How I Incorporated More Art Into My Style

High fashion is no stranger to breaking down gender boundaries. The street style at this year’s Men’s Fashion Week is characterized by guys in skirts to beat the heat. The haute couture runway was one of the first places to free the nipple. Now, even Vogue writes about the influence of the drag scene! As a member of the LGBT community, I wanted to incorporate more of its art into my own summer style.

I came out to my parents last June, and the sense of freedom that followed has not left me. It might sound like a cliché, but coming out allowed me the freedom of self-expression. I can unapologetically draw style and makeup inspiration from drag queens and other gay artists because my family now understands that the artsy LGBT community is my community. I don’t sport a Frida Kahlo unibrow or even draw one on with my beloved brow pomade like Sasha Velour, but I have learned to contour like a pro and style monochromatic outfits, both mainstream fashion trends that have origins in drag. Graphic eyeliner has become an everyday must. Givenchy’s F/W 2017 collection, Alexander McQueen, and America’s Next Drag Superstar have iconic red monochrome looks that inspire my style.

High fashion and art go hand in hand. The daring choices made in fashion resonate with me because they remind me that how I want to express myself is not some unattainable thing, that it’s being done now by people who feel like me. It does sometimes feel that incorporating this form of art into my life makes me stand out. How many people really do wear vintage earrings or Henri Matisse headbands every day? Instead of letting that make me feel distressed, I turn it into a source of comfort. This style connects me to my favorite artists and a community I am proud to be part of. Fashion is not just the latest trend, fashion is an art and so I want my style to reflect that.

Be sure to let us know how you work art into your style by showing us on social media! Don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista!

The 3 Keys to Conquering Summer Layering This Season

One month in and this summer’s weather has been unpredictable, to say the least. Coming to you from the mid-Atlantic coast, we have seen an unruly trend of temperatures swinging from unlikely highs to unseasonably cold lows within the matter of a day. In order to combat the forecast’s uncertainty, I recruited an old friend: layering. In all honesty, layering has never been a favorite of mine. The word alone sends me into vivid flashbacks of my mom forcing a cardigan on me in my middle school years. Whether it is the pure necessity or the undeniable fact that I am turning into my mother with the turn of each day, I somehow put aside the trauma of my layering past and turned to it in this time of need. Guess what? I loved it.

I utilized several different techniques this season to keep my layering from becoming mom-like, but these are my three favorites.

1Monochromatic color schemes. One of the chicest ways to elevate your style while using minimal effort is by keeping the colors as simple as possible. All that’s required is a head to toe look in your color of choice. Not only will this make you effortlessly cohesive, but it also makes it easy to add pops of color or accessories since the rest of your ensemble is bound to match. (Pro-tip: White absolutely counts as a color pop!)

2Pattern mixing. There are multiple mentalities around pattern mixing. It’s truly a tricky styling skill to master, but following the monochromatic tip is an easy hack. Afterall, patterns in the same color will always look cohesive. Another easy tip is using two patterns from opposing groups (i.e., gingham and polka-dots). By sorting patterns into an overall group of either dots or stripes, you can easily cross-match.

3Alter lengths. Especially when it comes to summer outfits, you never want to be too bundled up. I find it easy to avoid getting too stuffy by mixing my tops and bottoms. If I’m wearing a sweater, I’ll likely pair it with a skirt or pair of shorts. This way I can layer without getting too hot and can easily stay seasonally appropriate.

Rainy days and cold fronts are bound to pop up throughout the rest of the summer. While we may not mentally be able to force away these cold fronts, I have a theory that a perfectly paired cable knit and short combo will have the same effect.

How do you keep up with unpredictable weather? Show us on social media by tagging @Cfashionista. 

Monochromatic Street Style

Monochromatic fashion can be defined as the art of styling an outfit using clothing pieces of only one color. This is something that has been popping up everywhere from runway shows back in 2015 to street styles everywhere. Many might see it day to day in the form of denim and the different washes one may wear with their Canadian tuxedo. One may also see it in the form of black, and one wearing black from head to toe. This Fashionista, Nancy, stepped it up a notch and is wearing it with shades of blue including cobalt and royal blue.

