FASHIONISTO SPOTLIGHT: Ahmed Alsallal

I found Ahmed on the plaza and HAD to take a photo of him. It’s not every day you see a guy in a royal blue blazer with a fun accent scarf who totally pulls it off 100 percent. After chatting with Ahmed, I learned that he has a strong sense of style and knows how to put an outfit together by mixing current trends with classic looks. A blazer, slacks and scarf can be a totally different look by adding color and pattern!

Something I learned from Ahmed is to embrace your style wherever you are in world. We all know Minnesota it isn’t necessarily the fashion capital of the world, but that doesn’t mean we have to constantly wear flannels, boots and giant parkas (although sometimes it’s all you can wear if the weather is too extreme). Find clothes that reflect your personality and culture. Clothes and accessories are always more fun when they mean something to you.  

Name: Ahmed Alsallal

Major: Communications

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista: Explain your style for me.

Ahmed Alsallal: My style…I like to wear fashionable and unique clothes. I like slim fit pants and shirts, not too big and not too skinny. I don't like to wear something that a lot of people would be wearing. For example, a North Face jacket.  My shoes have to match my belt and very occasionally has its own dress code, but I have to dress up even if I am going to class. Dress good, feel good!

CF: What are you wearing?

AA: My blazer, jeans, shoes, belt and scarf are from Zara. My shirt is from Sisley and my watch is Police.

CF: Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

AA: I get my fashion inspiration from my connection to the art and from my family  both the Saudi and Lebanese side.

CF: What are your two favorite pieces in your closet and why?

AA: My favorite two pieces are first my brown jeans  the ones on the picture because this color matches a lot of colors — and second, I love my D&G shirt because it is very unique and it has a very nice color pattern.

CF: Where do you prefer to shop and why?

AA: Most of the shops I like I find in Kuwait because they are European and they match my style better. Unfortunately, in MN there are not many shops that fit my style. My favorite place to shop is Zara.

CF: Where are you from? How is the fashion/style different there?

AA: I am from Saudi Arabia but I live in Kuwait. Fashion is a big part of life in Kuwait, so I am very influenced by that since I was raised there. People are obsessed with fashion and often compete with each other, but here in MN people only dress up for occasions.

How To: To recreate Ahmed’s bold and classic look, start with a pair of comfortable and versatile pants and a basic oxford button-up. Add a statement making blazer and throw on a fun patterned scarf to really add a little something to the look. Polish off the look with a watch and a pair of comfortable yet trendy shoes.

 

FASHIONISTA SPOTLIGHT: Nicole Soyka

As the air starts to freeze, the bulky coats, hats and chunky scarves start to emerge, but don’t put those shorts away yet! I encountered this Fashionista on a fairly warmer yet dreary day, struttin’ her stuff and bringing a little oomph to a gloomy day. She not only had the fashion, she knew the fashion! This fashion major knows a thing or two about putting together the perfect outfit. Her creativity and personality shine through her fashion and give her a clear confidence that makes heads turn. Wearing shorts during the colder months can be a bit intimidating, but take the risk! Throw together a fun and original outfit to really express who you are.

Name: Nicole Soyka

Major: Fashion Merchandising and Communication Journalism

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista: Explain your style for me…

Nicole Soyka: It’s always evolving, but I would say a combination of boho-vintage and edgy-chic, so that leaves me with boho-chic I guess. I absolutely love black, but I cannot get enough of color as well. My look reflects my mood, as fashion is complete freedom of self-expression. One day I may be edgy and hipster and the next I’m a bohemian free spirit. That’s what I love about fashion — it’s constantly changing. Fashion is more than clothes and shoes; it is pure self love, a kind of magic. Where else in this world can you find that kind of genuine freedom? Enter fashion addiction here.

CF: What are you wearing?

NS: Opaque black tights with sheer floral side panels with scalloped shorts by the LOFT, a silk black long sleeve from Urban Outfitters, a knit cardigan by Kenar, black wrap bracelet with copper beads I purchased from a NYC street vendor, Cheetah booties from Target, just bitten color-moonlight lip stain and my necklace is a roman coin from Italy.

CF: Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

NS: I get my inspiration from the streets and blogs. I like to create unexpected combinations of pattern and color, which can come from everyday objects or something I saw driving to class. Cupcakes and Cashmere is one of my favorite fashion blogs; her style is adorable and wearable, which I love.

