STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Mini on Fabric, Mega on Style

Layering in the fall is often a tricky game to play; when the temperature changes as often as Karl Lagerfeld’s muse, it can be difficult to score the proper balance of pieces. Have no fear Fashionistas the answer is here, and you’d better believe it’s chic, autumn minis.

Raising skirt hems in fall is quite possibly one of my favorite trends. Speaking as a self-professed layer junkie, I love the fact that rocking a shorter skirt in colder weather demands a myriad of accompanying items. Tights? Of course. Tall boots? You bet. A tucked in tissue tee, under a sweater, under a vest? Sure. The value of a fall mini lies in its ability to draw out any Fashionistas layer creativity, and simultaneously show a little leg. Offered in a wide variety of styles, this playful piece fits and flatters every body and closet. My favorites for fall include a neutral striped body con number, a bold pleated chiffon confection, and finally a classic plaid micro-mini.

This Fashionista makes her mini look majorly stylish with the addition of a chunky knit sweater and boots. Her beige wool skirt offers simple shape to an outfit otherwise devoid of structure. Amped up with simple gold jewelry, perfect leather boots and a crimson scarf, she is so autumn. Playing up luxe textures, classic colors and flattering shapes, she balances the chic simplicity of each individual piece by piling them on together. Don’t be scared off by the initial “length shock” you may experience when trying on the mini; the additions of tights, a tall boot, and sumptuous pile of layers on top makes the skirt tasteful and girly!

 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: I’m Going Out With My Boots On

I love fall for three reasons, it is seasonally appropriate for me to douse my room in “Orchard Cider” Febreze (I may or may not do this year round), pureed pumpkin becomes widely available in grocery stores (bakers rejoice!), and finally, the weather permits me to wear boots every.single.day. Boots are easily my favorite fall accessory. There is simply nothing better than zipping my feet into a pair of tall, pebbled leather, chocolate brown riding boots. My favorite autumn look? A slightly oversized white oxford, personalized with a powder blue monogram on the left breast pocket, paired with seamed black leggings and finally, tucked into a pair of classic riding boots.

The beauty of fall boots is their luxe versatility. The extremely wide range of heights, colors and rich decorative accents available makes them aesthetically appealing to every variety of Fashionista. Edgy? Last spring Chanel showed lust worthy, menswear inspired moto-booties. Trendy? Prada flirted with the decade du jour debuting a set of mod, snake skin knee high’s. Classic?  Tommy Hilfiger played right into my fantasies sending a beautiful, structured pair of cognac leather boots down his Fall 2011 runways.

This Fashionista embraces the ease with which boots can pull many components of an outfit together. The light brown duo dress up her simple black leggings and slub tiedye T-shirt, but don’t distract from the effortless cool vibe that her leather jacket is giving off.  Assorted silver rings and a quirky drop earring lend metallic shine to this Fashionista’s otherwise accessory free outfit. Looking for a pair (or pairs?!) of chic, accessible boots to work into absolutely every single one of your fall fashion endeavors? My current must haves include; a black western inspired set, classic grey buckled knee-highs and sassy brown, flannel lined foldovers. In the words of Rachel Zoe, “I die.”

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Prep Schooled

Giorgio Armani once famously said “The difference between style and fashion is quality,” a quote perfectly tailored to the star of this week’s style advice; the blazer. A tailored menswear inspired blazer is a timeless item that every Fashionista should have in his or her wardrobe. A quintessential fall layering piece, the blazer is renowned for its transformative qualities. Layered over a simple white T-shirt and jeans the blazer dresses up simple basics, worn over a maxi dress it lends feminine shape to an otherwise unstructured look. Ideal for transitional seasons such as spring and fall, the blazer is the perfect light layer to incorporate into an outfit when the weather promises to be unpredictable. 

Designers have always loved the flirty play on menswear that the blazer brings to the table, and in my opinion they will never stop. This fashion love affair is one destined to continue long into the future. Last spring designers continued to pledge their allegiance to the blazer throughout the fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear shows. Everyone from Banana Republic, who showed an array of rich blazers, layered over fitted neutral basics to Marc Jacobs, who turned up the heat showing a short sleeved take on the classic, reminded Fashionistas everywhere why the blazer is one piece destined to remain relevant for decades to come. 

