STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Keep Calm and Cotton Jersey On

We did it Fashionistas! Exams have been aced, dorm rooms have been packed up and the weather is finally starting to feel like heaven again… It’s time for summer vacation! At the end of every academic year, almost without fail, I fall into a fashion rut. It starts out innocently enough; thinking I deserve a few days of relaxation in yoga pants, Ugg boots, frat tanks and sports bras, I comfy myself up as much as possible and veg out. Fast forward three weeks: I am still sitting on my couch and unfortunately Fashionistas, it’s begins to look a lot less like “innocent comfort” and a lot more like “complete and total slob.” This summer I challenge you to stick to your style guns and power through the first few weeks of relaxing in style. We can do it!

Dressing for stylish comfort is all about cotton jersey blends. If you have yet to experience the sheer joy that is modal, immediately head to the closest retailer and purchase, purchase, purchase. This fabric will change your life. Cotton jersey is an absolute style standout for two reasons: its comfort and wear-ability. Comfortable enough to wear while traveling, yet chic enough to dress up for the office, cotton jersey is reminiscent of your softest lounge clothes while packing the same fashion punch as more structured fabrics. Wearable? You better believe it. Jersey was made for layering; try pairing your favorite jersey sundress with a drapey, open-front sweater and infinity scarf.

This Fashionista makes wearing jersey blends look absolutely effortless, pairing a navy blue maxi dress with a cropped denim vest and stylish gold sandals. Twisted, mid-width straps provide coverage to conceal even the most conspicuous (no uncomfortable strapless necessary!) yet expose just enough shoulder to remain feminine and flirty. Her modern denim vest provides texture and gold sandals pump up the visual interest on an otherwise relatively simple look. This jersey outfit encapsulates the delicious comfort I often regress to in those first few weeks of summer, all the while allowing her to leave the house without her appearance scaring small children. The perfect summer look? I think so.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Acing Exam Fashion

Get dressed during exam week is a challenge; we all know it’s true. For some inexplicable reason, when exams are on the horizon it feels immensely difficult to create an outfit with any personal style in the morning. Nike shorts begin to look cute, over-sized T-shirts begin to feel stylish and those unfortunate mid-calf athletic socks begin to feel glued to your un-pedicured toes. It’s an epidemic, and we must conquer it. Everyone knows that the day feels better when you are rocking an adorable outfit, so get out of those yoga pants, dig into your closet for something with a zipper and approach your exams full of confidence!

The keys to acing test-day fashion are simplicity and comfort without sacrificing style (see above if you think this motto okays multiple days of Nike shorts and T-shirts… it doesn’t). The ideal exam outfit allows ample opportunity for layering (ensuring that you can comfortably alter your coverage when unpredictable classroom temperatures throw you for a loop), contains a maximum of three pieces (your arms will regret loading up on extra accessories the minute your pencil hits the exam booklet) and is built around primarily cotton basics (easy to clean, easy to wear, easy to everything).

This Fashionista gets an A+ for style, rocking a striped sundress, cropped denim jacket and strappy white sandals to her first round of finals. This effortless dress/jacket combo lives comfortably within the realm of easy layering; promising to keep our Fashionista cozy in chilly exam rooms all the while granting her the freedom to enjoy sunshine and warm temps afterwards. She keeps her look to three simple pieces (dress, jacket and sandals) but her selections of a printed dress, textured jacket and metallic sandals radiate a cool, laid back aesthetic. Her cute cotton sundress will sit comfortably in a desk chair and promises fuss-free essay writing and number crunching. Keep calm and exam on Fashionistas, we can do this!

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Feeling Blue

Every season it seems as though the monochromatic trend makes its way into our hearts and glossy fashion magazines. Whether it is neutrals on neutrals, neons on neons or classic black on black, we just can’t seem to walk away from this single colored aesthetic. This spring I admit I was a little hesitant to see the monochrome trend reappear, however I was floored to discover the color on color du jour… cerulean!

