The Midwest is known for sub zero temperature, snow storms and slip-sliding instead of walking down the streets. Understandably, this makes it hard to look fashionable as the go-to is a poncho and a pair of Sorels. The trick is not to give in, but to keep your layers chic like this Fashionista. Her pieces are trendy ways to bundle up, updating staples to fit current trends without sacrificing warmth. She caught my eye with her coated skinnies and her cool way to stay warm.

Name: Caroline Kreul

Major: Strategic Communications

Year: Junior

CollegeFashionista: What’s your favorite part of your outfit?

Caroline Kreul: My favorite part of my outfit is my coated skinny jeans! They are so comfortable, but still make me look put together even when I’m just throwing them on.

CF: How would you describe your personal style?

CK: I would describe my style as minimalist and feminine, while also always open to a great print or a fun piece of jewelry if I see one!

CF: What spring trend are you looking forward to?

CK: I’m most excited about all of the pastel colors I’ve been seeing on the runway. Pastels are a great way to add color while still maintaining a simple, neutral ensemble. I’m looking forward to hopefully finding a boxy, cropped top in a pretty pastel!

CF: Any tips for staying chic and warm despite the cold?

CK: In winter, the key to staying warm and looking chic is to secretly layer pieces. For example, if I’m wearing a crew neck sweater, chances are that I have a camisole and long sleeves underneath. If I’m wearing leather boots and it’s in the negatives outside, I probably have at least two pairs of socks on!

How To: Instead of throwing on a parka, grab a coat with a little more character such as a textured peacoat or a coat with leather sleeves. Replacing leggings with an equally comfortable wet-look pair or coated pant, like this Fashionista, will ensure that you look cool but feel cozy. Finally, pay attention to the accessories; a statement necklace ties the look together while a weatherproofed leather boot keeps toes warm without the clunk of snow boots.


For those of you in Madison, you know how hard it is to get dressed when it is quite literally zero degrees, snowy and windy. It’s hard to even leave the house and hustle over to class! When there is no way to avoid the arctic temperatures, most are forced to choose between warmth and style. It’s hard to dress well when you know that no matter what you wear, you’ll be frozen halfway to your destination. The trick is to find a fantastic coat and focus the efforts on what shows after the coat is on. Instead of a dreary basic to match the dreary weather, add a little spice with fun prints.

This Fashionisto went with a tribal-inspired print. The eye is immediately drawn to his wildly printed pants. When adding color in the winter, most don’t think to start with the pants. It makes the look stand out even more in the sea of black sweatpants and joggers. In a clever twist, he picks up the pattern with a similarly patterned back-pack (and pocket book!). It balances out his look and frames his well-chosen jacket. His accessories pair well with the print, helping to emphasize it rather than compete.

Try putting your own twist on this Fashionisto’s look. If tribal prints aren’t your thing, look for a pant in a classic cut with an attention grabbing pattern and match it to your bag. It doesn’t have to be an exact match; look for a print in the same color family. Mixing prints can continue into the dead of winter. Make sure that whatever print you choose goes well with your coat. Your coat should be big enough to keep you warm, which means it will make up most of your look. Choose one with beautiful construction or color that is easy to pair with. Don’t wear anything crazy for boots—stick with something neutral and warm to keep the focus on the prints.

Hint: If you still aren’t convinced to give up your warm sweats, try switching your basic athletic pair with a printed, slim-cut jogger. You’ll get to keep the warmth while playing with style and print!

Check out my eBay collection here!

My eBay collections were curated as part of the CollegeFashionista and eBay collaboration with Style Coalition #FOLLOWITFINDIT

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Dressing to the Nines (When It’s Nine Below)

For many gentlemen, dressing up is a nearly insurmountable challenge. Most survive high school with a mishmash of their father’s pieces and a few ill-fitting sport-coats purchased for an eighth grade dance. The proof is often in the prom pictures, evidence of the awkward years in the awkward fits. College is the time to really step up the suit game, preparing for anything from formals to internships. This means buying a new suit that doesn’t just fit, but fits well; a suit that will not only get you hired but last for following years of employment. This is a daunting task on its own, but the addition of the freezing mid-western chill makes it that much more complicated.