Nancy is a Phoenix native that is obsessed with playing with colors and patterns when it comes to her style.

While sitting at a coffee shop in the gentrified Arts District of downtown Phoenix, I had the opportunity to talk with Nancy and ask her about the inspirations that play a huge role in the way she dresses. One of the icons she mentioned was the adored and famed vintage collector Iris Apfel and her play with colors and patterns. Apfel is known for collecting vintage clothing and furniture from around the world and being one of the best thrifters in the world—a goal I hope to achieve one day. Nancy said that if she were to raid anyone’s closet it would be Iris’s since “she has things in her there almost as old as she and I wish I could get on her level of styling by mixing a lot of patterns.”

The best part about Nancy’s monochromatic outfit is her use of different patterns and textures while still sticking to the same shade. Her blouse, a velvet floral pattern backed by mesh, was paired with a corduroy blue mini skirt. For the finishing touches, she paired a pair of black platform sandals and a touch of blue eyeliner on the top eyelids which pieced this look together perfectly.

What do you think of Nancy’s monochromatic look? Comment below!

How I Take Professional Attire and Make It My Own

As internship season rolls around and spring comes to a close, finding a look that is professional, yet unique and expressive, can be a puzzle. Perhaps the warmer weather that you were expecting has yet to truly arrive, leaving you awkwardly caught in between temperatures—freezing as you head to the office for the day and uncomfortably warm as the day unfolds. This can leave you searching for the perfect look that will span both the unreliable temperatures, and the divide between student and future professional. But following the outline of this look might just help those searching for the ideal work uniform get closer to their own goal.

Drawing inspiration from the unconventional work of designers such as Comme des Garçons’s Rei Kawakubo, whose name is even more recognizable after the annual Met Ball and exhibition were held in her honor, I toyed with the epitome of conventional business attire—a monochromatic suit. But instead of a pantsuit, or even a pencil skirt and blazer, I combined a menswear aesthetic with an unconventionally oversized silhouette, putting my own spin on workwear attire.

Rather than a blazer, I chose a soft a fuzzy black sweater for my top.  Layered over a tighter-fitting basic white T-shirt, this option was a perfect solution to staying warm in the nippy morning air, and something that could easily be removed if the weather grew warmer throughout the day.  The sweater’s nubby texture also added a layer of visual interest by providing contrast with the smooth material of the pants. Instead of a structured trouser, I paired the sweater with a more flowing and slightly flared pair of navy pants—a subtle nod to the ongoing popularity of the ’70s era.  This option anchored the look in a level of formality, while being slightly oversize and individual.

With an outfit that was almost monochromatic in color, accessories were the final touch needed to add just a bit of spark to my workday look. Instead of a traditional shirt collar, I tied a paisley print scarf around my neck, adding a pop of vivid red that mimicked the heart doodle on my otherwise plain white sneakers.  To keep the focus on the scarf, I kept the jewelry minimal, solely a delicate pair of stud earrings, and an eclectic collection of rings. And for a day on the go, a sleek leather tote was the only choice—just the right size for carrying everything that I could need, plus a little extra.

How do you take professional attire and make it your own? Show us on social media! Don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista. 

Monochromatic Makeup: The Runway Look Perfect For Everyday

Anyone who has ever seen someone walk the runway has probably has probably thought who would ever wear that? And where on earth WOULD they wear it? This can be especially true when it comes to the wild makeup looks some models sport. It can be hard to try and take beauty looks from the runway to everyday style. Professional makeup artists often do awesome-yet-impractical looks that you might not want to wear to your eight a.m. lecture. But one look that is super suitable for an everyday look is monochromatic makeup.

