Mesh and Patches—A DIY Love Story

This years summertime DIY project began when I fell in love with a midi mesh dress from Forever 21. As soon as I laid eyes on this dress, I knew it was the perfect canvas to transform it into something special. After searching through my beloved fashion Pinterest board for inspiration, I stumbled across a photo I saved months ago of a Valentino trench coat. It was decked out in sparkly embroidered bumblebees, beetles, and butterflies. I was once again in love. Not fully convinced of its trendiness? Lots of other designers including Gucci and Dior have also played around with buggy fashion. And with that, my project was born. I bought my patches from Jo-Ann’s but if you’re looking for uniqueness I recommend Etsy. Here are the steps to create this nature-inspired dress.

1—Before you begin to sew, remove your patches from their wrappings. If the patches have an almost sticky backing to them, do not try to remove it! It’s there to keep the patch together. Next, play around and arrange your patches exactly where you want them to go. It’s your personal piece, design it exactly how you like it. Be creative! Take a picture when you’re done so you can always go back and look at your original layout.

2—Make sure you have a sharp sewing needle, pins, thread, and scissors. You’ll want to pick a thread color that matches the edges on your patches unless you’re your inner creative goddess desires a contrasting color for design reasons. Thread your needle (you can double up the thread to strengthen it, which is smart when working with mesh fabric) and tie a knot at the end of your string. You don’t want the length of your string to be too long because it can become a hot mess very quickly.

3—Secure your patch with pins so it doesn’t move when you’re sewing.

4—Start your stitch on the inside of your garment to hide the knot at the end of the thread. Push the needle through the fabric and the patch. Weave in and out around the edge, making sure to keep the stitches close together.

5—Once you’ve made it all the way around your patch and it is completely sewed on, a knot needs to be made so your stitching doesn’t unravel or become loose. On the backside of the garment, insert the sewing needle under the first stitch you made and pull until a loop forms. Stick your needle into the loop and pull gently. This will create a knot. Repeat this about four times.

6—If you’re feeling glitzy, try sewing on beads for the perfect finishing touch like I did!

Finish this outfit with a crop top and bodycon skirt, a tank with pants, or a simple nude slip underneath!

What DIY projects have you mastered this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

The Trend that’s Back in Style—Patches

Who ever said patches were just for Girl Scout days? You may remember this fun, quirky trend from the ’90s and have probably noticed its latest resurgence in the world of high fashion, including lines by designers such as Gucci and Raf Simons. Patches are the fun loving addition to any outfit that could use more personality. Stylists suggest the best way to style these guys is to not go too over the top, and keep the rest of your outfit on the simple side to avoid clashes. This look is perfect for the outdoor music scenes of summer or as an added touch of spunk to any casual du jour fashion guru’s outfit.

Even though there is an enormous range of clothing with patches already on them in store, it’s additionally appealing to personalize your existing wardrobe yourself. A DIY has never been easier with the availability of iron on patches or even a simple sewing kit to reinvent clothes you had disregarded. (Bonus: you’ll never have to experience an awkward run-in with someone in the same clothes).

Styling Your Patches

Here are some ways I chose to style my patches.

For my first look, I styled this amazing embroidered jacket with a plain white bandeau and a deep red embellished wrap skirt.

Embroidered Denim Jacket Styled

Embroidered Denim Jacket Details

Next, I chose to style a loose white T-Shirt with an embroidered pocket with a laced up black skirt and added a pair of thigh high boots for some serious attitude.

Patch Pocket T-Shirt Styled

Pocket T-Shirt Embroidered Detailing

For another look, I combined these funky denim shorts covered in alternative patches and rips with a plain white T-shirt and a colorful bandana.

AMX Distressed Shorts Styled

Detailing of Distressed Denim Shorts

Lastly, I styled these decorative patched boyfriend jeans with a white bodysuit and some camouflage patterned Vans for a more laid back vibe.

Patched Boyfriend Jeans Styled

Frontal View of Patched Boyfriend Jeans Styled

At the end of the day, no matter how you style them, these embroidered patches will be sure to set you apart from the crowd.

The combinations with this trend are endless and certainly something we can’t wait to play around with even more. Let us know how you will be wearing the patch trend this season. Show us on social media, and don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista!

