Dresses and tennis shoes: an unlikely love story

img_4979-2Every time my family watches an action film, my mom has to point out whether or not the female protagonist who is running to or from danger is wearing heels. Spoiler: she always is. Then, my mom makes a huge deal out of how the film is unrealistically portraying a woman’s ability to do things in said heels. I mean, she is right.

The modern woman seems to be catching on and saying “screw you” to those walking impediments by setting up the dress and tennis shoe on a blind date. Another spoiler: there will be a second date.

I first noticed this trend in Rihanna, who has been wearing sneakers with dressed-up ensembles for years. Then I saw Bella Hadid (left) on Instagram sporting a skin-tight midi skirt with a pair of black Nike shoes. And then I saw Kendall Jenner copy the essence of this look from Bella, which is no surprise, because they share a stylist.

Let’s be honest, beauty may be pain, but this latest trend gives heel-wearing women everywhere the opportunity to forgo blisters in favor of mismatched socks with a supported sole. My fellow female party-goers have been seen pairing their best evening ensembles with their favorite sneakers every night of the week at Midtown, Downtown and at on-campus fraternities. Some have even been seen taking this new trend to the classroom. What a time to be alive.

Here’s how you can join in on the comfort:

A pair of sneakers is the obvious first step to achieving this look. Go with a solid neutral color, like black or white or a nude, and have fun! You can choose from any athletic shoe company, but my favorites are Adidas, Converse, Nike and Vans.

Next, you’ll need a dress or skirt. Let the following pieces inspire you: this midi dress, this off-the-shoulder dress or this midi skirt.

Lastly, have the confidence to show your new outfit off! Your feet will thank you.


Did the double buckled belt live and die with Kendall Jenner?

Kendall Jenner has been spotted several times this season wearing a double buckled belt (say that five times fast). According to PopSugar, the one she owns is the Bri Bri Belt by B-Low the Belt, which is no longer in stock. Kendall integrated the piece to several looks over the course of a few months, so naturally, it took off in stores.

Copies of the belt have popped up in Topshop, Forever21, Urban Outfitters and Amazon. Oddly, however, I did not see many other celebrities adopt the look, and I have not seen even one college student wearing this belt in person or in social media. That is, until this past weekend, when I attended a football tailgate at Florida State University.

Alyssa Watkins, junior political science student at Florida State, was wearing the belt (Amazon, $14) with a black denim miniskirt and black off-the-shoulder ribbed top and combat boots. The belt was the ensemble’s centerpiece, and I was immediately obsessed.

“I have had my eye on that belt for months. I saw it on Kendall’s Instagram but I wasn’t going to drop $150, so I waited for the knockoffs,” Watkins said. “This belt is so well made and the metal is really heavy duty. It looks like the real deal.”

I have a proposition for you, dear reader: please do not let the double buckled belt die with Miss Watkins. It is something you need in your closet. I mean, hello, it’s $14. The following are ways you can wear this belt and rock the look better than Kendall Jenner can:

What came first, the trouser or the belt? Don’t answer that. This particular pant holder makes the wearer naturally inclined to pair it with jeans, and so if you are taking this frequently travelled route, spice it up with a pair of mid rise flares or denim culottes.

I was disappointed that cigarette pants came and went so quickly, so try expanding your bottoms drawer to include a crisp white pair. Who cares if it’s after Labor Day?

Skirts are next up in the natural progression of things. Miss Watkins’ skirt was from American Eagle Outfitters, and it serves as a closet staple.

Now, let’s talk opposites and bring back the midi skirt, shall we? Place this belt at the waistline of one of these below-the-knee skirts and you’ll take the look from 1950s sock hop to, well, 2016 chic. Pair it with a tube top and choker or a tied band tee.

Lastly, the best way to accentuate your waistline is to rock a dress that would otherwise hang loosely on your body by fastening those two soon-to-be iconic buckles around your midsection. Go semi-professional with a button down t-shirt dress or keep it casual with a dress that looks like you stole it from your boyfriend’s closet.

