How Taking Time Off From School Actually Set This Entrepreneur Up For Success

The official CollegeFashionista podcast is taking the internet by storm! As a top ranked and noteworthy podcast on iTunes, we are excited to share with you more episodes and continue to provide unique content you won’t hear anywhere else!

Before you even enter your senior year of high school, people start asking you, “So, what are you going to major in college?” Knowing what you want to eat for lunch let alone do for the rest of your life is an overwhelming concept at 18. When trying to decide where to go to school and what to study, our latest podcast guest, entrepreneur and Style Girlfriend’s editor-in-chief, Megan Collins, was faced with this exact dilemma. She knew i) she was willing to work hard and ii) wanted to eventually live in New York City. So instead of diving into a major she wasn’t sure about, Collins decided to go with what she knew and took a gap year to work in NYC.

The gap year reinforced that she really wanted to end up in the Big Apple post-grad. It also gave her new perspective on what it meant to work hard. With a year of work under her belt and laser focused, Collins started at Penn State University, committed to getting the best education and foundation for her future success. (Triple majoring along the way.)

And while you may not be able to get the gap year, Collins notes that taking internships or having part-time jobs gives you the power and perspective that comes with “getting dirt under your nails.” Check out more about Collins journey, including advice on the benefits of testing out different jobs and how she succeeded in a male dominated industry, exclusively in our latest podcast episode.

Whether you are heading to your internship, taking a coffee break, or unwinding in bed, you can access these “Office Hours” at your convenience. Check us out the latest episode and all episodes on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Get ready to get schooled in style (and learn a thing or two in the process).

Michelle Phan’s Greatest Achievement Has Nothing To Do With Makeup or YouTube

The official CollegeFashionista podcast is taking the internet by storm! As a top ranked and noteworthy podcast on iTunes, we are excited to share with you more episodes and continue to provide unique content you won’t hear anywhere else!

It’s hard to imagine Michelle Phan before she became a YouTube sensation. But before any of her over 8.8 million YouTube followers knew who she was, Phan was just like you, a regular college student trying to find her path in life. When she made a last minute decision to study art instead of medicine after high school, Phan had no idea what life had in store—but, as she wisely told us, you can’t plan for success.

Phan is an OG when it comes to makeup tutorials and building a brand on YouTube. This social media pioneer had the confidence and intellect to do something that most people with that kind of meteoric rise would be too afraid to do—she went on a digital detox. After spending nearly 10 years building her multimillion dollar brand, Phan needed some time away. Could she have become irrelevant? Maybe. Was it risky? Of course. But by taking a hiatus, Phan was able to refocus and come back stronger and more innovative and relevant than ever.

We were lucky enough to speak candidly with the beauty guru about what she wishes she could tell her 22-year-old self, the power of failure, and why her greatest achievement has nothing to do with followers (hint: it involves her mom). Listen up on this week’s episode of #CFofficehours!

Whether you are heading to class, taking a coffee break or unwinding in bed, you can access these “Office Hours” at your convenience. Check us out the latest episode and all episodes on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Get ready to get schooled in style (and learn a thing or two in the process).

Want some more career advice? Check out what Olivia Culpo has learned through her time as Miss Universe and beyond!

Photos via Michelle Phan

6 Brands That are Destined to be the Next Mansur Gavriel

Here’s a few totally unsolicited fun facts about me:

1—I may or may not have a handbag obsession

2—I spend an embarrassing amount of time online “browsing” (and inevitably shopping)

3—I have an uncanny ability to predict the next “it” bag

Example: Mansur Gavriel. Not to humble brag, but I had one of their bucket bag before the social media storm and impossible waitlists were even a thing. This is not to say I am even kind of “over” my bucket bag (it is one of those rare pieces that was very much worth the hype); but I am forever looking for the next big (or little) bag to add into my rotation. Plus, I have found that being on the forefront of a brand usually saves me some coin. (Rise in demand; rise in price. That’s math or econ or something.)

One part trend forecasting, one part a look into my browser history, here are six bags and designers that I am predicting the same Mansur Gavriel-level frenzy over. Snag one before they’re everywhere and the waitlists ensue (and prices go up)!

