TREND: Summer To Fall Transition

As summer comes to a close, I ponder my imminent wardrobe modifications. First off, going back to class indubitably means I'll be spending hours in unreasonably frigid class rooms. Second, and this one is absolutely more exciting than my impending academic prison, fall is really only a month away. Thus, I get the delight of  pulling out my layers and transitional pieces. This week's Fashionista perfectly personifies a summer to fall transition outfit. Her brilliantly executed ensemble will keep her snug in class, and she can easily shed a layer or two as she bikes back to her house. There are four elements in her ensemble that are staples to any style maven's wardrobe as she makes the seasonal shift. 

1. Vest: Vests come back year after year as a chic way to add a layer of warmth to your outfits. They can be soft and comfy in knits, faux furs, or puffs or edgy and structured in menswear, denim, and leather. For a great late summer vest, I recommend denim. Throw it on over a white tunic like our Fashionista, or pair it with a gauzy lace dress for a late summer romantic look. 

2. Tunic: Tunics are the ultimate transition piece because they are usually long enough to worn as a dress, and short enough to pass with a pair of skinny pants in the fall and winter. Usually tunics are flowy and shapeless, so take a cue from our Fashionista and add a little structure with a belt or a vest.

3. Boots: Boots have tremendous staying power year round as they can be worn with such ensembles as a floral sundress in spring, cutoffs and a tank in summer, and then skinny denim and cable knit socks in the fall and winter. Make sure to stick with shorter boots with lighter weight materials as our Fashionista did to avoid uncomfortable perspiration!

4. Scarf: Scarves, especially those of the lightweight cotton variety, are the perfect transitional accessory. Throw one on over a tank and jeans or pair it with your favorite sundress for an instantly cozy boho look.

For more ideas on how to make the wardrobe move from summer to fall, check out these articles at StyleBakery and ChicShopperChick.

TREND: Do-It-Yourself

I am constantly looking for ways to reinvent my wardrobe without busting my budget. Lately, I've been perusing vast amounts of DIY fashion ideas. Since I'm a bit deficient in the Susie Homemaker area, I've been avoiding anything that involves heavy sewing, and have been delighted to find a variety of easy ways to at least add little embellishments or adjustments to refresh my garments.

This Fashionista really inspired me with her homemade scalloped denim shorts paired with a breezy summer tank from Urban Outfitters and brown gladiator sandals (from Amsterdam- cool!). Here are her oh-so-simple instructions to making a pair of your own: Take an old pair of longer denim shorts or pants and cut them to a desired length. Make sure to consider the scallops when deciding on a length. After that, make a half-circle cut-out out of cardboard and use to it to trace the scallop design around the leg. Make sure the pen marks are bigger so that you can easily cut the scallop shapes out. After you've cut out the scallop design, you can leave the shorts as they are or cuff them. If you have a little more craft savvy you can add stitching for a more polished look.

DIY is great for any penny-conscious Fashionista, but it's also a way to set yourself apart. Don't be afraid to get hands-on just because you don't have crafting experience. There's something out there for every skill level. Check out my favorite DIY website, A Pair and A Spare, for more DIY style inspiration.

Hint: Check out these wool DIY scalloped shorts instructions! Pair them with tights and a cozy sweater for a delightful fall look!  

TREND: Military Details

I was doing my usual vintage store stroll when I ran into this Fashionista with her gal pals. I was instantly drooling over the military details on her dress. During the summer, all I usually spot and wear are flowy, floral frocks, thus, I was instantly inspired by her distinct choice that set her apart from a sea of sundresses. The Fashionista warmed up her gray dress (a Belk sale find) with a breezy hairstyle and crisp white sandals.

When asking her to share what drew her to the military style, she divulged that she loves seeking out military details in clothes, like unique brass buttons, structure and the color palette of greens, navys and grays. She mentioned to me that she is currently seeking out a green military jacket a la Marc Jacobs for an affordable price. Fortunately for her, the green military coat is exploding on the scene this coming fall, seen on runways such as rag & bone and Balmain. Military jackets are not necessarily the warmest, but they are great for layering, adding a cool boyish, structured appeal to feminine outfit or perfectly complementing a more intentionally edgy outfit with skinny leather pants and motorcycle booties. As fall stock begins to pour in, you'll be able to find them anywhere at plenty of stores for reasonable prices.

Jackets aren't the only way you can soldier up your wardrobe. The military style translates easily into a DIY Fashionista's ensembles. Keep an eye out for military inspired buttons at places like Hobby Lobby or Habitat for Humanity. You can simply switch out the buttons on your double breasted pea coat or your printed cardigans for an instant army look. If you're an especially savvy seamstress, you can even make your own general epaulettes and add them to a basic tee or sweater.

Hint: Check out Refinery 29's guide on how to get your military style in line! 