CF: What are your two favorite pieces in your closet and why?

NS: This is like asking a mother which is her favorite child! If I had to choose, I would say I adore my cream trench coat from Anthropologie. The lining is neon orange and it has adorable buttons. It works with everything and the trench is just such a classic look and will always be in fashion. The other would have to be my roman coin necklace from Italy. I got it in Florence when I traveled to Europe with my family before starting college and it is a memento of my travels. For me, it symbolizes a new beginning and when I get completely overwhelmed and stressed out from class and life, it reminds me to reset and look at the things that are going right.

CF: What winter trends are you most excited for? Anything specific?

NS: There is nothing better than a chunky sweater and being able to be comfy, cozy on the couch. I love layering and bundling up!

How To: I love how Nicole was able to take such a fun look and make it her own. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to put the shorts away! Wear them with some patterned tights to keep you warm! To recreate this look, start with a great fitting pair of scalloped shorts and pair them with some fun tights to show your personality. Add a basic top and throw on a bulky sweater. Highlight the look with some wedge booties to give you height (and stability!) I love how Nicole chose a leopard pattern, really adding something to the outfit! Finish off with a few delicate necklaces and stackable bracelets. Keep in mind to add your own flare to this easily customizable look. In short (pun intended) remember that fashion is all about expressing yourself!

FASHIONISTO SPOTLIGHT: Muhdi Sharif

There’s nothing better on a gloomy fall day than to walk through campus and see the men dressed to impress…right, ladies? I found this stylin’ Fashionisto strutting through the quad and couldn’t resist interviewing him, and I’m so glad I did! Muhdi not only knows style, but he has been all around the world and it shines through his fashion choices. Creating a fashionable ensemble while encompassing a totally unique look and being able to pull it off is quite an accomplishment.

Name: Muhdi Sharif

Major: International Business and Business Administration

Year: Senior

CollegeFashionista: What are you wearing?

Muhdi Sharif: I’m wearing a Levi Brand Jeans fedora, a custom tailored dress shirt and bowtie from Shanghai, China (from studying abroad), with a Nike belt and Nike shoes I purchased from London.

CF: Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

MS: I get my fashion inspiration from a combination of classical, modern and vintage looks. For instance, I try to imitate a look that might have been popular in the past and mix it with modern fashion.

CF: What are your two favorite pieces in your closet and why?

MS: My two favorite pieces in my closet are my suspenders that I purchased in Muscat, Oman and my black pea coat from Chicago. I love these pieces because they can be worn with almost anything.

CF: Where do you like to shop?

MS: I like to shop in foreign cities and countries, and the best are the random stores you find while traveling. I will do most of my shopping when I’m in a different city. I really like to add diversity to my closet and I would say that I have items from almost every continent in the world!

How To: In order to recreate this look you need to travel the world. Just kidding! Start with a basic button-up oxford shirt and a pair of slacks. Add your own style with a fun bow tie and fedora hat and complete the look with a pair of trendy sneakers. Guys, the ladies will be all over you! Don’t forget to really let your own unique tastes shine through your look. Nothing is more attractive than a confident, stylish and trendy Fashionisto!

FASHIONISTA SPOTLIGHT: Daniah Al-Midfa

I’m not sure about you, but fall is my favorite time of the year. Not only are the trees in their absolute prime as they flaunt all the warm colors autumn brings, but I'm also thinking about fashion and how you can still show off your closet while bundling up! Unlike winter where you have to throw a coat over everything and summer where showing your skin is mandatory in order to survive, fall is the perfect balance of style and comfort. This Fashionista has the equation completely figured out! 

Name: Daniah Al-Midfa

Major: Communication & Journalism, with an emphasis in PR

Year: Senior

College Fashionista: What are you wearing?

Daniah Al-Midfa: I’m wearing a chambray shirt from Zara, a scarf and high-waist cigarette ankle jeans from Urban Outfitters (on sale!), rubber ballet flats from J.Crew and my favorite Michael Kors gold chunky watch.

CF: Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

DA: I love to browse Lookbook.nu (an awesome fashion blog) and Pinterest, and I definitely get inspired from European fashion and traveling! I would describe my style as consistently changing. I like mixing edgy and alternative pieces with simple and classic ones. One day I’ll dress in a more bohemian style, the next a more classic style, the next a more edgy style and the next  who knows!

