TREND: Helmet Head

Some people are hat people. Most are not. As a member of the majority, I have gone through most of my life with nothing but hair on my head. I’ve never been particularly bothered by this, but as the first snowflakes of the year begin to fall, I have just one overwhelming thought, “my ears are cold!” Now, I’ve suffered for fashion in the past, but in this case, why fight it? It’s time to buy a hat.

In the past few years, the fall ready-to-wear shows of Diane von Furstenberg have presented some amazing and quirky headpieces. Like the Fashionista seen here, DVF features chunky knits with large girly embellishments. Positioned strategically to the side, these adornments can be crafted from the same knit fabric or a combination of plumes, tulle, lace, or fur. What’s more, this look is great as a head wrap or hat. The charcoal gray color of this Fashionista’s head wrap has become my go-to color of the season. When deciding on a color for yourself, consider gray. It is a neutral that will work with most of your existing outerwear.

In yet another nod to Diane von Furstenberg, this Fashionista is sporting an ethnic print scarf. In a gauze fabric, this scarf works well in a variety of climates.

Hint: If you feel like splurging, shop Nordstrom for this DVF favorite. This slouchy knit head wrap with flower detail is a great low-cost alternative–it is available in charcoal gray! 

TREND: The Classic Pieces

The traditional elements of men’s fashion are often expected and well, boring. Men’s fashion can lack some of the embellishment and fantasy often found in women’s wear—so much so that a lack of details such as seams, sequins, or ruffles can create a whole new exciting adventure in womenswear—menswear inspired clothing!

Perhaps the term “classic” is a more appropriate term for menswear—it carries fewer negative connotations than the word “traditional”. After all, this article is meant to inspire rather than judge. So, working within these classic boundaries, there are many ways to add a bit of freshness to the old pants and sweater combination.

The Fashionisto seen here is wearing the color of the season—gray. Color is a great way to transform a standard silhouette. The DKNY men’s ready-to-wear fall 2010 show featured a palette of gray and navy with an occasional pop of orange. This Fashionisto’s dark navy jeans, gray sweater, and navy and blue checked shirt take inspiration straight from the runway when paired with a bright orange scarf.

Another current trend in menswear that I find appealing is thick woolen socks. Why wear traditional black dress socks with a suit when you could opt for the quirky comfort of wool? I am of the opinion that wool socks are also a great gift idea—Dumbledore and I have this in common.

Hint: Cashmere can make everything feel more luxurious whether it’s an orange scarf or a pair of socks. Try J.Crew for cashmere socks marked well below department store prices.

TREND: Flannel

The December 2010 issue of Lucky magazine listed 10 classic wardrobe pieces that readers would be daft to overlook. Listed among such staples as the slouchy cardigan and the ballet flat fell an item that has become a personal favorite of mine recently. This item is none other than the plaid button-down shirt. I agree wholeheartedly with the reverence of this fall staple and would like to take it one step further by suggesting the cozy comfort of a flannel plaid button-down shirt. Last year I purchased a gray and red flannel button-down, but I didn’t wear it until just recently. I could never decide what to wear it with, so it remained hanging in my closet all winter and then all summer until I discovered the charcoal gray Pixie pant from J. Crew. They fit like a legging, but are thicker and provide more structure—perfect for hiding any imperfections.

So, having enjoyed my own flannel plaid button-down shirt for several months now, I was elated to see this Fashionisto doing the same. I like the large scale pattern of his shirt, and the stitched collar adds a bit of humor to the look. I am especially fond of the way he paired a non-traditional button-down shirt with a blazer. This look would be great on both men and women alike. I have been meaning to pair my own navy blazer with a denim or chambray button-down.

Hint: Try Old Navy for a great selection of colorful flannel—the men’s styles look great on women too!

TREND: Indian(a) Summer

Just when you thought it was all balaclavas and boots till spring, Mother Nature pulls a fast one and we find ourselves with sunny skies and soaring temperatures. The unexpected but certainly welcomed change in weather made for some interesting outfits around campus. Jackets that began the day as a barrier to the cold morning air, by afternoon became blankets to sprawl on as students were seen lounging in the grass between classes.

