Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rainy Day Hair

It's been very chilly and raining non-stop for the past few days here in Roanoke, and it made me start thinking about that fall fashion that I love so much. Leggings, boots, sweaters, hats--scarves!!!!! I get ridiculously excited about being able to wear these items of clothing again and I think I start to bother everyone around me with my enthusiasm.

The only problem with all this rain is my hair.

When I was back at Longwood, I just wrapped a scarf around my head or threw on a knitted cap--it was so simple to go to class and look cute, even in the rain. But now I have to go to work every day, and I feel like hats are sort of awkward in the office.

So, what's my new head hero? A braid, pulled over to the side. It looks good no matter how my hair is acting, and even when my bangs peek out the side or my layers start falling out of the braid in the back, I can just pin them back and continue with my day! I actually think that the messier it gets, the better it looks.

What's your go-to rainy day hairstyle? What about for you short-haired ladies?

Happy puddle jumping!
<3 Megan

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stating the Obvious - You're Chic

The Longwood Look: Stating the Obvious – You’re Chic
By Amy Jackson and Jenni Schweitzer

Clothing falls into a few main categories; staple pieces, statement pieces, etc. Staple pieces and statement pieces can work together beautifully to create a visually interesting, yet polished look. Here’s the breakdown on how they can work together in perfect fashion harmony.

-Staples: not the office supply store. This term refers to the meat and potatoes of your wardrobe. And by that we mean the t-shirts, the jeans, the sweaters, and the opaque black tights. Alone these items seem pretty casual, comfortable, and safe. In this case the word “safe” implies a lack of risk, not a lack of physical safety. It could, if your staples include 9-inch heels. These tried-and-true classics can either serve as a foundation for your outfit, or you can tailor the use of them around a statement piece.

-Statements: they’re not written, but they’re worth a thousand words. These are the thrilling items that sit at the back of your closet until a day you feel extra daring. And when that day comes we’ll be waiting to photograph you for the Longwood Look blog. We love to see you look awesome. You may be wondering, “What exactly are they talking about?” In definitive terms a statement piece is something that is unusual and eye-catching. This could be a result of the structure of the garment, the fabric, the color, or it could become a statement piece through juxtaposition. We mean those crazy high heels with huge flowers on them, that gigantic necklace, or a feminine colored fabric cut into a masculine silhouette. To make these seem feasible (and not so Moulin Rouge), pair them with the staples.

Generally, you should wear only one statement piece at a time, unless it’s Halloween, or you are Lady Gaga. But by all means, draw inspiration from her, just match that inspiration with staples. For example, one of Jenni’s favorite pieces is part-tutu, which she tones down with opaque tights and simpler jewelry. It’s fun and slightly unorthodox, and it is whimsical because it’s familiar yet out-of-place. Most importantly, it is the focus of the overall look. If you don’t have anything, don’t worry, and start small. Maybe trying a top with zippers for seams or a wild necklace on a Saturday night can up your confidence to the point where you can wear the infamous bubble dress. Why not?

-On the flip side, when all you wear are everyday staples, things can be a little boring. Accessories to the rescue! There are so many ways that they can accentuate your personality without overwhelming it. We’re talking about everything from headbands to scarves to bags and onward. Amy likes to wear a feathered headband, or occasionally a vintage scarf to jazz up a plain tee or a tame sweater. Think about the kinds of things you are attracted to and include them in your collection of accessories. If you are a fan of animal prints, for example, use them sparingly. Accessories are the perfect dose of your wilder side.
We strongly encourage all of you beautiful people to take fashion risks, and don’t fear any statement piece. It’s heartbreaking to hear someone say “I like that, but I could never pull it off.” You can pull it off! Don’t be afraid to try it, and also don’t hesitate to ask a friend for help. Or ask us! We’re here for you. Promise.

Monday, September 13, 2010

One-Piece Wonder

The Longwood Look: One-Piece Wonder
By Amy Jackson and Jenni Schweitzer

Imagine that you just woke up for class, and you have a total of fifteen minutes to grab a cup of coffee, get dressed, and get there. What’s the obvious solution on these 90 degree rushed days? A one-piece wonder, of course. You only have to pick out one item (practically), and you’re out the door. We’re all in favor of this, until it comes to the one-size-fits-all dress. You know this dress; it looks like three separate pieces, but it’s actually one dress. The fabric on the top is a different shade or print than the skirt. You probably have this dress, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when it comes to loading your closet with handy onesies, use discretion. Here are some tips for purchasing dresses and the like that both fit your body and personality.