CF: What are your favorite pieces in your closet and why?

DA: My favorite pieces are first, this Zara button-up chambray shirt I’m wearing today. Because of its oversized fit, it's extremely comfortable and super versatile. Second, my black leather jacket that goes with everything and is such a staple piece and finally, my Michael Kors gold watch. It makes me feel put together no matter what I’m wearing.

CF: Where do you like to shop?

DA: I love shopping at Zara, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, ALDO, J.Crew and even the occasional thrift store!

How To: You can never go wrong with the perfect chambray shirt. It’s a wardrobe must-have that can be utilized in every season! Pair it with some fun printed jeans and bundle up with a bulky scarf. Add a pair of flats for the warmer days and choose riding boots for the crisper ones. Complete the look with some fun accessories as Daniah did here, such as a big statement watch or some stacked bracelets!

FASHIONISTA SPOTLIGHT: Sadaf Rahmani

The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisp and students are back into their routines. I ran into this Fashionista walking through campus on a sunny, cool afternoon. She caught my attention instantly with her mix of fall colors and put-together style. After chatting with her, I realized studying abroad is not just an experience. It’s also an opportunity to add amazingly original pieces to a wardrobe!

Name: Sadaf Rahmani

Major: International Business

Year: Junior

College Fashionista: What are you wearing?

SR: A dress from a small European boutique while I was studying abroad, a blazer from BCBG, a scarf I received as a gift from a friend studying in India and my headband is from my aunt in Iran, my home country. 

CF: Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

SR: I like Zara, Club Monaco and J.Crew. I also love the European brands. I'm more into the retro, vintage look and I like to incorporate my own sense of style in my fashion. I try to take pieces from here and there and express myself through my fashion.

CF: What is your favorite fall fashion trend?

SR: I love wearing lighter, fall coats, especially in a trench coat style. Because it’s not too cold yet, it’s nice to be able to wear them with heels or leggings and not have to freeze to death.

CF: What are your two go-to pieces in your closet?

SR: I love my blazers and colored jeans — especially my green pair. I like to put colored jeans with chambray shirts and I hope colored jeans always stay in style!

How To: To recreate this look, start with a basic dress. Focus on the color. I love how Sadaf chose maroon and added other colors with her accessories. Add a neutral blazer and a colorful scarf. Stay warm with a pair of opaque tights or add some patterns and go with a pair of trendy tights. Finally, keep it simple and comfortable with a pair of basic black flats and throw a headband on for a worry free hair-do! This look is easy to obtain and something that can look different every time. Whether that’s changing the colors around or adding some accessories, it’s easy, fun and super stylish!

FASHIONISTO SPOTLIGHT: Losha Ndemeno-Tegomoh

As the cool, crisp weather sets in the sweaters start to emerge from the back of every college student’s closet. For all those Fashionistas out there, the riding boots, bulky eternity scarves and oversized sweaters hit the campus runways. As for the Fashionistos, campus is filled with sweaters layered with jackets, paired with tailored jeans and trendy shoes. I ran into this Fashionisto on the plaza during the “unofficial” first day of fall (you know that morning, when you wake up and breathe in the alarmingly cool, yet refreshing air). Knowing that the attire for class will include quite a bit more coverage and layers than that of the eighty-degree heat.

Name: Losha Ndemeno-Tegomoh

Major: Biochemistry 

Year: Junior

College Fashionisto: What are you wearing?

LN: I’m wearing an argyle sweater from Target, a light pink oxford from Macy’s, Levi's jeans and Sperry shoes.

CF: What’s your favorite trend this fall?

LN: I like wearing ties a lot. (As you can see today) I usually wear them with an oxford shirt and add a sweater or a jacket to really polish off the look.

CF: What are your favorite stores to shop at and why?

LN: I like to shop at Macy’s and Nordstrom. Not only do they have anything you need, all their options are really classy and follow the trends. I like shoe shopping at Nordstrom.

CF: What are your favorite “go-to” items in your closet?

LN: (Besides my ties)… My favorite things to wear in my closet are my Sperry’s; I have a really good collection of them, and long-sleeve oxford shirts. You gotta have six or seven (at least) in your closet.