WHAT TO WEAR: Effortless City Style

The last exam has been taken, the final box has been packed, and the eventual goodbyes have been tearfully made. This can only mean one thing: summertime! Queue the Will Smith and throw those shades on because it’s official.

Now for some, the first month of summer equates to temporary hibernation accompanied by sweatpants, while for others it means endless beach time as your swimsuit and skin actually begin to morph into one. But what about after that? Getting dressed for an average summer day can be a bit like an angel/devil shoulder situation. On one hand, you want to look cute and showcase your undeniable style, and on the other, styling an outfit seems like too much work. Luckily, I ran into this Fashionista who has all the answers.

By cultivating a balanced color palette and pairing stylistic basics together, this Fashionista’s city style is effortlessly chic. She started with a pair of her patched denim pants and adding a simple top with back detailing. To accommodate for Milwaukee’s weather identity crisis, this Fashionista layered on a matte, blush colored bomber jacket, which works because of its light fabric. To literally tie her subtly sweet color scheme together, she threw on a timeless paisley neckerchief, an element that can elevate any ensemble. Not a stranger to city lifestyle, this Fashionista opted for a pair of lace-up sandals for comfort. For the finishing touches, this Milwaukeean accessorized with tasteful bangles and bling and toted a dome crossbody bag for all her essentials.

From Milwaukee to any urban destination, take a few notes from this Fashionista on how to rock casual streetwear.

STYLE ADVICE: Personalized Denim

If you’ve been keeping up with me this semester, you know that I’m all for the wave of personalized denim flooding the fashion industry. Because May has been such a bummer weather-wise, I’m still loving all things denim for the end of the semester. Whether it’s pins, paint, or patches, denim upgrades are all you need for adding a touch of personal style right now.

This Fashionista’s outfit is hopeful for warmer weather in her pair of patch-embellished jeans from Gap. The light wash jeans have colorful butterfly and parrot patches, on the hip and knee, respectively. To complete her look, she pairs the jeans with a gray shirt with a stitched “C” on the pocket. By matching two different personalized pieces, this look is reflective of her personality, while being tastefully unique.

For accessories, she kept it simple in order to let the patches and the embellished initial stand on their own. She wears a plain silver bangle and a few basic rings. Her tan suede loafers are the perfect choice of shoe for the awkward in-between seasons moment. They are super-versatile, making for a great pair springtime shoes that can be paired with jeans, a skirt, or a dress. Her beauty look is soft and natural, with gorgeous loose waves framing her face.

Head to your favorite store or DIY a pair of jeans with a couple of unique patches to get this look yourself. Embellished jeans are an awesome addition to any wardrobe, no matter your style. Wear them to brunch or switch it up by embellishing a pair of black or dark wash jeans.

ALL IN THE DETAILS: Two Tips That Don’t Quit

Each semester teaches us new things. We advance in our majors & get to know new people. Fashion works the same way, seasons come and go, but each time they do we are met with new trends to try and old fads to let go of. Most things in our lives are always changing like this as well, and so as I am wrapping up my semester as a Style Guru, I decided it was time that I share the two most important style tips I’ve learned over the years. I’ve come to find that when I follow these to the letter, my look never goes wrong, and this Fashionisto seemed to know exactly what I’m talking about: trust your basics, and always wear a little something that makes you feel like you.

This Fashionisto was wearing a casual outfit for walking around campus and studying for finals with friends. He wore a beige, long sleeve, drop tail T-shirt, black skinny jeans, cuffed at the ankle, and a personalized denim jacket. He topped off his look with classic white leather Vans, which popped against the more muted tones in his look an a wide brimmed felt hat. His look was compiled entirely of basics. Even though he went with four different colors, the neutral color palette keep the outfit cohesive, clean. The denim jacket brought the whole look together, and displayed some of his interest. The arm displayed  Star Wars and Ohio patches, while the pins all over the front displayed local bands and a favorite saying. These small details gave his jacket a more lived in feel, which everyone wants in their denim! He made his  everyday style work with current trends by adding a wide brimmed hat. The hat also served as contrast against his outfit as a bold focal point.