Congratulations, you put in minimal effort and still manage to look amazing. No need to thank me.



The bomber jacket: safe for flying

I hate to brag, but I totally saw the bomber jacket trend coming. This was before Saint Laurent introduced their menswear line at Paris Fashion Week in Fall 2015, and Harry Styles became their unauthorized street style model.

I worked at Nordstrom the summer of 2015. Every August, retailers are trying to push winter clothes on their customers who will probably not wear those clothes for several more months.

Sure enough, August came along and we put a garnet Missguided bomber jacket on our racks, the first bomber jacket I had ever seen intended for women’s fashion, and for the few weeks that it was hanging adjacent to the cash wrap, I could not take my eyes off it. When my paycheck came in, I bought it.

Okay, so maybe Missguided started it. But someone’s got to wear the item for the trend to take off! I take full responsibility and I think the brand owes me some royalties.

Last winter saw many celebrities wearing the bomber jacket, but it did not seem to catch on with non-luxury brands or the people who shop them. This past August, however, I saw H&M debut the embroidered bomber jacket in its stores, just in time for five months before winter. Not long after, nearly every affordable retailer was selling bomber jackets under $100.

Though I haven’t seen them in Gainesville yet, I know bomber jackets will be a huge trend you don’t want to miss out on come actual cold weather. Because it doesn’t get that cold in this city, these jackets are perfect to keep you warm enough while bar hopping without breaking a sweat.

Here are a few of my favorites:

An embroidered bomber and a floral bomber if you’re striving for elegance.

An iridescent bomber to match a multitude of colors.

One that will bring out the early 2000s kid in you.

A faux fur jacket for the chic animal lover.

Last, but not least, is the NastyGal jacket I own, which is pictured above. It’s a modern take on the classic football player’s letter jacket.

I hope you’ll help make my summer 2015 prediction come true and bring the bomber jacket to your college town this winter season.



As off-the-shoulder tops rise in popularity, dumbbells are going unused at the gym

The University of Florida is located in, well, Florida. Our winters come and go like guests who arrive more than fashionably late and leave earlier than is socially acceptable, and subsequently, our top halves are usually showing the least amount of skin that is appropriate.

It seemed as though the crop top craze of the last few summers saw its last legs – er, abs – when people got tired of maintaining their workout routines.  The spring 2016 runways gave new life to the Bridget Bardot signature look (courtesy of Daily Mail) and eliminated the need for crunches to pull off that summer’s trend.

When the shoulder-baring runway hits caught on with A-listers, stars like Olivia Culpo, Lily-Rose Depp, and Rihanna exposed their collarbones to the world, and, as time would tell, so did we.

Your fellow students premiered these tops to the world not too long ago – everywhere from the UF campus and game day tailgates to all bars from midtown to downtown. Online retailers Missguided and Nasty Gal  and stores like Forever21 are the most popular places to buy these trans-seasonal staples, so if you haven’t caught on yet, the Oaks Mall is waiting for you!

My first off-the-shoulder purchase was a floral midi dress from Urban Outfitters. What drew me to it was its ability to cover my least favorite bodily extremity: my upper arms. I mean, you never have to do bicep curls again if you convert every top and dress you own into an off-the-shoulder. What could be better?

I still wear this dress during the day as 70 degree weather is no excuse to bring out the bomber jackets, but as nights become cooler in Gainesville, I adapt the trend by wearing off-the-shoulder velvet long sleeved one-pieces or knit sweaters of the kind.

When you want to look cute for class, wear a ruffled off-the-shoulder top tucked into a pair of high waisted mom jeans or over top a pair of boyfriend jeans.

For a game day tailgate, pair this rust colored cold shoulder tunic with your favorite white kicks (warning: they will get dirty) to bring a casual and sporty feel to a classic dress. If dresses aren’t your thing, this smocked top will go perfectly with flowing shorts the Gator color of your choice or with simple denim cutoffs – don’t forget your game day pin!

