9 Things Every Fashion Student Understands

I get asked quite frequently from curious friends and family about my experiences at a fashion based college ( shoutout out to LIM). Most of them are along the lines of Do you dress up every day for class?! or Are all of the girls super catty and snobby?! or my personal favorite, It’s easier than regular college right? Because it’s just about fashion and shoes?

Wonder no more friends, these common misconceptions and more are explained below. Here are 9 struggles/relatable experiences every fashion student basically finds themselves in and sees at some point in their college career.

  1. Feeling intense pangs of guilt for “bumming” it to class.

Sometimes the thought of putting on a real bra and pants is just too painful, let alone a full face of makeup. What’s also painful is the constant reminder that you look like a peasant with leggings and a tee on amongst a sea of fabulousness.

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   2.  You hear the word “internship” at least 10 times a day.

Do you have an internship? Have you started applying for an internship? Who are you interning for?  Who do you want to intern for? Is it paid?

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 3.  The vast majority of males (if not all) are gay and more fabulous than you.

Fierce, fashionable, and always on fleek. I’d take a compliment from a gay guy over a straight guy any day. Seriously, how are they so well groomed ALL OF THE TIME?!

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 4. You are constantly surrounded by amazing outfits and constantly want to go shopping because of it.

Fashion schools are a melting pot of incredible creativity and style. New style inspiration can be found virtually everywhere you look. It’s amazing getting to be exposed to this insanely stylish environment but *spoiler* it causes intense shopping urges. Having 5th ave around the corner doesn’t really help either.

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5. There are always people with shopping bags in class. Always. 

Most likely due to what we discussed in point #4. Or because most of us are really addicted to shopping and just can’t resist popping into our fave retailer in between classes.

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 6. You physically cringe whenever you hear someone pronounce a designer’s name incorrectly.

For instance: Hermès.  The H is silent people!!! *sigh* Don’t even get me started on Givenchy.

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7. Your library is basically a memorial to every fashion magazine/publication ever printed.

Oh you wanted to flip through the May 1975 issue of Harpers Bazaar? Interested in perusing the styles in Vogue Russia? Not a problem. Any and every fashion mag is at our disposal and it’s absolutely magical.

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8. Walking around school can sometimes feel like a catwalk.

Competition is fierce in this industry, and that competition carries over to the style scene. Driven, well dressed women with sassy struts all in one place is sure to create some heat.

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9.  It’s not all pretty dresses and fashion shows.

Probably the largest misconception about fashion school is that it’s all frills and essentially easier than a normal college. Yes, we get to look at and study amazing designers, visual displays, and clothing. However, there is an immense amount of work and stress that accompanies this. As fashion business students, we are constantly being challenged and pushed to be our best, probably more than your average student. It’s about constant creativity, research, and dedication to being on top of your game. If you aren’t passionate about the industry or your future career, fashion school is NOT for you.

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What I’m Loving: Funnel Necks for Fall

I’ve been a huge fan of funnel necks for a long time, there is just something so subtly chic about this style that I’m drawn too. Essentially, a funnel neck is a looser version of  a turtleneck, similar to a cowl neck.

The fashion world is having a total love affair with everything 70’s, a trend that will carry over from Fall to Spring. High necklines and breezy collars are totally in and guess what that includes! ( Take a wild guess).

So how we do we wear and style this funnel neck look? Below are 2 looks I styled for Fall and a bunch of other images to help you garner outfit inspo! Happy styling!

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This was actually a transition outfit since it was just the cusp of Fall in NY. (Peep Lady Liberty in the background). This relaxed top from Forever 21 is an amazing piece for Spring and Fall! Great to style with jeans and boots or tucked into a skirt.

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This was taken a couple years ago when I did a styling shoot for jewelry designer Megan Kaltenbach. I paired this camel H&M funnel neck dress with one of Megan’s fabulous agate necklaces.

One thing that’s so great about funnel necks is that minimal styling is needed, the collar speaks for itself the majority of the time. (Calling all last minute fashionistas, this is a great morning go-to when you don’t have a lot of time). However, a great pair of earrings or a complementary necklace can be a great touch to your outfit!

Here are some other great looks I found that I’m totally digging right now.

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So how do you guys feel about this style? Are you going to try and incorporate funnel necks into your Fall wardrobe?

