As frosty temperatures hit the Northwest, students at the University of Illinois are doing all they can to stay warm. The efficacious sartorialist eagerly anticipates the crisp air and the opportunities to break out the bulky sweaters and cozy layers. But just before that time arrives, the awkward preceding season serves as a vexation to the strategic fashionista. Fall truly seems a bipolar period as it creeps in cautiously in the mornings and evening but falls away to summer during midday and afternoon. Fear not, for this seasonal interlude is the perfect time to experiment with combinations that offer protection from chill and relief from heat. Here are some examples of how UIUC students decide to settle into this fashion medium.

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Photograph used with permission from Hana Hong.

This fashionista’s outfit is truly the embodiment of balance. She plays with the delicate balance of formal and informal while also toying with the contrast between soft and edgy. If there is one thing that can add class and sophistication to an outfit, its a blazer. This fashionista decided to dress down her trendy blazer with a pair of loose floral shorts. This not only tones down the formality of the ensemble but also allows one to integrate between being overly hot or cold. The eye-catching pattern is perfectly balanced by the chic simplicity of the top, creating an effective fashion equilibrium. Wrap it all up with a pair of thigh socks and leather riding boots. Seeing leather paired with softer fabrics and different knits is definitely a growing trend, one that I’m personally attracted to. *I highly recommend nylon or cotton shorts such as these; they are the epitome of comfort. Who says you have to sacrifice comfort for style?

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Photo used with permission from Hana Hong.

Enter the tights and skirt combo, a versatile trend that I return to season after season. A breezy skirt or dress is a summer staple but paired with tights it is able to transcend steamy summer days and carry on well into fall and winter temps. Once a patron of women’s modesty, tights are now a style option that varies from thin nylons to thick, snug knits. What I also love about this trend is the range of looks that is possible with it. Black or gray tights are classic basics that will effectively frame any outfit; bold colored tights are a fun way to let your flirty legs take the spotlight. With such a large breadth of options, anyone’s personal style can benefit from a reliable pair of stockings. Top it all off with an accent mark; this fashionista wore her double ringed statement necklace as an accent piece. Ideally, an accessorizing piece like this can be worn with any solid color, like this stylist’s military green button-up and black skater skirt. *For anyone considering giving bold tights a try, check out Meadham Kirchhoff or Michael van der Ham’s fall 2014 collections for inspiration.

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Photo used with permission from Hana Hong.

This particular piece attracted me for any reasons, the eccentric fabric of the skirt, the styling of colors and the balance of shape. Midi skirts are highly trending this season and are an excellent way to transcend from short summer skirts to more classy conservatism for cooler temps. Instead of tights, this fashionista decided to opt for knee high socks, a great alternative to keep those legs warm. This combination of cooler colors also gives off a fresh breath of autumn air; maroon, black and sea green are all extremely trendy colors that are beautiful paired together. Lastly, the flair shape of the shirt paired with the fit of the top and socks prevented this outfit from being frumpy or excessively flat. To create even more shape, she gave it that finishing touch through a leather belt cinched at the waist.

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Photo used with permission from Hana Hong.

Who said autumn signifies the farewell of pastels?

Thankfully, in this seasonal median we can look to Fashionistas such as this one who are able to rock a spring trend like bright colors and airy scarves and still make it fresh and original in the autumn weather. Start off with a healthy base; this particular outfit began with a novelty tee, one of the greatest ways to depict personality through clothing. To stay warm, shoulder on a light cardigan and an airy scarf. The combination of yellow and pink are especially fun and can always bring a little sunshine into any cloudy day. The constancy to colors in this outfit is what really ties it off; every shade is light, including the jeans, thus giving off a soft edge to the look that creates a semblance of femininity. This smart sartorialist tied it off with a sophisticated pair of Oxfords, a great fall essential that mediates between sandals and boots.

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Photo used with permission from Hana Hong.

Taking a peek into the fashion runways for the fall 2014 season, many styles have become more eccentric this season with edgy patterns or quirky designs. This one incorporates the ever-trendy tribal pattern. The combination of the black and white pattern mixture on this particular tribal piece is incredibly captivating and immediately drew my attention. Pairing this V-neck top with fitted maroon skinnies and black combat boots instantly gives it a near boho feel with a touch of edge. To keep warm in the nippy morning wind, this fashionista threw on a three-quarter length knit boyfriend cardigan, a fashion essential that gives any outfit an effortless finesse. Tuck in any top into a braided leather belt to give the look a touch of refinement. *A key to pulling off loud patterns is to stick to minimal accessories. Less is more-beware of accessories overpowering the statement of the outfit itself.

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Photo used with permission from Hana Hong.

The nautical vibe and sophisticated color blocking of this piece caught my eye. The look incorporates many trendy autumn pieces but they each have its own unique twist. At first glance, the outerwear appears to be a trench coat-structured jacket but upon closer inspection, it’s revealed to be a chunky cardigan! The double-breasted buttons and the two-tiered collar emits the modern classy look a trench coat has but the thick fabric of the cardigan gives it a cozy vibe, perfect to throw on for lazy mornings. Because the cardigan is longer, black leggings are the optimal option. The solid black background is an impeccable backdrop for the more exquisite details of the sweater. This Fashionista is proof that subtlety can go a long way! The nautical ambience of the cardigan works great with her choice of boots; this particular pair certainly caught my eye. Although most leather-riding boots are black or brown, this pair manages to incorporate both. The color blocking between black and brown leather creates a unique touch that separates this style from the rest.

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