TREND: Rethink Your Wardrobe

It's a sweltering 94 degrees in Athens today and I must say, the heat has drained me of any desire to put together a creative ensemble. I am donning a T-shirt and gym shorts with Teva flip-flops and am instantly put to shame when I run into this darling Fashionista. Not only was her outfit a breath of fresh air and a jolt of inspiration to get my style in gear, but her perspective on style gave me a whole new take on repurposing your wardrobe. This Fashionista has to be part of the reason that the University of Georgia landed number three on Huffington Post's Most Hipster Colleges list. In her repurposed thrift store dress, a versatile cropped vest from Gap and fabulous grey suede desert boots from Urban Outfitters, she embodies the eclectic, crafty vintage style that has propelled Athens into hipster fame.

This Fashionista and I chatted it up about what to look for when shopping Athens and how to repurpose what you already have. While shopping Athens' vast array of thrift stores, she always goes in with a set item she is looking for so that she is not overwhelmed by the abundance of stock. Her latest objects of interest are long skirts that she can repurpose as dresses. She found the green floral one she is wearing today for two dollars, making it an instant summer frock with a leather brown belt cinched around her waist. In addition to advice on how to repurpose thrift store finds, she also had some great suggestions about how to shop in general. When studying abroad in Cortona in spring of 2010, she couldn't pack much for three months. Thus, she learned the value of picking multifunctional pieces. If she couldn't wear something with multiple outfits, she didn't pack it. This mindset makes it easy for any guy or gal to get the most out of their wardrobe. This Fashionista recommends buying pieces that are multi-seasonal and have the potential to work several ways: a long skirt as a dress, a vest that you can dress up or down, etc. She also believes in keeping your closet clutter free, sticking to a small collection of versatile pieces that make putting a great outfit together a lot less overwhelming.

Hint: For more inspiration on how to rethink your wardrobe check out these articles at Real Simple

TREND: Stunning In Stripes

I found this Fashionista hard at work and looking fabulous as an editorial director for an Athens-based fashion and culture magazine. She looked nautically chic in a striped men's shirt from Goodwill, crisp white shorts, and adorable white wedges. She donned the men's shirt Audrey Hepburn style, knotting it to accentuate her lovely waist. Her breezy ensemble perfectly exemplifies the way to rock your summer stripes.

Stripes are an essential summer staple that can go anywhere from the yacht club to a day of boutique browsing to a date night. They are simple, classic and polished, but still have the potential to be extremely dynamic when paired with other patterns and textures. So far, 2011 has been a great year for stripes, especially of the classic navy and white color palette that this Fashionista is exhibiting. Another essential stylish stripe to seek out this summer is the Breton Stripe. It features horizontal navy stripes alternating with wider white stripes. Fun fact: Breton Stripes are notoriously nautical because they were first worn by the French navy in the 1800s!

Create a sophisticated striped look by pairing a vertically striped tunic with cuffed red cigarette pants and nude flats. Go more playful by pairing stripes with contrasting prints, like florals. The possibilities truly are endless, but be sure that no matter what look you choose, pick stripes that best suit your figure. If you are wider set, avoid heavy horizontal stripes, as they will only enhance it and make you appear stocky. If you are more petite, seek out narrow vertical stripes, as they will naturally elongate you. Also, as a rule of thumb, try to keep whatever striped pieces you wear on the simpler side. Avoid a striped piece with too many colors or you may just end up looking like a circus performer.

Hint: For a positively great guide to wearing stripes this summer, check out this article at Fashionising.com!  

TREND: A Lace Look for Everyone

I spotted this sweet Fashionista coming out of Big City Bread in Athens. She donned a positively charming lace sundress on this hot July day. Like any Fashionista who knows how to rock lace, she kept her accessories simple, with a delicate silver cross necklace from James Avery and understated strappy brown sandals. A self-proclaimed tomboy, she declared that she is "not a girly girl but still loves lace."

This comment perfectly exemplifies that lace is not just for those with ultra-feminine styles. It is an extremely versatile addition to your wardrobe, with the ability to slip into everything from a boho-chic look to one with more edge. Keep it romantic in a classic lace dress with light jewelry like studs or a single gold bangle. Give your lace some bite by mixing a lace accented top with a leather vest, skirt or bomber jacket. Top it off with rugged engineer boots. For a really dynamic lace look, add a dash of sensuality to a menswear ensemble by wearing a sexy lace cami underneath a structured black blazer.

Anyway you wear it, make sure not to forget the essential rules to keeping your lace looks lovely. First, remember to choose just one lace piece to style your outfit around. Too much lace can create a busy, china doll-esque look, certainly not what you're going for as a young and fabulous college student. Second, seek a lace pattern that is small, soft and subtle like the one seen in this Urban Outfitters dress. Avoid cheap looking, chunky patterns at all costs, as they may make you look more like Madonna circa 1985. Third, make sure you wear your lace with proper cover ups, undershirts or slips. Models on the runway may be able to pull off a sheer look, but this will simply not be a classy choice for cruising your campus. Stick to nude slips and undergarments to be safe. Lastly, preserve your lace garments by checking their tags when washing them.

