Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let Your Colors Show

O.P.I. Nail Polish

Hot, Hot Heat…
Hot Pink:
My favorite, go-to nail polish has been O.P.I.’s ‘La Paz-itively Hot’ since a summer vacation to Florida 3 years ago. Not only did the polish survive the salt and sand, but also it looked equally brilliant at the beginning of the week—proudly shimmering on my sad, white little toes—as it did after my pale skin begrudgingly accepted it’s barely bronze hue 7 days (and 6 sunburns) later.
I often ponder writing O.P. a letter, emphasizing my creative name-giving, color-defining abilities in hopes of winning a lifetime supply of ‘La Paz-itively Hot.’ Pink just makes you feel wonderfully girlish, comfortable, and pampered; however, hot pink transforms you—once a simple college girl, a Kansan…but now a rocker, a foxy starlet, a fearless female with undeniable prowess, a La Paz-itively HotTastic Woman.
Thrillingly—after three years—my obsession with hot pink nail polish is finally in the right place at the right time. In 2009, the runways are filled with this bright, empowering, womanly hot pink hue—from clutches to headbands, pumps to blazers—wear bright pink to achieve the ultimate in-style look—hot.
Now, don’t go taking me for the ultimate girly-girl. I am normally much more attracted to country blues, earthy browns, and green colors, but I have noticed a certain glow my cheeks give off when any shade of pink is nearby. Hot pink looks fabulous on all skin tones. With so many qualms regarding fashion, so many anxieties regarding size, why fret over an easy, controllable wardrobe change: Simply pick out flattering colors that emphasize your skin tone, the hue of your eyes, the shine of your hair. Hot pink is womanly and strong; hot pink makes all lips shimmer and all shapes look crisp against the more subtle colors of the day-to-day, office-to-office, street-to-street world.

Hot pink is not the only ubiquitous color in 2009…
Messy spaghetti eaters beware! Bright white is the new black. Entirely stark white, two-piece suits, long skirts, and little-black…er…white-dresses are refreshing. 2009 provides a clean new start, and white’s popularity appropriately, symbolically represents this new upbeat attitude.
Look for white lace dresses or wide leg trousers. White blazers provide sharp, crisp lines and white skinny jeans or billowing harem pants offer great, unique shapes. Imagine a peplum-waist white top, white pencil skirt, and white wide-rimmed hat, complete with the perfect pair of pumps, driving gloves, and a travel tote. Clean, classic, womanly, refined.

Dip into the Candy Dish…
80s pastels, like turquoise, lavender, light-blue, and cotton-candy pink are making a comeback. Hold off before digging out your scrunchies and sweatbands though—the pastel clothing of 2009 is not stunted by the color or lingering bad reputation of decades past. Colors are combined in great floral patterns and textiles. Color-block outfits emphasize the hourglass figure of a woman while exploring the tricky shades and tints of pastel. For a sixties throwback, try combining pastels with black—look to the “Pink Ladies” of Greece for ideas.

Presidential Grace

AP Photo

In honor of the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2009, Vogue’s devoted editors published an article focused on the next First Family. Vogue ran a similar tribute to President Kennedy, published in January of 1961. Our new, long awaited Presidential change parallels that of 1961; changes represent necessity and unveil refreshing, uplifting excitement: “Change is about making choices, but choosing change for the good is an expression of our humanity.”

Michelle Obama—the next Jackie O?
Effortlessly clean lines and easy solid colors, wide-legged pant suits and fitted blazers, 3-strand pearls and oversized sunglasses: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis changed the dress code for a politician’s wife. Mrs. Kennedy recognized the changing times—in the political and the fashion world alike—and she refused to be stuck in the past.
The First Lady represents iconicity, modernism, and societal authority.

Enter Michelle Obama, always a lady first.
Michelle’s accomplishments in the political and cultural world are more than impressive, it is a wonder style fits into her schedule at all. She has a natural, easy mode of dress and a profound grasp on fashion codes; for example, Michelle Obama will wear a loud, over-sized necklace paired with a simplistic, streamlined dress. Michelle will pull off a ubiquitous, chain-store wardrobe piece by adding a personal touch—a family heirloom brooch or a favorite, one-of-a-kind necklace. Our next First Lady is risky, too—we all remember the famous Narciso Rodriguez black-and-red dress she sported on Election Night, opening the doors for at least four years of White House style scouting.