The Fashionista seen here appeared cool and confident as she went about her day, so much so that I just had to stop and take her picture. Any time I see a traditional article of clothing worn in a unique way, I am always intrigued. I love the way this Fashionista styled her button-down shirt. With her sleeves rolled up and the waist tied just so, she was exuding great personal style—and who doesn’t love a little midriff in November? Beyond the shirt, what I really love about this Fashionista is the overall impression of confidence she conveyed. The boots, jeans, shirt, and accessories all work together to make a complete look—and one that she was obviously happy to present to the world.

Hint: Looking for a little edge this holiday season? Try this boot from Frye. Perhaps it will even inspire a bit of fashion conversation around the table this Thanksgiving.

TREND: Bold Outerwear

Struggling to find a new winter coat? The classics are always a good place to start. A structured wool coat in a neutral color will get you from point A to point B this winter. But, if you are looking to for a little more excitement, try swapping that neutral palate for a bold pattern. This Fashionista caught my eye with her navy and cream large print plaid jacket. While the heavy wool and classic details suggest a timeless sensibility, the bold pattern is all her own. I especially like the unique construction details such as the oval cutout in the middle—it creates some great visual interest.

As I’m sure you know, the must-have pattern for fall 2010 is leopard. As a child I had a weird preoccupation will all things leopard print. So, as you can image, I am more than happy to take part in this trend. In keeping with the above-mentioned theme of bold outerwear, I have been on the hunt for something leopard. Since leopard can easily become tacky, I decided to start my search with a reputable designer and use that inspiration to find something more affordable. I fell in love with this leopard silk chiffon scarf from Alexander McQueen. With my inspiration in mind, I scoured the Internet until I found this suitable substitute from the Jessica Simpson Collection at Macy’s. With a savings of over $400, this is a shopping tactic that I would recommend to any college kid.

Hint: Try Urban Outfitters for a seemingly endless supply of on-trend outerwear. 

TREND: Wellie Weather

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve found myself eagerly checking the weather forecast for signs of rain. Happily, I woke up to scattered rain showers early last week. Why all the excitement about rain? Well, it was finally time to wear my new rain boots! I love rain boots. They go with nothing and with everything, and for me, they are special occasion footwear. After all, while I do love my rain boots and  want to wear them every day, I can only wear them when the ground is wet. To do otherwise would just be silly.

This Fashionista is sporting the classic rubber rain boot. The tall fit and buckle are truly iconic, and if you are new to the world of wellies, I would recommend starting with a pair of these. I have two new favorite styles for this season. The first is very much like a classic wellie, but with a shorter calf height. Because it hits at the lower part of the calf, you can avoid awkward fabric bunching that so often happens with tall boots. I am partial to the Hunter brand, and they make a variety of boots in many different styles and colors. I bought these last week. I also have my eye on a pair of rubber riding boots from Aigle. They are sleek and sophisticated, and they don’t necessarily look like rain boots. In fact, I could wear these every day, and it wouldn’t be silly.

Hint: When purchasing rain boots, make sure they have a rubber sole. Otherwise, cold temperatures will cause the boot to crack, leaving you with cold and wet feet. Additionally, wellies are perfect for tromping around campus year-round. They even double as snow boots. So, while spending $100+ on a pair of boots may seem out of the question for a college kid, I would argue that they are a necessary expense (at least here in Bloomington). 

TREND: Time for Tights

It’s here. It’s finally here! The temperature has officially dipped low enough to start the layering process. First up, tights! Whether you like them sheer, opaque, Technicolor, or patterned, the time has finally arrived. I like this Fashionista’s geometrical choice. The middle seam is reminiscent of an era gone by and runs along both the front and back of her legs.

You may recall the fashion forecast calling for ladylike dressing this fall, and this Fashionista seems to fit that prediction to a T. The combination of a ¾ sleeve cowl neck sweater and a waist cinching skirt is quite flattering to her figure, and, of course, quite ladylike. The skirt is the perfect complement to the tights…or are the tights the perfect complement to the skirt? Regardless of which piece inspired the outfit, the whole thing just works.