Hint: For more inspiration on the versatile potential of lace in your wardrobe, check out this article from Refinery 29 and these lace loving celebs on Instyle UK

TREND: Summer Safari

I wandered the steamy summer streets of Athens and was dismayed to see how virtually everyone has seemed to have given up their style for the sake of staying cool. After having enough of my visual fill of frumpy outfits, my hope was restored to me in this week's Fashionista. Though I found her playing speed scrabble with friends, she looked glamorously outfitted for an exotic adventure in a bedazzled safari-chic tunic. She kept the rest simple in cuffed denim and punctuated the ensemble with elements of red leather and a fabulous woven gold bag to match the tunic's sequin embellishments. The inspiration for her summer look? Her job. She works with kids at her local church, so she aims for attire that looks professional, but still youthful and trendy.

The polished khakis of safari style make it a great addition to any professional wardrobe. It is especially good for a summer job as these breezy khakis stay light and look effortless. Safari style translates well into a number of garments from jackets, to pants, to scarves. You can go full out goddess archeologist with a look like the one seen here on the Ralph Lauren runway or keep it casual with a maxi dress like this fabulous dress from Modcloth. Either way, you manage to achieve a sort of foxy Indiana Jones appeal that is sure to capture attention.

Hint: For more inspiration on how to go summer safari, check out this article from WhoWhatWear.

TREND: Beat the Heat

On this overcast Athens day, I sought to brighten things up by some lazy summer meandering. Sunshine was instantly restored to me when my ambling led me to this stylish pair of pals. They perfectly personified easy, breezy summer style as they perused Minx, a vintage store on W. Clayton Street.  One Fashionista dons a cheerful printed romper from Rag-O-Rama in Atlanta and a pair of no-fuss navy TOMS while the other looks perfectly feminine in this dark floral Anthropologie dress with sweet lace details. She tops it off with Kenneth Cole flats and a positively drool-worthy Chloé shoulder bag.

When asking the girls to describe their ideal summer style, they both echoed the same answer: "Breezy". And breezy they certainly are. The two so effortlessly exemplify a way to keep your style light, simple and chic even in the midst of stifling Georgia summer heat.

Looking for ways to lighten up your look this summer? Stick to lightweight fabrics that will give you plenty of airflow. Keep accessories minimal. Try picking one statement piece, like this Fashionista's shoulder bag, instead of layering on jewelry or scarves. Finish off your look with shoes that can handle any summertime activity from tree climbing to boutiquing, like mary jane flats, classic Keds or the pair of fabulous crochet slip-ons from TOMS. You should never have to sacrifice style because of the heat.

Hint: Urban Outfitters has a marvelous collection of fresh, lightweight summer dresses and rompers in everything from flowy, printed chiffons, sultry silks, and ladylike laces.  

TREND: Thrift Store Chic

I spotted this Fashionista donning a playful thrift store-chic ensemble. She grabbed her darling multicolored striped button-up blouse from her mother's stash of vintage college clothes. She pulled it all together with summer staples, classic denim cut-offs from J.Crew and gray Converse.

Thrift store-chic is perhaps the most easily obtainable style for the Fashionista who is watching her wallet. Athens is positively teeming with great thrift stores, from Agora to Minx, and Ohh, Boy! Thrifting is a great way to find throwback, unique pieces to mix with your modern classics. It is additionally splendid for the style maven with a desire to learn the ins and outs of hand sewing. Most pieces you find may not be immediately wearable or will take some creativity to put together with what you already have. Use your thrifty garment to practice doing a simple blind hem or repurpose, belt or tie it to make it more suitable for your shape.

Hint: To copy this Fashionista's thrifty look without the toil of browsing a cluttered thrift store, check out this adorable, affordable button-up blouse from Asos.

TREND: Feminine Florals

Spring may be drawing to a close, but it's not yet time to put those cheerful florals away.This Fashionista brightens up Lumpkin Street in a sweet floral dress. The dress ups the ante by mixing two floral patterns, perfectly accomplished through the balance of soft and minimal prairie flowers on top and bolder, more victorian flowers on the bottom. She polishes off the look by cinching her waist with a solid elastic belt.

This Fashionista's ensemble is perfect for a someone who awakes on a summer day with the desire to run in a field or browse a farmer's market. It remains a classic way to exude soft femininity and romantic playfulness. This Fashionista sums up her love of florals simply, stating, "They are feminine, fun, and just make you feel pretty."

Floral has been a star on the runways for years now. Dolce&Gabbana's spring 2011 collection features my favorite florals of the season. For the college shopper with a wallet a bit too small for a splurge, I recommend the florals at Ann Taylor Loft (check out the Blooms Tie Neck Shell)and JCrew (the Mirabel dress), as they are great pieces for any gal's collection.

Like other prints this season, mixing florals can provide the dynamic edge your style might be lacking. To successfully mix your florals, make sure you choose complementary color palettes and balance a bold print with a more minimal one. To ground your flowy florals, pair them with a structured boyfriend blazer.

Hint: For more tips on how to own this style this summer, check out this great article by Refinery29.