Anyone who has ever seen The Devil Wears Prada knows that “In 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers.” Cerulean is arguably the most luxurious shade in the family of blues. It is reminiscent of a jewel tone but unlike its more traditional gem colored counterparts, it pairs beautifully with nearly every other color and transitions effortlessly between seasons.  Cerulean translates well in silk, cotton and even the often feared “blend” fabrics. Without a doubt, this decadent blue is a style knockout.

This week’s Fashionista embodies the casual cool vibe of the monochromatic trend, all in a luscious palate of cerulean. She builds her outfit around a foundation of perfectly dark, fitted denim and a pair of supple leather ballet flats. Topping these style staples is a silk cerulean blouse with playful, oversized eyelet detailing around the neck. Her blue on blue combo looks meticulously styled, all the while being indulgently easy to wear. Love what you see? Cerulean accessories are the easiest way to jump on board with this blue trend. Try this statement necklace with a white top and jeans for an everyday look that’s totally wearable and chic.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Perfectly Pastel

We have officially entered the most wonderful time of year at Wake Forest University. The sun is shining, the quad is blooming and wearing Jack Rogers every single day of the week is completely acceptable. It’s spring! Dressing for warm weather is a joyous experience when you live in the south; promising playful Lilly Pulitzer dresses, beautiful silk tank tops and never-ending pairs of those perfect J.Crew chino shorts, what’s not to love?

More so than previously, this spring I have found myself drawn to pastels. I love the way they pair effortlessly together and essentially serve the same function as a traditional neutral when temperatures begin to rise. While it may seem difficult to incorporate these girly tones into your everyday wardrobe, have no fear… it’s shockingly easy. Start by replacing one neutral from your outfit (say white jeans, or a gray mini) with a pastel piece in a similar cut (try mint jeans or a coral mini), and I promise you will be surprised by how much you love the pretty style upgrade this swap gives you. Feeling bold? Try rocking pastel on pastel, like our featured Fashionista did, and pair those mint jeans with a light pink top or pale blue T-shirt.

This Fashionista looks perfect in pastel, building her outfit around soft yellow, lavender and champagne. Her purple sun dress is simply adorable and the addition of embroidery around the hemline creates a long, flattering silhouette. A buttery, lightweight cardigan promises to keep her warm throughout the day and into the evening as temperatures begin to drop. Classic, gold sandals complete her spring outfit and add a pop of sparkle to her otherwise matte fabric choices. Spring perfection!

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: All Things Bright And Beautiful

Coco Chanel once, “[W]omen think of all colors except the absence of colors. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” This week I have been channeling my inner Coco and craving style simplicity. As graduation approaches (and at a speed we are all uncomfortable with) the clean, modern contrast of bright whites and rich blacks seems more appealing than ever.

Black and white is a color combination frequently overlooked, often times for its somewhat blatant obviousness. If just anyone can throw on a white top with black trousers and look impeccably chic, how innovative can the pairing be? Don’t be too quick to judge Fashionistas and Fashionistos, for this classic set of hues is about to become your wardrobe’s new best friend. Designers ate up the easy fusion of B&W, with everyone from Phillip Lim to Stella McCartney sending beautiful fashions in electric whites and luxurious blacks down the runways at their spring 2013 ready-to-wear shows. While pulling off a white, chiffon tuxedo may be easy for a six foot tall supermodel, the trick to making these high end looks relatable and re-wearable is choosing fabrics that are timeless. Stay away from cheap blends (these are likely to discolor and pill) and instead opt for natural fibers in shapes that flatter your figure and lend themselves to future layering.

