Professional Style: How to dress professionally without losing your sense of style

22 May
As my school year comes to an end and my internship with Nordstrom is starting in early June I have to start thinking about ditching my jeans and tennis shoes for pencil skirts and heels.  Just because I am supposed to dress more professionally does not mean that I need to give up my style.  I started thinking about what I would wear to work and wanted to put some ideas together.  I like the idea of mixing standard “professional” pieces like pencil skirts and blazers with feminine touches like ruffled tops and dresses.  Adding trendy accessories like neutral earrings and classic Mary Jane heels, which I am obsessed with, keep professional wear youthful.  I think clothes are an expression of ourselves, and we shouldn’t stifle that just because we are expected to dress professionally and conservatively.  You can still play and have fun with patterns, jewelery and feminine touches.  Look out world, here I come!

Spring 2011 on a Budget

15 May
Spring fashion is all about dressing up and having fun with your clothes, which can be hard on a college student budget.  It also can be hard living in Oregon, where we don;t get the chance to have as much fun as other sunny states like my home, California.  Either way, as a broke college student living in overcast, I still like to play with spring style.  There are a few staples that I have recently added to my wardrobe that helps me keep my closet looking fresh without breaking my bank or being too over the top in Oregon weather.Nude Pump

I’d been looking for a nude pump for a while.  I found a ton that I loved, but none that I could afford, until i found a pair in Target.  All of my friends tried the last pair in the store on, and no one fit into them except me.  It was like our own game of Cinderella.  We took it as a sign and I of course had to get them.  They are obvious knock-offs of Steve Madden’s Bevv heel but for $29.99 I couldn’t say no.  I wear them with black mini-skirts or jeans and I absolutely love them.

Floral Skirt, Dress, or Shorts

Obviously floral is a huge spring trend.  There are tons of ways you can incorporate this into your closet.  I chose a tight dark floral skirt from Wet Seal to wear out at night.  Other options are floral dresses you can wear with either boots or sandals, or high-waisted loose cotton shorts paired with strappy sandals. 

Feather Earrings

One of my favorite aspects of the hippie 70’s trend is feather accessories, but mainly feather earrings.  I’m not a huge fan of clusters of feathers dangling from people’s ears, I kind of think they look like they are trying to fly.  But a one colored simple feather earring can ad a little bit of easiness and to an outfit. 

Spring Staples by DanaNicholson featuring fringe handbags

My New Obsession, and the Future of Trend Forecasting

8 May

I just signed up with Polyvore, an online fashion network that allows you to create visual representations of outfits.  The site literally gives you access to everything you can dream of to create the ultimate visually appealing view of your favorite looks.  I’ve only been a member for five days and I have already made about seven looks, or sets as the site calls them.   It has quickly become my favorite past-time.  Instead of watching old episodes of Gossip Girl I know create looks that I think the characters would wear.  Kind of creepy I know, but if you are in to styling then this site is definitely for you.

Blair Waldorf
The site gives you the chance to browse galleries with literally thousands of pieces to create any look you want.  You can search for a specific piece by using the search bar, or you can browse certain trends and pull our favorites.  Once you find a piece  you like you can either just create a set or add it to your favorite’s closet to work with it later.
Spring Colors
What I like most about Polyvore is that it gives me a chance to explore not only my own creativity but gain inspiration from other people. I see the site more of a fashion social network because it shows people to look for and most popular sets in a news feed type of thing.  It gives me a chance to follow other members whose style I like.  The site lets me connect to groups that I like, like stores and designers, to meet people with similar fashion tastes as me.  I also can gain contacts and ask for advice on my sets.  The community aspect of Polyvore allows people to create trends and try out different styles.  It is basically a community of people who like to create fashionable looks and learn from each other, and as a student, it is my number one priority to learn and refine my skills while I can.  If you are already on Polyvore check out my sets and connect with me, DanaNicholson.  If you are curious about pursuing a career in fashion I would check it out.

Brand, More Than Just a Label

1 May

As a public relations student I spend a good portion of my time learning about personal branding as a way to stand out to potential employers.  It took me a long time to figure out what how to brand myself, which sounds a little bit like I am trying to sell myself, but I guess that it what job hunting is in a some strange way.  I found this post from Dan Schawbel’s blog “Personal Branding Blog” from blogger David Trahan.  Trahan discusses the lessons he learned about personal branding from New York Fashion Week.  As a fashion enthusiast I paid attention.  Like Trahan I believe that style plays a big role in defining an image.  “After all, my style is an important part of my personal brand image.  It’s something that can express who I am as an individual” (Trahan).   In his post Trahan suggests a set of six questions to ask yourself to help develop your personal brand via fashion.