On a night out, whether it’s a social you’re going to, a date function, or just another Friday evening, bring two trends together with this off-the-shoulder choker top. Wear it with an a-line skirt or your favorite flare jeans and top (or bottom) it off with a classic Chelsea boot. Voila, you’re officially on trend!


Breaking news: being chunky is now in

IMG_5006.jpgWhat is it about the chunky heel that is making its way across both million-follower Instagrams and the Midtown bars lately? The stiletto is out, ladies and gentlemen, and the block heel has made its way to Gainesville with no signs of slowing down. 

I first noticed the chunky heel becoming popular last spring, when Steve Madden released a collection of minimalist and affordable ankle strap sandals. These types of sandals aren’t new, I might add, but his were different. They came with some cubic-shaped height. 

A heeled shoe is elongating. This is a fact. Wearing them makes your legs look longer and slimmer – what could be better? But for tall girls like me, a too-tall heel can make you feel like a Freedom Tower among barely-there skyscrapers. 

Luckily for me, and those who can’t keep balance on stable ground, the chunky heel rarely comes too tall, and it doesn’t make you fit in at a nursing home like a kitten heel. It is youthful and sophisticated and practical. You can even wear chunky heels with casual outfits, which is my particular favorite thing to do. It makes you look chic and well-dressed when you’re really not, and no one has to know! Often a heel that is too high brings you to formal dress status, but a chunky heel will never bring down the caliber of an outfit. 

The Huffington Post said that thick, 1-inch heels are the best kinds of shoes for your feet. If you don’t believe me, believe Arianna Huffington.

Now that the summer weather is taking its last bows, chunky heeled boots and booties are making their way onto the main stage, giving the average girl a way to stay chunky with warm feet. But where did the chunky boot trend see its incarnation? Celebrity street style, of course. Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Taylor Swift have all been seen taking on the trend, to the imitation of their Instagram followers, and now, college students.

Yesterday, Steve Madden himself came to the University of Florida, thanks to the work of the school’s Retail Society. Madden sat down with College Fashionista’s Amy Levin and answered her questions about his life, his time in prison (shout out to Wolf of Wall Street), his business and his plans moving forward (men’s shoes and pajamas, but that’s between us). 

Of course, the attendees were mostly female, and appropriately clad in Steve Madden footwear. Let me tell you, I saw chunky heels on ankle booties, chunky heels on over-the-knee boots, chunky heels on pumps, chunky heels on chunky heels! If it was a shoe, it was a chunky heel. 

If you’re interested in joining the trend for either practicality (your heel will never get stuck in grass or dirt again) or style or both, here are a selection of chunky heels from ankle-height velvet to Chelsea faux leather and over-the-knee suede. Forever 21 has a TON of these styles for a great price. The quality is fantastic too!

Platform Chelsea Boots $34.90

Thigh-Highs $39.90

Tan cutouts $68

Open-toe lace-ups $34.90

Faux patent leather $39.90

Cutout faux leather $34.90 (pictured above)

Need some inspiration to get you going? Trying to decide how to make your chunky heeled debut in your closet? Pair your new shoes with these jeans, these trousers, or this dress. Off you go!

Is Harry’s style finally reaching young men?

Suede Topman Chelsea boots worn by Spencer Thompson

Harry Styles made a name for himself as a member of the world-famous boy band One Direction nearly six years ago. Though he rose to prominence thanks to his gravelly voice, crooked smile and untamed curly hair, Styles has been known to push the envelope when it comes to his fashion sense, once wearing a flare-legged floral print suit on the American Music Awards red carpet and another time sporting a single dangling cross on his ear during a British X-Factor performance. One of Styles’ most iconic staples, however, is the worn-in ankle boot.

Since Styles first brought the ankle boot on to the scene, he has taken it far beyond the classic outfit complement. Now, the shoes he wears are the center of many of his most daring looks, even if they don’t catch the viewer’s eye at first.