Michelle Obama’s closet is full of diverse patterns, strong colors, and flattering, feminine shapes that exude all the confidence, sophistication, and fearlessness a First Lady must embody. To incorporate Michelle Obama’s Presidential Style into your own wardrobe, take the following hints:

American Designers are a Class Act:
Buy American-Designed Dresses that include Cultural Zing
Michelle Obama supports forthcoming American designers. On the Obama campaign trail, she was spotted wearing Isabel Toledo, Thakoo, Peter Soronen, Tracy Feith, Jason Wu, and Tom Binns—just to name a few. Her support for these designers is fabulous—many are first-generation Americans, and find inspiration by combining their families past culture and heritage with their new, American lifestyle. “She could’ve worn anybody,” says designer Isabel Toledo, “but she chose to wear a dress made by a Latina, and made in the U.S. So she chose to support the industry here.”
*Michelle’s necklace by Irish-born jewelry artist, Tom Binns is another example of her impeccable style—cross-cultural (yet still home-grown U.S.A.).

Floral Prints:
Choose Feminine, Fierce Floral Prints
Michelle Obama knows that flattering, floral prints are feminine. These prints possess a certain “Winter Garden”/”Midwinter Resort” vibe, and their vivid colors and streamlined shapes flatter strong, muscular—yet lady-like—physiques. Opt for a retro cut, an easy route to sophistication. Colors like red and purple will send out confident vibes, too.
*Michelle’s own popular, floral dress was designed by Thakoon.

Solid, Bold Colors:
Wear a monochromatic color to highlight natural beauty
For those who still need convincing of either Michelle Obama’s sense of style or her choices of designers—she has worn a less-ballsy, ridiculously gorgeous Narciso Rodriguez, solid ice-breaker-blue dress that dissipates all qualms regarding the controversial, red-and-black number. Michelle Obama recognizes the power of a single, fabulous color. Choose your own monochromatic outfit that flatters your skin tone and highlights your natural beauty.
*Another fantastic color-moment from the First Lady—Maria Pinto’s purple dress. Michelle’s shapely, in-shape, hourglass figure stood out in this regal-colored dress.

Men's Fashion Trends for 2009

photo by Mike Yoder

There is something attractive about a naturally put-together man. No, this does not mean uber-trendy boys walking the streets in runway-esque digs with obvious, over-done cover-up and the drippings of incorrectly applied mascara. Just recognize that Gene Simmons has already claimed that get-out-of-jail-free card!

Also, we’ve long since ditched the “I just rolled out of bed” look from the 90s; still, there can be a happy medium, a balance resulting in nonchalant sophistication. Thankfully this year designers are getting inspiration from classic menswear. Let us welcome a more refined, perfected style with open arms.

Dress down a Dress suit:
My father and George Cloony surely would get along—both resist the necktie’s choke. After years attempting to alter my dad’s anti-tie sentiment, I finally get it. With the appropriate color combination and a fine, tailored suit, a confident man looks incredibly sharp sans tie. A confident, intellectual, tie-less man stands out at any black-tie affair; his comfortable stance and seemingly loose, carefree attire brings admiration out from all of the other men—men who are, quite frankly, tied down.

Dress up Blue Jeans:
This season, clean lines and crisp shapes barrage the men’s fashion industry. The easiest part—your favorite Levis can come along. Slip on an overcoat or blazer for an instant style-lift. Or, even try a v-neck cardigan, button-up Oxford shirt, and a tie. Any fresh shirt will look great worn with fitted jeans for a night on the town. For a fun, laid-back look, cuff your jeans to show off your dress shoes—just mind your socks and belts!

Trim Khakis:
JFK, Steve McQueen, Miles Davis—these fashion icons recognize the impact of simplicity. Simple, clean, Americana. Grab a pair of flat-front khakis, my favorite old trend popping up everywhere this season. With no folds or breaks, tailor your khakis to hit perfectly at the ankle. Khakis and navy-blue sweaters can offer nautical nostalgia; a slim-fit tennis sweater can add color, but a plain white t-shirt—eye-catching yet effortless—is key. Khakis, white shirt: James Dean knew what was up.

The ‘Must-Have’ and the ‘Oh-No!’:
For the quickest, hottest rebel style:
Ray-Bans and Leather Jackets.
Tom Cruise, Bob Dylan, and the Ramones did justice to these items. Instant sex appeal, instant style.
For a fast-track to the land of fashion faux pas:
Beware: The Deep V.
Hairy chests scare women and children alike. Please, boys, keep it inside. If you want to go deep, opt for the aforementioned v-neck cardigan (with an undershirt!).

Extras for impact:
Seemingly inconspicuous accessories make a good outfit great. Add white handkerchiefs to a white shirt pocket; replace the buttons on your sleeves with sleek, sophisticated cufflinks for a more refined look. These additions can also offer subtle insight about your character.
Consider your own style, passions, and lifestyle. Yves Saint-Laurent and Woody Allen are often remembered for their large, oversize glasses. Choose a single signature personal item and stick with it. Make sure it is something classic, classy, and time-worthy. Surely you, too, will be remembered.