1. How do my clothes portray my personality?

I like to consider my style dressed-up casual with touched of femininity.  My daily clothes mainly consist jeans, flat chestnut boots or ballet flats, some sort of sweater or cardigan, and sometimes a scarf depending on the weather.  I love lace, bows, and ruffles, and I try to incorporate those styles into my wardrobe in a soft and understated way.

2. What do I think about other people’s clothes?

My friends are always asking me to borrow clothes, so I take that as a compliment to my style choices.  I think that if other people want to borrow my clothes that they like the clothes I own, and how I put them together to create an outfit.

3. What do other people think about my clothes?

Other people think my clothes are cute and stylish.  Mainly they think I can put together an outfit well.  My friends and family told me that I am their favorite shopping buddy because I give them my opinion and help them put together outfits so they don’t have to do it themselves.  My sister told me yesterday while shopping for an outfit for a Baptism that I was her little fashionista and that she didn’t know what she would do without me.

4. Whose style of dress do I like?

My style icon is a fictional character, as sad as that is.  I am absolutely obsessed with Blair Waldorf‘s style from Gossip Girl. She is classy and elegant while stile being modern. 

5. What style of dress is appropriate for my job?

Considering I don’t have a professional job yet, this question is kind of hard to answer.  As a student, casual is the most appropriate style of dress, but I don’t believe in wearing sweats to class unlike the majority of my classmates.  As a future sales intern with Nordstrom I plan on dressing in business casual.

6. If I could wear anything to work today, what would I wear?

If I were going to a professional job today I would wear gray dress pants with a matching fitted blazer, black pumps, and jewel toned silk blouse with either a bow around the neckline or ruffles down the front.  I think this outfit is professional while still being young and demonstrating my own personal style.

Given my answers to Trahan’s personal branding questions I would say that my style brands me as clean, put together, classic, and feminine.  At least that is how I hope I am seen.  My personal brand will be exemplified through my clothes mainly because it is the first impression people people get from meeting me.  It is clear that I take pride in my wardrobe and I hope that translates into my work.

Spring Upon Arrival

24 Apr

Living in Eugene, Oregon doesn’t always mean that I am able to take full advantage of the spring season’s fashion trends.  We get the occasional warm day, but most of the time it is either cold and sunny, or cold and rainy.  Either way it is just plain cold, which means that the cute sundresses hanging in my closet will have to wait until I return home to the California sunshine this summer.  However, even though I can’t take full advantages of trends directed towards warmer climates doesn’t mean I don’t know about them and do what I can to incorporate them into my wardrobe.

Vibrant Colors and Color Block

Bright Colored Top From Forever21

Spring is always known for bright colors, but this season designers are taking their colors to a whole new level.  Combining unexpected colors are making people realize “Oh, pink and orange DO go together.”  It is a fun and fearless trend that allows a chance for fun creativity.  Part of the fun in being in being a girl is experimenting, and this trend gives us a chance to show our personality, and to play with our clothes.  InStyle Magazine suggests to combine three colors maximum, and to always make sure that the most flattering color is the one closest to your face.

Sometimes in Oregon it can look a little silly to be in bold combinations of colors when it is gray and overcast outside.  My advice is to take this trend with a grain of salt.  Instead of mixing and matching tops and bottoms, choose one and then accessorize with bold colored jewelry.  This way you can still be trendy, with out feeling uncomfortable or over-the-top.

70’s Revival

70's inspired blouse from Vero Moda

An updated version of the clothes my mom wore in high school is now popular? I never though I would see the day that my mom got teary eyed over a pair of platform heels and bell-bottoms.  Personally, I kind of like to pick and choose what I would wear from this trend. I am all for flowing, bohemian blouses and rompers, but I just don’t understand the appeal of jumpsuits and chunky platforms.  Maybe it’s because I am too short to pull off a jumpsuit, or maybe it is because it reminds me too much of my mom.  I think mixing pieces that follow the revival with modern pieces is a good balance.  I love wearing sheer hippie inspired blouses with cut-off shorts and sandals on a sunny day, and if I’m feeling it, I may stick a flower behind my ear.  However, a full-blown, 70’s from head to toe outfit is just a little too much for me.

