Tag Archives: style

Senior Soul: Reflections of a Graduating Fashionista

Think of that one great pair of shoes that fit like a slipper. These shoes that keep your outfits grounded and are a recognizable asset to your overall look. Then after about four years of wearing them raw you realize that your sole mates are not going to last much longer and you will have to set them aside and start with a new, not entirely comfortable, pair.

Freshman YearAn unsettling feeling right? If you have ever experienced the apprehension of losing a fabulous broken in shoe, you know just how I feel about my upcoming graduation from college in less than a month. Just like my favorite pair of sneaker-boots that I found on the Haight during my school tour visit before Freshman year, USF has been the perfect fit for my time as an undergraduate student.

Throughout my four years as a Don, my style has been influenced by San Francisco flair, has been questioned (by myself and others), and has completely evolved. Reflecting on some of my greatest style accomplishments and a few questionable choices (such as buying an authentic four tailed coyote shawl and doing my best to defend its “cruel nature” to those on campus), I realize they all mark my time spent as a student-Don. I have been a contributing style writer for the Foghorn for more than three years. As I look back over the articles I have shared with you, I realize that my fashion aesthetic has shifted during my time spent with you in print.

One of the greatest things about personal style is the ability to not only to change and grow. In anticipation of my graduation date, I realize I have to break in new styles as I step into the work world. I wold like to offer my departing words on the ways to mature your most fabulous self through style.

Junior Year

The fashion she found abroad in her junior year

I am notorious for biting my nails down to bloody stumps. I have battled, what I consider is an addiction, for as long as I can remember. When I was a younger, I even found a way to get to my toenails (oh don’t judge, we all have skeletons in the closet). After years of being reminded this was an unladylike habit, it finally clicked that nail maintenance is an integral part of a polished look. For the longest time, grooming my nails just seemed like a waste of time and money to dedicate to my beauty regimen but it is now clear that manicures are an essential style component to both men and women.

After years of using my teeth as my grooming tool, I am handicapped in performing an adequate manicure on my own hands. I now dedicate about thirty minutes a week and eight dollars at Natural Salon to my nails, almost always opting for a dark shade to keep my fingers away from my mouth. No matter if your preference is colored, frenched, or buffed, having a well groomed handshake is a sign of confidence.

Mane Maintenance

Sophomore Year

Her Anna Wintour best in Sophomore year

Long curly, healthy hair tantalizes me with something I don’t possess, I must remember that the grass is always greener on the other side. The first day I moved into Hayes-Healy and met my freshman roommate, I remember thinking, “Oh that hair!” Caroline’s long, shiny, honey blonde locks were the perfect stereotype symbol for how a California girl’s hair should flow. That was the day I decided to grow my mane. After a year and a half of focusing my efforts on catching up with Caroline’s length, backcombing the nest on top of my head and applying all sorts of heat, I realized that my hair maintenance needed some work and it was necessary to start fresh. I chopped my ‘do’ up to my shoulders and embarked on a new hair routine early last semester. As my hair continues to grow healthy, I have a few new rules to maintain the mane.

I almost never apply heat to my hair in order to keep it as hydrated as possible. I wash it every other day, apply a hair mask once a week and apply leave -in-conditioner on my ends every time I exit the shower. I know it might seem that I am just suggesting what every beauty-interest writer would preach, but I have actually lived and learned that keeping true to this routine not only keeps my locks more lush it also saves on the personal upkeep budget as I don’t need to trim as often. While I will never possess naturally long bouncy curls, I believe that sticking to my new haircare routine allows me to feel proud of my fringe. The most stylish women have effortless and purposeful hair style. The first step to match this chicness is to realize that looking ‘effortless’ requires effort.

