STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: (Never) Blending in with Black

Finally I’m home in Philly and as you can see, the streets are full of color and magic once again! My favorite characteristic of my hometown is that each neighborhood has a genuinely unique story and personality of its own, despite all being within the same city. For instance, I grew up in Queen Village where it is highly folkloristic with its slightly off-beat locales and people. Society Hill, on the other hand, is the area commonly associated with Philadelphia that is rich in history and lined with antiquated red-brick buildings. I found it quite fitting, then, for my last post of the summer to be about a unique signature style that transcends all neighborhoods within the city of brotherly love.

Earlier this week, on the ever-colorful South Street, I couldn’t help but stop this Fashionista because of her eye-catching outfit. It had not even occurred to me until I began to take her pictures that she was dressed in only one color: black. Customarily, black is a color associated with blending in, slimming down and a general sense of hiding. So it seems ironic that in an area covered with mosaics of broken mirrors and pottery of all colors, I would find the one Fashionista “hidden” from head to toe. But our Fashionista is actually the opposite of hidden; she uses the color black to create a unique ensemble ready for all environments that exudes her personal style and wonderfully sassy personality.

She starts her outfit with a black T-shirt. Unlike a normal cotton shirt, this one is velvet. Already, her look is elevated from basic black through the use of a textured light-catching material. This Fashionista is able to walk from a more casual setting, such as South Street on a Saturday afternoon, to the ritzier Rittenhouse Square with her top because of its simultaneous simplicity and luxury. Because her top is one solid color, she counter-balances her subdued half with pattern on the other. Her striped leggings, despite only being black and white, show this Fashionista’s true individuality and confidence as an off-beat South Philly girl. She fearlessly wears the most intriguing “pop” element on the bottom rather than sporting it on top like the norm.

With her perfect combination of texture and pattern, this Fashionista finishes off her black masterpiece with combat boots. These are classically associated with punk, especially in black, and I could not very well finish out the summer without a tribute to South Street’s Punk influence. She polishes her incredibly expressive outfit with her built-in accessories as well as black eyelinerblack sunglasses and a personalized black tote.

This Fashionista integrates pieces of many neighborhood personalities, from luxurious to loud to rugged, all into one cohesive, transcendent and totally individualized ensemble. Try taking influence from her in creating your own monochromatic look, combining different sensory elements. Instead of picking out a plain tee, try a different material. Simple forms can be transformed easily with texture and pattern. Monochrome may as well be rainbow!

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Retrospective Revolution

This week’s STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK is all about revolution in several senses: the literal motion of bicycle wheels, the forward motion we make when riding said vehicle and innovation. No matter what the definition, revolution involves constant motion usually implying forward direction. While fashion trends constantly move forward, it is also plainly evident that many tend to repeat themselves or at least borrow elements from their past counterparts. This week’s Fashionisto perfectly displays a revolutionary look through his juxtaposition and alteration of retrospective elements to fit modern trends and situations.

Having now spent two months in New York City, I have seen a myriad of different trends all worn differently by thousands of people in thousands of different situations. This particular Fashionisto caught my eye because of his particular take on some of the trends I have seen thus far.

Even before breaking down each element of his outfit, you’ll notice that his setting is, in fact, a bustling major metropolitan street. Yet, his ensemble both alludes to light minimalism for the summer heat and to the wear and tear constantly caused by city streets. Our Fashionisto is, in fact, revolutionary: with his greatest accessory—his bike—he can manage to travel anywhere from uptown to downtown to the faraway beaches. His outfit reflects his constant mobility, making him more versatile than the other passers-by wearing work attire.

Looking closely at his outfit, you will see that our Fashionisto is also revolutionary in the particular style of each of his elements. He is wearing vintage clothing almost completely from head to toe, yet his outfit also makes a point of following several very modern male trends. The first is one that I mentioned in a previous post and one that also facilitates the airiness and versatility of his look: short shorts. While the cut of the shorts alone is attention-grabbing, the color pattern from the 1970s creates an androgynous look that can be worn anywhere from the beach, like these more modern Jimmy’z shorts, and also make a very fashion-forward statement by either gender in a modern city. Another trending summer unisex item is the loose-fitting tank. While most are designed to look distressed, this Fashionisto found a vintage shirt with a design like this one and cut it himself for a cost-efficient and unique take on a popular item. Finally, he completes his ensemble with lace-up boots perfect for all settings, weather changes and clothing combinations. Like his boots, his helmet is also modern. Yet, both items perfectly integrate with his vintage pieces because of his overall timeless fashion outlook (and his perfect color-coordination).