This Fashionisto found the perfect pairing of dressed up and bundled up. He sports the classic black suit, a closet staple that never goes out of style. Rather than dabbling in trend pieces that could detract from his professional look, he adds in a crisp white shirt to break up the dark. Since boys don’t always have as many options for formal wear, the tie tends to be key and this Fashionisto showed his badger pride with a pop of red. Then comes the complicated part: What coat is appropriate? His dark heather gray peacoat is the perfect answer. It maintains the classic tailoring of the suit, while adding dimension with a bit of variation on the black/white scale. The layering of a black shell is a surprising yet clever addition, as well. The softer black is different enough that it doesn’t blend in. It provides more structure for the overall look as well. Highly tailored pieces like the coat and suit coat tend to lie flat, while the stiff collar of the shell stands up straight. The extra layer goes beyond just the extra warmth.

When you have to look sharp in the coming months, do as this Fashionisto does and look for a classic suit that won’t go out of style. For many gents this means black; a dark gray is also a solid option. Shirts should stay white or thin striped if you are on your starter suit! Have a little fun with ties; if the full look is neutral colors, your personality can shine through by accessorizing. Top the look off with an equally classic coat. Trench coats will get you through fall and spring, but in the somewhat miserable months ahead, go for a top coat. Add in that extra layer for warmth, whether it be a sweater under the suit or another jacket. Although you may be new to the suit, just promise that the extra layer will never involve a hood.

Hint: Most specialty and department stores have a staff that is trained to help you shop! Make sure one of them helps you out with your suit. The perfect fit is essential.

Check out my eBay collection here!

My eBay collections were curated as part of the CollegeFashionista and eBay collaboration with Style Coalition #FOLLOWITFINDIT


Strike one: early class. Strike two: the first half of a school week. Strike three: the first real snowfall. For most, it’s three strikes and you’re out; time to sneak back under the blankets and ignore the ringing alarm. For those brave enough to go out there is generally a grab for as many warm layers as possible. The stand-out few are the handful that manage to keep their cool in the midst of the cold, playing with a sports-inspired look that is both warm and stylish.

This week’s Fashionisto is one of the latter bunch. He rejected the comforter-like parka and even the fashionable (and fully approved) cop-out that is the peacoat. Instead, he opted for a well-thought out sporty ensemble that shows an attention to style despite the cold. The bright colors are a way to stand out in the snow, rather than blend in. His red coat is warm yet fitted, prepared for a day on the slopes or a stroll through the city. It pairs perfectly with the bright blue of his backpack and the clean white of his headphones. His sporty-cool attitude to the weather extends all the way to his footwear. The throw a little yellow into the mix for the full range of primary colors while adding a pebble-like pattern that merits a second glance. The Fashionisto uses smart sporty pieces to stand out on the streets—and nothing says cool like Air Jordans.

Don’t be intimidated by a little snow. Instead of bundling up, keep your cool and try out fun, sporty pieces that pair warmth with style. A shorter puff jacket in a bright color or fun pattern is a unique piece that stands out in the sea of neutrals. Accessories should be equally sporty, but that doesn’t mean gym-ready! Try out high-tops or a funky hat to give your outerwear extra personality. When packing your books, try tucking them into a bag that deserves a second glance while keeping the sporty aesthetic. It might be freezing, but that’s no excuse to claim defeat. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can lose your cool.

Hint: Look for pieces that are made for outdoor sports, such as skiing, then search for the stylish picks among them. Not only will this make your look more authentic, but it will also give you an excuse to try said sport over the upcoming break!

Check out my eBay collection here!

My eBay collections were curated as part of the CollegeFashionista and eBay collaboration with Style Coalition #FOLLOWITFINDIT


Leather, although a gorgeous fabric, can be tricky. It takes a certain level of care to look nice, while the “worn in” look takes time and leaves an awkward in-between stage. Colored leather, however, is a whole new dimension of tricky. Not only is the fabric a factor, but the “basic” factor associated with leather is somewhat stripped away. Stylish gents everywhere should not feel discouraged by this; there are ways to sport colored leather that are both easy and fashionable.