Personal Knack is the New Black

Becoming comfortable in your own skin can be a tricky task so I suggest that you start by finding comfort in the “u” in universal style. When I first arrived at USF, I remember thinking that I had a knack of putting clothes together that looked magazine worthy. I giggle when I think back to that thought process as I have come to realize that my style ‘knack’ is found in my ability to put pieces together that tell a story about who I am, not what Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar displays to wear that month. While fashion magazines provide inspiration and feature editorial and design artwork, it does not dictate what I wear anymore. I have found find this adornment habit much more refreshing than a game of trend follow the leader.

DSC00118 007

the pulled-together, ready to graduate style in her senior year of college.

I will share another ‘unfashionable’ tidbit about myself. I truly do not like wearing stilettos. I am not even attracted to wear them. If you asked me about Louboutins three years ago, I would have told you how much I want the high red-soled beauties. Today, if I had a Louboutin fund, I would beeline to the studded sneakers or spiked loafers. Now that I think about it, I would totally go for those spiked loafers. (Graduation gift anyone?) The point is, don’t stumble through life in the wrong shoes. Four years ago, I was strapping on my then-cute four inch wedges for 8:00 a.m. class thinking that I was teetering above the rest in style. Now I find class comfort in my two pairs of Converse or Haight Street sneaker boots, even though the treads are wearing thin. Going back and forth from my work wear of, groomed and tailored classics at Saks Fifth Avenue, to my senior class style, donning denim and little makeup, gives me the opportunity to express the different sides of myself in a practical and non-fussy manner. To look the most comfortable in your skin, start with your style comforts and look for opportunities to express all sides of your personal knack.

Over the past several weeks, I have been emotional honest about how strange it is to be leaving college, my “fashionable experimental” years behind. However, I am realizing that one of the most beautiful aspects of personal adornment is that everyday in my future, there will be a new opportunity to experiment with what I put on each day.

One thing I know, I’ll always walk in a shoe that fits and is comfortably chic. The sole steps I have taken across our campus leave a mark of self growth on my inner soul. No person will ever graduate from finding excellence in self expression.

So it’s time to step up to the next adventure in life… I need to find the right shoe to don beneath my graduation gown.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief copy-editor: Natalie Cappetta

Scene Editor: Tracy Sidler

Trend Profile: The “Grandma Chic” Phenomenon

I’ve never fit well in “trendy” clothes. I always have to hem my pants, I wear size 5 shoes (most stores don’t sell that size),  and designers tend to over-look the petite and curvy market (of which I am both). Growing up my mom always took me to thrift stores, which, at the time, was horribly humiliating. But after enough trips, I started to find items I couldn’t resist. As I’ve grown familiar with thrift and vintage shops I’ve tailored my style to what fits my petite body, an ageless style that surpasses trends, a style I call “Grandma Chic.” Through a series of events I found my fashion niche, and urge others to flaunt this look proudly.

The first, and most essential, step to achieving Grandma Chic is to actually own the clothes of grandmothers you know.  Freshman year of college, my best friend’s great grandmother passed, leaving us a treasure trove of hand-sewn outfits, and vintage jewelry (her great grandmother and I happen to be the same size).  It was her wish that these items were given to her family and friends—those that would appreciate these items. Through wearing her hand stitched chiffon blouses while donning brooches circa 1955, I’ve celebrated her life, while also expressing my unique style. These series of events led to the formation of “Grandma Chic,” and I haven’t looked back since.

Granny Chic

Elizabeth Brown demonstrates the grandma-approved way to enjoy a cup of tea (Angelica Harris/Foghorn)

If you don’t know a grandma that will pass on her clothes to you, your second best bet is scavenging thrift stores for items that will allow you to play the part. Unfortunately, most San Francisco thrift shops are picked over, but if you know where to go for specific items, you are sure to walk out with that pair of arch-support loafers or over-sized cardigan you desire. For shoe shopping, hit up the Goodwill on Haight and the Salvation army on 4th and Geary. These shops contain the petite penny-loafers straight off the feet of Richmond-inhabiting Chinese grandmothers. I recently picked myself up a pair of 1990’s Nine West (slightly lifted) loafers at Salvation Army. For $5.99 (and 50% off on weekends) you simply can’t go wrong.