Blissfully Embrace Just a Little Bit of Lace

photo by Mike Yoder

Thank you, Miucca Prada, for resurrecting lace as a modern trend.
Most fashion followers recognize that where Prada goes, most will eagerly follow; thus, this winter, lace has taken over entire designer collections and clothing racks, and spring 2009 collections are following suit, blissfully lacy.
This new lace is nothing like your granny’s. Lace has been modernized. Wider, looser textile patterns and bold colors dominate.

Along with Prada, check out Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani, Catherine Holstein—even TopShop—for killer ideas and wearable lace. Add funky, lace-patterned trousers, girly headbands, and elbow-length, lace gloves to your shopping list, too.

Day Lace:
Lace is not just for eveningwear. Layer a sheer lace dress over turtlenecks and long-sleeved, structured shirts for a prominent, sculpted shape. Or, if you feel overwhelmed by pattern, lace separates may feel more versatile, and picking a nontraditional, bright-colored lace won’t feel as formal.

Lace doesn’t have to be all frills:
A lacy top beneath a masculine, military bomber jacket offers great contrast, and lace patterned tights paired with an opposite fabric or bright patterned top show off the unique textile designs in each individual lace fabric.
Black lace dresses are more romantic and dramatic—very film noir. Still, though, black lace should be worn with sophistication—subtle sensuality and a classic cut. Trust me, the lace will speak for itself.

Don’t go overboard, drowning in lace:
The intricate pattern in lace is just enough—don’t don pieces plastered with trendy sequins or too many sewed-on jems and jewels.
Pick a few accessories, such as lace-trimmed shoes or a hand bag for one solid outfit, and a statement lace dress for another.

Give your lace a break:
To avoid looking like a tablecloth or valentine’s doily, wear bold, big belts and jewelry. Accessories worn with lace not only provide a bit of rest, but also promise the lace’s pattern stand out, juxtaposed by different materials, fabrics, and colors. For example, a black belt worn around a white lace mini-dress will have a stark, urban appeal.
Furthermore, don’t insist on matching your shoes to your dress trim. Try a stacked heel or ankle boot to bolster an outfit’s modern appeal.
Wear black belts, shoes, or jewels against white lace for a stark, urban take.

Truly, lace is versatile, and just one lace piece can easily transform; from rocker-chic Madonna to sassy, sophisticated film starlet…embrace a little frill, a little burlesque, a little lace.

Stunning, Sparkling, Sexy--Statement Necklaces are Simply Chic

photo by Mike Yoder

Family gatherings, cocktail parties, winter soirees with friends—the holidays, meant for relaxation and tradition, always seem to come with hectic schedules and obligatory (but fun) events. There is no spare time to dwell on outfits and attire. Luckily, simple classic style will always win points. But, don’t stop there. Without extra stress or consternation, simply decide to be decadent. Jewels, jems, shimmer, and shine…
This winter spruce up a monochrome wardrobe—put on some bling.

Go Big or Go Home:
Statement necklaces and embellished collars are the quickest, hippest route to a stunning, striking look. Dramatic, massive jewels are eye-catching. Even the most drab of sweaters transforms into utterly fabulous yarn with an over-the-top, show-stealing, sparkly piece of ice.
Even small-framed ladies can pull off a super-sized jewelry collar. The jewels work for you, not against you—massive necklaces do attract attention, but do not impede or overwhelm onlookers. These enormous necklaces may be heavy, yet they won’t weigh you down. A little shine near your face creates an instant glow; eyes twinkle, smiles brighten, and cheeks develop the perfect hint of shimmer. The linear shape of a woman’s collarbone is beautiful and sexy. Wearing such a statement necklace will show off the nape of your neck and your body’s natural bone structure.

Guidelines for going Gargantuan:
Decoration enables dramatic transformation. A decorative piece of jewelry launches a shoddy, cheap outfit into the upper-echelons of sass and class. The right accessories flatter all body types; thus, recognizing the potential of a necklace worn by you—on your own body—is key. Consider chest size and neck length. And, never let the pinnacle of your pendant disappear, diving into your cleavage.

Purchasing a bejeweled, bedizened collar or necklace doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Carefully selected costume jewelry won’t look cheap or gaudy. Another idea—hit up the local antique store for flashy neckwear and you’re sure to find a hidden jem.

Although jewelry stands out best set against dark-colored clothing, wearing a bright, single-shade top is an option that will guarantee you individuality. Also, if putting on prints feels comfortable, do so. Try a subtle pattern initially until you gain confidence.

Discreet Details:
Large, standout jewelry pieces are meant to be seen. Don’t look smothered—tie back flowing hair in a neat knot and set aside dangly earrings.

