STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Sophistication is Key

When it comes to student fashion, we tend to be a breed that worships the scruffy chic look. Believe me I can understand this, it’s comfy for lectures, practical for getting the bus and ‘in vogue’ thanks to celebrities like Kate Moss, who’s been pioneering the bed-head and ripped jeans since the '90s. The thing is, it’s nice to add a little sophistication to your wardrobe once and a while, isn’t it?

You don’t have to be off for an interview, I’m not talking about a pin stripe suit, I’m just saying, you could rock some low heeled court shoes, a cute shirt and well cut blazer every once and a while, and look as good as this week’s Fashionista!

Wearing heels in the daytime is for me, just screams sophisticated, and boy does it make you feel good. The ultimate feminine accessory, you instantly feel more confident, your legs suddenly looked longer and slimmer, why wouldn’t you want to where them to class too? Today’s Fashionista is wearing a lovely pair of black platform peep toes, not too high, and in a classic suede finish, absolutely perfect for this look, and you can wear them to go dancing too! Primark have a few variations of these in at the moment, all for less than £12, what are you waiting for?! You could also try Office if you’re looking for a pair that will last a bit longer, I love these, with their cute tassel trim, from the new PPQ collaboration, designer shoes at high street prices, brilliant!

Moving on, the rest of this Fashionista’s outfit really just sums up what I’m talking about, a crisp white shirt and sleek blazer, rolled up to the elbow (you don’t want to over-do it!) and beautiful vintage patterned silk scarf, casually left un-tied. It’s so easy to find shirts like this Fashionista’s on the highstreet at the moment, like here at Topshop, and I saw a few lovely drop back sleeveless button ups in Ark (on Corporation Street, Manchester, opposite Selfridges/Marks and Spencers) last week, for less than £20.

What are you waiting for? Grab your designer look-a-like bag, this week’s Fashionista’s in from Primark for a mere £8, and swap student scruffy chic for student sophisitication.

Hint: Shirts and blazers often look better in muted, basic colours such as black, white and grey, and are much more versatile this way. Add a splash of colour by using a silk scarf like this week’s Fashionista! Wear it round your neck or even just tied round the handles of your bag.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Sublime Spring Silks

I was walking behind this week’s Fashionista, and couldn’t keep my eyes off her beautiful floral jacket, which sat perfectly against the red of her hair, and the soft light of the late afternoon sun. Like a crazy stalker I caught up to her and asked for a photo, and was instantly glad I had, her whole ensemble was even better from the front!

On one of the warmest days so far this year in Manchester this Fashionista’s delicate silky floral jacket was the perfect choice in my book. It has a sweet retro feel, and I assumed it must be vintage, but I’m told it’s ‘only Miss Selfridge’ and am pleasantly surprised. I’ve noticed there are a few similar pieces cropping up on the highstreet at the moment, in some lovely oriental inspired prints, perfect for spring. My favourite is this kimono-esque bed jacket from River Island which also comes in a more boxy blazer style if you like the print but prefer a more traditional cut, amazing! Of course you could always try to hunt down something similar in one of the many Mancunian vintage stores and charity shops, try Cow at Piccadilly Gardens for an original '80s find!

The colours and print of the jacket really stand out, but for me the best bit is how well it can be dressed up and down thanks to the light weight silky fabric. This Fashionista has styled it perfectly with a cute LBD, every Fashionista’s wardrobe staple, and some lacy tights (which if you remember I told you a few weeks ago were the must have leg covering), the look is very glamorous, but kept ‘daytime’ by pairing with flat shoes and a satchel bag. Thanks to the clever addition of a metallic skinny belt and statement necklace you could easily throw on a pair of heels and swap the satchel for a tiny beaded clutch and wear this outfit for a night on the town.

I’d love to see a jacket like this teamed with a pair of basic skinny jeans, a white vest top and some low heels for an elegant but wonderfully simple look.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Wear Your Summer Brights with Clever Layering

It’s fair to say that this week’s Fashionista has successfully solved that age old problem of how to wear your favourite flimsy summer garb when it’s not quite as warm as it looks outside!