This Fashionista makes preppy look effortlessly chic. Everything from her classic white V-neck to her structured blazer scream put together and polished. Amping up the volume of her clean basics with an ikat print skirt and beautiful gold watch she plays up the luxurious quality of her outfit. Toughened up with a pair of studded leather flats, she perfectly balances the girliness of her layers with a little rough and tumble texture. Inspired to add a blazer to your fall closet? Check out the goods at Forever 21, their wide range modern spins on the preppy staple promise to carry your wardrobe through many future seasons.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Brights Whites, Big Pretty

Well Fashionistas, it’s that lovely time of year again and no I’m not talking about autumn, I’m talking about midterms. Just when it seems as though your professors simply could not assign your class any more work they manage to pull one last trick out of their sleeve; a cumulative, half semester exam. Studying for midterms is stressful and hitting the books all night can often result in what I like to call a “library fashion hangover.” Clinging to the idea that wearing a sweat suit the day following your knowledge binge will make you feel better? Think again. The keys to breaking out of any test induced wardrobe rut are simplicity and comfort. It initially may feel as though swapping out your leggings for clothing with zip closures is an enormous leap, however both your mood and outfit will thank you if you do. What is the quintessential study chic outfit? Comfortable neutral basics paired with poppy neon accessories.

The downright fun combination of white paired with a jolt of neon is an easy way to inject your simple outfits with a shot of energy. Not limited solely to being worn during midterm season, the addition of neon accessories to your wardrobe will carry you far into spring. This fall numerous fashion powerhouses showcased playful interpretations of the white and neon trend. The always chic Alice + Olivia designed a graphic black and white stripe pant, complimented with an electric yellow top and aqua sun hat. Lela Rose showed a more subdued take on the trend in a white, grey and mustard print shirtdress.

This Fashionista makes basic look effortlessly chic in her classic white V-neck and boot cut jeans. A punchy printed scarf and shockingly pink sneakers give her outfit an added kick, transitioning her comfortably out of the library and into the real world. The addition of a classic white V-neck, like this one from Gap, to your wardrobe will never let you down if you find yourself in an outfit crisis. Wear it traditionally by pairing with jeans and simple sandals,wear it flirty layered over a printed skirt or wear it edgy by slipping on a distressed leather jacket. Pair with a little neon, like this skinny belt, or a lot, like this saturated cardigan. Don’t be afraid to really play with your pops of color! The simplicity of the white tee lends balance and will make your outfit more daytime and less dayglow. Study on Fashionistas!

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: When In Doubt, Layer It Out

The very wise and very chic Coco Chanel once said “Fashion is architecture. It is a matter of proportions.” Her infinite fashion advice has once again proven to be timeless; this fall’s richest looks are all about piling on layers and flirting with their proportion.

Last spring, designers packed their fall 2011 collections with mix and matchable basic pieces in an array of luxe fabrics and textures. Every combination of layers seemed to have a cameo at fashion week, however one pairing in particular stole the show(s). Juxtaposing a tough jacket, ladylike skirt, and delicious hosiery, designers won over the hearts of critics and shoppers alike. Charlotte Ronson displayed her take on this look, showing a structured pea coat, lush draped skirt and toughened up with perfectly ripped tights. Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. also demonstrated the understated playfulness of a leather jacket when paired with a ditsy floral print skirt and black nylons.

This Fashionista effortlessly transitioned her summery celadon skirt into fall with the additions of a grey T-shirt, rich leather bomber jacket and opaque black tights. Once reserved strictly for secretaries and schoolgirls, hosiery has made its modern comeback in a big way this fall. DKNY lit the “reinvented hosiery” fire this fall, offering up a delicious selection of inspiring tights in an array of textures and colors. Further playing up the tough vs. girly power struggle of her outfit, she selected a classic silver pendant and tan suede moto booties. This Fashionista perfectly balanced the weight of her masculine leather jacket by layering it over clean cotton basics in a palate of sophisticated pastels. Creating the relationship between a tough jacket and its girly skirt counterpart is a surefire way to ease your closet into the fall months.