All it requires? Matching your eyeshadow to your lipstick. Check out the following tutorial to see how to pull of this look on your own:

  1. To start the look, pick a color scheme.

    I like to do either orange or pink, but any color works. Today I decided to go with an allover orange look. I started  with a full face already done. For me that means foundation, concealer, setting powered, bronzer, and highlighter. I also filled in my eyebrows with a light brown pencil. 

  2. Wet brushing.

    I started with my eyes for this look, beginning by wetting my eyeshadow brush. This allows for a more saturated base color. Eyeshadow palettes are particularly useful for this type of look because the colors usually coordinate already. 

  3. Orange.

    Next, I dipped my brush into a dark orange eyeshadow. I then swiped this shade across my whole eyelid. At this point the shadow was not blended, so the edges were not soft. 

  4. Nudes.

    After the dark orange, I used a small fluffy brush to swipe a light nude shade into my crease. This helped blend out the harsh lines made by the first color. That’s it for eyeshadow! I finished off the eyes with a few coats of Maybelline Great Lash Mascara. 

  5. Next, on to the lips.

    I started with a coral lip crayon, and filled in my whole lip. I like to start by outlining my lips, which makes it easier to color between the lines.

  6. Layering.

    On top of the coral crayon, I layered a classic red lipstick, and blended in order to get a color that better matched my eyeshadow.And…done! I love how simple and versatile this look can be. This time ’round I took it a step further and matched my monochromatic makeup with an orange scarf, however, you can pair this look with whatever outfit feels right. It’s perfect for class, brunch, or a night out! Have you tried taking a runway trend and adapting it for everyday? Show us on social media and tag @CFashionista.

STYLE ADVICE: Transitioning Your Wardrobe

As the semester here in Bloomington wraps up, I’ve definitely gotten quite cultured with the sweetest fashion here on campus. Before we rock that sun-kissed skin this summer, the process of transitioning colder weather pieces into spring comes into play. This in-between season calls for mixing and matching pieces in your closet before fully dusting off your summer collections from that box hidden underneath your bed.

This Fashionista sparked such a memory to me of Milan Fashion Week. Specifically Olivia Palermo, who absolutely flaunted an utterly crisp monochromatic look out on the streets of Milan to which this stylish gal reminded me so much of. Heading off to a sorority event, this Fashionista looked so chic in her cropped, mock-neck top, tucked into a charming check mini skirt, with a slight slit on the side to give it an edgier look. Keeping the outfit simple she threw on a light wash, cropped, denim jacket and slouchy suede sock booties to complete the look. This tailored outfit was so simple and included pieces from the previously colder months reinvented to a modern day look; perfect for that next Greek life event or get together in this warmer weather. Throwing on some gold accessories, she kept the look simple and sophisticated because less is always more. By ditching the tights underneath and swapping out a leather moto for a denim jacket, the look was instantly warmed up.

The foundation of a flawless wardrobe is so simple. By pushing along those basic neutrals and versatile pieces helps to slowly brighten up your wardrobe as we transition between seasons. Combining the right fabrics makes for a very chic look and a tasteful combination with styles you already have at school before heading back home.

Invest in pieces that will last more than one semester and can be worn throughout a few different seasons. Keeping it simple is key. I know I’m certainly looking for every way to save time and space by reinventing different looks to take me through this home stretch. Summer can’t come any sooner, and you can’t give up on your OOTDS!

Good luck Fashionistas, and happy (almost) summer break!

STYLE GURU STYLE: Monochromatic Mood

The classic black and white look has always been one of my personal favorites. So, when I saw that the monochromatic flare was overtaking the runways this season I could not have been more excited. Black and white clothes (just like my love for black and white cookies) are something that I have always found tasteful and classic. The simplest addition of a colorful ingredient pops and completely changes the simple monochromatic equation. My inspiration for ways to rock an all black combination of pieces definitely grew when I began my internship here in New York City because my dress code is simple—all black, all the time. With that said, I definitely wear black out of the office, being that this color takes up more then half of my closet, but I always try to add another element. White is the perfect complement of an all black ensemble, the yin yang combination works in perfect harmony.