 

Finding (and Embracing) Diversity in the Fashion Industry

For a painstakingly long time, the most diverse thing in the fashion industry was the rise of Naomi Campbell. It’s a sad, but well known fact that this industry is selective and exclusive when it comes to skin tone, clothing size, culture, shape and even personality. As a fashion obsessed female, but also a self-proclaimed advocate for “different” people everywhere, this issue has been a constant struggle for me.

I find diversity beautiful, and furthermore, absolutely necessary. Especially in such a creative and artistic industry, we cannot afford to turn away anyone based on characteristics as trivial as their skin color, weight, or ethnicity.

The Huffington Post style section released a frank, but amazing video after the end of NYFW titled ‘New York Fashion Week Isn’t Just for Skinny White Girls Anymore.’ They even included a campaign hashtag, “NYFW4All” demanding and challenging the industry to step up and diversify its runways, front rows, and even target consumer.

I’m not going to lie- the fashion industry’s got a long way to go. But I’ve found that we’ve made progress. Really great progress, in fact. But the real concern is, the staying power of making these decisions. Diversity should be incorporated into fashion ALL of the time. Not just during a highly publicized time period, like Fashion Week. What inspired me to write this post was the amazing stories and articles I stumbled across while researching this topic, and the tremendous impact these people and organizations have had on others and the industry as a whole.

Here are their stories.

1) Ashley Graham

Graham, a size 16, is famous for appearing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition as a plus-size model and for speaking up about the body issues women and girls face — and why curves aren’t a bad thing. Her fierce attitude towards diversity in modeling and the fashion industry has set this 27 year old apart from others in a way that can only be described as inspiring. She brought her boldness and curvaceous figure to the runways of NYFW, not only to model, but to introduce her own line of lingerie with Canadian retailer Addition Elle.

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Some looks from Ashley’s (on the far left) NYFW show. Credit: Huffingtonpost.com

Her glowing body positive approach is reaching girls of all shapes and sizes across the world. To me, this is a HUGE step forward in changing the standards of women in the fashion industry, and I find Ashley’s presence absolutely inspiring and needed in fashion. For other information about amazing plus size models who walked in NYFW, check this link out here.

2) Winnie Harlow 

Although I am not an avid viewer of “America’s Next Top Model” I did read an article about one of the show’s contestants, Winnie Harlow. Living with a skin condition called vitiligo, Winnie has made waves in the  industry for challenging fashion’s “one-size-fits-all” beauty ideal. She was tapped by spanish brand Desigual and Diesel for their upcoming ad campaigns (shown below).

Harlow, who’s real name is Chantelle Brown-Young,  shared that she was bullied as a child (I swear kids can be crueler than adults) and called ‘zebra’ and ‘cow’ by her peers because of her vitiligo – which causes de-pigmentation of the skin in patches. Winnie’s amazing perseverance and confidence in the fashion industry is sharing the message that you can be different and follow your dreams. Hats off to the beautiful Miss Harlow, and to the brands supporting her.

3) Madeline Stuart

For those who don’t know, Madeline is a 18 year old Australian model with down-syndrome who isn’t letting anything get in the way of her dreams. In fact, she just walked in New York Fashion week for designer Hendrik Vermeulen’s Spring 2016 collection.

Madeline is the second model with Down Syndrome to walk in New York Fashion week, Jamie Brewer,  a well known actress and Down Syndrome activist being the first woman to do so. I just love everything about this, I love seeing people follow their dreams and getting the results they deserve. Congratulations Madeline, I hope your career continues to be successful and serve as a model of strength and inspiration for others.

4) Bethann Hardison

Founder of the Diversity Coalition in 2013, Bethann Hardison has been and continues to be an integral component in bringing racial diversity into the fashion industry. Dedicated to promoting diversity among fashion models, Hardison goes a step further. She realizes that while designers are incorporating a growing amount of colored models in their shows, there is still a significant gap in balance in the industry as a whole. “I’m trying to educate the minds of others that it’s a diverse environment we want to see, not a diverse situation.” And she’s absolutely right. Diversity in fashion should go beyond just the media campaigns and runways. Hopefully, with her continued dedication and work towards this cause,  permanent diversified environment for fashion will blossom.