1—Ornella Round Wood Clutch ($180)

2—Elleme Raisin Bag ($525)

3—Simon Miller Bonsair Mini Bucket Bag ($390)

4—Building Block Smooth Leather Box Bag ($460)

5—Cult Gaia Ark Bag ($98)

6—Staud Deneuve Bag ($215)

LOVE IT OR HATE IT? The Wet Hair Look

Here’s the truth—it is hot AF out. While I apologize to you, the reader, and my mom for my language, simply saying “Oh gee, it’s toasty,” does not adequately describe the physical and emotional response I have anytime I have to leave the confines of my apartment’s A/C.

Part of the angst that comes with facing this heat has to do with the stress of getting dressed for it. I mean what is the point, really? I know any outfit that has any form of sleeve and/or isn’t 100 percent cotton will have instant sweat stains. And it is a guarantee that my make-up will go from fresh-faced to dewy to straight-up running down my cheek in the matter of three minutes.

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Enter: the wet hair look. For so long, I was totally against it. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the casual-cool look. But, to me, the wet hair look took the whole, “I woke up like this” concept to a new level. Pretty sure Beyoncé was not suggesting going straight from the shower to the sidewalk. I would argue flawless and completely effortless are not the same thing. So, I would wake up early, blow dry (cough, cough, dry shampoo like crazy) my hair. Before long, my hair would either i. end up in a top knot or ii. so sweaty that it would look like I just jumped in a pool (and not in a glamorous, model way).

Then I had a fashion epiphany (which are the best kind of epiphanies, am I right?). If I take a shower, go through all the blow drying effort only to look like I just took a shower, why not cut out the middle man?

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So I embraced the wet hair look and let me tell you: game changer. First of all, no more fussing in the morning means I have so much more time in the morning for far more important things (like sleep and eggs). And remember my fear of leaving my A/C? Wet hair is pretty much a portable cooling system that isn’t tacky nor does it require you to carry a small fan.

Perhaps most important about the wet hair look is how on trend it is. It seems like every Fashionista, celebrity and blogger is literally dowsing her beach waves and opting for a wet mane instead. When properly executed, the look is sleek and super polished. And contrary to my prior convictions, you don’t have to have passerbys worry that you are running late. Wet hair can look cool and purposeful.

I am still in a very committed relationship with my air-conditioner. But now, I have a new attitude to beating the summer heat: wet hair, don’t care.

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What’s your take on the wet hair look? Love it or hate it? Sound off on social media using the hashtag #collegefashionista!

LOVE IT OR HATE IT—Destroyed Denim

I have the world’s nicest mom. She’s one of those people that thinks everything her kids do is the best thing ever, sends me care packages as an adult and is always so damn smiley. In the world of Brenda Levin, I can seem to do no wrong.

I say this not just to humble brag, but to create a backdrop for you. Because there is only one thing that seems to grind her gears. What, may you ask, makes this saint of a woman perturbed? No, it’s not that I curse with questionably alarming frequency or fail to do my laundry for three weeks at a time.

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It’s when I wear ripped jeans. My mom literally hates ripped jeans. She can’t understand why 1. I would voluntarily wear something with holes and 2. I would pay any amount of money for such an item.

I, on the other hand, love ripped jeans. As someone who seems accident prone, ripped jeans take the stress out of the inevitable tear, rip or stain. Distressed denim allows you to have a grunge look while still showering. Plus, I secretly feel super “cool” when I wear them, so there’s that.

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And while ripped jeans have been popular for several seasons now, destroyed denim takes the look to a HOLE new level. (Did I mention I also love puns?) The name says it all. The denim to holes ratio is pretty much one-to-one. Destroyed denim have essentially been ripped so much that a passerby wonders if you and your pants have just survived some major catastrophe or bizarre run-in with a shredder.