Fur-ocious Frocks

photo by Mike Yoder

The damp fall days are leading to an even drearier frigid December. A Midwest Winter is no picnic: Keeping your nose and frozen toes toasty is tricky enough; however, this season’s fur trend alleviates at least one daunting fashion challenge—maintaining a warm temperature and a chic appearance.

Fur is a recognized controversy in the fashion industry. Condone real fur? Pro faux fur? Adamantly against fur—faux or not? Respectfully, to each his own; regardless, this season—fur is a hot trend.

Fur coats are not just for intoxicatingly perfumed grannies and Cruella Deville’s conniving comrades, so please—leave any and all anxiety at bay! Still a bit timid? Do not fret—a full-length fur coat is not the only way wear fur fashionably.
Accentuate outfits with voluptuous fur accoutrements! Follow this fabulous fur advice, and pick your perfect pelt!

Shaggy Furs:
Shaggy fur skirts and sleeves shout couture; check out pieces by Chloe or Missoni. Quality shaggy fur and from the 1960s and 1970s can be found less expensively at antique stores or vintage boutiques—think Kate Hudson and Almost Famous.

Cossack Hats:
Both men and women can stylishly wear Cossack hats. Cossack hats are generally brimless, fur hats inspired by past Russian military uniforms. Because Cossack hats are bulky, wear a fitted, tailored coat to streamline your shape. If you’re thinking, “but my head looks like a fuzzy q-tip…” wrap your neck with a thick scarf—its unique, variable shape will add another great organic element to your outfit.
Also, look for fun chapkas (‘czapka,’ is Polish for ‘cap’) or Aviator Bomber hats. Winter versions come cozy and fur-lined.

Look absolutely sophisticated and so debonair wearing a fur stole. Stoles are a step-up from shawls, and their simple, elegant shape is the perfect accompaniment to any sleek, chic party dress. Almost all stoles are backed with satin or silk and most finish crisply, simply hemmed; however, if you do fancy a full-pelt stole (head included) save it for daytime use! Wearing such ‘street dress’ at any formal affair may get your favorite fur shawl beheaded!

Fur Trimmings:
Look for tote bags, coat-collars, and gloves lined with fur. Small doses of fur are versatile, and can be worn casually with jeans or dressy with holiday outfits and elegant winter apparel. The ability to adapt makes a fur the perfect pelt—hone your inner-Bohemian; be spoiled by plush luxury; be elegant, be sexy, be timeless; flaunt fur.

Boyfriend Jeans (Not your actual boyfriend's jeans)

photo by John Henry

LA Style. Think …
Gwen Stefani, Katie Holmes, Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham, Rachel Bielson.
Baby’s Momma, Baby’s Momma, almost 40, Babies’ Momma, Ahhh—just perfect!

Although Katie Holmes may have coined the term ‘Boyfriend Jean,’ confusion seems prevalent regarding their namesake. Celebrities everywhere are sporting these oversized pants; however, the ladies most frequently caught wearing boyfriend jeans are quite boyfriend-less/married (or divorced)/mothers! Age-appropriate dress is often a concern, so those with great bodies should not necessarily wear youthful clothing based upon their own youthful appearance.

Nonetheless—the boyfriend jean is a hotTastic trend worthy of our attention. Move over skinny jean—make way for the slouchy, roomy, wide-thigh jean that is bound to make all tight-pant-wearing, hipsters jealous:

Now listen ladies, comfort is key, yet avoid looking like a hobo. These jeans are meant to be worn low, have a long crotch, long legs, and roomy thighs—just don’t be swimming in the things! They are meant to “fit” you. That being said: Your “boyfriend jeans” do not necessarily have to be your own, real-life, true-blue, actual boyfriend’s jeans! A new or vintage pair will do—just be sure to pick out straight leg over boot-cut or flair denim for a flattering, in-style look.

Trouser Roll:
A basic one-roll cuff looks casual and fun. Boyfriend jeans are quite long, so why not avoid tripping and show off your feminine ankles simultaneously? Also, with a pair of patterned stockings or socks, roll your jean-cuffs unevenly. With one leg longer than the other, a flirty, asymmetrical vibe is easy to achieve.

Gucci Roll:
If you can’t get over your fitted, calf-hugging skinny pants, the Gucci roll is meant for you. It not only tapers the boyfriend jeans’ straight leg, but also adjusts the pant-length and provides volume and shape. Don’t worry—you won’t be channeling MC Hammer—MC can’t touch this.

