STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Trends For The Working Girl

As a brand new college graduate, I am having the best time exploring business casual trends for the working world. My favorite look to have come across so far is a bold colorful blouse paired with chunky jewels and gems. Nothing makes a powerful statement quite like the fabulously trendy bib and collar necklaces.

Though I am absolutely thrilled to be a career-seeking woman, I am less enthused about the detriment that buying new clothes will do to my just-out-of-college budget. A woman’s wardrobe changes countless times in her life, and I think learning to buy multifunctional pieces is the easiest way for Fashionistas to save some money in the long run.

Trends are constantly changing and flowing in and out of style. Adding more basic and understated pieces to your closet will make your wardrobe lasting and versatile. A T-shirt can be worn hundreds of different ways, from laid back and casual to dressy and professional, whereas a neon skirt is pretty one-dimensional in terms of functionality.

This Fashionista’s look is simple and chic. Her royal blue blouse, black necklace and light cardigan are perfect for a day on campus, and these pieces are easy to integrate into a professional setting. Just swap the shorts and sandals for a pair of high-waist slacks and wedges, and you’re ready for a day at the office.


The concept of wearing heels to class has always created quite a conundrum for me. I absolutely love shoes, especially my ever-growing collection of heels. But like most college towns, Iowa City has some unspoken fashion rules that I have yet to be brave enough to defy.

Footwear norms on campus vary from season to season, but the most common choices are UGGs when it’s cold and flip flops when it’s warm. Even those that opt for alternative shoe styles would probably never wear heels to class. The rule of thumb seems to be that heel heights taller than your average flat are socially unacceptable before 7 p.m. (i.e. bar time).

Fashion rules vary with time, and like any norm, they should be challenged and assessed often. I admire this Fashionista for her practical, stylish and seemingly rebellious choice to wear wedges on the Pentacrest before lunchtime. Her brown sandals are great for summer and they polish off her earth-tone ensemble perfectly. If she were in platform heels or five-inch stilettos I might be concerned, but wedges offer more comfort and support than ballet flats while providing the height that some Fashionistas want or need.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to push your fashion limits, sport some comfy wedges to your next class. This Fashionista complemented her neutral additions with a summer dress, a light jacket and an adorably dainty necklace. Subtle and delicate jewelry pieces are extremely popular this season, so balance out your chunky footwear with a simple chain bracelet or stacked rings.


T.J. Maxx's newest Maxxinista, Lindsey Calla of Saucy Glossie, declares that stripes are back in the latest commerical. But did they ever really go away? Stripes and prints are a great way to add variety to your wardrobe in any season, but nothing says summer quite like the nautical trend. With her navy and white stripes, this Fashionista is oh-so-ready for the upcoming summer festivities here in the Midwest.

I'll admit, the first thing I noticed about this Fashionista was her hair — anyone that defies the pin-straight trend and embraces her natural curls deserves recognition, in my opinion. But what I adore most about this Fashionista's outfit is how she uses minimalism to her advantage. With her striped T-shirt and wide-leg jeans, this Fashionista reminds me of the iconic Olsen sisters and their effortlessly cool style. All she needs is a sun hat and retro shades and she is ready for a day at Lollapalooza or a stroll through Iowa City's Jazz Fest.

Wherever your musical preferences take you this summer, a casually chic outfit like this one will have you looking and feeling fabulous, much like Mary Kate and Ashley. To customize this look for your own style and location, find a T-shirt in your favorite pattern (I prefer floral) and your favorite jeans or trendiest summer shorts. Like this Fashionista, keep it simple when accessorizing your new look — an oversized tote and casual flip flops will do. 

What I love most about fashion is that it not only impacts the way we look, but the way we feel about ourselves. This Fashionista exemplifies that CollegeFashionistas can look and feel just as fabulous in jeans and a T-shirt as they do when dressed up for a night out. The key to having effortless style is a little confidence.


When I think of colors that represent spring, green immediately comes to mind. There are a variety of hues to play with in the green family, but this Fashionista chose the perfect shade to epitomize this season’s trends: lime.

Worn with a sheer blouse, an oversized cardigan and Sperry Top-Siders, this Fashionista’s lime shorts add a pop of color to this sporty-meets-preppy ensemble. Adding a pop of color under your sheer tops is a subtle way to add more bright shades to your outfits this spring. This Fashionista’s tangerine bandeau tops off her look perfectly.