One cannot properly execute  Grandma Chic without a chiffon, silk, or synthetic blouse. Bonus points for a bow at the collar. My personal favorite stop for blouses is Mission Thrift, on 21st and Mission. They tend to be a more upscale thrift-vintage hybrid, but have a rack of elegant blouses for $5.99.

It’s important to remember that a woman of this age and class does not wear mini-skirts. When defining myself as Grandma Chic, I know this means completely abstaining from any sort of provocation. There is nothing finer than a high-waisted wool skirt, and thrift stores host a multitude of these. You can find some fabulous wools in the “Vintage” section at Thrift Town (17th and Mission). The price ranges from $4.99-$9.99. Of course, tights are always necessary.

Granny Chic

A perfect “Grandma Chic” outfit, complete with stockings and arch-supporting loafers (Angelica Harris/Foghorn)

Finally, we arrive at hair and accessories. Luckily for me, I have wispy hair, not unlike many grandmothers. On occasion I let it run wild with reckless abandon, but I prefer the classic bun. A bun that perches softly on the crown of my head allows me to portray that wise-sophistication both my Granny-Barb and Grandma Brown exude. I’ve also found myself a pair of cat-eye glasses. This can lean towards Schoolmarm Chic (another look I adore), but I find it appropriate when aiming to look like a grandmother as well. With accessories, the more authentic, the better. Vintage frames are encouraged; although mine are new, they’re based on the original cat-eye design. The same goes for jewelry. Costume jewelry is always appropriate—no need to shy away from the kitsch.

For me, Grandma Chic means class, wisdom, and sophistication. For others it may mean something else. I prefer the gentle grandmother, but there is also the role of the Southern Florida grandmother in her pink gingham shorts and polo, or the woman who feels fabulous for the first time at 75, sporting a full-length fur coat with exquisite over-sized rings. Whichever look you prefer, commit to this look with a sense of pride. Know that you are exhibiting that unique vintage find, while paying homage to the ladies that deserve our highest respect.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Scene Editor: Tracey Sidler

Runway to Pavement: A Guide to NYFW 2011

Linda Man models the biggest trends of New York Fashion Week 2011. From left to right: Look 1, the drop-waisted dress; Look 2, layers of layers; Look 3, faboulous faux fur; Look 4, a bright pop of orange. (Photos Courtesy of Ishtar Schneider)

If you’re at all interested in fashion you’re probably aware of this little thing called “Fashion Week.” No big deal or anything. If you haven’t been avidly following each runway show here’s your recap of what’s hot in the new Fall/ Winter 2011 collections, and how to take them from the runway to the pavement (without looking like a tranny let loose on campus).

The color trends of this season were pale neutrals and bright colors: particularly a rich cobalt blue (check out Tadashi Shoji, Nanette Lapore and Carlos Miele) and a fiery bronze orange (my favorites were Jill Stuart, Chado Ralph Rucci and DVF). Classic minimalistic lines included Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Badgley Mischka.

Proportion was EVERYTHING and the key words (and usually a taboo in fashion) were BIG is IN. Huge capes, coats and furs abounded the runway. Luxe was the look, with luxurious furs on models in Derek Lam, Farah Angsana, Dennis Basso and Rebecca Minkoff just to name a few. Chunky knits and skinny jeans of all textures, colors and fabrics graced the catwalk from Joy Cioci to Elie Tahari. Long skirts trumped the old favorite minis and ball gown after jaw dropping ball gown made fashionistas everywhere die a little inside. Honorable mention goes to Zang Toi’s sculptural and billowing creations, and everyone’s favorite Project Runway winner Christian Siriano for building a more refined (and wearable) collection. Jenny Packham dazzled with her sequined and jeweled line of silky dresses both long and short.