This Fashionisto, for example, is successfully sporting a red leather coat. Rather than an aggressively bright hue, he keeps to a muted burgundy shade that incorporates browns and purples. While the jacket is clearly the key player in his look, he goes the extra mile. This Fashionisto pairs his red with other reds, stringing the color throughout his outfit. A muted red in the pant creates variation while the brightness of his red hat plays up the fun color. To keep his look from being overwhelmingly red, this Fashionisto adds in contrasting accessories with neutral black gloves and a pop of blue on his feet.

Don’t shy away from colored leather this season! Take hints from this Fashionisto and go bold or go home. With the leather trend on the rise there are plenty of shades to choose from. A navy leather piece can act as a good starting point. Not only is navy essentially a neutral tone, it is also one of the hottest colors this spring. Beginners can go the safe route and pair it with gray pants and black accessories. The bold can take on after this week’s Fashionisto and play with color. Deep purple trousers will add just the right amount of complexity to the look while a white button-up will dress it up. If blue leather doesn’t cut it, get adventurous and try a burnt orange or a dove gray. Just remember that while you should have fun with color, color still needs dimension. Not enough color variation and you’ll look straight out of a crayola box.

Hint: If you feel lost in a sea of color, read up on the season’s trends! Most publications are quick to report on the best color combinations of the season, which is a great place to start. Be sure to look at the color, not the name. Pantone might label it açai, a designer might label it mulberry and you might end up in the fruit section of the grocery store.

Check out my eBay collection here!

My eBay collections were curated as part of the CollegeFashionista and eBay collaboration with Style Coalition #FOLLOWITFINDIT


Feeling blue, seeing red, tickled pink; some moods just have a color association. In the midst of November, however, that color happens to be somewhat disappear into the gray skies of late fall. There is no sun and no warmth, but the gorgeous white blanket of first snow has yet to fall. Instead, we are left with a string of monochromatic gray days that just won’t quit. Although some may respond by adding in pops of color, there is a sense that even the brightest badger red would get swallowed up…But hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

This Fashionisto managed to rock the monochrome without fading into the gray day. Rather than dressing head-to-toe, he varied his gray scale all the way from black to white, with plenty in between. The variation gives his look dimension and balance, two things easy to let slip when dealing with a lack of color. He anchors the look with a classic black peacoat, long enough to play with layers but short enough that the black doesn’t overpower. The Fashionisto balances the black with a warmed up slate chino and white-laced Sperry Top-Siders in a gray that hedges towards blue tones, alluding to colors without breaking the monochrome rules. Finally, he brings pulls the look together with a striped shirt. The simple pattern updates the look from classic basics to a color study.

Try out the gray scale for those gray days by following the rules of this Fashionisto. Stay away from a dull color palette and instead look for variation from black to white, especially those that hint at other colors. Try pairing a black pant and charcoal overcoat with a black and white knit. Instead of throwing a T-shirt under your cozy dark gray cardigan, experiment with a black and white flannel and finish out the look with black shoes and light gray cords. For the truly daring, look for a pant with a monochromatic print and match it with a solid black sweater. Accessories should stay in the color family, as well—notice this Fashionisto’s black frames. Pay attention to the little details such as glove and hat color or scarf pattern. Gray days may mean a lack of color, but not a lack of effort!

Hint: On the coldest days when layers are the law, vary the hue between the layers. It will keep your look interesting and highlight they different lengths.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: (Non) Uniform Days

Odds are, at some point in your formative years, you found yourself stuck in yet another horrible uniform. Starchy collars were likely involved; sweater vests would have been a given. In the years of skate shoes, strict rules were made to keep your toes squished into something brown, leather and board-appropriate. Non-uniform days were a chance to showcase your style, which likely included a lot of torn, oversized cargos and band T-shirts for groups you weren’t hardcore enough to actually listen to. As the years passed and college rolled around, many found that uniforms were a great base for classic, preppy looks that can be thrown on at a moments notice. Starchy collars and sweater vests may have bowed out and been replaced with well-fitted knits and soft button-ups, but the spirit of scholarship remains.

