Pillbox

Have your most stylish semester yet

First-year Sara Fields wears a thick sweater layered over a collared shirt to stay warm and chic. (credit: Noel Um/) First-year Sara Fields wears a thick sweater layered over a collared shirt to stay warm and chic. (credit: Noel Um/) Junior business administration major Pooja Tripathi pairs a patterned skirt with a simple dark cardigan. (credit: Noel Um/) Junior business administration major Pooja Tripathi pairs a patterned skirt with a simple dark cardigan. (credit: Noel Um/) Leather brogues are a fall shoe staple. (credit: Noel Um/) Leather brogues are a fall shoe staple. (credit: Noel Um/)

Carnegie Mellon students with a penchant for style are adapting to the nippy autumn air with some fresh fall looks. New York Fashion Week left us inspired with Marchesa’s gilded gowns and Marc Jacobs’ punchy patterns, but infusing runway haute couture into the styles of busy students can often prove difficult. As the weather cools down, you may be tempted to throw on a pair of sweats before heading to class, but before you reach for your fleece, check out these simple yet classy alternatives to spice up your fall wardrobe.

Colors

This season’s richest hues include garnet (deep red looks great with anything), olive (matches every shade of denim), and shimmery gold with muted navy (a classic preppy pairing). Whether you choose to add a scarlet lip to an all black ensemble or slip on a gold and navy striped cardigan, seasonally appropriate colors can add a vibrant edge to any outfit. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, try your hand at some Oscar de la Renta-inspired colors like peacock blue, salmon, or fuchsia, as displayed in his line at Fashion Week.

Prints

Instead of opting for last season’s boho-inspired, large-print floral, try a fresh mini-floral skirt in a fall color like navy or orange. Subtle animal prints can also amp up any classic outfit by giving it a sultry twist. Pair a simple Peter Pan-style button-down shirt and a pleated corduroy skirt with a leopard cardigan for a spin on classic prep style.

Fair Isle cashmere can be a cozy option for those crisp fall mornings. Combining your favorite Fair Isle sweater with a sweet, country-style gingham chino can give you a more laid-back look. For a more sophisticated alternative, twist the summer stripe by coupling it with a schoolboy blazer.

Textures

Although it may be easy to reach for that favorite pair of jeans each morning, try to get creative with your fall fabrics. Tone down the velvet seen in Gucci, Burberry, and Lanvin’s fall lines by incorporating smaller pieces of the elegant and luxurious fabric into your closet. You can combine style with practicality in a warm pair of eggplant velvet jeans or in an A-line velvet skirt.

Tweed can often be stereotyped as 1980s business suit or grandma chic, but you can transform the stiff fabric with a fitted, slate gray tweed blazer and black leather pants. If tweed still seems too formal for your casual university style, corduroys can serve as your fall staple instead. Choose a punchy color like mint green, coral, or magenta to complement a simple Oxford shirt or a beige pullover.

Herringbone and bouclé have brought warmth to a whole new level in fall fabrics. Usually on the thicker side, jackets and popovers in navy herringbone or bouclé can add texture to an otherwise bland outfit — check out your local J.Crew for some great options.

Shoes

It is finally time to trade in those summer flip-flops for a pair of suede brogues or patent leather loafers, which double as great complements for both formal skirts and casual denim. Because the equestrian trend has returned this season, a pair of over-the-knee leather boots will be a staple this fall. Look for a boot that fits tight to the calf and has a matte finish. If you’re feeling a bit edgy, try your hand at a Calvin Klein-inspired snakeskin pump.

Calvin Klein’s Spring/Summer 2013 line at Fashion Week can also serve as a beacon of light for those still stumped at the prospect of changing their wardrobe. When in doubt, keep it simple: Minimalism goes a long way. Although many of you may be tempted by those statement graphic tees, last year’s leggings, or a college sweatshirt, dare to try something new. If the task seems daunting, start out classic and trade in that T-shirt for a clean white Oxford.