Students at the University of Montana are on a countdown to the end of the semester! But before we enjoy endless Christmas cookies and hours of sleep, we have to face finals week. Just the thought of finals gives me anxiety. I already can see myself throwing my hair into a huge knot with my coffee pot overflowing. Frazzled with exams, my wardrobe will take a backseat and the XL sweatpants ,which once seemed only appropriate for the gym, soon become a much needed staple.
My study partner will insist I dress for success. This is not the first time I've heard “dressing up” helps improve focus and self confidence. When running on 5 hours of sleep, improving my focus could help me out. So, this finals week I will try it. But, I have a few restrictions. If I “dress up” I will be comfortable! My token leopard skinny skinny jeans will not make the cut, and neither will anything I can’t cross my legs in. A team of ladies and I from Trendsetters at the U put together four effortless, comfortable, and fashionable finals week outfits to help you ace finals week.
1. Denim Collared Shirt from TJ Maxx
2. Printed Sweater Leggings from Forever 21
3. Black Short UGG Boots from Hide and Sole
4. Pink Glitter Infinity Scarf from Betty's Divine
The patterned leggings that I wore are comfortable and warm but also add interest to the outfit. Wearing a denim shirt opened over a plain top is a really easy way to layer up your look and make it look like you put in more effort than you actually did. And lastly, a scarf is a perfect way to finish any look off because not only does it look cute, but it is an accessory that will keep you nice and warm which is perfect for long days in the library and throughout the cooler months.
Sweater- Brandy Melville
Chiffon under layer- Herberger's
Leather leggings- Forever 21
Beanie- I made Combat boots- urbanog.com (best place for inexpensive boots!)
This outfit is great for lounging because it's cozy and easy to throw together quickly. Leather leggings look more put together than plain leggings and you don't have to sacrifice comfort. Wearing a long chiffon undershirt is an easy trick to make your top appear longer, which is helpful when wearing leggings. Throwing on a beanie is a quick fix when you don't have time to do your hair.
My favorite thing about this outfit is is how warm and cozy it is. Chunky sweaters are the best winter staple!
My Outfit 1. "Mistletoe Sweater" in Emerald from American Eagle Outfitters. 2. AE IKAT Printed leggings from American Eagle Outfitters 3. Moto Boots- Steve Madden "Troopa" boots 4. Gold midi-rings - Betty's Divine
What I like most about this outfit is its simplicity. Just three pieces make up this entire look. When most of my days leading up to finals week are spent closing down the library- I tend to reach for effortless, comfortable items which allow me to get ready in a fraction of the time. An over-sized sweater and leggings paired with boots accomplish this well.
Emerald is a hugely popular color this season, and high-waisted, printed leggings add just the right amount of interest when balanced out with the solid colored top. Tuck them into some motorcycle boots, pull your hair to the side into a loose, two-minute fishtail braid, and you can be on your way to your finals in looking cozy and still fashion-forward.
1. White shirt - JcPenney A.N.A brand
2. Blue Cardigan- TJ Maxx
3. Pants- Rue 21
4. Shoes - very old!
I absolutely love these pants, they might be my new favorite pair! I recently purchased them from Rue 21 for $6! These pants have a two things I love: style and comfort. I love the high waisted style and stripe detail on the side. These pants are stretchy like leggings, but have a zipper and button like jeans, what more could I want?! Finally, the high waisted style looks more fashion forward than ordinary pants. The stripe down the side gives the illusion of thinner legs as well! I chose my favorite loose comfy white shirt and cobalt blue cardigan to add a pop of color. This outfit is great for finals week because you won’t have to compromise style for being comfortable.
Both Turk and I are students at the School of Business Administration at the University of Montana. We got the opportunity to be featured on the SoBA homepage and couldn't be more excited. Our feature consists of a informative and fun video about Trendsetters at the U.
Major: Accounting and Management Information Systems Major
Hometown: Billings, MT
About myself: I am a tech and business guru. My ideal Sunday is opening the Wall Street Journal over a cup of coffee. I coach speech and debate at Sentinel High, and volunteer at places like the Poverello soup kitchen and Humane Society. Being well rounded is my goal. Work is not my life, so fun, fitness, and humor need to play together nicely in my schedule. Going along with well-roundedness, I have friends in nearly every major and many walks of life. It’s good to be focused, but you need to keep your perspective fresh, relatable, and realistic.
My Style:If my style were a person, it would be a Calvin Klein model on the series “Mad Men”. I try to bring together the retro and the new. Professional, yet modern and stylish.