Both Fashionistos and Fashionistas can take inspiration from our hero this week. The most trendy looks seen on the runway or in the ritziest neighborhoods can also be adopted in a cost-efficient way; all it takes is a little extra digging! Thrift stores hold the most unexpected treasures and these one-of-a-kind repurposed items will surely make anyone stand out from the crowd.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Punk Is Alive and Well

Many of you may have seen or at least heard of the current featured exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of Art called Punk: Chaos to Couture. Well, I found punk in the outside world and this particular exhibition has no time limit.

This week’s Fashionista is through-and-through a punk. Her outfit not only is an expression of her personal fashion choices, but also of the culture with which she identifies including music, a particular visual aesthetic and most importantly an ever-accepting community of misfits. There is no specific formula to being a punk, as one of the premises of the timeless culture is individuality to the extent of straying from all societal and political norms. Thus, each individual punk ends up with their own aesthetic qualities despite being part of a larger umbrella community.

Both this Fashionista and the Met exhibition emphasize one of the key methods for individualization in the punk culture: DIY. It is guaranteed that no one designer will create something quite like another. Similarly, no one punk Fashionista will rip, cut or even arrange her clothes like another. Though the exhibition focuses on punk exclusively with clothing items, I find even more common ground with our Fashionista’s aesthetic and contemporary art as a whole. Marcel Duchamp was an integral predecessor to contemporary artists in his revolutionary use and reappropriation of found objects, such as his 1917 Fountain. Richard Prince, a contemporary artist, has many works including found photographs from advertisements, reappropriated and juxtaposed on a large scale medium. Though Prince and other contemporaries such as Jeremy Deller would not fall under the Met’s definition of “punk”, they all have the same punk element in common: the pushing of cultural boundaries with re-use and juxtaposition of “found objects”.

This Fashionista pushes similar cultural boundaries with her DIY look. Her outfit is composed entirely of reappropriated and re-worked found objects (most likely from thrift stores). Her top was once a white ribbed tank like this one which then became a one-of-a-kind artwork as soon as it was touched by a purple marker. Similarly, our Fashionista’s oversized denim jacket once had sleeves which she subsequently cut. From there, the jacket was decorated to suit her personal taste in music with a unique placement of patches and handwriting. Her cargo pants are repurposed as female bottoms, cuffed and paired with a studded belt. Finally she completes her outfit (complementing many piercings) with a punk staple: Dr. Martens mary-janes.

Whether you’re a true punk or a mild appreciator, you can take inspiration from this Fashionista in many forms. You can create your own clothing in the punk DIY style, or you can mix elements by pairing your found or repurposed objects with more refined or plain prefab articles. If you are overwhelmed by the options in creating a punk or punk-inspired outfit, go see the exhibition at the Met before it’s too late to find out how you can take off-beat fashion and turn it into something runway-ready.


Upon looking at the photos of this Fashionisto, you will easily be able to tell that this week is all about the accent color.

As you well know by now, I love to both wear and write about the perfect outfit composed of mostly neutrals paired with a single pop of color. In addition to that pop, I always appreciate the different elements of the neutral base because they too show intricacy and complexity in ways other than pigment. This week, though, is about neither of these particular clothing situations—rather, it’s about both together and amplified.

I would not say that this Fashionisto wears a pop of color. Instead, I would call it a complete explosion. Also, if it weren’t obvious enough that he was very style-conscious by his use of a color motif alone, he drives the point home with the most eye-catching color: red.

Interestingly, he begins this motif not with a bright shirt but with red pants instead. As I mentioned in previous post, the amount of attention drawn to a bright outfit and the amount of surface area covered by said bright color are directly proportional. Thus, this Fashionisto makes the incredibly bold move of stating his accent—rather, “explosion”—color through his choice of slim-cut denim.

To complete his H-2-T (as Tyra Banks would say) red-delicious look, he “caps” himself at the top with a New Era fitted cap. Now with two incredibly bright and eye-catching pieces, he sprinkles the motif throughout the rest of his look with red laces on his Nike Air Max sneakers and in his black graphic T-shirt. Let’s not forget about his blingy non-permanent and permanent accessories: a belt, earrings and tattoos that add extra hints of his personal refined-street style in (believe it or not) a more subtle manner.

This week’s Fashionisto can inspire other Fashionistos and Fashionistas alike. Whether you believe in a spiritual connection to certain colors or just find yourself attracted to particular hues for the simple reason of emotional affinity, you can find many ways to show off your favorite shade without being totally monochromatic. If you like to rock a hat like this week’s Fashionisto, it’s easy to find any variation on a team’s colors that will best suit you. And there’s no need to worry about which Nike shoes (or whichever brand you prefer) might complement the rest of your outfit, as there are endless possibilities with customizable sneakers! Most importantly, don’t forget to keep to your own personal style with the form of each element. Color isn’t everything, you know!