Chic your Man-Pants:
Similar to the menswear trend, the boyfriend jean must be feminized. Pair bright shoes and colorful stockings with these pants. Don’t avoid wearing heels, and don’t avoid wearing open-toed pumps with warm leggings. You do not have to wear old, beat-up running shoes or boots just like your brother. Wear cozy, detailed, or floral tops in bright shades to reaffirm your gender. You will surely not be mistaken for a man if you add on piles of bangles, blush, and long earrings! One last tip—wear fitted tops that show off your curves. The juxtaposition between loose boyfriend jeans and girly, fitted blouses is another element that makes this trend enticing.

So—don’t worry—although some have called Katie Holmes’s Boyfriend Jeans “Couch-Jumping No-Husband Jeans,” if you follow my tips and add your own style, you will surely turn more heads than Suri Cruise’s fabulous haircut and fantastically stylish, enviable baby wardrobe!

$1200 girl--don't be cheap!

photo by Mike Yoder

Fabulous designer Bonnie Croisant turns heads and reaps praise at Project Runway:
“$1200 girl—don’t be cheap!”

Bonnie rolled into my driveway around 5:30 p.m. It was pouring down rain. “Do you have any face wash?” she asked me, calling from her cell phone while I gathered make-up bags, shoes, and snacks for the long evening ahead. She explained, “I didn’t have time to shower, and I at least want to wash my face.”

This is the third show for which I have modeled Bonnie’s apparel, and I am always thrilled to represent such unique design and attention to detail. I already knew Bonnie’s talent and her new concepts would drop jaws once premiered on the runway.

Bonnie Croisant and her endless days of sewing did pay off; it was not the $500 check that made her work worthwhile, but rather the overwhelming praise and support from family, friends, and Bravo TV’s own Project Runway winner, Christian Siriano.

Bonnie squealed in my ear, “He’s even tinier in real life!” But, trust me, his compliments were more than plus-size; his response to Bonnie’s designs were fiercely flattering: “Love the little shorts. Love the piping. Love that she pushed the envelope a little bit. Love her new, innovative, and creative clothes, and love the final looks she created for us.” Christian made Bonnie blush, freaking out over one of her tops: “That top is fabulous. I’m telling you: Sell that top. $1200 girl—don’t be cheap! And with that…we choose Bonnie!”

So, for all you fashion fanatics—are you yourself wondering what else makes Christian gush (as much as a pair of purple corduroy lederhosen hot pants)?
Fresh details, fabric choices, and little accoutrements for big overall appeal.
For example, the top that took Chrisitan’s breath away had linear components—fabric strips were sewn on the front to convey an armor-like breastplate in a modern, wearable way. Also, Bonnie’s pieces looked complete; both front and ‘rear” views were equally pleasing—her embellished evening gown had an excellent texture in the front bodice, and still made a grand exit, catching attentions with a splash of bright red fabric waving, swishing goodbye.
Bonnie’s models even maintained her overall ephereal, avant-garde design appeal in their hair and make-up. Bonnie’s pieces were the most cohesive collection, which is essential for the runway. “I want my pieces to be recognizable as my own signature work the instant my models hit the catwalk.” Fashion should be funky and design should be distinct; however, you want to be pushing the envelope “a little bit,” not taking leaps so large people consider your work…fashion suicide.

So, for all you fashion fanatics—are you yourself now wondering what makes Bonnie gush?

She’s happy to tell all…
“But first I’m going to sleep, after I have a drink.”

For more coverage of KU's Project Runway, visit

Leg Up!

photo by Mike Yoder


Leggings seem to be the trend that will never die; however, this fall more substantial leggings are (thankfully) taking center stage on runways and streets. From cotton to wool, PVC to plaid—invest in these thick, colorful, pant-like leggings for a quick, economical way to update your wardrobe. Although new leggings are more solid, still pair these “pants” with a longer sweater or a fun, oversized t-shirt. For more ideas, check out trendsetters like Ashley Olsen and Rihanna, both of whom have recently been spotted (appropriately) sporting liquid foil leggings with unique tops and jackets.


Nude, navy, black, and brown—BORING! Technicolored, monochrome, printed, and patterned tights have become widely available and these fun tights make a simple outfit instantly in-style. Tights are a smart solution during chilly fall nights, facilitating extra wear from long-sleeved dresses or short summer skirts. Seek out glittery, gilded tights for a sophisticated, nighttime look, and downplay bright, wild tights with a simple-colored skirt and top to avoid an overwhelming outfit; too many colors can be distracting and blinding, plus—you don’t want to look like a box markers (think Crayola Color Changeable Markers—circa 1994)!

Knee-Highs, Thigh-Highs, Legwarmers

Experiment with all of the versatile, functional sock-styles. If you are wearing a seamless dress and a suffocating, stomach-cinching tight would cut you in half with its elastic lines, opt for a sexy, thigh-high stocking that will still keep your legs covered and warm. Legwarmers (not just for 80s dress-up parties!) can be paired with thin cigarette jeans for a bit more insulation, and knee-highs worn with boots and a long skirt are a subtle detail that will maintain a chic appearance.