1. My JD. Fisk shoes are from the website MyHabit, a fashion discount site owned by Amazon. I bought them for the blue velvet and green soles, which really adds a splash of color to this otherwise traditional shoe.
2. The jacket is from Armani Exchange, made of nylon. It has semblances of a biker jacket, but in a more moderate and measured way.
3. You can’t go wrong with a black skinny tie, and they go with everything. I got it at discount from a not notable Amazon vendor.
4. I love this dress shirt from GUESS in Seattle. The dotted pattern looks granule up close, but from across the street it looks like softly changing shades of blue. It’s sort of a visual trick!
5. My jeans are from Calvin Klein. To be quite honest, I wear these all the time. They were only about $40, and extremely form fitting due to a 2% elastic material.
My involvement at University of Montana
1. I serve as a UM Advocate, which is a student ambassador to prospective students interested in enrolling at our university. I coordinate the community service activities this group participates in.
2. I was recently elected as the upcoming Vice President of the Montana Information Systems Association. We volunteer for nonprofits, implementing solutions for their business issues, tutor MIS students, and host networking opportunities with IT professionals such as the Advanced Consulting Group, Google, or Microsoft.
3. I’m a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting Honorary Society.
4. Phi Delta Theta is the fraternity I am affiliated with.
Harold Whitford Jr.
Major: Fine Arts
About Myself:I am a 19-year-old American Indian from the Chippewa Cree Tribe. I am a homosexual male. I am currently an art major at the University of Montana and at the moment, I don’t have a specific art focus. I have always wanted to be a hair stylist, makeup artist, and clothing designer. Isn’t that just the gayest cliché ever? I love to sing, dance, and of course shop! I honestly have a shopping addiction. It is to the point where I have two walk-in closets full of clothes. I work at Hollister!
I have a younger brother and sister. I am a very outgoing person who loves to be the center of attention. At this point in life, I don’t feel like I should have to choose how the rest of my life is supposed to pan out. So you might say I’m more of a “go with the flow” person. I love elephants, tattoos, and piercings. If I could, I would start “Harold’s School of Beyoncé for Boys” (just a joke). Beyoncé is my idol and I hope that someday I could design outfits specifically for her. I’m destined to be famous one day, which is something I have said since I was a child, so...remember my name!
My Style:I don’t really subscribe to any one style. Just like there is an array of colors, I have a wardrobe with an array of different styles. One day I could dress in basketball shorts and Jordan’s, and the next I’m wearing a suit and tie. I love to push the limits of fashion and “gender bend” clothes. I don’t believe that any one sex should be able to “own” a specific piece of clothing. If I can rock some high-waisted short shorts, then why not? For all I care, call me a “hipster.”
1. O’Hanon Mills Placed Fair Isle Sweater from Urban Outfitters
2. Light blue denim OBEY Propoganda button-up from Tilly’s
3. Skinny fit jeans from Hollister
4. Brown suede oxfords from ColeHaan.com
My outfit and Who I Am:
This outfit represents who I am because I definitely love to dress in outfits that compliment the season. The fall and winter definitely read to me as sweater seasons with lots of layers! I chose this wool sweater because the base color is ivory, but also has a fabulous array of complementary colors. I love to layer most outfits, so this denim button-up is just to add some contrast and bring out the colors. Since this sweater is so versatile (I can dress it up or dress it down), I wore denim jeans for a more casual look. Also, if I wore jeans or bottoms with a looser fit, the outfit would look sloppier and not as neat and put together. If I chose to wear colored pants, like maroon or bright orange to compliment the sweater, the outfit would have a totally different attitude! I ended with brown Cole Haan’s because the shoes complement the ivory sweater (and secretly my belt is brown and my shoes have to match my belts and accessories). I believe in very simply outfits that catch the eye. If you war four items and impress the most unimpressible person, then you have done your job as a fashion enthusiast!
Involvement at the University of Montana:Just another student!
Age: 20/ Junior
Major: Resource Conservation and Political
About Myself: I am a politically
motivated individual who cares about sustainable environmental policy. I love
voting and the political process as well as local food and products. My goal is
to do research around water policy, and water rights. I also love coffee and
simple, but tasteful style.
My Style: I often look like a dad from the
farmers market. Chacos and jeans are my go to. But a nice pair of dark jeans
and a button up are always an easy way to look good.
My Outfit: My jeans
and boots are from a thrift store and my shirt is from H+M. The watch is a Target purchase.
Why this outfit represents me:It's simple, cheap, but looks good. The button up is loose fitting and very comfortable, which is how I like to live my life, casual but classy.
