Campus chic

Fashion is incredibly cyclical — perhaps most recently, we remember the reemergence of high-waisted bottoms, a style that first became popular in the 1940s, and then in the 1970s. Or perhaps the rise and fall of flares, replaced in recent years with a hit of skinny denim.

So it makes sense that after trends with incredibly quick turn-over times ruled the fashion scene in the past few years, designers are now reverting back to classic, timeless pieces that men and women can wear with versatility and style. This focus on classic pieces has provided incentive for designers like Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, Stefano Pilati for Yves Saint Laurent, and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel to come up with brilliant, smart clothing that’s as wearable as it is memorable.

Chanel’s fall show blew its audience away with updated blazers, made from the house’s famous bouclé, a loopy kind of novelty yarn. The same went for Lanvin, whose looks defied gravity and preconceptions in bright pops of color, cleverly deceptive details, and conspicuous contrasts. It’s no surprise that more affordable retailers are also following in their footsteps, with fall collections from Gap, Banana Republic, H&M, and Zara that center heavily on wool blazers, the perfect white shirt, jeans that fit just right, comfortably feminine flats, and the always chic trench coat, as worn by junior business administration major Sarah Sheikh.

Sheikh’s outfit, which happens to be mostly from Zara, is perfect for day-to-night, with a classic fall coat over an all-black ensemble. Her look is spiced up with a vintage leopard clutch from her mom’s closet and patent peep-toe pumps. Sheikh’s look is elegant yet simple, but she knows just how to take it to another level by adding the right accessories.

Spring 2008 was heavy on patterns, from floral to modern tie-dye (also known as ikat) to geometric. It was a great time to reflect the fun, warm season onto your wardrobe with lightweight dresses and accessories. But just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean those fun pieces have to go to the back of the closet.

Take an example from Sahrr Malik, a senior in business administration, whose silk, printed mini-dress is carrying her right into autumn without looking out of place. Adding on layers without overwhelming the look, Malik adds a thin cardigan and a cozy lavender scarf. With some warm knits, it’s easy for once only-for-summer pieces to be worn all year round, and Malik does it just right.

These days, clothing is all about versatility — its ability to be worn to work, for a fun dinner, in the summer, and in the harsh winters. Be ready to invest, and be just as quick to snatch up that well-priced special find. It may take some time to choose the right pieces, but that one piece can be carried through all walks of life, and with just a few of them, your wardrobe will be as sophisticated as it is easy and unique.