How To: To accomplish this timeless look, start with a perfect-fitting pair of jeans. Once you have a great pair of jeans, the rest of the look will be much more comfortable and easy to put together. Pair them with a long-sleeved oxford shirt, in a color of your choice and layer it with a V-neck sweater. For those of you who are a bit more daring, choose a sweater with a bolder pattern, like this one. To really express some personality in the look add a bright colored tie with a subtle, yet daring design. Finally, finish the look with a great (and versatile) pair of Sperry Top-Siders and for the really chilly days add a comfortable and light jacket (my personal preference, is a military jacket).

FASHIONISTA SPOTLIGHT: Katy Swimelar

Ever try-on countless outfits in the morning and just can’t seem to find the perfect one? My advice: choose a fun, flattering dress. You can never go wrong with a dress and simple accessories, not to mention how comfortable you’ll be! This Fashionista perfected the look and made it look effortless with her black flats and stylish souvenirs while studying abroad.

Name: Katy Swimelar

Major: Elementary Education and Phycology 

Year: Senior

College Fashionista: What are you wearing?

KS: I’m wearing a patterned high-low dress from Urban Outfitters, Tory Burch basic black flats and some bracelets that I got while traveling abroad.

CF: What are you excited to wear this fall?

KS: I am most excited for the cold crisp days of fall when I am able to pull out my leggings and brown riding boots.  I love leggings, boots and a sweater with a circle scarf look that feels like you are trying without really doing so. I’m also excited to pull out my blazers and pair them with skinny jeans and fun tops!

CF: Which stores do you like to shop at and why?

KS: I am all about the basic items that are versatile in my closet.  My favorite spot would have to be Nordstrom for their oversized sweaters, basic jeans and the occasional top. I love going into Nordstrom and finding something that I didn't come in for but ended up with anyway!  I also love my Lululemon leggings that I can pair with so many different outfits, regardless if I am trying for the cute or comfy look, somehow I always end up taking a little bit of comfy and adding some cute to it.

CF: What are you two go-to items in your wardrobe?

KS: I would say my most common go-to would be my Lululemon black leggings. No matter what mood I am in, I always seem to pull them out and make them work. Whether it is adding a scarf and boots or flats and a long shirt.  My other go-to item would be a J.Crew stripped quarter sleeve.  I love this shirt because I can pull out the watermelon colored skinnies before fall really sets in or I can wear a pair of dark denim and throw a necklace with it to complete the look!

How To: To recreate this look, find a flattering high-low dress. I love something with a floral design and a tapered waist, for the most flattering look. Pair it with some black flats for those busy days running around campus, and finish the look with a bulky watch and fun bracelets! The best accessories are the ones obtained while strolling the streets of Paris or bustling through markets in Rome. These accessories are unique, sentimental and most likely have an amazing story too! It's an easy, comfortable and, best of all, stylish look!

FASHIONISTA SPOTLIGHT: Robin Reinke

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty excited to be back at school. Minus the homework, endless to-do lists, sleepless nights of studying and cramming for exams…  the social atmosphere, unforgettable stories and amazing friends and memories are all worth it. Not to mention the fashion seen around campus! I found this Tommie on the plaza during all the “welcome week” activities. She is someone who used the extreme heat and sunshine in her favor and put together this ensemble for a fun and easy look.

Name: Robin Reinke

Major: Neuroscience

Year: Sophomore

College Fashionista: What are you wearing?

RR: Today I have on a tank from Forever 21, shorts from Urban Outfitters, Minnetonka Moccasins and my purse is from Forever 21 too.

CF: Who/What do you get your style inspiration from?

RR: My style is definitely influenced from my older sister. We love the boho look and following up-to-date trends. Being comfortable and stylish is a definite plus.

CF: What fashion trends are you most excited for this fall?

RR: I’m super excited to take out all my layers. As much as I love summer and wearing flowy and comfortable tops, I love wrapping up in oversized sweaters and cannot wait bring out my boots! I love being able to slap on a pair of jeans, a basic top, a bulky sweater and scarf and a great pair of riding boots. 

How To: For the extreme heat, savor the last “short-wearing” days with taking some comfortable and flattering denim shorts and pair them with a bright tank. Save your feet with a pair of Minnetonka moccasins and keep all your personal belongings in a small cross-body bag. A perfect sized bag will keep all your essentials and make them easy to get-at while finishing all your to-dos. This look is great walking through the quad and hanging with friends. When the sun is up, don’t forget your sunglesses! Aviators are a key item to any wardrobe, and are a timeless piece that range in size and style for nearly everyone!