Pretty in Plaid

Sakchai Lalit/AP Photo

Scottish tartans, 80s hair bands, hunters, workmen, Mary Tyler Moore, cute cowgirls with knotted shirts and bare midriffs…even President Ronald Reagan loved to get his plaid on.
Reagan’s fondness of glen plaid suits will forever be remembered by the fashion industry, in turn making Reagan anything but… “a stuffy old goat.” John Fairchild applauded the Presidential Plaid: “There’s some sunshine, some California in that suit.”
Well folks—this ain’t California, but that don’t mean the sun won’t shine.
Add a bit of plaid to your wardrobe and soon you’ll surely see the sparkling sunshine in our own Midwestern Oasis.

Plaids & Prints & Patterns…oh my!
Wearing plaid this season isn’t meant to look like a Catholic school-girl Halloween costume—mix and match your plaid with bold floral prints, contrasting fabrics, and quirky accessories. Also, do not worry about wearing mismatched plaid patterns together; a large-print buffalo plaid top (normally a large checkered pattern of one to two colors) worn with a more vibrant plaid skirt or trouser is the perfect unpredictable pairing—you’ll get the best of both clans! That being said, however, both men and women can’t go wrong slipping into a tailored suit in one single plaid design.

Salute your (Plaid) Shorts!
Too nervous to tackle full-on plaid and loud prints? Incorporate plaid into your apparel less conspicuously. Try a pair of bright tights with a fall sweater-dress or stay toasty in a plaid overcoat. Plaid trousers of all patterns can quickly be made rebellious or feminine: wear a military jacket or a bomber jacket as your top for an instant, edgy vibe; wear a soft, pastel sweater to show off both your hip and feminine sides simultaneously.

Accessorize like a Scot!
Make accent pieces stand out. Show small glimpses of plaid here and there. For example, look for canvas flats in a plaid print or a chunky plastic bangle with a plaid design. Wear plaid scarves and hats against printed t-shirts and monochrome tops. Also, purses, gloves, and belts can all be found in plaid.

The weather is becoming chilly and the sky is turning gray. A little California sunshine truly could benefit this Midwestern Oasis.
We all can’t have our very own Scot—but don’t be sad, just be...

Menswear: Don it Like a Lady

photo by Nick Krug

The UK craze infiltrated the United States decades ago, but luckily—finally, men are starting to realize…The Brits are on to something. Women love a man decked out in tailored pants or fitted jeans, collared shirts, and damn good shoes. There is a reason the Oxford shirt has survived the ins and outs of fashion’s trends and turmoils—It’s a Classic. That’s hot.
The ubiquity of menswear is nowhere near its finale. Women and men alike make a statement choice by dressing in a crisp, sharp suit. Time will never harness a Classic; however, ladies—do take the reigns and primp your own “menswear.” Don’t steal your brother’s jacket, but instead opt for a jacket that fits your feminine form. Add color and jewelry to enhance your outfit’s creativity, and make your own favorite features pop.
Do not allow the masculinity of menswear to turn you into a man’s man—a “good ole boy.”

Jackets: Invest in a tailored blazer or jacket. Look for a unique piece that still maintains the masculine collar, crisp shoulders, and front pockets of a man’s overcoat but flatters a woman’s figure. Also, consider nontraditional colors and girly details such as satin trim, cloth flowers, or patterned fabrics; these womanly touches transcend an everyday topcoat into true lady’s apparel.
Tip: Length is important: What will you wear your jacket with?
Tip: Give your bod some room: If you want to layer up during fall nights, will a bulky sweater limit your mobility? Will your jacket button and will your arms comfortably fit through its sleeves?

Pants: Seek out dress pants with a higher-rise waist. Curvaceous figures are flattered by placing emphasis on their smallest section. Also, pleats are not bad—embrace your inner Audrey Hepburn! A full length, center pleat that runs down any pair of trousers lengthens the figure and is crisp and clean.
Tip: Do experiment with cuffed dress pants; however, if you are shorter in height—watch out. A cuff focuses attention on the end of your trousers and can override a full-leg pleat’s lengthening effect.
Tip: Try the ultra-wide leg, flowy pants being spotted on runways!

Accessories and Accents: Fedoras, neck ties, bowties, tie-pins, suspenders—you name it. Create an enticing outfit by incorporating these formerly boy’s-only details. Accessories can feminize an outfit and are an easy way to make sure you won’t be mistaken for a 12-year-old boy. Add color to the black-tie, pin-striped mob of business men and you’ll be sure to turn heads!
Tip: Do not over-accessorize. For example, suspenders or a hat can be worn with any outfit and will add the perfect touch of this trend without going overboard.
Tip: Include jewelry in your ensemble. This is just another way to stand out, and will remind others that you can wear the assertive, business-like clothes of a man’s world and still recognize the nature of a female.

