New Yorkers are hard to define, but an all-black wardrobe seems to be one of the few universal characteristics all citizens share. Murrill Oakes has got the Big Apple look down-pact, adding — in signature Fashionista style — unique personal touches that make her ensemble stick out among the masses. Strategically layering a flowy, simple black jersey dress over thermal tights with a lightweight infinity scarf on top, Murrill not only keeps warm (and cool) in the schizophrenic NYC fall weather, but also creates an integral element of dimension. All black get-ups can easily fall flat, but layers and texture (added here by Murrill’s vintage boots and exposed knee socks) keep things interesting. Yet, what really makes this outfit pop is the faded denim overcoat — no doubt a nod to her North Carolina roots — it adds a splash of color while keeping things relatively subdued.

Name: Murrill Oakes

Major/Minor: Architecture/Dance

Year: Junior

CollegeFashionista: How has your style evolved since arriving at Columbia?

Murrill Oakes: I am from the south where bright colors abound, and New York is known for its muted tones. Walking around Manhattan, you mainly see neutrals: black, grey, brown, etc. So, my color palette has certainly become more subdued. I have no problem standing out, but with limited closet space, it makes more sense to wear neutrals that can be mixed and matched.

CF: What is your favorite thing about fall fashion?

MO: I adore boots and scarves. The same wonderful pair of boots can be worn daily and can take on a new vibe with each outfit.  Scarves can add pops of color or just keep you cozy!

CF: What are some of your cold weather wardrobe essentials?

MO: Tweed blazers are a favorite. You can throw them over a t-shirt and jeans or pair them with a cocktail dress. They are so versatile, look sharp and keep you warm.

CF: How do you transform your favorite summer clothes into the fall?

MO: I love taking sundresses wearing them with wedges in the summer and with tights and boots in the winter. By throwing a slouchy sweater over a sundress it can turn into a comfy winter-weather outfit.

How To: Dressing for fall is quite tricky—one minute the blistering wind chills you the bone, and within seconds, the sizzling rays of sun make you break into a sweat. The secret to remaining comfortable, however, is layering. Murrill has the right idea, sporting layering essentials like a cozy, but cool infinity scarf and an easily removable jacket. Moreover, Murrill assures that her ensemble will remain chic even when the warm weather forces these items to come off, adding great personal touches with some great cocktail rings and metallic nail polish.

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