The sun has finally shown its face in Manchester, and from what I’ve seen around campus MMUs Fashionistas and Fashionistos have been keen to try out their new spring/summer looks and dig out their old favourites all over again. The problem is, while the sun might be shining enough to warrant your Raybans, it’s still pretty chilly, and that means some canny layering if you want to get away with a cotton mini dress – doesn’t it always in England?

This Fashionista is wearing a fabulous delicate printed cotton playsuit, which in its punchy red/orange really catches your eye. Perfect for frolicking in the park on a balmy summers day, the key to making this Primark ‘onesie’ work this week is the cute denim jacket AND oversized cardigan.

The chunky cardigan acts as an outerwear coat, seamlessly layered over the lightweight denim jacket, which is the perfect versatile cover-up. If you haven’t got a denim jacket I suggest you purchase one now, as it won’t go to waste! You can find some lovely classic styles in a variety of washes at H&M, starting at just £19.99 – personally my favourites are of the lighter/faded variety. And of course, don’t forget to throw on your trusty and comfy cardigan, I suspect this Fashionista may have cheekily borrowed hers off her boyfriend, what a great idea! You could always try the Topman sale for some bargain oversized knitwear if the men in your life are less accommodating.

Finally, let’s all hope we have a glorious summer ahead, so we can ditch the layering sharpish and show off our summer detailing – like the gorgeous feminine frills and tie waist of this playsuit!

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Let Patterns Clash and Colours Collide

Your mother probably told you ‘blue and green should never be seen’, and that you can’t mix prints without looking like your grandmother’s old curtains. The thing is, we all know that while she was probably right about your last boyfriend (she ‘always knew he was no good’) mother doesn’t always know best when it comes to fashion decisions.

This week’s Fashionista proves that when you let colours and patterns collide great things can happen. The sun has finally come out and what better way to greet it than with a kaleidoscope of clashing colours? You can find this very scarf in New Look for the bargain price of £7.99. Buy it now to team with a delicate floral print dress like this Fashionista, and thinking ahead to summer the Aztec style geometric print will look great draped around your shoulders at that music festival you just bought tickets for!
For catwalk inspiration look at Etro’s S/S’11 collection, full of ‘70s style zig zags, and throw in a bit of Erdem, the master of all that is floral.

Hint: Two distinct patterns work best if they have one colour in common, note the hint of blue in this Fashionista’s scarf, which subtly complements the blue/green tones of her dress. Then tie the clashing prints together with at least one block colour item in the same family (like the turquoise bag does here).

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Be a Lacy Legged Lovely

For the focus on this picture you’ll need to look down. Lace is one of those fabrics that fades in and out of fashion; it’s decadent, elegant and delicate but this can make lace really difficult to style. You’ll need to learn though, because lace is a big trend in Spring, so take note of this week’s Fashionista.

A great way of slowly introducing lace into your everyday wardrobe at the moment is with beautiful black lacy tights like this Fashionista. They can be worn in the daytime or evening, and on a student budget are great way to inject some new life into your wardrobe for only a few pounds from highstreet shops like Topshop (available in more colours too!) and even Primark.

Although we tend to think of lace as a really feminine texture the thing I love most about this Fashionista is how she has managed to toughen up the whole look. She looks casual and comfortable, which is perfect for lectures, but has given a subtle nod to a current trend. Try pairing your lace tights with Dr. Martens or other sturdy worker boots, for a ‘grunge’ feel like this week’s Fashionista, and keep the rest of your outfit pared down and simple, let the tights speak for themselves. The stripes on her simple vest are a great way of balancing out patterns, textures and colours in your outfit. If you’re looking for something a bit edgier wear with crop top, leather jacket, multiple crucifix necklaces and frizzy hair for the complete 80s Madonna look.

This doesn’t sound like your cup of tea? But you still like the idea of lace tights? You could pair your new tights with a pair of cute two-tone brogues like these from Zara, a button up shirt tucked into a full circle skirt and cardigan for a more preppy feel. This works in well with the current ‘collegiate’ trend that is cropping up in shops at the moment.

However you wear lace, it can definitely be a casual thing, and it definitely looks lovely on your legs!

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Flash Your Colour in the Cold

The catwalks last season introduced us to ‘colour-blocking’, a wonderful trend for the peacock in all of us. In this cold weather a bright mac teamed with some contrasting skinnys would do the job well, but if you’re not up for such an ostentatious statement, you could always just give us a little flash like this Fashionista. The first thing that caught my eye was of course her striking hair colour (courtesy of Toni and Guy), but then I noticed the flash of neon coat lining. This pop of pink silk really makes the coat for me and works so well with the lilac tones in her hair.