Now for how to take the top looks from the runway to the pavement.
[Special thanks to my roommate Linda Man for letting me dress her up! ]

Look 1:
The Drop-Waisted Dress
The drop waisted dress was all the rage during fashion week. Keep it realistic by trying a shorter (knee length) version in a bold color, like this Kelly Green one from Banana Republic. This waistline looks great on everyone and can be dressed both up (think chignon and pumps) or down (throw on a sweet cardi and complimentary flats.

Look 2: LAYERS
This fall more is better. Avoid looking like an Eskimo by keeping your sweaters body hugging and add chunky scarves in a similar color on top. Don’t be afraid to mix up prints and fabrics like acid wash jeans and flannel. Add some edge with skinny jeans and loose military style boots.

Look 3:
Fur (it’s faux… don’t be alarmed)
Vests are THE way to wear fur this season. Make sure proportions are correct by defining your waistline with a fabulous belt and keep the rest of the outfit simple. Your fur should take center stage. Forever 21 and H&M have great low price options.

The looks from the runway are a tad difficult to rock for your everyday wardrobe so ease into it with one statement piece. This color looks GREAT on every skin tone! Try it in a silky fabric with skinnies and heels for a great night out look.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Scene Editor: Tracy Sidler

iStyle: The Application You Wear On and Offline

On Sept. 10, emotion poured out of my eyes and ruined my make-up. I was missing New York City’s “Fashion’s Night Out.” I know, lame shame right? But in my defense, it was a day of status updates, tweets and style.com iPhone app alerts that drove my sadness home because I realized just how much I was missing. I’ll be honest: technology got the best of me and I cracked.

Fast-forward 15 hours. After what turned out to be a great evening of West Coast style events, I was enthusiastically uploading a new profile picture and scanning blogs for the best photo coverage of NYC’s night of shopping. Fashion never catches any beauty sleep as it lives in the cyber party-house of social media. Neither does your social image, because you wear your reputation on your sleeve, literally,  with your style on and off the net.

I can’t think of a better reason to groom your personal style like you do your Twitter on a daily basis. This Style File relates how social networking is not just found online, but also in your daily adornments.

Four words we all see everyday when navigating “Home” – Facebook “Home,” that is: “What’s on your mind?”  Rather it should read, how are you communicating your daily mood? Fashion can do that too. From one day to the next a wardrobe can transform from bold and adventurous to sophisticated and minimal. Let’s log on to two classy USF seniors  and check out how they update their mood statuses through their everyday styles.

Aaron Dias- Melim

Aaron’s style shines like one of his many Apple products: functional, hip and smart. Melim said, “If I were to look back at all my tweets and Facebook status updates, I would probably be able to guess very accurately what I would be wearing at that point.” He often pulls inspiration from his family. Melim’s mother was a tailor so he spent much of his childhood playing under sewing machines. With a grunge brother, prepster sister and a father working the lumber yard, his style resonates from many avenues of influence.

Aaron shares three typical looks from his daily life including classroom chic, office mad man and bar black-tie.

Lauren Cromer

Lauren Cromer, back with a fresh face from a semester in Paris, is working on her graphic design major and dresses for success by keeping her style simple, fresh and cute while always evaluating cost per wear. This is one fashionista that styles smart.

“Sometimes I use my outfit to pump me up for the day,” she said. “Get cute and you will feel a lot better throughout the day, no napping!”

Cromer shows off a serene school look, an elegant employee style and some flapper fun.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Scene Editor: Tamar Kuyumjian

Style File: Classing Up Your Fashion

Welcome back to fall when styles are as fresh and crisp as the air and our wardrobes are forcefully cut in half by college closets. No matter our grades or ages, attention must be paid to what we “don” for the 2010/ 2011 school year as we mature both in front of the mirror and away from it.

Before we get too deep into the spirit of our “collegiate couture,” let me introduce myself to “Style File” reader rookies. I am an USF senior back stateside reporting to you fresh from the style trenches of Paris after a semester abroad. I am excited to continue delivering style advice, trend reports, and fashion news through “Style File.” After image courses in Paris and New York, internships, retail experience and a personal passion for fashion, I offer you my take on the runway, the real way. I am a proud advocate of staying true to personal style. My job then is to point you in the direction of your most confident and chic self.

