure how to tie a bow tie? No worries! Many bow ties today come “ready tied” so that you don't have to worry about it. It will be less of a hassle and save you time. But if you like the manly feeling you get from tying your own tie, this cool website called Tie-a-Tie can help with clear instructions shown through diagrams.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Leather, Fur and Rock and Roll

Spotting this Fashionisto on an oddly warm Chicago winter day put a smile on my face as I praised the fashion gods for sending him my way. He expertly matches two of my ultimate favorite textures: leather and faux fur.

Now, before you start to think “Fur? That's for girls,” let me make a case for why it's the perfect male accessory. For one, unlike real fur, faux fur is less maintenance and doesn't require cold storage to prevent damage and deterioration. So, you can always throw it in that ever-growing pile of clothes growing in the corner of your room.

And when you think “fur,” it doesn't have to be an image of Liza Minelli or Elizabeth Taylor glammed out in those old, Hollywood movies. Designers have found ways to play up the masculine side of fur, stitching it into the hood of jackets, on the collars of parkas and of course hats. In fact, this Fashionisto got creative and made his own hat out of a pelt of faux fur.

Now, a good leather jacket should be a staple in every Fashionisto's closet and isn't that hard to come by. You can find them everywhere at all price points (the more you pay, the more real the leather obviously), from H&M to Ralph Lauren.The look goes all the way back to the days of James Dean, and now all kinds of stars are rocking it. Leather and fur make the perfect combination; leather jackets scream “biker boy cool” and the touch of fur adds the “chic.”

Hint: Try mixing up different textures for an outfit. Leather and fur. Wool and cotton. Or even corduroy and denim. Switching up textures can add some “oomph” to an otherwise lackluster outfit. Be a rebel. The fashion gods will surely thank you.