Ladies—take a stand. Wearing menswear can only reinforce the confidence and versatility of all females. Invite the gals to the cigar room and lounge in style—who’s in the Boys Club now?!

Futuristic Farm Fashion

photo by Mike Yoder

Patent leather pumps, angular skirts, metallic leggings—the fashion of the future is now.
Sneak-peaks that shed light on tomorrow’s concept of glamour are showing their faces in the least-expected of places; fresh modern materials, unique design details, asymmetric patterns, and endless textile variations open doors for young hip designers that are ready to stand out, explore, and create the new.
Outdated fabrics are not just being replaced with cutting-edge cloths—instead of recreating existing garments, designers are inventing entirely new forms. Previously nonexistent materials shouldn’t be wasted on the available, existent, outdated patterns—their differentiating qualities should be maximized.
So how does a wheat-state inhabitant flaunt futuristic garb without looking like a space cowboy?
Incorporating space-age apparel does not have to be rocket-science. Small doses of this runway trend are easy to mesh into your current wardrobe and will surely be worthy conversation pieces.

Clasps and closures, compartments and configurations:
Linear details, off-centered zippers, and detachable hoods or sleeves are a simple but unique concept that will set you apart from the masses. An asymmetrical line of buttons on even a simple colored jacket can suddenly draw the eye’s attention. Modern bold patterns and sharp shapely prints doll up even a simple t-shirt. These plain colors and designs beat a distracting t-shirt with type hands down. Plus, mileage on a wordless t-shirt is like switching from a Hummer to a Hybrid; your outfit can easily transfer from daywear to nighttime apparel. It is more sophisticated and classy, and by simply throwing on a pair of heels and a modern blazer you will be applauded for your adventurous, yet appropriate attire.

Shiny, Metallic, Bold:
Small doses of patent leather, shimmering tights, and bright monochromatic accessories can make your everyday outfits fun. The contrast of the fabrics themselves provide great dimension. For example, a course pair of cotton blue jeans worn next to patent, lime-green pumps instantly creates juxtaposition; however, the bright pop of an unusual color can be overpowering, so choose a drama-free top to ensure you don’t have too much going on. If you dare—slink around town in new ‘foil’ leggings! Pair all leggings with a mini-dress or a long, soft sweater. And, remember girls, leggings ≠ pants—foil or not—so please cover your posterior accordingly! Vibrant, new age colors can be downplayed—still maintaining the spotlight as the star of your outfit without overpowering the remaining but necessary pieces.

The fashion of the future is upon us and is quite practical, so find a balance—maintain your feminism—and be liberated! Just avoid looking like a sci-fi air stewardess, Cat Woman, or the Terminator.

Let's Bring it Back: Unisex Footwear is Forever

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Unisex Footwear is Forever

This fall, the freshest fashions are making their way from L.A. and New York to the Midwest. Autumn trends are sleek and sophisticated, ageless, and—amazingly--androgynous.
After all of summer’s focus on women sporting menswear—masculine vests, fedoras, neckties, and suspenders—equal-opportunity footwear feels like a novel concept.
Stepping into style is a no-brainer—invest in a pair or two of classic, everyday shoes. These timeless footwear styles are universally appealing to both sexes, and the juxtaposition between an outfit and its unexpected footwear easily combines to add a hip, modern-day kick.
Check out this short list of retro footwear before hitting Mass Street or raiding your mother/brother/boyfriend/girlfriend’s closet:

Cowboy boots ain’t just for Cowboys…
Frye Boots: In the 1960s and 70s, The Frye Company reissued their “Campus” boot—revamped 100 years later. This boot quickly became an American staple and, in part, its high-demand can be attributed to its time-tested, chunky heel and sleek aesthetic appropriate for men and women. Levis, work-shirts, cotton tees, and Campus boots were the wardrobe.
Wear it now: Warm days and cool nights are inevitable in the fall, and cowboy boots are the perfect autumnal accompaniment during this transition.
-Extend wear-time of summer dresses and shorts by slipping on a pair of boots with stockings or leggings.
-Dress down an ostentatious, expensive suit or dress for more casual gatherings or daytime activities with comfortable boots that can’t help putting off friendly, hometown vibes.
*My personal favorite: Campus 14L in “Banana.” This smooth, rich shade is unique. It presents a spin-off of the more traditional brown-colored boot without being overly flamboyant.