Pump up the volume and longevity of your wardrobe with the addition of a wearable leather jacket, like this one from Forever 21. Don't forget, the key to rocking this combination is all about playfulness and balance! Have fun with your own interpretations and don’t be afraid to keep wearing some of your breezy summer basics, even when it feels like fall is not knocking at your door, but rather kicking it down! 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: This Fall, Blend In To Stand Out

This weekend while attending a Brad Paisley concert in Raleigh, North Carolina, I was turned onto a bit of style advice by the deeply talented Mr. Paisley himself. Brad was introducing a song off of his new album when he yelled into the crowd “This next one is for all you redneck fashionistas, because we all know camouflage goes with everything!” Immediately following, Paisley’s cheeky use of the word “Fashionista” simply made me laugh, but upon further inspection I realized that his advice was perfectly on trend for this fall.

Brown, black, hunter green, cream, and nude; what do all of these hues have in common aside from keeping you hidden in the woods? They are this harvest seasons “it” color palette. Nothing feels more distinctly autumnal than piling on layers of crisp neutrals. Fall’s 2011 Ready To Wear runways were packed with an assortment of camo tones, made chic by the addition of rich fabrics and luxe accessories. A few outstanding examples include Bill Blass, who flirted with the classic combination of black and cream in his chic multi stripe dress and Tommy Hilfiger, who paired forest green ankle length leather pants with a chunky knit sweater, fusing fashion and function.

This Fashionista does anything but blend in with her playful spin on this camouflage trend. Tucking a simple cream colored blouse into high-waisted black shorts she stands out for all the right reasons. Balancing the masculine feel of her neutrals by layering on a shamelessly chic vest, cinched at the waist with a flirty tie she maintains her feminine shape. The addition of neutral burlap TOMS add texture to her basics and makes this Fashionista scoped straight off the runways. Hunting this crave worthy trend is both easy and affordable. Feeling classic? Outfit yourself in a girly moss green blouse, like this one by Old Navy; pair with dual tone ballet flats and dainty gold accesories to complete your look. Searching for something with a little more edge? Track down this fun vest from Forever 21 and pair with a set of perfectly broken in leather boots. 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Light Coats, EnTRENCHed In Our Hearts And Our Closets

Transitional fall fashion can very easily go awry; when the weather is about as reliable as a deflating flat tire it can be difficult to find the correct balance of layers in one’s outfit. Have no fear Fashionistas, the answer is here and it is chic, light coats. This fall is all about the light jacket. Whether in the form of a nipped and zipped parka or flirty felt pea coat adding this simple yet timeless piece to your wardrobe is one decision you will never regret.

Light coats were hugely popular on the fall 2011 Ready-To-Wear runways. Numerous designers embraced the practically stylish layer that the light coat provides. Everyone seemed to be rocking the light coat from 3.1 Philip Lim, who showed a luxe two-tone trench, to Alexander Wang, who showed featherweight anoraks in winter white. The appeal of this closet staple was not lost on the spring 2012 Ready-To-Wear runways where renowned designers such as Michael Kors continued to show light coats. His interpretation put a playful twist on the timeless classic complements of a spicy graphic print. 

This Fashionista is right on trend in her effortlessly chic, cropped trench. Lightweight fabric and flirty decorative accents make this the perfect early fall layer. Nipped in with a seam, this Fashionista highlights her tiny waist while still keeping her protected from the occasional autumn breeze. The jacket's girly ruffles and pleated lower half speak to the feminine quality of this Fashionista’s outfit, but do not limit her aesthetic options; she could easily throw this coat over a sexy little black dress for a night out. Pairing her ecru jacket with deliciously dark denim, a pair of nude sandals and the perfect saturated eggplant statement bag, this Fashionista’s outfit speaks volumes about her classic personal style. Inspired to play with this fun layer in your fall wardrobe? Try J. Crew’s version on for size; its perfect tailoring and neutral color promise to complement your outfit and keep you warm as leaves and temperatures begin to fall.