Now I’m not suggesting you rush out and buy a new coat with a bright lining, in fact far from it. This week’s style advice is all about recycling, making the most of what you’ve got, and seeing the relevance in your wardrobe between new trends. It can be easy to think you have to spend hundreds of pounds to look fashion forward, but on a student budget it’s just not feasible, instead have a root around and start pulling out those long forgotten bold items, you must have collected a few bits over the years.

For this look all you need is one light floaty summer dress to keep it feminine, a fancy print or floral would work well, and then just start throwing on the bright accessories. Belt the waist with a thin patent belt in red, jazz up your feet with some blue suede shoes, or use that neon arm candy that you just don’t think says ‘daytime’. The rules are out the window. This Fashionista wears a lovely aubergine scarf which again compliments the pink and purple tones, but clashing colours work just as well.

To tie the whole look together, keep it all under wraps. Throw your trusty coat over the top to brave the rain, it could be just plain old black, but then underneath, shock us all with that flash of bright when you sit down to lunch, or shimmy your coat of for a lecture.


STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Keep your Camel Coat and Simple Slacks On

As any Fashionista/o in Manchester will know, it’s not Spring yet! It is still bitterly cold up North, and I’m sure we’re all finding it pretty hard to flick through the pages of our magazines and not want to inject a bit of spring in our step. But this Fashionista recognises you shouldn’t ditch your coat just yet.

Make the most of the cold weather, and keep your coat on! We’ve spent all A/W collecting beautiful camel, toffee coloured clothes, and it seems a shame to bury them at the back of the closet already. Come the summer months it’ll be all about bright colour blocking, but right now you won’t lose any style points for keeping your neutrals on.

This statement coat immediately caught my eye, its classic, its timeless; it never goes out of style. The perfect length and fit, it looks casual yet classy, and conjures all sorts of images of old Hollywood glamour, which is always a good thing. This Fashionista kept the balance between vintage and contemporary just right, by using a pair of well-cut tapered chinos, available from most high-street stores such as Topshop and New Look, and rolling them up to give a flash of ankle next to her ballet flats, think Audrey Hepburn. This is a great way of giving a nod to the coming warmer months, without having to strip off; while tailored slacks in shades of nutmeg, apricot and tobacco will continue to dominate well into the summer thanks to the popular ‘70s trend coming through.

Now the top and accessories are really where you can have some fun with this look. Like this Fashionista you can pair your trousers with an appliqué vintage top, available from most stores in the Northern Quarter I’m sure, but you could try a delicate floral blouse to inject some femininity, or even an over-sized rock band t-shirt tucked in with a tan belt to accentuate the waist. Brightening up this outfit with an orange tie front t-shirt would keep it up to date, perhaps with a mustard or coral leather satchel bag. The silk scarf tied around her bag is a great final touch; you could go a step further with this and tie it in your hair for a 1940s feel.

However you choose to wear it, don’t bury your old faithful coat and simple camel slacks just yet, they’ll look fabulous for a few weeks still!

Style Guru Bio: Siobhan Walker

Hey everyone, I’m Siobhan and this is my first term at CollegeFashionista. I’m in my final year at Manchester Metropolitan University studying Fashion Buying, and love every minute of it.

I’m a lover of various fashion eras, bright colours, and experimentation. I look to Manchester lass Agyness Deyn, along with flame-haired songstresses Florence Welch and Elly Jackson (La Roux), for inspiration. But essentially I would never want to look like anyone else; I enjoy mixing vintage clothes, thrifted from charity shops and car-boot sales, with affordable high-street pieces. I don’t like to look too polished or sophisticated, and prefer outfits which are thrown together and often mis-matched. But that’s just me.

I hope to bring you the very best street style pictures from MMU and give you some great tips on how to get the look. In our diverse city you can walk the length of Oxford Road and spot every fashion type under the sun; I never cease to be inspired by the array of colours, fabrics, textures and styles. I know it can be hard to fit in here sometimes, so remember, don’t try to! Find a style and make it your own.