My involvement at University of Montana:I’m in a group called 1,000 New Gardens, which is a group that is dedicated to installing gardens around Missoula and encouraging people to grow their own food. I work at a non-profit, Forward Montana that works on empowering young people to be civically engaged. My job is to endorse progressive candidates, and get them elected.
Major: Management Information Systems
Minor: Media Arts
Hometown:Alkhober, Saudi Arabia
My name is Turk Ismail. I’m from the east of Saudi Arabia, Alkhober city. I have worked as a marketing representative for one of the largest shopping mall in the Middle East if not the world, Alrashid Mall. I’m an MIS major and media art minor.
Bailey said, "You look like Kanye West in this fur jacket!" I took it as a compliment! Most of us know Kanye dresses really well. He is known as a hip hop artist but he is a fashion designer as well. He has a lot of good songs! I love gold digger, I mean his song gold digger. Anyway...
Pants: My favorite store of all time Armani exchange
Hat: Thrift shop
I really like this style. Fur jackets are always stylish. The main color is black but it’s nice to try to add a different color to your look. The black boots and the hat is completed my look.
“Tomorrow for your presentations, dress business casual.” Immediately I am disappointed. I mentally sort through my closet, throwing out almost everything. Nothing brightly colored, no leopard, and definitely no stand out jewelry. I can almost smell the iron heating up to remove the wrinkles from my starchy collared shirt. My mind goes to grey, black, navy, and white, the designated safe colors of the business world. As a girl who greatly appreciates the value of neutrals, an outfit dominated by structure and dull colors leaves me yawning. I must abide by the unspoken rules of the professional world who demand the predictable business basics. In a field saturated with people dressed in the professional palette, how can a person stand out? The business students from Trendsetters at The U, use stylish and trendy pieces to create a unique look and catch the eye of a potential employer.
1) Add a printed blazer. The professional world is bossed around by blazers. An easy way to add interest to your outfit while still maintaining the business look can be achieved through a patterned blazer. I chose this floral blazer from a consignment store as the focal point of the outfit. The pattern creates interest and a unique twist without being overpowering or distracting.
2) Embrace a different type of material
Kelsi, a senior marketing student, embraced two trends for this outfit: a patterned blazer and different material. Aside from adding interest with a striped blazer, Kelsi chose a nontraditional blouse. Her chambray button up upholds the standard structure with an uncommon material. The combination of the trendy denim material with the classic construction of the shirt is a perfect complement to business neutrals that break monotony.
3) Use statement jewelry and mix patterns
Mary, a senior management and international business student, sports two ways to diversify your business wardrobe: mixing patterns and wearing statement jewelry. Both of these trends can be risky in a professional setting. Lucky for Mary, she does both perfectly and simultaneously! When mixing patterns, choose subtle prints. The patterns need to complement each other not overpower. When mixing patterns, choose pieces that share similar color tones. Notice how Mary’s top and skirt are neutral colors but with two subtle patterns she looks stylish and far from ordinary.
To complete her patterned collaboration, she chose a nude beaded bib necklace. Mary’s necklace works with her outfit adding interest and not overpowering. Choose accessories for your business outfit that does not distract or overpower. You want your employer or client to see you, not the clanking bangles on your wrist.
4) Throw a professional blazer over a dress. Blazers, blazers, and more blazers! This item is the easiest way to look professional. I’ve had this purple and grey dress for years! Alone, the dress is in between casual and business appropriate. By adding a basic black blazer over the purple ruffled neckline, the outfit is propelled to be presentation worthy. Finally, to add a little character I chose my black and leopard wedges. These shoes are appropriate with this look because the shoe is dominated by black and the wedges are relatively low. From the front the shoes are basic black, but from the side the outfit is enhanced with a touch of leopard print.
5) Add color. Give your business professional attire a punch of color! Kelsi finds a balance between neutrals and color with this turquoise blouse and mustard yellow belt. She is able to express her individuality through the color while maintaining a business appropriate appearance. Again, use color to enhance not distract. Make sure the colors you choose complement your outfit and personal style.
In the past, I thought boring and business casual were synonymous. Now, I am learning that fashion and business apparel can work together. The key to achieving a stylish and professional appearance is to find a balance. Equalize your trendy items with the business basics. Your outfit should look collected and professional while making a statement about who you are. The rule of thumb for a stylish professional look is to enhance not distract. By implementing some of these Trendsetters at the U tips your fashion sense will stand out in a sea of suits!