The ankle boot is not the only clothing item with which Harry has created a personal brand; Styles’ style has been emulated time and time again by his female fans for his blazers and scoop neck tee shirts, his wildly printed button-down shirts and his casual take on the classic fedora. Styles once wore a silver paper airplane necklace that was later copied and sold on Etsy. I myself am still guilty of this copycat behavior, buying an embroidered bomber jacket that resembles the Saint Laurent one he wore while on his last tour with 1D.

At long last, young non-celebrity men are taking on the fashion game and are using Styles as their muse. One who stood out to me recently was Spencer Thompson, a junior journalism major at the University of Florida. Waiting outside our Mass Media lecture hall, I noticed the pair of shoes I had seen so often on another more famous person’s feet. I asked Thompson, who was previously a stranger to me, about them, and he replied that they were inspired by Harry. Well, Spencer, thank you, because your fashion choice inspired this blog.

Spencer Thompson wearing a Harry Styles-inspired ensemble

Thompson told me these particular shoes were made by Topman. And he wears them with his signature black skinny jeans, also from Topman, and a simple white shirt.

“I’m really inspired by British fashion, which is where Harry Styles comes in. Someone else whose style I like to follow is Matty Healy from the band The 1975,” Thompson said. “They both like to push the envelope, and it’s easy to emulate their fashions because they wear clothes for skinny white boys like me.”

Styles’ most popularly copied look is comprised of extremely tight, ripped black skinny jeans, a white tee shirt, Ray Ban sunglasses, a possible fedora or headscarf, and of course, the iconic leather or suede boot. All of these were featured on GQ’s list of 6 Style Moves to Steal from Harry Styles. His outfits can be copied piece-for-piece by men and women alike.

For females, I have put together a few outfits comprised of affordable items you can wear to bring Harry to life in your own closet.

Look 1: Embroidered bombers are in this season, and since cooler weather is upon us, this look is perfect to keep you warm and looking cute while out and about. You will need: this bomber, these jeans, this body suit, this choker in tan and these booties in black.

Look 2: Of course, we needed a boot-centric look. I fell in love with this pair of Vagabond Olivia leather boots while browsing the Urban Outfitters catalog. It’s a statement piece that compliments a statement outfit. You will need: this bodysuit, this bralette, these cropped jeans, this flat brim hat and these boots.

Look 3: Winter Harry is probably the most iconic Harry when it comes to the seasons, and what’s underneath the coat is just as important as the coat itself. Since Styles is all about the bold, you will need: this coat, along with this turtleneck, this skirt in black, these tights and these boots.

For males, we are going to bring life to your wardrobe with four steps, and the choices are surprisingly just as easy to find.

Step 1: Leave the monochromatic button-down behind! Bring a bit of pop to your tailored suit and some fun to your simple khaki bottoms with prints and vibrant colors. Here are a few great shirts to consider: one, two, three.

Step 2: It’s time for a new suit! Leave behind the black and boring and consider some suede, blue, or even printed two-pieces. I won’t push the envelope with flare hems but here are three great suits to add to your closet: one, two, three.

Step 3: Bottoms are just as important as tops! Show some ankle! Some knee! Some thigh! I am going to challenge you to deviate from your boring khakis with these shorts: one, two, three … And your too-big jeans with these: one, twothree.

Step 4: Shoes! Set aside your trainers for the gym and consider investing in some leather and suede. Take your pick: one, two, three, four.

Many have questioned Styles’ wardrobe choices, wondering if his outlandish and loud looks have any correlation to his highly-questioned sexuality. I believe that personal style is mutually exclusive to a person’s sexual preferences. His choices seem to be more inspired by the rockers before him who were daring enough to establish themselves doubly as fashion icons, like Mick Jagger and the late David Bowie.

Since their time, most men have shied away from expressing themselves uniquely through the clothes they wear. Styles is single-handedly bringing back individuality in a man’s wardrobe and making headlines for it. After all, One Direction is currently on hiatus, and the boy bander is currently a free agent with a personal brand to curate to iconic status.