Bethann with her 2014 CFDA Founder's Award

Bethann with her 2014 CFDA Founder’s Award. Credit: Getty Images

To follow Bethann and the Diversity Coalition, check out this link here.

5) Designer Gogo Graham

The transgender community has been getting a lot of attention lately (primarily due to Caitlyn Jenner). You don’t have to like Caitlyn to agree on one thing- she’s bringing trans women issues into the spotlight. But let’s not forget the hundreds of people before Caitlyn that have been fighting for the same cause. One of these people being trans gender fashion designer Gogo Graham. This 24 year old’s latest collection was designed “by the trans community and for the trans community.” By adapting this powerful tagline and even more powerful collection, Graham is letting the trans community shine and letting others know, it’s okay to be who you are in the fashion industry. Featuring only trans women models,  “Graham’s collection was not about the creation of clothes or even the fun frivolity of making big one-off fashion statements. Rather it represented a moment in which everyone involved came together to celebrate the importance of every trans girl’s unique story, beauty and individuality” – DazedDigital.com

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Models from Gogo’s Spring 2016 show. Credit: Oystermag.com

While these are only a few inspiring stories of diversity, there are many many more. I could go on for days about all the amazing lengths being taken to increase change in the fashion industry, but for time’s sake, I won’t. I hope you all enjoyed learning about these amazing people as much as I did. I challenge YOU to try and find diversity in fashion from now on. Take a closer look at the ad campaigns you see, the magazines you read. The fashion world is changing, and hopefully for the better.

XOXO,

Ashtyn

Welcome to New York

Like most fashion obsessed girls, I am totally and irrevocably in love with New York City. Ever since my first visit at the tender age of eleven years old, I have been fascinated with it’s buzzing energy, creativity and seemingly endless fountain of possibilities. I made a promise to myself moments after stepping out of my first New York cab: I would live here someday. And it gives me incredible joy and pleasure to say I was right.

A little over 2 weeks ago, my mother and I (God bless her) drove twelve hours from Charlotte, North Carolina to the city of my dreams, Manhattan, New York. I had spent the entire summer and the vast majority of my highschool career dreaming about my future adventures in the city and now, it was all beginning.

Not only was I living in the city of my dreams, I was attending a school I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to be apart of. LIM College, short for ‘The Laboratory Institute of Merchandising’ is a fashion business school  dedicated to teaching students marketing, merchandising, visual merchandising, and international business within the retail industry.

Long story short- I was finally starting my future. What no one told me (or what they did tell me and I I refused to listen to) was that living in the city is not as glamourous as Carrie Bradshaw depicted it to be. Add being a broke college student on top of the situation and you find yourself wondering What the hell? Where’s my dreamy Mr.Big and pair of brand new Manolo Blahniks?

Here are some aspects of New York City life you don’t get to see on TV.

Guess what? You HAVE to take the subway. And yes, it smells.

Think back to every Sex and the City episode you’ve ever watched. Have you ever seen Carrie go in, nevertheless near a subway once? No? Thats what I thought. News flash: totally unrealistic. Unless you’re a multimillionaire (insert Mr.Big) avoiding public transportation is nearly impossible. Here’s the good part- you’re not alone. Virtually everyone in New York uses the subway. It’s simply the fastest and most efficient form of transportation and also the most affordable. I personally ride the subway at least twice a day and after mastering the art form of not getting lost ( I say this tentatively) I really no longer mind it. The subways are filled with all the different personalities of New York: hipsters, college students, businessmen and women, senior citizens and occasionally, the neighborhoods’ local crazy person. Taking the subway is such an essential part of being a true New Yorker, so don’t even try to call yourself one if you’ve never had the pleasure of taking this underground joyride. *cough Taylor Swift cough*

You can’t prance around the city in those fabulous heels everyday.

Well, you could. But like I mentioned before, virtually every New Yorker uses the subway and exposing your brand new patent leather pumps to the grime of the subway is just cruel (and stupid). Also, you gotta walk a lot. Most women you see sporting an impressive pair of heels on the street almost ALWAYS has a trusty pair of flats in her purse. The trick is wearing your flats to commute, but slapping on those high heels whenever you get to where you’re going. Yes, this actually happens and yes, it actually works.