Not so surprisingly then, I am a fan of destroyed denim. In my world, the less they resemble actual, wearable pants, the better. Because I think we can all agree the best kind of pants are no pants. I want my denim to be so destroyed that they are literally hanging on by a thread. Are they pants or just shreds of fabric? Who knows and who cares?! Plus, with spring in the air and summer right around the corner, these breezy bottoms are a great alternative to all my fellow friends out there who avoid shorts at all costs.

So my dear destroyed denim, in the words of the poet Justin Beiber, “My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone.” But then again, every child needs to rebel, so you might as well do it in style.

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What’s your take on destroyed denim? Love it or hate it? Sound off on social media using the hashtag #collegefashionista!

LOVE IT OR HATE IT—Pigtail Braids

There are certain words that immediately invoke an image.

When someone says the word “pigtails,” I immediately think of little freckly five-year-old with missing front teeth in a Girl Scout uniform (mostly, because there is a picture of myself, as a little freckly five-year-old with missing front teeth in a Girl Scout uniform wearing pigtails).

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The image that most certainly doesn’t immediately pop into my head is a chic, model-off duty crushing the sidewalks of some international city. But that’s where we find ourselves in 2016. Everyone from the models at Paris Fashion Week to Beyoncè are rocking pigtail braids like they are this season’s must-have handbag. Perhaps it is the ‘90s revival or the shift towards functional fashion (because aren’t the point of pigtails to stay in place when cutting lose on the playground?), but what first seemed like a way for Kim Kardashian to garner the more likes on Instagram has turned into a full-fledged trend this season.


Of all the hair trends we have seen in the past few years, the pigtail braids have me super apprehensive and I am not quite sure why. It’s not like they are permanent or attack my commitment phobic sensibilities. And as someone who doesn’t wash their hair every day, they also are a great way to give life to my “when’s the last time I shampooed?” mane.

I think the real conundrum comes down to this—while I am still a fan of the Girl Scouts (Thin Mints, am I right?), do I really want to look like one? Everyone wants to look younger, but how young is too young? For example, it’s fun to get carded when going out, but not when “going out” is to a PG-13 movie. I somehow feel in my attempt to channel my inner-Sporty Spice, I would end up looking like Baby Spice (emphasis on the “baby”).

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Don’t get me wrong—I applaud all those Fashionistas who are taking the risk and rocking the pigtail braids with confidence. And while I have yet to try this trend myself, who knows? As soon as I find the perfect edgy outfit and/or my old Girl Scout vest, a new photo of me may just surface rocking pigtails like a grown-up(-ish).

What’s your take on the pigtail braid? Love it or hate it? Sound off on social media using the hashtag #collegefashionista!

LOVE IT OR HATE IT—Sweatshirts

For so long I reserved sweatshirts for 1) sick days or 2) obligatory moments of school spirit. In fact after college, I had all my sweatshirts made into a quilt, figuring as a “grown-up” there was no longer room for such casualwear in my wardrobe. After all, I was an adult now working in fashion. Bring on the stilettos and copious amounts of black!

Flash-forward a few years and my attitude towards a lot things have changed. Turns out actually wearing heels every day is terrible for your back. And sweatshirts can actually be worn outside of your apartment without feeling like a total slob. (Major life lessons—I know!)


For the past few seasons, sweatshirts seem to be the thing to wear in fashion (thank you, athleisure!). Designer hoodies? Crewnecks at fashion week? Who would have thought! While Anna Wintour stands firm on her “no sweats” stance, this is one time I have to disagree with her royal highness.

Turns out this practical garment is practically my favorite thing to wear 24/7. Not having to change after SoulCycle on my way to brunch is literally the best thing ever. What happens when it’s freezing but I still want to wear a leather skirt for girls night out? There’s a crewneck for that. And obviously, when I am on my couch binge watching Making a Murderer—hello, full-on sweatsuit! In fact, as I write this article from the confines of my office, I am totally unintentionally sporting a sweatshirt. Casual Friday? More like casual every day!


The sweatshirt especially gets a bad rap for college students. The whole idea of wearing “sweats to class” is often seen as a last ditch effort to not miss your 8 a.m. lecture for the millionth time. But just because your comfort level is off the charts, doesn’t mean you actually “woke up like this.” A truly chic sweatshirt look takes more thought than pressing the snooze button.

