Campus chic

As we brace ourselves for the end of fall semester and the beginning of snowfall and freezing winds, it seems like the road ahead will be dreary and dull — but it doesn’t have to be. In the fashion world, designers have already shown their resort and spring 2009 collections, making it hard to want to dress down in sweatpants when going to class. In addition, as we celebrate weeks of holiday parties and gatherings, it’s important to look presentable. Though icy roads may deter you from wearing those new Christian Louboutin heels to class or that cocktail party, there are still many alternatives that are just as savvy and chic — and won’t give you a broken leg.

Take an example from Shannon Young, a graduate recruiting coordinator for chemical engineering. Besides looking luxe in her tie-waist trench coat, she experiments with proportions. Notably, her slim black pants graze right at the ankle, revealing chic two-tone quilted flats à la Chanel. If that weren’t enough, Young’s use of a dainty silk scarf tied on a timeless gray satchel bag takes her look to the next level. As someone who used to live in New York City, Young definitely shows it in the way she fearlessly pairs pieces together to complement and flatter her look.

When flats won’t do anymore, boots are the ultimate go-to for warmth and comfort, but Uggs just won’t do. Nadine Dandachi, a doctor at UPMC, shows off a perfect pair of boots from Lebanon. Worn in just right, the lace-up detail gives them an edgier feel. Dandachi, like Young, is also a fan of the timeless trench coat, and she wears it with a forest-green shift dress underneath. Though her outfit was quickly thrown together, it would be perfect for a chilly night out.

Dandachi was shopping at the South Side’s BCBG, a brand renowned for its elegant dresses that range from super-mini to long and graceful. For parties and dances, BCBG is a year-round favorite, and it is always worth browsing because of its constant sales. In addition, the last few seasons have been huge successes for founder and designer Max Azria, as he launched the BCBG Runway line and the high-end label Hervé Leger, most popular for its collection of bandage dresses that celebrities love.

Karma, a small boutique also in the South Side, offers designers like Nanette Lepore, Alice and Olivia, and Rebecca Taylor, who are all known for paying great attention to detail. If BCBG and Karma are out of your price range, the South Side still offers great potential; H&M is always a favorite for its very price-conscious and trendy pieces. Finally, Nine West is a perfect one-stop shop for picking up stylish booties and designer-inspired heels without paying outrageous prices.

Whether you’re going to class, shopping, or to a holiday get-together, it’s important to stay cozy and warm without losing your sense of style. Dressing up no longer means freezing in the cold; rather, it’s about how you put yourself together and put effort into looking effortless.