Take this week’s Fashionisto for example. He certainly isn’t straight out of a prep-school playbook, but he has the elements of a classic look. The cable knit is the perfect every-day sweater that can mix with any number of textures. The burgundy of the sweater pops while the more sedate cable pattern keeps it from being too much. The choice of a chambray underneath rather than a stiff button-up keeps the look casual and comfortable without lessening its tailored appearance. Khaki pants with a look like this would be too close to a school uniform, so instead, this Fashionisto chooses a deep denim shade. A khaki windbreaker adds in a few clean lines that play nicely with the tucked collar. Finally, a good compromise is found between skate shoes and loafers with a structured boot in reddish leather. The leather elements in the backpack are a grown-up take on a school day staple.

Try out your own twist on the classic uniform and watch as it becomes an entirely new individualized look. Find a soft button-up to achieve the look of the tucked collar without the itchiness. When layering, keep the spirit of the sweater vest with preppy cable knits or even argyles if you’re feeling bold. Switch the usual khaki for a slim cut cord, a dark jean or even a khaki in an unexpected neutral such as army green. When choosing shoes, don’t be afraid to have fun. A leather loafer might be too formal, but a leather sneaker is the perfect compromise of fashion and class. Find pieces that give you the comfort you wish you had in your uniform days and the rebellious spirit that led you to untuck that shirt (gasp!).

Hint: This isn’t a strict uniform! Play around with color, fabric and little details like cuffs and tucks. Remember, there isn’t anyone waiting around the corner with an detention for violating uniform. Unless, of course, you’re wearing skate shoes.

Check out my eBay collection for this look here.


Transition weather sucks. It is the period when everyone freezes on the way to class but doesn’t want to be the first to sport the bundled-up poncho look. More concerning, it is a time when Midwesterners deem it socially acceptable to pair coats with shorts, a crime against fashion so big that even Galliano would blush. Lows are checking in below freezing, but highs still hover tantalizingly in the 40’s and drawstring windbreakers with sweatpants have already begun to claim the weak. For the heartier gents on campus, transition weather is the time to play with knits while bidding farewell to the balmy summer days with a studied mix of knits and tailoring.

This Fashionisto has managed to find the balance between fashion and dressing for the weather. With in-between temps and annoyingly insistent winds, a coat that can take a bit of a beating is a staple. His coat is the perfect piece to stay fashionable without freezing. It is a cleaner canvas, almost a cross between a windbreaker and a trench. The unusual length keeps him warmer than the average shell, while the unusual color calls for a second look. This Fashionisto keeps warm without the bulky coat by mixing warm accessories into a solid fall look. His bright white chucks and rolled jeans hint of summer, while showing off the cozy wool socks. He complements the warm neutral coat with a scarlet hat and heather gray scarf, muted tones appropriate for the changing leaves. Finally, he keeps his gloves from being too wintery by opting for a thin pair with quirky finger detailing. His entire look plays with color and length, keeping him warm without becoming a jumble of overly warm winter wear.

Keep yourself warm and fend off parka season with a coat that shields more of you from the wind. When choosing, avoid pieces that look ready for hiking or mountaineering unless you plan on heading off campus to do so. Instead, look for a cleaned up, tailored piece. It doesn’t have to be long; try a wool button-up or this one that rocks the sleeves in a second material. When trying to keep the rest of you warm, pay attention to the colors of the coat. Snuggly scarves help the jacket keep you toasty and are the perfect place to try the warm autumn palette. Have a little fun like our Fashionisto and try gloves with personality. It might be cold but its only getting colder, so don’t be the first to cave to the cold and bundle under a down jacket. After all, it is the Midwest. You have to save something for when it is -20 degrees.

Hint: Cuffing your jeans doesn’t just clean up your look. It will also keep the cold air from getting in!