So sorry Anna, my mom and anyone else who thinks my sweatshirt collection means I have given up on my affinity for fashion. The love is definitely still there. For now, we are just in a casual relationship, I suppose.

What’s your take? Love it or hate it? Let us know by using the hashtag #collegefashionista on social media!

FIVE WHO INSPIRE—CollegeFashionista’s COO, Melissa Levin, On The Ladies Who Inspire Her

Whether you are a freshman in college or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, everyone has people they look up to. Some they may know intimately; others they may only know through admiration of their accomplishments. But having role models and sources of inspiration are important to achieving success in our own personal and professional lives.

We asked CollegeFashionista’s COO, Melissa Levin what she loves most in this world. After her family, friends and brunch (of course), Melissa said her biggest passions are empowering young people, pushing herself and making people smile/laugh/cry simultaneously (and on purpose). So it comes as no surprise that Melissa looks to other incredible females out there to inspire these aspects of her life.

Check out Melissa’s list of her top five sources of inspiration as well as a notable honorable mention.

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Michelle Obama; First Lady of the United States: Regardless of your political beliefs, I think you will be hard-pressed to find someone who is not in total awe of Michelle Obama. And I am not just talking about her incredible fashion sense and enviable arms. The FLOTUS’ commitment to seriously important issues effecting our nation’s young people, like higher education and healthy living, is truly inspiring. The First Lady has used her platform to really enact change, connect with her audience and act as a role model for all Americans—young and old.


Photo via

Mindy Kaling; Actress, Comedian, Writer, My Imaginary BFF: What’s not to love about Mindy? I first fell for her as an avid fan of The Office. (I like to throw out obscure Kelly Kapoor quotes almost daily.) When I found out she also wrote many of those incredible lines, I was a full-on fan girl. But besides being insanely funny and mega-talented, Mindy is refreshingly different on so many levels. She’s a minority female who promotes a normal body image in an industry dominated by white males and sticklet starlets. She’s honest, real and a prime example of how a strong work ethic, brains and drive can lead to success in any industry.

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Photo via Mindy Kaling’s Instagram

Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice; Co-Founders of SoulCycle: The company these two ladies have created inspires me on both a professional and personal level. As an entrepreneur, I am in awe of their ability to have transformed a traditional workout into a serious cult-like phenomenon. SoulCycle is about more than an intense workout (which it definitely is); it is about connecting, inspiring others and creating a community—the #SoulFam, if you will. From a personal standpoint, SoulCycle is my go-to workout/stress relief/therapy/happy place. (I know, I am a clichè and have no shame.) I greatly credit clipping in and tapping back five times a week to transforming my relationship with exercise, health and my soul (pun intended). These ladies built something that not only inspires me to push the norm, but push myself.


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Emma Watson; Actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador: Most actresses who have been in the limelight since they were 11 usually end up on the cover of tabloid magazines and/or in rehab by the time they hit voting age. Emma Watson has taken a distinctively different route. This accomplished actress graduated from Brown University and utilized her education and spotlight to shine light on humanitarian issues. Emma’s role as UN Goodwill Ambassador is what impresses me the most. She tirelessly dedicates efforts toward empowering young women and gender equality around the world through the HeForShe campaign. Oh did I mention she is only 24 years old? It doesn’t take a wizard to realize she is one inspiring young lady.

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Photo via Sarah Slutsky’s Instagram

Amy Levin; Founder of CollegeFashionista and Sister: Being able to witness firsthand someone take an idea and work tirelessly to see it to fruition is a pretty awesome experience. It is even more “awesome” when that person happens to be your sister. I talk a lot about how Amy and I have a super atypical relationship as sisters, best friends and business partners. But I don’t think I mention enough why I am so lucky to work alongside her. Amy’s drive, passion and business acumen inspires me daily to do better. Her aura is infectious. Just by being herself, she pushes me to think bigger, work harder and continue to challenge myself and our company. What I love most about my job is the community we have built and the sense of empowerment our Style Gurus have to share their voices. None of this would be possible without Amy’s creative vision and commitment to CollegeFashionista.