Today’s outfit was brought to you straight from the archives of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue coverage on the spring 2017 looks to watch. Instead of pairing my black high-waisted trousers with the usual heels, I opted for a pair of Adidas Stan Smith kicks. The runway shows of Vera Wang, Max Mara, and Louis Vuitton spring 2017 ready-to-wear collections taught us that athletic looks can be incredibly feminine, edgy, and well, high-fashion. All of these shows had two essential elements in common: a monochromatic palette and a sporty vibe.

Adding to my look, I a chose to wear a black-cropped sweatshirt with a strapless white turtleneck underneath. The white turtleneck lightens up the darkness of the pants and the sweatshirt, while also drawing attention in a positive light. The turtleneck also dared me to not wear a completely black outfit (as usual). Adding to the monochromatic elements. I elected to wear my beautiful cream fringed backpack that I found at TJ Maxx for an outstanding price! Finishing off my look, I styled my Vera Wang sunglasses because although they may be the most expensive accessory I own, they are by far the coolest. These sunglasses rock because they have an element of safety included. In the manufacturing of the lenses corners, it is set up so that you can actually see everything behind you.

With the seasonal change of summer upon us, it is the perfect time to finish off the days when comfortable pants and sweatshirts can be worn. Make the most out of these pieces while you still can Fashionistas/os! In just a few short weeks you won’t be needing them anymore!

I Replicated Some of the Most Popular Pinterest OOTDs, Here’s What Happened

As I began to develop my love of fashion in the pre-Pinterest world, I would spend weekend afternoons literally cutting and pasting my favorite outfits from magazines into a notebook full of collages. While collecting Vogue, NYLON, and copies of various other publications nurtured a fondness for fashion journalism, it also helped me form my own personal style. Pinterest facilitates the same experience in an all-digital world—meaning I get to still work on my little passion project collages and not cut my fingers and (most) of my subscriptions up.

Frequently re-pinned OOTDs funnel through from our favorite publications, bloggers, and Instagram feeds. It’s a perfect platform to get endless inspiration, but the amount of content can be overwhelming when getting ready in the morning. Fashion editorials often cause an expectations versus reality dilemma, and the looks on platforms like Pinterest are an extension of that. Sometimes you don’t necessarily own all of the designer brands your choice image contains, or you feel like you can’t pull off that trend—it can be discouraging to pull your style directly from pre-existing images.

I realized that even with all of my time spent studiously scrolling through boards and blogs, I have yet to directly replicate any looks from Pinterest. The way I dress has been influenced by the images I’ve seen in magazines, blogs, and on Pinterest, but I’ve never tried to steal their style directly. I tried four pins I’ve been eyeing for a while below, and while I found myself a little creatively constrained, I also felt freed of any nervousness caused by comparison.

Bandana + Sweater 

Number of pins: 14.86k

The bandana trend has been around for a while now, playing on the choker and scarf trends remerging with ’90s style. I retired most of my silk scarves for the winter and it felt great to get this one out once more—adding some jewelry and layers made it feel much different than last season, as well. The layered jewelry trend definitely made replicating this look a bit more my own than the others below.

Blue Jeans + Striped Shirt

Number of pins: 8.5k

In continuing to play it safe with my sartorial choices, I decided to not play it safe with my bank account. I’ve been wanting to recreate this look for a while; its a simple linen shirt look that is definitely evergreen. I picked up this striped shirt from J.Crew the moment I saw it—it’s exactly like the ones I’ve seen frequently when scrolling. By far the most comfortable I felt, this look definitely was more within my sensibilities than the others I tried.

Slip Shirt + Flair Jeans + Silk Scarf

Number of pins: 6.1k

This street style image caught my eye a while ago—and it’s similar to many other pins I’ve saved. From the silk slip and scarf to the wide leg jeans, it’s many current trends rolled into one outfit. Replicating a look this stacked can be intimidating for many; it’s nice to pull certain aspects, but to replicate it for myself and Toronto weather, I added a bomber to keep warm.