FASHIONISTA SPOTLIGHT: Kelsey Daley

As much as I am dying to bring out sweaters, boots, scarves and layers for fall, in these final weeks of summer it’s good to embrace the bright colors and carefree staples summer brings. This Fashionista makes looking fresh, fun and fabulously fashionable easy in these final days of summer! The key item to this look is the wedges. A girl can never have too many shoes and wedges are no exception.

Because of the one-piece, solid sole, wedges give the height you love without the twisted or broken ankle you hate. When choosing the perfect pair of heels, reach for wedges, not forgetting to choose color patterns and bold statements to bring any outfit to life.

Name: Kelsey Daley

Major: Mechanical Engineer

Year: Senior

College Fashionista: How would you describe your personal style?

KD: Preppy and usually pretty casual- I love to wear oxford button ups and pair it with a pair of colored jeans or shorts.

CF: What was your favorite trend this summer?

KD: I love all the bright colors especially for jeans.  Also the dresses and “Mullet skirts” (high-low skirts) I think they are so flattering and can be worn casually or can be dressed up.

CF: What stores do you like to shop at and why?

KD: I love J.Crew! Even though it can be somewhat pricey, I really love all their clothes from the casual T-shirts and skirts to the business attire- as well as their jewelry. I love all the bright colors they have had all summer and how preppy the clothes are. Another of my favorite stores is Len Druskin Outlet. They always have really reasonable priced clothes and you can find anything there from work clothes to going out clothes. This is one store that I always end up buying something every time I go. Also there is nothing better then looking at the price and then knowing that it is 50% off!

How To: Hang on to the last of this summer by adding color! To get Kelsey's look, choose a simple oxford button-up blouse and pair it with your favorite pair of patterned shorts, a floral skirt or colored jeans. Add colorful, statement wedges and bangles to polish off the outfit and embrace the summer's finale with a pair of trendy sunglasses. For work, tuck an oxford blouse into a bright colored pencil skirt with classic pumps. Finishing off the look with a bold Michael Kors watch. Tip: Keep hair and makeup natural and show off summer waves for a fun, simple and effortless look!

 

Style Guru Bio: Renee Cattoor

Growing up as the youngest of four is one thing, being the only girl, is another. Looking back on who I was during the “awkward” stages of life (you know- braces and slicked back pony tails with 7 snap-in clips) I was definitely a girly girl. Which was somewhat difficult having three older brothers and extremely difficult considering the only hand-me-downs I ever received were neon wind jackets and zubaz. But if it weren’t for my brothers, I wouldn’t be who I am today. (As much as I want to deny it, they have all influenced my style in a positive manner.)

Happily following my brothers, I'm currently a senior at the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota working towards a double major: Marketing and Accounting, and I’m so excited to be a Style Guru for CollegeFashionista! I’ve never thought of myself as any sort of writer, but I never miss the chance to think outside the box and challenge myself.

My hopes and dreams are in constant motion. One day I'm aspiring to be an actress on Broadway, the next- a top CEO marketing for shoes… just gave myself goose bumps! If I'm not at work or absorbing ridiculous amounts of knowledge in class, you can find me barbequing with my family, getting drinks with friends or searching for a hidden boutique to obtain unique, one-of-a-kind treasures. An ideal Friday night for me would include a trip to the nearest improvisational theater where I can laugh so hard it's considered a workout and a plate of decadent sushi.

If I had to choose one word to describe my style, it would be “classic”. My go-to outfit is a pair of perfect-fitting jeans; a V-neck T-shirt layered with a fun blazer and finished off with a great pair of wedges. I’ve always considered myself having a keen sense of style, but it wasn’t until college and studying abroad in Rome when I really started to add my own character to an outfit. I’m not one to wear something super daring but I do try and break out of my comfort zone; catching me in a statement necklace with a fedora and basic T-shirt isn’t unheard of. I frequently visit J Crew, Zara, Francesca's Collections, and the numerous boutiques and vintage stores in my neighborhood. My wallet doesn't always allow me to dress exactly the way I would like to, but I happily find ways around it and stay within my budget. The perfect equation to expressing my personality through fashion is expanding on my basic, classic style and implementing current trends!