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Photo via Amy Levin’s Instagram

Honorable Mention: Beyoncè. Because… well, no explanation needed.


TWENTY QUESTIONS—Melissa Levin, CollegeFashionista’s COO

It’s STYLE GURU BIO week here at CollegeFashionista. While we are busy getting to know the #RAD team of 2,000+ Style Gurus who make up our #GuruGang this spring, we figured it would be a great time for you to learn a little bit more about the team here at CollegeFashionista!

All week long, as you read the bios of your favorite Style Gurus, be sure to check out the homepage as we play “20 Questions” with a member of the CollegeFashionista team.

Next up we have our COO, Melissa Levin—who wears a lot of hats (especially beanies) here at CollegeFashionista. She spends her time at CollegeFashionista writing articles, overseeing the editorial content on the site, drinking obscene amounts of coffee and a ton of other behind-the-scenes work. If you love complex grammar rules, Jay Z and/or an impressive sneaker collection, then be sure to check out Melissa’s responses in our latest round of “20 Questions.”

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Favorite shoes? Sneakers. The more unique the better.

Must-have accessory? A great black bag (or six). And preferably Proenza Schouler.

Most surprising website you visit on a regular basis? Because most fashion girls speak fluent hockey, right?

Always up for… brunch, traveling, pictures of dogs (especially when they are of her own) and random adventures.

Never up for… gluten, dairy, soy and velvet.

Your brunch order? Eggs. In an omelet, scrambled, poached—I will pretty much take them in any shape or form. They are my favorite food!

Least favorite food? Pasta. Thanks to the great food poisoning incident of 1993, I haven’t been able to stomach spaghetti since.

Favorite song lyrics? “Today is never too late to be brand new.” (Yes, I just quoted Taylor Swift. No shame.)

Best gift you have ever received? Life and a trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro—both generously given to me by my parents.

Pet peeve? Bad manners and not knowing basic grammar rules.

What is your spirit animal? Mindy Kaling. 

Biggest fear? Chipping my teeth.

Celebrity crush? It’s a tie—Jake Gyllenhaal and Bradley Cooper. Oh hey blue eyes…

Most random fact about yourself? I am a secret lawyer.

What is the last hobby you picked up? Surfing

What topic would you own in trivia? The life, times and lyrics of Jay Z and Beyoncè

What is the movie you laughed the hardest during? Old School. Or Anchorman. Really anything with Will Farrell in his prime—there is nothing better.

What is the movie you cried the hardest during? The Notebook. The first time I saw it I literally needed 20 minutes before I left the theater.

I never leave the house without….sunglasses. I wear them 365.

Proudest moment of your life? The moment I wake up every morning and get to go to a job that I am so passionate about. (I know, even I hate myself for writing that—but it’s true!)

The Five Reasons You Need To Get To Know This One Brand

The team at CollegeFashionista has pretty eclectic and diverging taste when it comes to fashion. Some of us prescribe to the “all black everyday notion,” some of have never met a color we didn’t like. Every once in a while, however, a brand comes on our radar that literally everyone at the office goes gaga over. Our latest obsession: Keep it Personal.

We’re not talking your run of the mill mall store that engraves a catalog of keepsakes. Think the chicest clothing and accessory that you can personalize in fashion-forward ways. Here are just five reasons you need to get familiar with Keep it Personal.

1. Monogramming is major in fashion. A rad sweatshirt is made that much more rad when you personalize it with your initial.

2. Squad goals. You and your besties can show your campus and the Internet how much you love one another by suiting up and going matchy-matchy. Hello Instagram sensation.

3. It’s an Australian-based label. Other amazing things to come from “Land Down Under”—koalas, Macadamia nuts and the Hemsworth brothers

4. Motto. Whether it’s “YOLO,” “But first coffee…” or something totally original, there is no better way to let the world know what you are about than with words. Preferably sewn in custom text on a super soft T-shirt.

5. You do you. Why buy the same T-shirt/bag/pajamas that everyone has? Make your own brand by personalizing pieces as unique as you are.