It’s easy to fall into the habit is chasing the latest trend. Trusting your basics is a great way to make sure you’re leaving room to add a personal element to all your looks. Basics are also a great canvas to add details like pins that help you feel like you! Looks like these are easy for anyone to create with just a solid-colored pant, a minimal top, and a layering piece. Keep your shoes and accessories as the focal points, let them do the talking for your outfit!

Confidence is always the key to great style and confidence comes easy when you’re wearing the basics from your closet that you know you can depend on to make you look great! Add some of your favorite things around you as accessories  and  you’ve mastered my two tips! These two tips make it practically impossible to not feel good when you walk past a mirror, and always camera ready like this Fashionisto! When it comes to style, feeling good and confident in what you wear is the only thing that matters, so here’s to the two fashion tips that will always keep you feeling confident!

WHAT TO WEAR: To the Moon and Back

Many people say you have to “dress for success.” Yet, what if you’re not the type of person to wear a suit and tie every day, but still are a boss in your own way? This Fashionisto here is the perfect example of a college student with dreams that go further than the moon; but, rather than a suit and tie, he prefers simple T-shirts every day to conquer the world (or even Mars).

This Fashionisto has a minimalist style that’s perfect for making college life a little simpler. This Fashionisto’s effortless look starts off with a soft, cotton dark gray T-shirt that’s perfect for any occasion. Next, he has a simple pair of khaki shorts that go with everything, and a black leather belt to secure them. The statement piece of this look is a retro, navy bomber jacket with NASA patches and a bright orange interior. The jacket is still minimalist while also adding a chic vibe to his outfit. While one could “wear your heart on your sleeve,” this Fashionisto wears his goals proudly on his chest–goals to achieve the unattainable. To finish off the look, this Fashionisto is wearing navy Reebok sneakers that match his navy jacket and are comfortable for the everyday walks of life, and perhaps even to step on the moon. Even if a meteorite hit, the Fashionisto and his outfit are ready for anything life throws his way.

Here’s a reminder to dream big, especially with finals season rapidly approaching. Don’t give up on yourself or your goals. There are footsteps on the moon, which proves that anything is possible and nothing is off limits. Dream a little bigger, my fellow Fashionistas/os.

STYLE ADVICE: Patched Perfection

The newest trend I have been seeing is patching up an old (or new) denim jacket—or just about any article of clothing. Ironing on or sewing on patches can give an old jacket a new look or make a plain jacket an interesting piece in your wardrobe. Patches are a great way to express your personality and make any piece of clothing a statement. Some denim jackets come already with patches, or some of the best denim jackets can be found thrifting.

This conversational piece is styled with a pink pastel T-shirt underneath (which matches this Fashionisto’s hair perfectly), these rad iridescent shades with turquoise frames, and drawstring khakis to complete the look. This Fashionisto has been collecting patches for a while and gets them from all different places from ASOS to Buffalo Exchange. He says he thinks pins are a cool and easy way to decorate a jacket, and the best part is that he can take them off and pin them on something else. The fun really is finding new patches that describe you and adding new ones wherever you like. A patched jacket can become a timeless piece in your closet that never really goes out of style.

The patching trend has been hot for a while and some of the rarest patches can also be found in vintage stores for a nostalgic vibe. Every patched jacket is unique; the awesome part is no one will have the same one as you even though this look is so popular!

STYLE GURU STYLE: Different Denim

Every year, denim tends to make up a large section in many people’s wardrobes. Whether it’s jeans, denim jackets, jean shorts, or denim skirts, everyone owns denim clothing. The problem with everyone owning this material is that it can make it hard to stand out while wearing simple denim clothing.

My favorite way to break out from simple denim this season is adding patches to jeans. You can either buy easy iron-on patches to attach to your favorite pair of jeans you already own or purchase jeans with patches already sewn onto the denim. The pair of jeans I’m seen wearing I bought with the patches already sewn on.

The thing I love about the patches on these jeans are that they don’t take up an entire pant leg, they are subtle patches along the top of the jeans. This allows for the jeans to incorporate and let other trends stand out. This jean has a slight boyfriend fit to it, along with rips throughout each pant leg. The distressed boyfriend jean trend started to appear a couple years ago and I still love it. This year another trend within denim emerged: unfinished edges. The bottom of these jeans are unfinished and allows the jean to look even more distressed and different.