This Fashionista’s sublime B&W outfit would make Chanel herself proud. Pairing a white lace T-shirt with tailored black skinnies and a pair of perfectly broken in cowboy boots, she embraces the effortless look of black and white without allowing the traditional colors to conceal her personal style. Building off of her neutral basics, she embellishes her ensemble with a jeweled headband and delicate, silver necklace. Love this trend? Try pairing a fitted, white blouse with a textured black pencil skirt for the office or ankle-length black trousers and a white silk tank for an uncomplicated weekend look.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Oh Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Just a few chilly months ago Punxsutawney Phil stuck his little fortune-telling head out of the ground and promised us an early spring… Fashionistas and Fashionistos, we’ve been lied to. I see no blooming flowers, I see no beautiful sunshine – all I see is oddly timed snow and wind with a 100% chance of weather related crankiness. Dressing for the awkward transition period between winter and spring is one of the hardest to master, especially in a city like Winston-Salem, where the temperature is as unpredictable as the amount of strange patio furniture in front of the dining hall. This week I challenge you to keep rocking those cold weather staples but mix in a few warm weather pieces pulled from the depths of your closet, creating a stylish and element appropriate look.

The foundation of my favorite transitional look is always a chunky, “Mr. Rogers” style sweater. The combination of a luxurious knit fabric, chunky wood buttons, and chic shawl collar never fails to make me feel on trend. Not only is this wardrobe essential cute, it’s endlessly versatile; providing the perfectly light layer to linen sundresses, printed skirts, or the classic legging and T-shirt combo. March is the perfect time to purchase a fisherman style sweater; during this “in-between” period, many stores are switching their inventory from winter to spring, making these yummy tops easy to find and easy on the wallet.

This Fashionista embodies transitional perfection, rocking a madras skirt and effortless gray v-neck T-shirt. The addition of a cozy, knit would make this look everyday wearable as the weather continues to confuse us. She hit the masculine/feminine nail on the head by choosing a flirty skirt and dressing its girly shape down with neutral basics. Classic black flats and simple gold jewelry provide a little extra sparkle to an otherwise simple aesthetic, giving her free reign to rock this look from meetings to meal times.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Pumped Up Kicks

We did it, Fashionistas and Fashionistos: we’ve survived spring break, Saint Patrick’s Day and midterm exams. We have donned rain jackets, puffy jackets and every other imaginable type of jacket we could fit in our suitcases after winter vacation. We have walked to class through snow, freezing rain and hurricane force winds. We did it; we have earned the right to enjoy this warm weather!

Warm weather means plenty of things at Wake Forest University; girls will begin to wear Jack Roger’s sandals and the hemlines of men’s chino shorts will begin to get shorter and shorter. However, something I did not expect to see this week was a stylish girl wearing a kick butt pair of Nike sneakers. “Sneaker Head” culture was born in the 1980s with the help of Michael Jordan and the growth of hip hop music. This exclusive (and often elusive) crowd has been appreciating the classic cool look of Nike kicks for a very long time; however, seeing as our Deacon Fashionistas tend to opt for Lilly over Low Dunks, spotting a pair on our traditionally preppy campus caught my attention in the best sort of way.

No longer confined to the university gym, this Fashionista makes sneakers chic, proudly sporting a pair of gray, white and rich navy blue sneaks around campus. Paired with skinny dark denim and a textured white crew neck sweater, she radiates the effortlessly cool and confident vibe of a true Nike aficionado. The key to rocking this tricky trend is selecting fitted pieces that show off her feminine frame; she does not allow her shoes to overpower her look with too much menswear flavor, but strikes the perfect balance of masculine and feminine. Love this style? Try pairing a chic wedge sneaker with tailored denim and a fitted tee for an outfit that screams relaxed, stylish and in the sneaker know.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Stylish Stripes

Bikinis have been retired, sandals have been nestled back into under bed bins and aloe vera is being applied at a rate previously thought to be impossible. That’s right, spring break is officially over. While I am pained by the end of such a wonderfully relaxing week, I am thrilled to share with you the exciting closet inspiration I picked up during my week in the Bahamas. Pull out those nautically-inspired tops and dresses Fashionistas and Fashionistos, this week is all about stylish stripes!