Since the late 1940s, Fashionistos around the world have been sporting a timeless item: the white T-shirt. This element was once only found under a top layer—usually a button-down work shirt—and tucked safely into a pair of jeans. It was male style icons like James Dean, my ultimate bad boy crush, who made the undershirt-turned-overshirt become a simple and completely fashionable trend. Whether you grew up on The Sandlot or Rebel Without a Cause, I have no doubt you too have encountered a Fashionisto icon in a classic white-tee-and-jeans ensemble.

This week, I saw a Fashionisto who combined this fashion staple with another growing trend among younger hommes. While Jim Stark and Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez were quick to strip down from appropriate work attire, many fashionably progressive men seem to be rekindling the flames. The short sleeved button-down shirt is now a staple of many Fashionisto’s wardrobes, especially in the summer heat. These shirts can be found in many colors and materials and sometimes even have different vintage patches or prints (it is also important to always cuff them at the sleeves). This Fashionisto happens to be supporting his school with his SVA iron-on patch. While the shirt is usually found buttoned all the way to the collar, he decided to leave it open in order to show his various style elements.

Our Fashionisto has found the perfect balance between renegade protagonist and completely obedient worker in order to maintain his own fashion identity. He creates a neutral base for his outfit with his dark wash straight leg jeans—perfectly cuffed at the bottom—and his chukka boots that camouflage into the rainy sidewalk (ironically enough). In order to accessorize his mainly neutral look, he adds on his own accessories. In addition to the patch on his shirt, he carries a custom printed tote bag with his blog’s logo. Rather than sporting a chain under his white T-shirt—a timeless item even our grandfathers favor—he wears a hand crafted vintage necklace with raw turquoise. Of course, let’s not forget his white snapback hat with similar circular applique to mach his T-shirt and other fun jewelry and individualized accessories!

Fashionistos of all types: no matter where you stand in your preference of certain lifestyles or clothing styles, you can find inspiration from film characters, musicians or artists from any decade. If 1950s heart throbs do not embody your aesthetic goals, look to the 1920s for some inspiration from Jay Gatsby himself or to Morrissey from the 1980s. Fashionistas too can look to multiple male style icons or general trends for their own attire as a way to create a simplistic base for a fully accessorized look. Of course, the moral of the story here is always to find what you like in one inspiration and depart from the rest: there is where you will be able to establish your own identity.


Leopards generally don’t have spots, but I had to make sure the play on words worked… at least somewhat. This week’s STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK isn’t just about color or pattern, though. As you can see, this week’s Fashionista is all about bright colors and eye-catching patterns. You may already know: I love spotting Fashionistas and Fashionistos who wear an article of clothing with a bright accent color. I myself love to sport neutral tones with the exception of a single vivid element that draws the eye in.

This Fashionista takes it one step further and draws the eye in multiple times over. With each week, I like to offer a new way to stand out based on the outfits of Fashionistas that catch my attention. And usually, that new way involves one particular element. This week’s Fashionista brings all of those elements together wonderfully, proving that there is no need to stop at just one pop of pizzazz.

I like to mention the graphic tee as a way to make a plainer outfit involving a solid shirt more particular and polished (or the opposite of polished, if that’s your style). Here, our Fashionista starts the base of her outfit—the most neutral element—with a flowy sleeveless graphic T-shirt. While this element works in more grayscale-based outfits as the eye-catching piece, here it works more to break up the brightness in the rest of her outfit.

This brings me to her pants. Like I mentioned before, her pant(-ers) are electric blue. But not only that; they also have a leopard print! Colored patterns are pretty prevalent, but generally people are only so daring to wear them on top rather than on the bottom. This Fashionista draws the most attention with what usually would be a simple blue jean or pair of shorts. Even colored or patterned shorts and skirts pale in comparison! Her chinos are long, but still airy and perfectly cuffed at the ankle for the summer weather. And of course, they are totally awesome.

Our Fashionista complements her outfit with excellent eye-catching accessories, including her bright red Converse All-Stars. In addition, her backwards hat and Prada glasses in such proximity encompass her obvious love of both street style and refined fashion finesse. Finally, this Fashionista shows off her edgy personality even more with her built-in accessory: patterned and bright gauges.