I paired these jeans with a simple black bomber jacket to let all of the details of the jeans stand out even more. Underneath my black bomber jacket, I wore a light blue-green tank top. Since these jeans are slightly cropped, I decided to wear black booties that hit higher on my ankle, minimizing the skin exposed. These jeans are more of a casual look, no matter how much you try to dress them up or down with a top or shoes. I would wear these jeans to class, lunch, or a day out shopping.

STYLE GURU STYLE: But First, Coffee

As a college student, going to cute local coffee shops has become my thing for two reasons. One is out of pure necessity of needing caffeine in me to function. Two is because I can relax and get some work done in a cute and comfortable place.

My schedule is packed tight between work, being a research assistant, keeping up with my New Year’s resolutions (yes, I am one of those people that actually attempt to follow through), volunteering, being treasurer of a club, and somehow trying to fit in sleep and a social life. So, most days, I prefer to dress comfortably but put together so I can be ready to go from one commitment to the next.

For me, while I love to dress up on certain days, I usually pair either jeans or leggings with a T-shirt most days since I ride my bike to school and work, and dressing up just isn’t functional for that.

My style is casual but edgy. So for my featured outfit, I paired my Neck Deep band T-shirt with my favorite customized Levi’s denim jacket. I love this jacket because Florida is really weird in the spring. It can be super chilly in the morning and then hot in the afternoon. So having a jacket to layer with is perfect. Featured on my jacket are all patches and pins that I personally picked out. For example, I have a cup of coffee (what a shock) with the state of Minnesota on it that I got from a Caribou Coffee back home, a pin of the logo of my school, the University of South Florida, and a Tampa Bay Lightning pin. I also have a patch of my Hogwarts house crest, Hufflepuff. I feel that these small touches give my otherwise plain jacket a personal touch and many times they have even been conversation starters.

I paired my top and jacket with a plain black pair of Lululemon leggings and a white pair of low-top Converse. To finish the look, I have my small canvas bag from Baggu, which holds all of my essential items like my water bottle, a pair of headphones, and my Fujifilm Instax camera.

Don’t be afraid to dress down. You can be comfortable and still look cute. Whether you’re heading to your local coffee shop to get work done like me or heading to one of your own personal commitments, I’m sure your inner Fashionista/Fashionisto will shine through whatever you choose to wear.

STYLE ADVICE: Minimal and Whimsical

One of the biggest challenges in fashion is creating and maintaining one’s own individual style while avoiding being consumed by all the latest trends. This Fashionista uses a minimalist color palette in combination with cool, quirky patches to create a very unique outfit that is distinct from many other students on campus.

This Fashionista displays expertise in the art of layering, a crucial skill in an environment that can change from 40 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in a single day. Take note of how she uses the stark contrast of dark and light colors throughout her layered pieces. The light wash denim jacket placed over a dark wash pinstriped short jumpsuit, as well as her use of white against black makes for a simple yet visually striking color palette.

The simplicity and minimalism in this color palette makes a perfect canvas to display her creativity; she has bright and bold patches scattered carefully throughout her outfit. If you want to express your personality through your fashion, patches are the perfect way to do so. Patches on clothing are becoming more and more popular, especially on large, rugged denim jackets. With a quick Google search, you can find any patch online. They also appear in many vintage stores. I recommend iron or sew-on patches for the longest lasting option, but sometimes you’ll find denim jackets or other clothing already pre-sewn with its own patches. On this Fashionista’s outfit, you’ll find a perfect combination of bold text and fun figures.

Lastly, I think it’s important to to praise this Fashionista for creating not only an effortlessly cool and casual outfit, but also for a utilitarian and functional outfit. With sensible white sneakers and a simple mock turtleneck, she dons an aura of comfort and composure. Her cute, pinstriped jumpsuit is designed with convenient large pockets, perfect to slip in her phone, keys, or wallet for easy access. The denim jacket is also abundant with pockets.

My favorite part of this outfit however, is this Fashionista’s pastel pink cap. At first, I thought it was just a great way to add a touch of color, but at closer inspection I realized that her pink cap is made out of corduroy! Another way to add interest to your personal style is by wearing pieces that are made of material not traditionally used for that item; corduroy is traditionally seen on pants, so seeing a cap made out of that fabric was incredibly eye-catching.