Sports Enthusiasts, Hipsters, and Nerds Unite…
Converse Tennis Shoes: Converse has been pumping out shoes since 1908, and their ridiculously popular “All Star” tennis shoes are undoubtedly a wardrobe staple. The All Star was designed in 1908 as the company’s premier basketball shoe, but even non-athletes can appreciate the orthopedic shank that makes these babies comfortable. Converse shoes have become a personality statement; sharpie designs always give away the artsy, ADD college student, and grass stains and grungy scuffs point to the proud hard-worker. Or, there is always the pristine, novice phase every Converse wearer must shamefully endure—“Man, I wish my shoes would get dirty already…I look like such a poser.”
Wear it now: Converse shoes are uni-sex, but never uni-season. These shoes can be worn comfortably in most temperatures.
-Again, dress down a fancy outfit with an unpredicted pair of shoes. For example, by lacing on a pair of All Star tennis shoes, women’s trousers and men’s fitted jeans look “in style” instantaneously.
-Not only are Converse sneakers as versatile as a Chameleon, but they are also widely appropriate for all age groups. Don’t be afraid of looking too young!
*My personal favorite: Chuck Taylor All Star, Optical White, Hi, Canvas. You can’t go wrong wearing the original Chuck logo patch and unchanged hi-top design.

Moccasins—House Slippers and Shoes in One…
Clark Wallabees or Desert Treks: “Authenticity, Simplicity, Comfort.” In 1950, Nathan Clark achieved major strides for England’s footwear industry. Originally intrigued by the shoes pervasive in every multifaceted bazaar in Cairo during World War II, Clark recognized the need for a functional, comfortable shoe in England. Its selling points include the high-quality products utilized to manufacture each pair—from it’s plantation crepe outsole, soft suede, and full-leather uppers, purchasers are reassured their footwear is quality. A patented foot bed was designed to keep the feet dry, and a roomy toe was purposely employed to promote a natural toe-spread. Lance Clark later introduced the Oxford Wallabee and the Desert Trek, formulated off Nathan’s former design concepts that similarly promote a natural, functional foot comfort. Although Clark’s were originally looked down upon by fashionistas, the shoes soon became an England classic, embraced by both the studious and the mod. Even Italians, known for their hip, stylish, genuine footwear adopted Clark’s for themselves.
Wear it now: Clark’s are the ultimate fall and winter footwear. These shoes are the sure-bet for keeping your tosies toasty.
-Whether you are wandering downtown or kicking it with friends around
a campfire, throw on your Wallabees or Treks for an ultimate cozy attitude. Clark’s are the best accompaniment to jeans, sweaters, hot coffees, and cold brews. Don’t be nervous about looking like your Grandfather, because looking back, you will realize Grandpa had it right all along.
-Although you may get some strange looks if you sport your Clark’s with a skirt or dress, wooly tights or bunched leggings can easily refocus a night’s outfit, sending out trendy, warm vibes. Choose a low-top Clark for the most versatile wear.
*My personal favorite: Clark’s Desert Trek for Women, Beeswax Oily Leather. The top-seam is classic, and the simple, old-school, 2-eyelet lacing design hit perfectly at the ankle—making me wonder why anyone ever bothered with a full-lace-up shoe in the first place.

Boat shoes make a splash…
Sperry Top-siders: “Because the Earth is two-thirds water, there is Sperry Top-sider.” Paul Sperry developed the Top-Sider in 1935. Intrigued by his dog’s spry mobility on even slick, wet surfaces, Sperry went to work and engineered the “Authentic Original” with a simple penknife and a pair of old tennis shoes. Sperry was an active outdoorsman and sailor, and he recognized the need for a comfort shoe that would assist this lifestyle. And so, the Top-Sider was born. The Top-Sider is a versatile shoe utilized by renowned institutions, like the United States Naval Academy, along with ordinary active men and women across the world.
Wear it Now: Sperry Top-Siders are comfortable and adaptable.
-Go sock-less! Top-Siders are foot friendly. Don’t be wary of rubbing or blisters; the Top-Sider is made to endure moisture, and its interior is sure to treat your feet right!
-Because Top-Siders are a low-top shoe, they look great with shorts and trousers. Also, they are available in many neutral colors providing maximum versatility.
-The Sperry company not only manufactures the Top-Sider, but also offers an array of dress shoes, rubber boots, Mary Janes, and boat shoes. They make a winter-friendly wool shoe so that you can wear their comfortable kicks year-round. Because Sperry shoes have become an American Classic, you will always be in style and up-to-date.
*My personal favorite: Women’s Pelican Wedge Sadie Tall Rubber Boot in Navy. This shoe is perfect for tromping around town in the fall. I welcome the damp leaves and puddles common in the October and November months, and the Pelican Wedge’s waterproof construction and Wave-Siping ensure I won’t end up on my rear! Plus, the classic navy shade and the detailed, anchor snap make me feel like a sailor’s wife!