By Hana Hong
As frosty temperatures slam the Northwest, students at the University of Illinois are doing all they can to stay warm. The efficacious sartorialist eagerly anticipates the crisp air and the opportunity to break out the bulky sweaters and cozy layers, but just before that time arrives, the awkward preceding season serves as a vexation to the strategic Fashionista. Fall truly seems like a bipolar period as it creeps in cautiously in the mornings and evening, but backtracks to summer during midday and afternoon. Fear not, for this seasonal interlude is the perfect time to experiment with combinations that offer protection from chill yet relief from heat. Here are some examples of how UIUC students decide to settle into this fashion medium.
This Fashionista’s outfit is truly the embodiment of balance. She plays with the delicate balance of formal and informal while also toying with the contrast between soft and edgy. If there is one thing that can add class and sophistication to an outfit, it’s a blazer. This Fashionista decided to dress down her trendy blazer with a pair of loose floral shorts. This not only tones down the formality of the ensemble, but also allows one to integrate between being overly hot or cold. The eye-catching pattern of the shorts is perfectly balanced by the chic simplicity of the top, creating an effective fashion equilibrium. She wraps it all up with a pair of thigh socks and leather riding boots. Seeing leather paired with softer fabrics and different knits is definitely a growing trend, one that personally attracts me. *I highly recommend nylon or cotton shorts such as these; they are truly the epitome of comfort. Who says you have to sacrifice comfort for style?
Enter the tights and skirt combo, a versatile trend that I return to season after season. A breezy skirt or dress is a summer staple, but paired with tights it is able to transcend steamy summer days and carry on well into fall and winter temps. Once a patron of women’s modesty, tights are now a style option that varies from thin nylons to thick, snug knits. What I also love about this trend is the range of looks that is possible with it. Black or gray tights are classic basics that will effectively frame any outfit; bold-colored tights are a fun way to let your flirty legs take the spotlight. With such a large breadth of options, anyone’s personal style can benefit from a reliable pair of stockings. Top it all off with an accent mark; this Fashionista created an accent out of her double ringed statement necklace, an accessorizing piece that is ideal when worn with any solid colors, like this sartorialist’s military green button-up and black skater skirt. *For anyone considering giving bold tights a try, check out Meadham Kirchhoff or Michael van der Ham’s fall 2014 collections for inspiration.
This particular piece attracted me for any reasons, the eccentric fabric of the skirt, the styling of colors and the balance of shape. Midi skirts are highly trending this season and an excellent way to transcend from short summer skirts to more classy conservatism for cooler temps. Instead of tights, this Fashionista decided to opt for knee high socks, a great alternative to keep those legs warm. This exhibited combination of cooler colors also give off a fresh breath of autumn aura; maroon, black and sea green are all extremely trendy colors that are beautiful paired together. Lastly, the flair shape of the shirt paired with the fit of the top and socks prevented this outfit from being neither frumpy nor excessively flat. To create even more shape, she gave it that finishing touch through a leather belt cinched at the waist.
Who said autumn signified the farewell of pastels?
Thankfully, in this seasonal median we can look to Fashionistas such as this one who are able to rock a spring trend like bright colors and airy scarves and still make it fresh and original in the autumn weather. Start off with a healthy base; this particular outfit began with a novelty tee, one of the greatest ways to depict personality through clothing. To stay warm, shoulder on a light cardigan and an airy scarf. The combination of yellow and pink are especially fun and can always bring a little sunshine into any cloudy day. The constancy to colors of this outfit is what really ties it off; every shade is light, including the jeans, thus giving off a soft edge to the look that creates a semblance of femininity. This smart sartorialist tied it off with a sophisticated pair of oxfords, a great fall essential that mediates between sandals and boots.
Taking a peek into the fashion runways for the fall 2014 season, many styles have become more eccentric this season with edgy patterns or quirky designs. This one incorporates the ever trending tribal pattern. The combination of the black and white pattern mixture on this particular tribal piece is incredibly captivating and immediately drew my attention. Pairing this V-neck top with fitted maroon skinnies and black combat boots instantly gives it a near boho feel with a touch of edge. To keep warm in the nippy morning wind, this Fashionista threw on a three-quarter length knit boyfriend cardigan, a staple fashion essential that gives any outfit an effortless finesse. Tuck in any top into a braided leather belt to give the look a touch of refinement. *A key to pulling off loud patterns is to stick to minimal accessories. Less can be more-beware of accessories overpowering the statement of the outfit itself.
You can’t have fall time without flannels! Navy and red are an ideal color mixture for any plaid pattern, as seen in this example. Always opt for flannels that are looser, like this one. Flannels that are skin tight are generally not attractive, unless buttoned all the way up. Another tip to keep in mind–because plaid is a very loud pattern on its own, always pair with a solid top. White and black are always quintessential, but any solid color will work if it is color coordinated with the integrated colors in the flannel. Acid-wash jeans, ripped denim and boyfriend jeans are especially trendy this season and work great with any flannel look. For an alternative look, cuff your skinnies at the bottom like this Fashionista did, it gives more composure against the background of the loose flannel. To give the style a more rugged look, pair the look with Birkenstocks, as shown, or a simple pair of flip-flops or combats. If you want the look to be classy, opt for a pair of long riding boots.
The nautical vibe and sophisticated color-blocking of this piece especially caught my eye. The look incorporates many trendy autumn pieces, but they each have its own unique twist. At first glance, the outerwear appears to be a trench coat-structured jacket but upon closer inspection, it’s revealed to be a chunky cardigan! The double-breasted buttons and the two-tiered collar emits a modern classy look as a trench coat would, but the thick fabric of the cardigan gives it a cozy vibe, perfect to throw on for lazy mornings. Because the cardigan is longer, black leggings are the optimal option. The solid black background is an impeccable backdrop for the more exquisite details of the sweater. This Fashionista is proof that subtlety can go a long way! The nautical ambience of the cardigan works great with her choice of boots; this particular pair certainly caught my eye. Although most leather riding boots are black or brown, this pair manages to incorporate both. The color-blocking between black and brown leather creates a unique touch that separates this style from the rest.
This ensemble is an excellent neutral piece that combines comfort and style. Her base consists of a simple striped draping pullover that covers just enough to wear it with a pair of timeless black leggings. Her oversized denim jacket is a classic example of one of the biggest recurring fall runway trend for 2014-a feminine take on masculine pieces. As opposed to the typical cropped jean jacket we’re all familiar with, this piece brings a touch of tomboy to the scene, whilst remaining feminine within the delicate structure and details. Her slipper flats add to the casual sense and simplicity of her ensemble. Slipper flats incorporate a tomboy touch that are all the rage this season. They are a comfortable twist on the more common ballet flat and can be worn with any cuffed jean, legging or ankle pant. These flats should definitely be a versatile shoe in every closet! This particular pair is color coordinated with her scarf, thus complementing the accent piece beautifully.
**All photos courtesy of Hana Hong**