Lace Accented Babydoll Top from ASOS


This is by far my favorite trend of the season, and I hope it sticks around for a while.  I think that lace gives the right touch of femininity to any outfit.   Lace tops, lace dresses, or even an accessory accented with lace automatically draws me in.  I love that the lace can be sheer in some places to give a little bit of sexiness without being too exposed.

Full Lace Dress from ASOS

It has to be the right kind of lace though, it can’t look like I made a dress out of my grandma’s tablecloth, and it cant be so textured that you loose its delicacy.

The thing I love the most is the fact that I can dress it up, or dress it down. A black lace top in general already looks sexier for a night out, but add a colored bandeau, black skinny jeans, smoky eyes, and sleek pumps and you’ve got the epitome of sex appeal.

On the other hand, white lace dresses, soft pink blush, wavy curls and a bow headband (total Blair Waldorf style) can be absolutely adorable.


“Florals for spring.  Groundbreaking.” This line from film “The Devil Wears Prada” says it all. We all know that April showers bring May flowers, and that spring is the time for everything to come back to life after the long dreary winter.  There is no exception when it comes to our wardrobes.

Floral Dress from Nordstrom

The floral trend breathes some life back into our closets every spring.  This season there are two different floral trends: the soft, romantic, more country type floral, and the sleek and bold floral patterns from the East.  I love the floral trend because there are so many color pallets and feels to the clothing.  Prints could be pastel, bright, or deep, and can be printed on an array of materials, everything from sheer fabrics to satin.  I love how you can portray any time of image with this year’s floral trend.  You can be cute and country with a pastel floral sundress and denim jacket, or you could be mysterious like a Japanese geisha with a satin, jewel-toned maxi dress.  Either way it keeps you looking fresh and youthful.


Men’s Inspired

Men's Inspired Women's Suit From Ann Taylor

This is the trend I hope sticks around long enough for me to take advantage of when I enter the professional world next year.  I love blazers, I love dress slacks, and I love putting a feminine twist on a traditionally male dominated look of the business suit.  I don’t have the body type for wide legged slacks, but traditional dress pants and pumps is a classy look for any professional situation.  I love when a suit tailored for a women’s body is given some feminine touches.  As a girly-girl I love ruffles, frills, and bows.  I think that as long as it is done tasefully, both can paired with a men’s inspired professional look.  I also love the idea of jewel toned silk or satin shirts underneath a fitted blazer.

On a more casual note, the men’s inspired trend now includes boyfriend fit jeans, cardigans, t-shirts, and oxford style shoes.  Basically, anything labeled as “boyfriend fit” means that it has a looser fit.  Much like in men’s inspired business apparel, men’s inspired causal wear should still have a touch of femininity.  Accessories like decorative scarves, embellished headbands, and ballet flats add to the contract of gender mixing styles.  I would say that I have adopted this trend the most in my own style, since it is the most causal and I can wear it with pretty much any weather scenario.

Obviously I didn’t cover everything since trends are ever evolving.  As long as the basics are understood then you can strategically keep up to date will fashion trends.  Like I demonstrated in my descriptions above, not every trend is for everyone, that’s why there are so many.  Find what you like and what works for you.  Just because it is in magazines doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Take risks, have fun, and don’t take it too seriously. The best thing about fashion is that it is open to interpretation.

Hello world!

13 Apr

Hello! My name is Dana.  I am a public relations student at the University of Oregon.  Living in Eugene I don’t really get too much first hand exposure to trends.  I have some very trendy friends and of course am constantly online shopping and reading about fashion and lifestyle trends as well as celebrity gossip.  I mean, I am a girl after all.  More than then that I also try as much as I can to see the things I am learning in school being implemented in the real world to the things I love.  With the importance of social media, branding and consumer relationships ever important to the success of a business it is actually pretty easy to see.  The purpose of Trend Appeal is for me to be able to combine all of my passions.  As a soon-to-be college graduate, my life can get a little hectic, so I will post as often as I can.  I don’t believe in blogging for the sake of blogging, so I promise that whatever I choose to post are things that I actually want to share with the world.  Wish me luck!