If you have followed my column throughout this semester, you should know by now that I love versatile outfits most of all. This Fashionista could run home after her evening classes, ditch the comfy sweater and shoes and be ready to head out for the night. To transform this outfit from day to night, simply add colorful studs, a bib necklace and your go-to nude pumps. With a look this versatile, you'll never miss out on happy hour again.

Colorful shorts are just as bold, versatile and utterly perfect for spring and summer as colorful pants were for fall and winter. Whether it's mint or chartreuse that best suits your style, you cannot go wrong with green this season.


We are experiencing the strangest weather patterns in Iowa City lately. Seasons are blurring together and — for the first time in my five years of Midwestern living — Iowa did not have a white Christmas. With the wind and chilly temperatures, area Fashionistas are incorporating go-to layering pieces from fall into their spring wardrobes.

Assembling the perfect outfit is a delicate and careful process — much like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. What struck me about this ensemble is how unique and put together this Fashionista looks wearing only neutral pieces. She relied on noble neutrals to keep her warm and fabulous during this burst of cold weather.

To acquire this comfy and casual look, start with your favorite pair of blue jeans and a white T-shirt, then layer with a sweater vest and braided belt. When polishing off your nothing-but-neutral look, reference this Fashionista and find neutral accessories that make a bold statement. Nude flats pop next to this Fashionista’s richly colored denim, while ger unique magnifying glass pendant and blue drop earrings give this outfit a touch of vintage flair.

Every time I go shopping I come home with a new patterned dress or colorful shoes. If your closet looks anything like mine, your wardrobe could probably use a heavy dose of neutrals too. All the bright colors and patterns this season has to offer are absolutely lovely, but if you find yourself in need of a change, try assembling a nothing-but-neutral look of your own. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy dressing up your basic brown and beige pieces.


What do Tom Cruise, Audrey Hepburn and the cast of Twilight have in common? Not much really, apart from the fact that they each have varying degrees of stardom and, at some point during their careers, have contributed to the Wayfarer revival.

The resurgence in popularity of Ray-Ban’s hippest shades cannot be denied — everybody either has or wants a pair of Wayfarers. In addition to this comeback, bright colors and neon are also back in action and trendier than ever this season.

I love to play with new trends as they come and go, but I have been seriously struggling to find a wearable way to sport neon. In large capacities, like shirts or dresses, highlighter hues really don’t do anything for my skin tone. But thanks to this Fashionista, I have a new way to make this trend work for me. If you find yourself in the same situation when it comes to wearing neon, just remember to choose modest, basic pieces to go with your retro frames and other bold accessories. Skinny jeans, neutral sandals and a cropped top in warm purple look fabulous on this Fashionista and allow her yellow sunglasses to be the focal point of this ensemble.

Unless you are on your way to an ‘80s party, please refrain from wearing every neon piece you own in one setting. Less is more when it comes to bold color additions. CollegeFashionistas are always the first to sport outrageous new trends and piece together the unexpected, so just make sure you remain true to your own style and don’t go overboard with all the colorful trends this season.


Accompanied by chunky pearls and long gloves, Audrey Hepburn’s classic figure-fitting little black dress in Breakfast At Tiffany’s made the LBD a staple for every Fashionista’s wardrobe. And although some of my favorite dresses are in fact, little and black, I have been looking for something new and fresh for summer: a little white dress (LWD).

When I saw this Fashionista sporting an adorably chic LWD, I had to stop her and ask to take a photo. The geometric cutouts around the neck of the dress initially caught my eye, but when I took a closer look, I fell in love with the way this Fashionista accessorized her little white dress.

In contrast to the intentionally fancy way Audrey wore her LBD, this Fashionista’s look is casual and effortless — perfect for a warm day on campus. Her wide belt and chic leather sandals tie together this casually cute ensemble, but my favorite thing about this look is the way this Fashionista’s red lipstick pops next to her LWD. With her fair skin, soft dress and red lip, this Fashionista looks like a modern-day Snow White. 

Some people associate white with innocence, wedding gowns and the “do not wear after Labor Day” adage, but I firmly believe the LWD can be just as versatile and fabulous as the traditional LBD. To transform this little white dress from day to night, exchange the belt and sandals for nude pumps, colorful earrings and an oversized clutch. You will look and feel just as elegant and classic in your LWD as you do in your traditional LBD, all while sporting a new, unique trend.