Monochrome Sweater + Skirt

Number of pins: 19.01k

The skirt I’ve donned for this look is one reserved usually for special occasions—it’s hard to reasonably put on a fit and flair midi skirt and head out to campus. I mainly admire the color blocking and layered jewelry in this pin; it’s elegant and she still makes it super casual. A relaxed cotton shirt or light sweater takes any formal skirt down a notch for the daytime.

Finding influence online is great—it’s accessible and far more eco-friendly than stacking up magazines to flip through on your transit rides or at your next appointment. Replicating these outfits allowed me to look beyond comparing myself directly, but it was hard to have to piece together outfits that were already laid out for me. Take the time to sift through and find what works best for your personal style—borrow bits and pieces of OOTDs and always make it your own.

Want some more pin-spiration? Follow us on Pinterest!

BEAUTY BAR: Ready for the Warmth

Summer is right around the corner, which means warm weather, sunny days, and good vibes are almost here. This Fashionista not only chose an outfit that matched the weather, but she made sure to pair her beauty look with the mood of the season as well!

One thing I love about this beauty look is the focus on the eyes. Gone are the smoky eyes that are often associated with the gray and dreary days of winter; instead, this Fashionista opted for a warmer eye shadow color to match the warm colors of spring and summer. She finished off the look with a winged eyeliner and a pink lip tint.

As for her outfit, this Fashionista went with a black and white color scheme, mixing in a few natural shades to complement her eye makeup. The floral, soft fabric shorts are my favorite part of this outfit. The painted gray and white flowers are a nice contrast to the black color of the shorts, and they add a nice classy feel to the outfit. I also love the material of the shorts because they aren’t only comfortable, but they are also light and airy, making them perfect for the summer heat. The basic gray crop top and black cardigan accent the color scheme of the shorts, making for an aesthetically pleasing outfit. What I love about this Fashionista’s cardigan is that it’s breathable design makes it ideal for the days where it may be warm outside, but cool inside the classroom. To finish off the outfit, this Fashionista added a pair of strappy sandals that feature a brown base and black straps, making them the perfect addendum to this spring outfit.

ALL IN THE DETAILS: Hype About Stripes

With the semester coming to close and final exams only a few weeks away, I have seen a plethora of people on campus. Normally around this time is when I really get to see what the scholars of my university are wearing. People who normally don’t come to campus are strutting from class to class to get their last minute extra credit and going to office hours. As I waited for my shuttle to pick me up at the student apartments this Fashionisto sashayed by me and I knew it was fate. I hadn’t really had anyone catch my eye for awhile and I was patiently waiting for my next muse. With legs longer than a highway and edgy blue highlights, I had finally found what I was looking for.

This Fashionisto explained that he had a meeting with his professor as well as a group presentation and wanted to “look and feel confident” and I think he certainly accomplished his goal. As I have previously stated, I am a big fan of monochromatic looks and this Fashionisto delivered a great look.

He paired a black and white striped satin blouse with some skin tight black pants and black over-the-knee boots. The blouse flowed beautifully and the stripes were like an optical illusion when in motion. Although the top was just black and white, it really added the perfect amount of character to the look. The all-black pants slimmed his frame and hugged his body in all the right places. To complete the look, he added a pair of over-the-knee boots which have been trending for awhile. They gave him length and made his legs appear to go on forever.

He kept accessories very minimal with just a dainty black choker. I loved everything about this look. It was the perfect amount of edgy and even though there was not any bright colors or crazy prints it was very eye-catching. Even down to the blue hair, I feel as if that was an accessory in itself.

This Fashionisto was very bold and decided to break gender rules and step outside of the box. It was an androgynous look and it was done right. Often times people are afraid to break the mold and be different, but this Fashionisto was confident in his style choices and himself and ultimately gave me all the life I needed to go about the rest of my school day.