If you feel like kicking your brightness up a notch, take at least one style inspiration from this Fashionista: patterned pants. This piece covers the most surface area of your body and so of course it will draw the most attention. Colorful patterned pants, though more unconventional—and thus more exciting—can be found in all types, including stretchy denim. Once you start with a single bold move, I have no doubt that you will want more. As you can see from this Fashionista, there’s nothing wrong with that. Have fun being a leopard, zebra, and pant-er!


It’s no wonder that this Fashionisto caught my eye earlier this week: he is 100% Eurpoean. Impressed by his incredible style-consciousness, I decided to make him this week’s Fashionisto and then learned that he is visiting from the Czech Republic. As you may know, I have a strong appreciation for European fashion because of my own background and love to integrate it into my everyday wardrobe. In showing off this Fashionisto’s outfit, I hope to show how you American Fashionistos—and even Fashionistas—can integrate some European flair as well.

One of my favorite motifs of European fashion as a whole is the casual sporty trend (in women’s fashion, it’s often found in footwear and in those cool racing jackets). This Fashionisto exudes that in his totally comfy yet completely particular outfit. You may not find much difference between his outfit and one of a progressive man in a major metropolitan area here in the good ol’ USA. However, there are subtle characteristics to his outfit that are not as prevalent here, yet still very easily adoptable (luckily for the American Fashionistos!).

Starting from the top, you’ll notice his backwards hat. You probably recognize it as a staple of many fraternity boys’ wardrobes. This Fashionisto, however makes this look more polished with the material of his hat: corduroy. This material is certainly more unique than the canvas of the all-American Sigma-something-something hat, but is fairly easy to find. Also easily accessible in his outfit are the wayfarer sunglasses. This trend transcends all nations, starting from the revival of the vintage Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer (now made in Italy). With many other brands now replicating the style, even the lowest college budget can include this iconic piece.

In looking at the rest of this Fashionisto’s outfit, you will realize that he keeps it fairly simple with shorts and a T-shirt. What makes his outfit more interesting is the graphic print and the cut of his shirt. The scoop-neck T-shirt can be found in all different solid colors and add refinement to a simple male or female summer outfit. Like this Fashionisto did, it’s easy to elevate the subtle but effective statement of this different cut by finding the shirt with a graphic print.

To tie the outfit together, this Fashionisto wears subtle but colorful beaded bracelets: yet another example of cultural transcendance. Of course, I will not forget his canvas shoes. Rather than wearing worn-down running sneakers, he sports these comfy, light and perfect-for-summertime-heat unisex walking shoes that you can find under a million different brands. I myself like to wear Dr. Martens, but brand preference is always personal and should be tailored to the style that best fits you.

So, Fashionistos, it turns out that it’s really easy to look slightly more upscale in a simple summer outfit by addressing each particular element and replacing it with one of a different material, complexity or cut. You might even be Czech-ed out by a Style Guru yourself!


Whether working, taking classes or sustaining any five-day activity, everyone craves the sweet moment of waking up to a summertime Saturday. The weekend is always the time to sleep until whenever and relax, but also to run errands. Whether Saturday is spent tanning on fire escapes, sitting on the grass in the park or doing laundry, it’s easy for anyone to want to wear comfy athletic clothes by default. Though very stretchy and airy, items like Nike Pro compression shorts aren’t the best for outside-of-the-gym situations. Luckily, there is a way to keep to the sporty aesthetic while still being polished.

This Fashionista is, in fact, an athlete. However, her Saturday attire is on the more elegant side of sporty. She makes sure to stay comfortable with her outfit and keep her hands free for errands while still maintaining her personal style with a cool combination of clothing elements and accessories. Her tank top is very simply a neon cami—this can be worn in many casual situations, especially in times when getting things done or getting sweaty is the priority over style. This particular top has a cool graphic print of Marilyn Monroe with a street style twist. The top becomes more edgy with the design and shows off this Fashionista’s personality.

To complement her top but still keep her polished theme, this Fashionista wears high-waisted shorts into which she tucks her tank. They create a dividing line at her waist, accentuating her form and creating a sleek silhouette. Now, check out how this Fashionista takes this refined athletic ensemble to the next level with her selection of jewelry. As a seasoned yogi, our Fashionista shows off her sporty side even more with her empowering hair tie bracelet that’s perfect for an on-the-go weekend in the heat. She also adds more refined flair with her chunky gemstone ring and sunglasses. These elements complement her built-in accessories—her awesome tattoos and piercings. Finally, with her keys on her neck and pockets in her shorts to carry some cash, this Fashionista doesn’t even need to lug a bag around. This way she can indulge in any Saturday activity while still being completely chic.