You’ve got to be smart. Or act like you are.

Tourists are a huge target for pickpockets and thieves. And also, unfortunately, lost and innocent college students. You always have to be aware of your surroundings and where you’re going or else, you could have a reallllllyyyy bad day.

The food is really really really good. But really really expensive. Like really expensive.

I would love nothing more than to trot down to my favorite cafè everyday for lunch but guess what- it adds up over time. I learned this one the hard way, unfortunately. It’s almost impossible to get lunch in the city for under $10. Four classes a week= 4 lunches= over $40 in lunch money a week. So yes, sometimes I do treat myself to a soy vanilla latte and a fabulous gourmet panini for lunch, but it’s all about moderation. Packing lunches is definitely the way to go.

It can be really loud. And really smelly.

If someone asked me What sounds remind you most of the city? I would immediately reply blaring horns and sirens. Not a day, scratch that, an hour passes without hearing one or both of these lovely sounds. Fortunately, I’ve gotten so used to it, it doesn’t even phase me anymore. I could go into great detail about some of the affronting smells I experience

day to day, but I’ll spare you the gory details. The good news is, sometimes you get a  delicious whiff of New York Pizza or fresh brewed coffee from the adorable bakery on the corner. ( Spoiler: there’s an adorable bakery/cafe on EVERY corner).

Shopping sprees are totally fun. Lugging your crap around all day is not. 

One really important aspect to remember when going out for the day (Or night) in the city is this: whatever you take, you have to carry. All the time. So yeah, my impromptu trip to H&M was totally fabulous, but carrying around the shopping bag all day was not.

I write this post not too complain about the hassles of city life, but simply to enlighten people who comment “Oh my gosh you’re life is like a dream!” or “Wow, you’re life reminds me Carrie Bradshaw’s!” And let me get one thing straight: I am completely obsessed with my new life here. I wouldn’t give up these daily complications for anything. While life in NYC isn’t nearly as glamourous as Gossip Girl and Sex and the City make it out to be, moving here was the best decision of my life. Every day I get to wake up, throw on a fabulous outfit, and dive into the city I love so much. Everyday, I see something new or inspiring I probably wouldn’t see anywhere else. Everyday I get to study what I love and constantly be exposed to it. Just from living here a mere three weeks, I have learned so much about myself, responsibility, and most importantly, started the beginning of a career I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl. It won’t be easy and it won’t always be glamorous, but it will be worth it.

I am so excited to start this new chapter in my life, and as of today, I will start blogging more frequently.

XOXO,

Ashtyn

I took this at fabulous rooftop lounge my first weekend here. Checking my bank account the next day... not so fabulous.

I took this at fabulous rooftop lounge my first weekend here. Checking my bank account the next day… not so fabulous.

Finding Your Beauty in the Fashion Industry

Today I received an Ask Ashtyn email that truly broke my heart. I’ve never gotten extremely personal on my blog because I’ve never felt the need to, but after receiving this, I believe delving into my personal life  could not only help this reader, but girls/boys everywhere.

Dear Ashtyn,

I am 17 years old and I really love fashion. It inspires me and I really think it’s something I want to do with my life. The problem is that I’m not pretty. I don’t think I’m physically good enough to be in the fashion world. I’m so intimidated by how beautiful and flawless most of the women are in this industry. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared of going after my dream but I’m also scared of losing it. Do you ever feel this way or this sort of pressure to be perfect all of the time?

The fashion industry is a bitch. I’m just going to say it. We are an industry obsessed with sex, physical appearances and beauty. Being a female in today’s world is already hard enough, with the blatant objectification and sexualization of our gender regardless of the industry we choose. To me, it sounds like you’re deathly afraid of rejection so I’m going to share a little secret with you- so am I.

For as long as I can remember, I have had crippling self esteem issues. There were days when I didn’t even want to go hang out with friends because I felt “too ugly” or “not good enough.” I never even took pictures because I was so afraid as to what I would see. I turned to self harm, shutting out friends and family and even beleiving I wasn’t good enough to be anything.To be honest, I still feel like this sometimes but through my amazing friends and family I have discovered this is not true. My choice to join the fashion world stemmed from my love of clothing and style and the way it made me feel. I’m here to tell you holding yourself back because of your self-esteem issues is the worst thing you could ever do for yourself. Every single woman is beautiful, whether it be her disposition, outward appearance, grace or attitude. YOU are beautiful. And you are good enough to be whatever you want to be.