As we climb the ladder to a graduation date, we usually have four years, or four steps, to develop our style. Now that I approach my fourth and final step at USF, I reflect on the stages of my style maturity after three years and goals for my senior year. As I peer into the looking glass of my style past and future, each year has provided a different fashion perspective. IMG_0628 003

Suitcases in hand and my most treasured fashion pieces tucked neatly away, I forced myself to acclimate to a roommate and a limited living space. My high school days of daily car transportation, bathroom privacy and my lifetime’s collection of clothing at my fingertips were over. However, we have all chosen a school in a city of style, freedom and expression. I didn’t leave my wardrobe ensemble ideas at home because they were fresh in this city. Freshman year is full of change and adjustment so I found it wise to pull from what I knew and was comfortable in. Naturally I pulled other style ideas from my peers, and discovered Haight Street. My transformation was fun and easy, with a slight vintage overdose from Haight’s Wasteland and Held Over. If you are just starting out on this journey, stay true to your style roots as you set out on this adventure called college. When looking in the mirror, remember you know that face and style you are observing, and welcome your personal style standbys. This city is full of inspiration, so let it come to you spontaneously.

My fashion collection in San Francisco had doubled as I brought more and more clothes from home and explored every shopping facet the city had to offer. I was moving into a single room at Lone Mountain which became more of a closet with a bed in the corner. I settled into my identity at USF and felt comfortable changing my style everyday. I undoubtedly had “multiple style personality disorder” as I was not editing my shopping choices to fit my true personality and identity. Sophomore year was a year of exploration and pushing my boundaries as far as I could. I remember buying a vintage fur shrug made of four coyotes, tails included. What was I thinking? I don’t regret a moment of my chaotic style and encourage you to use this year to make mistakes to find what you look your best and feel the most comfortable in. At times you might catch a glimpse in the mirror of a “worst dressed” day, but trudge ahead.

I worked for a fabulous stylist in the city, moved into my first apartment (without a closet) and gained fifteen pounds. It was time to learn control. At the beginning of the year, I was dressing to hide the body that I was not comfortable with and started buying clothes just to make me feel better. This was a mistake. As I started to prepare for Paris, I took control of my body and style. I lost the weight and edited my closet to reflect the lady that I wanted to be. Only having two suitcases to bring to Paris taught me to use little and make a lot of of it. I felt simplified and less cluttered. Don’t worry, I am not telling you to prepare for weight gain and a move across the Atlantic. However, now is the moment to critically gaze at your reflection to find confidence in your style and shed the unwanted excess in your closet.

I am now back in San Fran feeling refreshed by a new perspective on fashion that I acquired in Paris and, if I dare say, wiser. I just moved back into my apartment with ten pairs of shoes instead of 45 and many extra hangers. My focus this year is refinement as I prepare for life after college.
I unpacked my clothes box yesterday and reminisced with a few “friends” hanging on my clothes racks. My leopard print L.A.M.B. sweater was with me freshman year on my first date with my boyfriend and again accompanied me on a long walk we took last night. The sneaker boots I bought on Haight during my initial visit to USF are worn and dirty, but hold the top shelf still this year on my shoe rack. I feel I have come full circle from freshman year. I am looking ahead to my stylistic future but tightly hold on to the pieces that have worn through the last three years. Looking in the mirror and feeling confident is the wisest and most mature style stage on the step ladder. Sometimes taking a moment to reflect in the mirror can be challenging and a bit scary but as soon as you start climbing, your maturity will serve as your reflection. Have a column suggestion or need some personal styling advice? Email me at addysentrumper7@gmail.com to get in touch with me and your style. Happy styling and reflecting, whether in front of the mirror or not.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Scene Editor: Tamar Kuyumjian