Our closets have been prepped for it. Midwesterners have been waxing nostalgic over it. Songs have been written about it. Finally, after weeks of abnormally balmy Wisconsin weather, the wait is over. Turn up the heaters, wrap up in a blanket and ready your closet because sweater weather is finally here. That’s right ladies and most especially gents, finally that enormous stock of thick, snuggly pullovers can take their rightful place at the front of our closets, ready to be paired with woolen socks, glittens and a steaming hot apple cider (or PSL).

This week’s Fashionisto is wrapped in the perfect “beginning of fall” sweater. The light colored pullover exhibits just the right amount of personality with a vaguely nordic pattern to break up the knitwork. It is thick enough to keep this Fashionisto warm without looking bulky or uncomfortable. His fall inspiration doesn’t stop with the sweater. He keeps up the autumnal spirit with caramel colored slim fitting cords and deep brown shoes. The mix creates a perfect chilly-weather palette of warm colors and soft textures. This Fashionista ties his look together with a few smart accessories. The dark gray of the sweater’s pattern is picked up in the lenses of the clubmasters hooked on the crew neck, while his cords are tied back in with the straps of his bag. While each piece contributes to a well-constructed outfit, the sweater takes center stage.

Although most people have a good number of sweaters, it can be difficult keeping them current. Take a page out of this Fashionisto’s book and focus on the sweater. Use contrasting colors to keep the sweater in the spotlight. Have a little fun and try a crazy colored sweater and pair it with neutral bottoms. For the more ambitious boys out there, layer a simple sweater over a patterned button-up. The peeks of collar and cuff will make a more playful look. Move beyond the simple pullover and try out patched elbows, fisherman’s collars and double-breasted cardigans. Don’t let sweater weather become a sweater slump; there are too many different kinds to try! If you still aren’t confident, dig up a vintage knit patterned with woodland creatures and keep trying. Worst case scenario, in less than two months the ugly Christmas sweater will be socially acceptable.

Hint: A large stock of sweaters doesn’t have to break the bank. Secondhand shops tend to have a wide selection of knits and are more likely to have unique pieces and patterns.


Street style has been dominating the fashion scene of late with trends going from pavement to runway rather than the other way around. There is a constant search for what is new, trendy and relevant. With the ever-increasing number of runway shoes each year, these trends are being updated faster and faster. Right now, leather is the fabric of choice. It can be paired with just about everything and adds a bit of edge. If a little edge isn’t enough, drive the point home with a some studding. Only time will tell if the trend will last, but for right now it is a fun, stylish update to the usual campus gear.

This Fashionisto impressed me as soon as I saw the flash of studding on his backpack. Leather is so trendy it is almost becoming mainstream, but he updates it by using a more classic, almost preppy cognac hue on a very unconventional piece. The beautiful color gets broken up by the coupling of wide, low studs and the backpack maker’s logo, adding dimensions and texture to make the piece even more interesting. He keeps his look grounded and the attention on the bag with a simple, classic ensemble that shows his eye for taste. From collar to boat shoes, this Fashionisto’s look is understated, comprised of staple fall fabrics and preppy elements. It pairs perfectly with his bag, keeping it the focus by contrasting the trendy with the timeless yet integrating it with his overall color story. This is a Fashionisto who knows how to play with trends without letting them overpower his style.

Try getting a little trendy this week and add some leather and studs to your daily style. Follow this Fashionisto and stay away from looking too punk with black leather and over-the-top studding. Try to keep within the same color family as your outfit, keeping the focus on the material rather than a pop of color. With studding, bigger isn’t better! Try a belt with a bit of hardware or a jacket with unexpected bits of leather. If you want to go all out, test some heavy studding on a smaller piece such as shoes and keep the rest of the look simple. Just remember to watch where you walk. Your look might be edgy, but it also has a lot of edges!

Hint: If you aren’t totally sold on a studded piece, try a little DIY. Buy a set of pyramid studs and add them to some old pieces, play with the placement and test the trend a bit before you commit to a big piece.