Pillbox

Students put personal spin on fashion trends

Eylul Engin, a master’s student in architecture, wears an infinity scarf for added warmth. (credit: Peter Leeman/) Eylul Engin, a master’s student in architecture, wears an infinity scarf for added warmth. (credit: Peter Leeman/) Deren Guler, a master’s student in Tangible Interaction Design, adds texture to her outfit with patterned tights. (credit: Peter Leeman/) Deren Guler, a master’s student in Tangible Interaction Design, adds texture to her outfit with patterned tights. (credit: Peter Leeman/) Daniel Tyler Mathews, a master’s student in costume design, evokes old military style with a coat with epaulets. (credit: Peter Leeman/) Daniel Tyler Mathews, a master’s student in costume design, evokes old military style with a coat with epaulets. (credit: Peter Leeman/) Celine Berger, a junior cognitive science major, layers a sweater over a button-down for added warmth. (credit: Peter Leeman/) Celine Berger, a junior cognitive science major, layers a sweater over a button-down for added warmth. (credit: Peter Leeman/) Sophomore computer science major Celine Nguyen stays warm in a velvet skirt with tights. (credit: Peter Leeman/) Sophomore computer science major Celine Nguyen stays warm in a velvet skirt with tights. (credit: Peter Leeman/)

Fashion trends usually take off when they’re first introduced to the world on the runway. From there, courageous celebrities who are willing to make a statement adopt the trend, prompting the general public to join in on the fad.

But people are generally inspired by the trends they are surrounded by, as opposed to those they have read about. The explosion in popularity of social media sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram is a clear indication that people have a tendency to look to their peers for new trends — especially on our own campus.

Students at Carnegie Mellon are commonly characterized by their diverse backgrounds and talents, and this diversity is reflected in the variety of approaches to fashion seen on campus. Despite the number of individual styles, there are certain trends, such as denim shirts and military-style jackets, that most students seem to have embraced and incorporated into their personal styles. Of course, these items of clothing are popular off campus as well. However, not only do they seem to be emphasized here, but they are also worn in unique ways by Carnegie Mellon students.

Denim Shirts

Denim shirts, as previously mentioned, have long been in style. Considered a staple by some, this trend more recently became popularized in 2010 and has stayed popular since. Denim, or chambray, shirts can be found in a variety of colors or patterns. Urban Outfitters has several, including the BDG Chambray Button-Down Shirts, which can be found printed with white polka-dots or flowers. To manage walking to class in 10° F weather, many Carnegie Mellon students layer a sweater or cardigan over the denim shirt for added warmth. Longer sweaters, especially those with a cozy cable knit, generally look great with a denim shirt.

Students also tend to wear brightly colored infinity scarves over chambray shirts. The collar of the shirt would be hidden from view, but the denim shirt has the same effect. Some like to wear their denim shirts with jeans, but if you want to avoid the denim-on-denim look, opt for a pair of leggings or jeans in a different color.

Military Jackets

Prior to the drop in temperature that caused most people to switch to their warm, puffy jackets, the green military-style jacket had been a common choice for many students at Carnegie Mellon. This trend can be adjusted to the colder weather by layering it over warm sweaters. There are several military-style jackets available at Forever 21, some of which are embellished with studs and faux leather sleeves. These jackets look great when paired with either an oversized sweater and leggings or a shorter sweater and jeans.

One of the advantages of this trend is its versatility. Complete the outfit with a pair of boot socks that peek out over the top of your favorite boots. Continue the trend with military-style boots, such as the Steve Madden “Camarro” boots, which have been seen all over campus. For someone whose style isn’t as edgy, the olive green military-style jacket looks great over a dress with tights, boot socks, and boots. Another option is a military-style vest, which looks exactly like the jacket but without the sleeves. Vests may not be the best option for this type of weather, but students at Carnegie Mellon sometimes opt for them on slightly less frigid days. Like the jacket, this vest, worn over a large sweater and leggings, makes for a stylish outfit.

Accessories

Speaking of making statements with legwear, wearing patterned tights is another common trend seen around campus. They are also very versatile; they can be worn with dresses, skirts, and even shorts. Patterned tights, which are available in most stores, can add another dimension to an outfit that may initially have seemed boring. If you’re not sure where to start, check out the website modcloth.com to choose from a variety of tights.

While some students accessorize with tights, others complete their outfits with statement jewelry. Necklaces are a common choice because they are easy to throw on over an outfit and are not as uncomfortable as chandelier earrings. The J. Crew bubble necklace gained a great deal of popularity toward the end of last year and inspired the statement necklace trend.

The bubble necklace can be found in a variety of colors, and similar necklaces can be found in several locations. Francesca’s Collections in Shadyside carries a seemingly endless supply of statement necklaces. Brighten up a simple cream-colored sweater with one of these necklaces. Layer a shirt under the sweater, with the collar of the shirt visible to give this outfit a preppy vibe; a statement necklace provides the finishing touch. This combination looks great with a pair of jeans, or even with a skirt if you’re willing to put in the effort.

For more unique jewelry, try the website etsy.com, where handmade, one-of-a-kind items are sold. You can either search for something specific or browse through the jewelry section of the website. The benefit of Etsy is that there is more variety in the style of jewelry available. Bubble statement necklaces are available on this site, but there are other types of necklaces as well.

Some prefer making a statement with simpler necklaces, and such jewelry could be found through the “Rare Bird” shop on Etsy. Some Carnegie Mellon students have been following the Chevron pattern trend, and necklaces of this type, such as the “Geometric Gold Triple Chevron Necklace,” are also available at this Etsy shop.

Skirts

Necklaces are an easy way to dress up an outfit, but there are other ways of achieving this as well. It’s tempting to choose the most comfortable clothes before you leave for class in the morning. However, on those days when you want to dress up a little, a skirt or dress is the obvious option. Skater skirts have been seen around campus quite often. On days that are slightly warmer, pair the skirt with a button-up shirt. Otherwise, switch the shirt for a sweater and add a scarf and tights for extra warmth. A skater skirt in a floral pattern is a great way to accommodate for the weather as it moves towards the strange period between seasons; the skirt is a reminder that spring is on the way, but it will still look appropriate for the winter when paired with warm-weather clothing.

Considering that we’re at Carnegie Mellon, most of us don’t have the time to pay attention to what celebrities are currently wearing, or what different sources are saying is in style. Moreover, people are more likely to gain fashion inspiration from their peers. Though this school isn’t especially known for its fashionable student body, there are many students who fall under this category, and they are a great source of inspiration when you’re stuck on what to wear.