-The Separates Dress. This combined top-skirt-belt dress’ fit hits anywhere from directly beneath the boobs to the top of the hip, and everywhere in between. The idea is to create a fifties-style silhouette by accenting the waist and flaring away from the hip. Sounds good, right? Don’t be fooled. It is rare for anyone to exactly match this specific ratio, so make sure this tricky dress fits you in all the right places. If you really want that classic shape, you can avoid this issue by wearing a high-waist skirt and shirt, because then you get to choose how the clothing frames your figure. For a quick getaway dress, we like light fabrics in fun prints or shirtdresses, and definitely a belt. As a general rule, avoid dresses with built-in belts, and find a wide black belt of your own. For more inspiration, check out The Uniform Project,

Image: Philip Lim

-Rompers. We like them, and here’s why. They’re intriguing, they’re cute without being too sweet, and they can work for almost anyone. It shows that you’ve got guts. Fashion guts. The allure of wearing a romper is that it is a bold choice, but it’s also super-easy, comfy, and chic. They emphasize the waist and create a teense more volume on the top, which keeps you cooler and camouflages anything you may want to conceal. We promise that you’ll feel much more confident in your skin and it’ll keep you cool on some of these scorching school days. When picking a romper it’s crucial that it is a comfortable length – there is great wedgie potential. Amy and Jenni both rock rompers with mini-floral patterns. Amy’s romper has adjustable straps, which is a huge plus because the fabric stays closer to the body. Jenni’s romper is pretty short, so she is sure to wear it with some opaque tights. Another attractive feature of the romper is that it is easy to pair with accessories, like a cardigan or a belt. Try a department store, and keep your eyes peeled. They’re very popular, even if mini-florals aren’t your thing.


A few extra suggestions: look for items that will transition easily from spring to summer to fall with a few basic accessories, like tights. Tights tights tights. Try to follow our ‘Shorts’ rule when trying out rompers: they shouldn’t cling too closely to your legs or warrant your arrest. When you wear a romper, keep your footwear on the simpler side: some sandals with intricate twists will do nicely, and we always love a ballet flat. After all, when you wear a statement piece, you don’t want any part of your overall look to compete. Heels? Too much. Just a reminder – when you go shopping, try things on. Seriously. And don’t bring anyone you don’t trust.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

School Year Dress-Solutions

By Amy Jackson and Jenni Schweitzer

Guess what? It’s time for school. Hopefully you’ve kept up with our blog over the summer and found interesting additions to your wardrobe. The first weeks of class offer a widely varied assortment of style philosophies, ranging from Daytona Beach classics (daisy dukes, bikinis on top) to the pajama section of Kohl’s. It is crucial to have an awareness of the persona you present with these choices, because your professors have you write your recommendations. You’re lucky it’s not us.
-Pajama People: you know that we know who you are, because we’ve called you out before. If you have to run to class straight from bed, try to choose pajama pants that are less flamboyant. We like black wide-leg yoga-esque pants in a knit cotton. They’re super comfy and flattering, and if you have no time, you won’t look as much like a walking comic strip.

Image: Sew Modest Clothing
-Who wears short-shorts? You do. But why? Especially when it’s difficult to decipher if someone is actually wearing any pants, booty shorts make you look shorter and less lean. Also, in our experience, they’re pretty uncomfortable. Wearing shorts is an art, and we are here to help you color in the lines. All of you. Capiche? Okay, so stay away from denim in general. You’ve heard of jorts, right? They are unflattering on almost everyone. You know when you sit down and they give you thigh burn? They’re cutting you down! Jenni has a pair of non-denim shorts that are wide-leg and pinstriped, and they’re much more comfortable than any jorts.

-A Balancing Act: you know those birds that tip over because they’re top-heavy? You don’t want your outfit to be like that bird. If you are wearing a tiny tank top and itsy bitsy jorts (groan) chances are you’re falling out in more areas than one. Pick one area of skin to show, like your fabulous legs or your shoulders. But not both. Yes, Vogue magazine states cleavage is on an upswing, but keep it PG13. This is an easy fix – just throw on a cardigan or some dark wash jeans. Pair barely-there tops with well-fitted jeans and maybe a scarf. If you absolutely must wear minis, make sure they aren’t frayed light denim. For functional fashion, Amy wears cargo dark gray skinny jeans and a flowy romantic top. This prevented her from having to roll up her jeans on the bike ride to Sunchase to write this article.

Image: Plueys Manila
-Footwear: these boots are made for walking. To class. Speaking of boots, huge cowboy boots should be reserved for autumn and be paired with pants. The trend we have noticed ‘round these parts of wearing short summery dresses with large boots don’t apply to the Balancing Act. The line of your lovely legs that you create with the dress is being curtailed by heavy leather. Leather itself is a dense, weighty material, so if you pair it with something delicate (like a sundress) it ruins the lightness of the overall look. Opt for gladiator sandals, flats, or booties (ankle high boots).

-Things That Help: opaque black tights. If you like the shorts trend, but you feel a little exposed by them, try them with your tights. You’ll feel much better, we promise. If you find that you freeze when you walk into any building on campus, a repertoire of light cardigans can help you cover those barely there camisoles. A light V-neck tee in a few colors is always a great alternative, even if you wear pajamas.
Remember that it is important to keep it cool while you’re in class. It’s not about being conservative – look at your current wardrobe and imagine asking yourself to write a recommendation letter. First impressions really do matter. The goal is to use your clothing as a means to express your personality, not your anatomy. Be quirky, create interest, but maintain a level of professionalism.

Amy Jackson and Jenni Schweitzer are crusading for a fashionable fall here and in The Rotunda.