Fashionistas: If you’re pining to finally wear that neon tank top or sporty T-shirt on the weekend, go for it! The key to looking fabulous is pairing that top with the right elements. Instead of your beloved bright and comfy track shorts (with built in underwear—I know, I know), try taking inspiration from this Fashionista and wear shorts that accentuate your waist. Make sure to accessorize with all that jewelry you love so you pull together your ensemble with even more elegance. Of course, if you have any cool tattoos or piercings, the weekend is a great time to show them off. After all, this down time outside of dress codes at work is the best for self-expression—especially on Saturday; it’s not lazy Sunday quite yet.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Who Likes Short Shorts?

We like short shorts!

Despite what you may think, you did not just walk into a 1970s gym class. This Fashionisto is actually from the 21st century and totally stylish. He is rocking a pair of vintage linen shorts that fall well above his knees. Though he may be taking his grandpa’s style (literally—he stole them from his abuelo’s drawer), he incorporates the shorts into a comfy and more modern summer menswear setting—with a tiny bit more of his long legs showing.

For the most part, our Fashionisto keeps his outfit simple. Where he makes a bold statement is in the pop of color he adds on top with a bright orange T-shirt. He then complements his shirt with bright blue canvas Vans, thus making both colors stand out even more strongly. Let’s not forget about those orange socks—this Fashionisto made no effort to conceal them and instead chose the complementary color of his shoes to unite his whole outfit.

The shorts, in turn, are the most subtle piece of his ensemble. Yet, a garment doesn’t necessarily have to make a statement based on color. That’s why short shorts work perfectly well as a practical, neutral and extra stylish base for a modern guy’s summer attire. Especially good for lanky fellows like this Fashionisto, the tactful statement will make the body’s proportions look a little less boxy and a little more polished and slim.

Fashionistos: just because you’re a cool dude doesn’t mean your shorts need to hit your knee. You can still wear the simple summertime outfits that you love, yet you can get even more breeze on your legs with a slightly shorter cut on your shorts. They are very subtle, yet deliberate enough to turn heads. You can even try this style with swimsuit trunks—think about how much less fabric will hold you back in the water! And of course, those toned legs of yours will look great.


It’s summertime, which means that it’s officially wedding season. In case you haven’t realized already, we’re now all adults with friends and family members very close in age getting married. While this is scary for all parents involved, it gives all of us Fashionistas and Fashionistos opportunities to get dressed up!

Weddings can take many forms and therefore have varying dress codes. Fashionistas always want to look polished and appropriate for every occasion, so it can be difficult to find the perfect dress to wear as a guest. An element that carries through all types of occasions is the long dress. Just because you are not the bride-to-be does not mean you have to settle for a short cocktail dress. Short dresses are always appropriate for any occasion, but leave a lot to be desired in a more formal or even casual summer setting.

This Fashionista, about to attend her cousin’s traditional wedding, is wearing a long multi-color chiffon dress perfect for a formal evening occasion in 80-degree Miami weather. While the sweetheart bodice is structured and highly detailed to accentuate her form, the skirt flows loosely to allow for ventilation with every bit of breeze or climate control (and for plenty of movement on the dance floor!). In addition, the darker purple tones of the dress add an extra hint of evening elegance.

In complementing her already polished evening dress, this Fashionista accessorizes with delicate pieces of jewelry that subtly shine but do not overburden the outfit. She adds extra detail to her overall look through her nail color—the periwinkle nail polish is reminiscent of the lightest color of her dress, adding a hint of cool and ethereal contrast to the rest of the warmer hues. Her beaded clutch perfectly mimics the beaded waist detail on her dress, creating continuity of her outfit and bringing out the evening shimmer even more.

Her orange suede BCBGeneration strappy sandals pull the whole look together with that bright pop of color not found within the dress. We all know that shoes are every Fashionista’s and Fashionisto’s personal statement and here we see this Fashionista’s bright and bold personality shine through with how she complements the rest of her outfit.

If you’re attending a wedding or another formal event, don’t be afraid to go long. If you’re in a warmer environment, pick a dress that is flowy and, like this Fashionista’s dress, made of chiffon or a similar material. Floor-length elegance comes in many different colors and forms to fit whichever style you feel represents you the best. If the wedding is more traditional and in a church or temple, take inspiration from this Fashionista by bringing along a soft neutral shawl or shrug to cover your shoulders. No matter what kind of wedding, don’t forget to add your own personal flair to even the simplest dress with your shoes, jewelry, bag and hair style. Most importantly, don’t forget to accessorize your entire outfit with some sweet dance moves.