I’m also here to tell you that these women in the industry are not perfect. It’s taken me many years to try and accept that I will never be society’s idea of perfection. And you know what, that’s okay. I’m not a perfect size 2, I get zits, my hair is almost never cooperative and I have an awful tendency of being clumsy. Yet, I’m making my way into the fashion world. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a woman who knows what she wants and fights for it. I want you to find your beauty through fashion. I want you to wear what makes you feel comfortable, what makes you feel like you can conquer the world. If you believe in yourself, others will as well. Confidence is a stain no one can wipe off.

I can’t completely say I am happy with myself but I am getting there. Instead of focusing on the obsession of physical attractiveness in the fashion world, I focus on how it makes me feel and how I see myself fitting into this wonderfully chaotic industry. If I, a little girl who used to truly believe that I was “too ugly” to even have friends could muster the courage to dive in headfirst, then I know you can too. Fight for your dreams, fight for yourself and let no one get in your way. This is a message for everyone out there who feels they aren’t good enough to do something. You are. You can do and be whatever you want. There will always be someone prettier than you, smarter than you, and better than you. But they will never, ever be you. Realizing this will set you free.

Another hugely important thing to find is role models within the industry and your life. Not everyone in fashion is fake, stuck up and materialistic. A few of my favorite women are Carine Roitfeld, Karlie Kloss, Rachel Roy, Sophia Bush, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson etc;

“It seems our whole life is a search for beauty. But, when the beauty is found inside, the search ends and a beautiful journey begins.”

Harshit Walia

2015 Golden Globes Red Carpet Report

Ah, awards season. Every fashion bloggers favorite time of the year. Or mine at least. Who doesn’t love seeing their favorite stars dressed to the nines living oh so fabulously?

Last night was filled red carpet do’s and don’ts and a few ehhh that’s alright. Here’s a compilation of the best looks, honorable mentions, and the unfortunate sartorial missteps.

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(Honorable Mention) Amy Adams donned a powder blue Atelier Versace gown. While this look is completely lovely, it just doesn’t blow me away. I do appreciate the color choice though, it’s not too often you see this shade of blue make a red carpet appearance.

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(Worst Dressed) Okay, don’t get me wrong, I am completely infatuated with Lana Del Rey. Thats why it’s gives me such heartache to put her on the Worst Dressed list. Her vintage Travilla dress just does nothing for her, infact, it makes her look like a cheap casino performer. I’m sorry Lana, I still adore you.

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(Honorable Mention) The only reason Lorde didn’t make the Best Dressed list is because of the unfortunate fit of her Narcisco Rodriguez trousers. I applaud the young singer for attempting such a sleek tuxedo look, infact everything from the torso up is fab. I look forward to seeing what other mature looks she decides to bring to future red carpet events.

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(Worst Dressed) The Golden Globe hosts, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey always put on a good show on stage. On the red carpet, not so much. While Tina’s custom Antonio Berardi confection left me wondering what cupcake flavor she was, Amy’s cobalt Stella McCartney dress was just plain boring.

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(Honorable Mention) ‘Girls’ star Allison Williams was red hot in Armani Prive. She usually opts for silhouettes like this so I wasn’t too impressed, but she still looks undeniably gorgeous.

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(Best Dressed) ‘Orange is the New Black’ star Taylor Schilling was positively regal in a scarlet Ralph Lauren halter gown. I absolutely love this look.

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(Honorable Mention) Let’s be honest, there’s really nothing outstanding about this Zuhair Murad cape dress except for the person wearing it. J-Lo, you’ve proved to the world again that you infact do not age. Like at all.

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(Best Dressed) Amal Clooney stole the show with her beautifully classic Dior dress and (gasp) white gloves. There have been many mixed reviews about the ‘Golden Gloves’ as they have been dubbed, but I have to say I adore them. However, I do not condone this as a red carpet trend. Very few women can pull off the white glove look, and Amal’s effortless beauty and grace is essential to doing just that. She completely stole the show, sorry George, but who are you again?