But wait, there’s more! Don’t forget about tights’ cousin—socks. Ankle socks are another fun way to play with layers this fall. They look great when worn with ankle booties, with just a hint of sock visible above the lip. I am even going so far as to recommend wearing them with flats—especially oxfords.

Speaking of shoes, check out this Fashionista’s studded mary-janes. I saw these from a mile away and am loving every inch of them.

Hint: Try a pair of novelty tights such as Calvin Klein’s tuxedo strip tights as seen in their fall ad campaign.

TREND: The BusinessMan (Student)

Recently, I was asked to give my opinion of men’s fashion. What trends do I see now, and what do I anticipate happening in the future? I must to say, I had to give the subject of men’s fashion a little more consideration than most fashion related questions.

Women’s fashion is easy—I do live my life in it after all. Men’s fashion, on the other hand, is an anomaly, a subject based strictly on observation. So, much like my method of passing a multiple choice exam after little preparation, I relied on my keen powers of elimination to build my opinions on the matter.

While walking around campus, I was quickly able to eliminate certain aspects of the male dress code: khaki cargo shorts are definitely a bore, along with any version of a short-sleeve button-down shirt. However, I still hadn’t come to any sort of conclusion about the direction of men’s fashion until I came upon this Fashionisto. It was one of those “I'll know it when I see it” moments, and I definitely knew that this was men’s fashion at its finest. Dressed for a class presentation in a charcoal grey suit with a white and blue window pane shirt, this Fashionisto certainly knows how to sell himself—a key characteristic for any good businessman. It is also interesting to note this Fashionisto’s lack of traditional suit accessories such as a tie and pocket square. Instead, he opted for sunglasses and a cell phone, the must have accessories of Generation Y.

Hint: Instead of a traditional dress shirt, try pairing your suit with this season’s popular woven gingham shirt from Paul Smith. Additionally, try shopping sample sales for great designer pieces at a discounted price.

TREND: Tight on Bottom, Loose on Top

Recently, I’ve found myself wondering whether or not I should buy another pair of leggings/jeggings/skinny jeans. This sillouette has been around for years now, and I have to wonder, do I still like it? Am I bored with this trend? After all, I did buy my first pair of skinny jeans as a sophomore in high school, and I haven’t looked back since. I thought trends were short term?

Luckily, my head wasn’t in the clouds for too long before I stumbled upon this Fashionista. It was her silhouette that caught my eye—skinny on bottom, loose on the top. I was in love all over again. No more will I doubt the stylish simplicity of this combination.

Apart from the silhouette, I am particularly intrigued by the pattern on her leggings. I say pattern because it appears to be an exaggerated interpretation of heathered fabric. It works great for fall tucked into a pair of rugged wedge booties. Try adding a tailored jacket for extra warmth. Additionally, this Fashionista looks great without a stitch of makeup. I am also of the mind to try the “natural” look. However, I plan to spice it up with a bold lip color.

Hint: For a similar version of her leggings, try these from American Apparel. And for lips, try Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Volupté—they smell and taste great and have a silky texture.

TREND: Fancy Pants

Now that it is officially autumn, I’d really love to start wearing all the new fall gear I’ve purchased. Unfortunately, with temperatures still soaring into the 90’s, I don’t see that happening any time soon. So, what’s a girl to do when she’s got a stack of new clothes and nowhere to wear them? Taking inspiration from those around you is a good place to start. It may have been 85 degrees outside, but this Fashionista still found a way to play with fall fashion. The addition of a light scarf helped to keep this outfit from being “so last season”. If you look closely, you'll notice the zebra print of the scarf—animal prints are a great way to accessorize for fall.

Another subtle nod to Fall 2010 is this Fashionista’s silk/satin trouser shorts. While shorts may not be suitable for a changing climate, silk and satin always have their place. This fabric was seen on the fall catwalks of designers such as Christian Siriano and made an even bigger splash during the Spring 2011 shows. My advice? Keep these shorts around for next spring too!

One more thing, this Fashionista’s bow flats are great for the overall ladylike look she is trying to convey. There is a touch of femininity to nearly every piece of her ensemble—she even curled her hair!

Hint: What to give satin pants a try? MARC by Marc Jacobs is a great place to start. Their loose fit cropped version mirrors this season’s hottest silhouette.