Saying I struck gold when I saw this Fashionista taking a stroll along the Iowa River feels a bit off. With her shining turquoise accessories, I find it more fitting and equally complementary to say that I struck silver.

For CollegeFashionistas on a budget, sterling silver is the most durable metal we can afford with our limited paychecks. Silver may not possess the vintage appeal and sophisticated connotation of yellow gold, but it has its own clean and polished look that makes for a fabulous addition to any outfit.

Any girl can wear leggings with a bright tunic and call herself trendy. What separates CollegeFashionistas from the girls next door is the ability to take a simple outfit to the next level with intricate details. With her silver cuff and hoops, chunky turquoise rings, fringe boots and red leather tote, this Fashionista is totally chic and ready for another fabulous day on campus.

There are tons of fabulous silver accessories in this ensemble, but my favorite piece, by far, is this Fashionista’s cross pendant necklace. As a gift from her aunt and one of her go-to accessories for everyday wear, this little bauble is one of her most precious possessions. I can totally understand why this Fashionista treasures her pendant so dearly, because that is exactly how I feel about my favorite piece of jewelry. A little piece of advice: If you find an accessory that personifies the essence of your personality and looks great with everything, never it let it go.


For most CollegeFashionistas, the month of March can be summed up in two words: spring break. Nothing better prepares us for our week-long adventures in the sun than shopping for fabulous vacation-wear. Breezy, fun and tropical, this Fashionista’s mini-dress exudes everything that spring break is supposed to be about. She informed me that she purchased this  in preparation for an upcoming trip to Punta Cana. What better way to blend in with the birds of paradise than by sporting a colorful print?

No one wants to look like a parrot on vacation, so just be sure to reign in all the colors of your patterned looks with simple and basic additions. White sandals, gold accessories and a posh pair of shades balance out the bright hues of this Fashionista’s dress perfectly. Whether you wear it to brunch with the girls in Las Vegas or on a day at the beach in Cancun, this look is great for any spring break occasion. 

Knowing what to pack is often the most troublesome part of preparing for a trip. Most CollegeFashionistas would love to be able to pack the entirety of their closets into a suitcase. Sadly, that is just not possible. The key to making the most out of your vacation-wear is to pack pieces that are versatile, like this Fashionista’s dress.

All you need to transform this daywear ensemble into nightwear is a pair of chunky wedges and, depending on what the weather at your travel destination is like at night, a comfy cardigan. Just exchange the sultry and wavy beach hair for a sleek high bun and you will be ready to dance the night away in paradise this spring break.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Handmade and Fair-Trade Fashions

I stumbled across this Fashionista at the Pedestrian Mall on a beautiful, sunny day last week. Her burnt orange tunic grabbed my attention, but when I noticed her keen eye for unique and intricate jewelry, I was sold.

This Fashionista informed me that her bohemian-style tunic is from Mata Traders; a fair-trade online retailer of handmade clothing, accessories and home décor produced by women’s cooperative and artisan groups in Nepal and India. After chatting with this Fashionista about her ensemble, I was eager to get back to my MacBook and find out more about Mata.

As it turns out, the ladies who founded and run the organization are CollegeFashionistas in their own right. They traveled to India together during college and started their business shortly after based on the beautiful patterns and styles of India. All of the fabrics are hand block-printed with eco-friendly vegetables dyes and use fair-trade certified cottons that amount to some seriously chic clothing. Mata follows environmental standards and they support small family farms that are paid a fair price for their products. I definitely respect a company that can take fashion, something many people associate with vanity and self-involvement, and turn it into a sustainable and good-hearted practice that is still very fun and stylish.

To get this Fashionista’s boho-chic look, find a trendy printed tunic of your own. Her tunic from Mata also comes in a muted jade that is great for spring or try this short-sleeved purple tunic if you are looking for a style to carry into summer. Pair your new top with some comfortable skinny jeans or leggings from your own closet, add a casually cool pair of sling-back sandals and you are nearly set.

What I admired most about this Fashionista was her keen eye for detail when it comes to accessorizing. Erica Weiner, an Iowa City area craft-maker, designed the harmonica necklace this Fashionista is sporting. CollegeFashionistas in the Iowa City area can find other designs by Erica Weiner at Revival. For Fashionistas outside of Iowa City in search, check out this silver harmonica necklace on Etsy.

Once you have located some unique jewelry and accessories, your boho-chic look is ready to go. So, hit the streets in style this spring and remember to look into more handmade and fair-trade fashions the next time your wardrobe is in need of an update.