 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Color-Block it to Me

As the first leaves of fall begin to change color, so do the color schemes of Fashionistas' outfits campus-wide. Pastels are pushed to the back of the closet in favor of rich jewel tones and airy cottons are traded in for luxe corduroys and plush velvets. Summer’s ditsy prints are toughened up with leather, or simply traded in with this fall's hottest color trend; color- blocking.

Color-blocking walked many of the fall 2012 Ready to Wear runways with incredibly talented designers such as Philip Lim 3.1 and showed its longevity by making a repeat appearance on the spring 2012 runways with fashion power houses like Victoria Beckham.

This Fashionista embraced both color-blocking and a new yummy fall color palette in the outfit she was spotted in. She sported a butter yellow button down, cinched in a chic front knot at the waist. Layered over a rich chocolate tank top and cranberry corduroy shorts, she beautifully transitions her outfit from late summer into early fall. The stark contrast she created by color blocking her layers draws attention to the clean simplicity of her outfit and lets the rich fall tones of her pieces speak for themselves. Paired with only a simple set of chic metallic sandals, this Fashionista highlights her best accessory; her well-toned legs!
This fall, color blocking is the key to putting together an effortlessly chic outfit. Feel free to simply color block a top and shorts, or pile on layers in punchy colors to vamp up your outfit.  Don’t be afraid to break out those solid colored items you’ve been stashing in your closet in favor of prints from the summer! Try playing with unexpected colors such as mustard yellow mixed with an hombre of browns or coral, cream and a stark black

Style Guru Bio: Meg Miles

My name is Meg Miles and I am a rising junior at Wake Forest University, located in lovely Winston Salem, North Carolina. I am studying Special Education (Elementary Level) and Studio Art in hopes of one day becoming an Art Therapist for children with special needs. I hope to help improve the lives and unlock the creativity of the children I work with via the healing and educational powers of art. Aside from fashion design, my favorite mediums of studio art include ceramics and oil paint.

To quote the incredibly talented Ralph Lauren “I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.” For me, fashion is not about simply putting clothes on your body, it’s about dressing yourself as the person you dream to be.  Getting dressed every day should be fun and inspiring!

Right now I am finding myself most inspired by the Tommy Hilfiger’s fantastic new ad campaign, “Meet the Hilfiger’s”. The effortlessly luxe, and decidedly preppy nature of this fictional family screams to me as fall quickly approaches. I would equate my personal style with simplicity and glamour going on a date. The result? A chic balance of clean lines and punchy accessories. This autumn I plan to pile on light layers in a neutral palette and bling myself out with sparkly costume jewelry. 

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Shift Into Fall With Ease

Fashion is constantly reinventing its own history with new and exciting twists. Just as one decade is blowing onto the runways, the predecessor has become decidedly un-chic. This fall the 60’s are the decade du jour. Everything from pop art color palettes to structured lady like accessories have once again found their places in our hearts and closets.This Fashionista is rocking a striped silk, sixties inspired shift dress. The crisp navy blue and white fabric is complimented by the girly eyelet neck detailing.  She updated the luxe look of her shift by spicing it up with a few quintessential modern accessories; perfectly broken-in, cognac leather cowboy boots and an armful of decadent gold bangles. The wonder of the shift is its versatility. This beauty is suited for nearly every body type and occasion, boasting a figure flattering cut and length appropriate for a day at your internship or night on the town. Belt your shift with a skinny sparkly belt, like this one from J Crew, at the natural waist or layer on a deliciously printed cardigan, like this one by DIANE von FURSTENBERG  to make this basic piece your new wardrobe staple .Sixties inspired shifts dominated the fall 2011 Ready to Wear runways last spring, where inspired designers including Alice + Olivia and Anna Sui put their creative spins on the dresses’ classic shape. Like what you see? Try these fun and flirty shifts on for size at Neiman Marcus and ASOS