TREND: Put Some Prep in That Step

After looking in my planner and merely pulling my hair out over the combination of work, exams, papers, and other obligations that were about to consume my life, I took a few seconds to breathe, grabbed my car keys, and sped to the mall for some retail therapy. I left the mall with what I thought was a brand new and adorable outfit only to arrive home and realize I already owned three sweaters exactly like it. This is a problem I think a lot of us Fashionistas run into, but before we go ahead and make drastic wardrobe changes, we should simply just try mixing a couple styles together.

This Fashionista exemplifies everything I'm talking about. She casually mixed a plaid button down, a cardigan, and converse shoes together and got a brilliant, preppy-but-edgy look. This inspiring combination features an unexpected yet fashionable mix of colors and patterns that forced me to look twice.

At first glance, I saw all the pieces of this outfit as separates. I recognized the blue classic plaid button down that many girls wear to presentations, lunch dates, class, and can be found at J.Crew. I felt the power of the bold black cardigan and I envied the fact that she was wearing skinny jeans and comfortable converse shoes while I had on my over-worn and salt-filled boots.

However, It wasn’t until I took my second look at this outfit that I saw it for its entirety. Mixing plaids with stripes and blues with yellows isn’t something many people have the audacity to try, but this Fashionista executed the look flawlessly. In fact, her look is something that I strive for and encourage others to try as well.

Hint: Play with stereotypes in order to achieve bold and unexpected looks. Her preppy-but-edgy look stood out because it was out of the ordinary. Maybe wear something rocker but chic or feminine but masculine?

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TREND: Mix it Up with Men’s Fashion

Urban hipster meets southern charm in this Fashionisto's thoughtfully eclectic ensemble. The combination of plaid, jean, khaki and suede materials keep the outfit interesting while the base colors of rich fall/winter hues make the outfit a classic. This look is perfect for a casual outing during the day or can be dressed up with a dark brown leather jacket for a dressy-casual night on the town.

Achieving this look is simple. This  Fashionisto wore a fitted plaid Worker's Twill Western Shirt from Urban Outfitters. He mixed up the look with a classic Levi's Trucker Jacket. The Fashionisto finishes the look with khaki pants which can be found out any major retailer. However, he gives the outfit a final kick with chic suede boots like these Desert boots or these Hipster boots which can be found at Nordstrom.

In simple terms: mixing it up is the way to go. A combination of textures and prints is key in creating a unique outfit.

Take for example, the Alexis Mabille autumn/winter 2010 couture show. Mabille explored pairing lace skirts with sweaters and black pencil skirts with larger than life tulle-sleeved pink blouses. The key, as Mabille so refreshingly displays, is mixing and matching separates to expand your wardrobe options.

Mixing and matching separates opens your eyes to new outfit possibilities. The trick is to avoid looking like a walking jigsaw with too much going on. No worries Fashionistas/os, that’s what we’re here for!

First, look at your wardrobe with a fresh eye. Get rid of the notion that everything has to match perfectly. The key to creating a mixed outfit is to make sure that the separates, while possibly different patterns and textures, possess similar color schemes. This creates fluidity to the look. Experiment with different patterns and mix small prints with large. Don’t write anything off until you try it on! Dries Van Noten spring/summer 2010 show in particular is a great example of patterns that separately seem disastrous but together create standout looks. Keep jewelry and accessories simple and to a minimum.

Don’t let yourself be stuck in a monochromatic rut.  Spice up your style by keeping your wardrobe interesting. Do you dare to experiment?

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TREND: Mix it Up

I’m all for mixing styles, so I had to stop this Fashionista. The high white socks and oxfords she wore screamed British school girl, while the rest of her outfit embraced the laid back American style. Oxfords have been all the rage in recent years and no longer reserved for young girls; I myself have a cute beige pair from Steve Madden. You can find a traditional pair at Steve Madden or try oxfords with a twist, made by MICHAEL Michael Kors. The white socks are classic and make this outfit look crisp.

The loose cardigan signifies American style because it is casual and comfortable. Though being casual and comfortable can sometimes lead to sloppiness, this Fashionista wore her cardigan well. It is easy for a girl to lose her shape when wearing a long and baggy cardigan, so wearing a belt is a perfect solution. A belt over a cardigan makes an outfit look more fitted and sharp. Take some time to think about what type of belt you want to wear over your cardigan. In some cases it is okay to wear a thick belt over an outfit, but in this Fashionista’s case her skinny belt complements her look. A thick belt might have been overwhelming for her outfit and made her look chunky. This skinny belt flatters her outfit and her figure. The cheetah patterned belt spices up her outfit. It is the one piece that shows her personality. She is wearing several neutral colors: beige, brown and white, but this belt adds texture and is something graphic to look at.

Hint: Buckle up! Belts are a fun way to accessorize. You can try different sizes, colors and textures. Check out this cool belt.

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TREND: Mix It Up

Ever since we were little kids our mothers' trained us to have coordinated outfits with matching shoes, socks, scrunchies, and jewelry. However, as we grow older, it is time to break this habit and expand the boundaries of fashion. Coordinated outfits are a thing of the past! The idea of perfectly matching every piece of your ensemble has become known as a fashion DON’T. If you go about it the right way, mixing different colors can lead you to achieving the ultimate fashion DO.

The pictured Fashionista is proof that you can defy the norm and use your own judgment when pulling together a look. Most of us would never even consider mixing contrasting colors, but when it results in a look as fashion-forward as this one, it makes us all want to go home and try our own experimentation with the color wheel. When mix and matching, start out by picking two complementary colors, like blue and orange, red and green, or yellow and purple. This Fashionista has chosen blue and orange as her color scheme. In order to successfully tie these colors together, she has balanced out her look by assigning blue as the base color and orange as her accent color. She has paired a cobalt blue, turquoise, and navy blue floral cut out dress with neon-orange accessories. Her neon-orange knotted peep-toe flats, neon-orange nail polish, and tiered gold necklace with an orange stone pendant brings this already fashionable dress to a whole other level.

Hint: If you have fallen in love with this Fashionista’s floral cut-out dress, hurry to the boutique, Clothes in the Past Lane, on Main Street. They still have some left! To emulate this look, try pairing this cobalt blue block printed dress with these orange ruffled espadrilles and these Betsey Johnson 'Flower Girl' stud earrings

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