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(Best Dressed) Jessica Chastain smouldered in bronze Atelier Versace. Her soft waves and flawless makeup just make me love this look even more. She looks smoking, right?

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(Worst Dressed) Jennifer Aniston made a rare red carpet appearance last night in Saint Laurent, and I have to say, I was  disappointed. When you have a women of such incredible beauty, it’s always a little disappointing to see her in such an ‘eh’ kinda dress. I would love to have seen her in full sequins, and that awful waistband such just disappear all together.

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(Best Dressed) Emily Blunt’s beautiful custom Michael Kors dress was simply stunning. If you look closely at her earrings, you’ll love this look even more. Also, keep in mind she has the FLU. Now thats some serious red carpet dedication.

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(Best Dressed) Julianne Moore stunned in Givenchy Haute Couture. What’s not to love about this dress? And the clutch? Perfection.

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(Best Dressed) VA VA VOOM. Kate Hudson is in the room. Is it even a major awards show if we don’t see Kate Hudson’s cleavage? Her sexy plunging Atelier Versace dress was perfectly complimented by her polished bun and simple subdued makeup.

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(Honorable Mention) I know what you’re thinking. WTF. There is just something so unique and kitschy about Keira Knightley’s Chanel Couture dress that I just can’t shake. I love when stars go against the flow, and this does just that. Her hair and makeup are perfect for this dress as well and if you look close enough, you can even spot her growing baby bump. Adorbs.

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(Best Dressed) Sienna Miller blew me away with her beautiful embellished Miu Miu gown. Everything about this look is fabulous. She looks sexy yet sophisticated. This has to be my favorite look of the night.

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(Honorable Mention) Anna Kendrick was having a major princess moment in her floral embroidered Monique Lhuillier gown. While it is a lovely gown, I really hate her hair and makeup. Like, HELLOOOO this is an awards show, not your next shift at Starbucks.

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(Honorable Mention) Reese Witherspoon in Calvin Klein. All I really have to say about this is *yawn*.

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(Best Dressed) Emma Stone was a fashion force to be reckoned with in a Lanvin jumpsuit. This unique ensemble was exactly the spice the red carpet needed. I bow down to you Miss Stone.

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(Honorable Mention) The always beautiful Lupita Nyong’o opted for a purple floral number from Giambattista Valli. Honestly, I’m still not over how flawless she looked last year in that blue princess gown, so I’m slightly let down by this.

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(Honorable Mention) Katie Holme’s custom Marchesa gown did wonders for her figure, adding a bit of shape to her otherwise petite frame. I have a huge styling issue with this look, because this dress had such potential. I would have loved to see her hair pulled back into a bun and some wonderful chandelier earrings. Either way, she still looks beautiful.

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(Worst Dressed) Kerry Washington was a bit of a let down in her color blocked dusty pink and navy metallic Mary Katrantzou look. Something just isn’t working here, but when you’re Kerry Washington offscreen and Olivia Pope on screen, you’re still winning even if you have an off day.

Who was your best dressed star of the night?

Grown Up Sequins

Okay, I’m well aware the holidays are over, but who doesn’t love a good sequined look for a night out? One of the most popular style questions women ask is How do I wear sequins without looking like I’m 16? The answer is simple my friends: styling. As with most things in the fashion industry, details are of the utmost importance and can make or break a fabulous outfit. I’ll show you some easy and chic ways to put a little sequin sparkle into your wardrobe this winter.

It’s best to remember that everything is better in moderation, and this absolutely applies to the fashion world. When working with sequins, it’s imperative to infuse just a pop of sparkle, instead of a complete head-to-toe look.

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If you’re not a fan of dresses, try sequined pants for a statement look, great for nights out on the town. rstyleme.com

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If you do love a great shiny dress, be sure to tone down accessorizing and wear simple shoes. karinafashionland.com

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The feminine shape of this skirt and slight pleating allows you to wear this glitzy look day or night! pinterest.com

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One great thing about sequins is that they can really pull together an outfit by making a statement. This jacket completes this monochrome outfit by adding a pinch of glitz. lolubu.com

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Don’t limit yourself to clothing! Shoes, bags, wallets and more can add a fabulous touch to many outfits.  alwaysdolledup.com

Do you think you’ll add some shine this winter with sequins in your wardrobe?

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