Stripes often get the short end of the fashion stick; with magazines claiming everything from “horizontal stripes widen your frame” to “verticals stripes distract from your true shape,” it’s easy to throw your hands in the air and avoid this adorable (and flattering) pattern all together. Fear not; when worn properly this sassy print can add engaging visual interest to an everyday outfit and elongate your frame. I was repeatedly impressed by the island Fashionistas I encountered last week rocking everything from striped sarongs to striped, straw fedoras. The secret I discovered? Stripes are all about choosing the appropriate stripe width for your body type. A good rule to stick with is looking for lines about the thickness of your thumb (these flatter nearly every figure) and stick to neutral color pairings such as navy and white.

This week’s Fashionista makes wearing bold stripes look effortlessly chic. Her bright, multi-colored top draws the eye right up to her face and perfectly expresses her bubbly, stylish disposition. Mid-wash, fitted denim (do we understand the importance of owning this closet staple yet?) elongate her legs and give her body a sleek silhouette  Tan, knee-high boots complete her stylish look, promising comfortable classic fashion from the classroom to coffee with girlfriends.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Pretty In Paisley

“Fashion has two purposes: comfort and love. Beauty comes when fashion succeeds.”

I believe Coco said it best; being comfortable in your clothing and most importantly, your own skin, is the most crucial aspect of wearing a stylish outfit and making it work. Nothing ruins an amazing outfit faster than fidgeting with an exposed zipper or tugging at a too short hemline…so snuggle up in your cozies Fashionistas! This week is all about comfortable, put together personal style.

If you are anything like me, you have a handful of outfits in your closet that you know will never fail. Mine consists of perfectly tailored black denim, a cream eyelet top and the most delicious caramel colored leather jacket known to man. Whether worn to class, an internship interview or out on a date, your go to outfit is chic (a mix of textures promises visual interest and kicks up the fashion IQ of any look), flattering (invest in a pair of correctly sized and hemmed jeans and your closet will thank you) and always appropriate (the addition of a little jacket or cardigan provides extra coverage to an otherwise bare look).

Inspired by Ms. Chanel and her dressed down philosophy for dressing up, I snapped this Fashionista as she left her dorm before class. Much like my perfect outfit, this Fashionista’s look encompasses the three essential elements of comfortable personal style. Chic: the luxurious print of her paisley top, coupled with the engaging crochet hemline, keep the eye interested without overwhelming her. Flattering: she kills it in a pair of perfectly fitted, dark jeans that showcase her adorable shape. And finally, appropriate: closed toe flats and a mid-length sleeve allow her to wear this stylish look just about anywhere; the addition of a blazer dresses her up and swapping flats for sandals dresses her down. Outfit perfection.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Colonel Mustard

Fashionistas and Fashionistos, it’s that time of year again; that time of year when stressing about bikini season becomes socially acceptable and when surprisingly warm weather tempts us out of the classroom and onto the quad. Spring break is arguably the best school endorsed “holiday” of the year. The promise of seven full days of sun, best friends and no schoolwork? I’ll take two. However, with the great fun of a vacation comes great responsibility; this spring break I challenge all of you to leave your rubber flip flops at home and style on from the beach to the boardwalk.

Dressing for vacation stumps many a Fashionista. We have all experienced the internal struggle that comes from wanting to look relaxed, yet cute, like you didn’t try too hard on the beach (heck, J.Crew created an entire “Weekend” line devoted to solving this crisis). When jean shorts and neon tanks are the standard, we need to fight even harder to stick to our aesthetic guns and remind everyone that college students are well dressed women and men! The key to acing relaxed spring break style is playing with color and fabric. Choose basic pieces in wearable fabrics such as modal jersey that flatter the figure, travel like a dream and offer up ample opportunities to accessorize.

Fully embracing the coveted “Oh this? I just threw this perfectly adorable outfit on five minutes ago” aesthetic we all crave on vacation, she builds her look around tailored basics and punchy accessories. A simple white blouse is the foundation of her look; this vacation necessity can be dressed up or down. Mustard yellow denim comes next, an outfit focal piece that adds instant interest to an otherwise simple look and makes her stand out for all the right reasons among a sea of her dark denim-wearing peers. She finishes off this breezy look with an intricate floral scarf and a gold bow ring, ensuring that she looks adorable from breakfast to dinner.