Edgy yet elegant

Style is never limited to a set of constraints. In fact, it is when conventional rules are broken that new trends and changes come about. Around campus, most students dress for comfort, but sophomore architecture majors Hye Yeon Noh and Katherine Kokoska manage to be both practical and fashion forward.

Noh successfully redefines lengths and proportions to make her clothes work. Playing with cropped pieces is tricky; sometimes it emphasizes the wrong parts and ends up weighing an entire outfit down. However, Noh’s cropped teal blazer hits right above her hips, and the cut of the jacket draws attention to the smallest part of her waist, instantly creating a slender silhouette. The sleeves on her jacket add another dimension to give her overall look a sense of constrained volume.

To prevent shortened pieces from truncating the body, Noh makes great use of tunic pieces. These shirts alone can sometimes double as a mini-dress, but most often they are used to balance out the body. Noh cleverly wears hers to streamline her blazer, but the extra details, like the side pockets on the tunic and raw hem, are charming. Further elongating her body, Noh again uses contrasting proportions by wearing tights to not only keep her tunic from being too short, but also to lengthen her legs, and make her outfit winter appropriate.

Reinterpreting the big bows that appeared in countless spring 2008 fashion shows, Noh’s thick wool black scarf, flecked with white, looks chic and fresh from the runway. Finding new uses for accessories are unexpected and almost always guaranteed to be innovative. Her rich velvet blazer makes great use out of a traditionally more old-fashioned material, but because it is cropped and cut to be trendier, the blazer is not aging.

Kokoska is the perfect example of someone who has fun getting dressed up. She shows off her personal flair with color and accessories, allowing her to personalize her wardrobe without making severe changes.

“My look is shabby chic and vintage- inspired,” Kokoska said, and for long hours in class and studio, her look is fluid enough to move and lounge around whenever needed.

Kokoska wears a simple beige pea coat with dark skinny jeans. This neutral look is commonly seen around campus, but what sets her apart from others is her use of vibrant and loud accessories, which gives her style an eccentric twist. The bright pink bandana around her neck draws attention to her face and is quirky but still provides coverage.

Kokoska’s peacock-printed rainboots give her outfit the extra kick. She said that the fun print “casualizes” her otherwise classic outfit, and combined with the practicality of the boots, it is appropriate for the rainiest of days but does not compromise her uniqueness. In addition to her boots, she adds a white jeweled vintage ring and a fur-lined hat. Such elements may not seem like they would match, but sometimes clashing is a great thing; it takes away the seriousness of most winter outfits and reflects an equally fun, funky personality.

The use of vintage and thrifty items makes Kokoska’s look modern, yet retro. Although most might shy away from loud contrast and consider this look a little too crazy, the color and pieces all blend together in a wild but subtle way.

Style should always reflect personality, culture, and creativity. Noh shows off her chic, feminine style with a bold mixture of proportions and textures. Proportions are hard to get right, but the idea is to elongate the body using opposite lengths. Her style is elegant and confident, and always a great way to incorporate new looks into existing wardrobes.

Similarly, Kokoska makes sure to include trendy but basic pieces in her outfit, creating a fun, laid-back vibe. She then adds on eye-catching, whimsical accessories that separate her look from others.

No matter how dramatic or subtle the details, any outfit can instantly look eclectic yet chic.