Run, Don’t Walk, to Urban Outfitters for their Dress and Romper Sale

Image of Urban Outfitters Courtesy of Mike Mozart via Flikr Creative Commons.

On York road, adjacent to Downtown Towson’s bustling string of bars, night clubs and restaurant chains, sits the ultimate college student shopping haunt known as Urban Outfitters. When I was still in highschool, my first time visiting the offbeat clothing chain was at this location. I was enthralled, and to this day, love visiting what is now my local Urban Outfitters (how lucky am I to live five minutes away from one of fashion’s coolest retail spots, nine months out of the year!)

At Towson, the store’s industrial, brick exterior opens to a two-floor, white-walled oasis filled with eye catching clothing, whimsical gifts, an amazing selection of skincare, and new releases on vinyl. As a college student and a soft-core collector of old and new vinyl, Urban outfitters is basically heaven. The best part, which I’m sure my fellow college students also appreciate, is that a free reusable bag comes with every in-store purchase. I collect them and love using them to pack for small trips and to bring things home on the weekends.

But first and foremost, I love Urban outfitters for its clothing. For a college student like myself who balances schoolwork with a part-time job, Urban’s clothing is definitely on the pricey side, making a shopping-trip there more of an occasional than everyday event. However, their clothing is worth it. It’s always well-made, well-designed and head-turning to spot on the street. I even like their selection of menswear for its comfort and character. Their women’s clothing is always a balance of classic and cutting edge– both in terms of style and print. Urban Outfitters understands society’s long-standing fashion obsession with the 1990s and recent one with the 1970s and caters to them both without being subtle–all while managing to crank out the most coveted new trends of each season.

Right now, for a limited time, Urban outfitters is having not one, but two major online sales! All dresses and rompers are 20% off at checkout and a huge selection of items are on sale for under $10. Admit it–this is hard to resist. The weather is only getting hotter and if you’re like me, you’ll take any excuse to buy more clothing for spring and upcoming summer. And with final exams only days away, you’ll probably be holed up in your dorm room or apartment for hours at a time. What could be more rewarding than a studying-break spent shopping? Check out some of these dresses and rompers while they last:

1.UO Slouchy Leg Jumpsuit

This jumpsuit comes in black, rust and green. It’s perfect for layering over shirts for cooler days but looks amazing on its own! Planning on travelling this summer? Refinery29’s staff just released a May 5 article detailing their top clothing and accessory picks for summer and jumpsuits are high on the list. Refinery29’s managing editor, Katy Harrington, will be donning this similar Essentiel Antwerp polka-dot jumpsuit for and upcoming flight: “This year I’m determined to be comfy on the plane but not look like an old rolled-up pair of socks. This polka dot jumpsuit should do it…”

UO Amelie Off-The-Shoulder Button-Down Dress

This dress combines two of my favorite trends at the moment: button-down and off-the-shoulder. It’s the kind of casual dress we all love–you know, the one you can wear to class but would also be cute and appropriate for brunch–in other words, a perfect dress. I might be reaching too far with this, but if you think about it, this dress also combines two of my favorite looks from my favorite movie: Pretty Woman, where Vivian wears this dress to go shopping in and this dress for an evening out. Huffpost also released a May 3 article featuring some of the best graduation dresses for this year. Many of them featured, like Anthropologie’s Hudson Dress also showcase the button-down trend, which is sweeping the summer fashion scene. For running to class,the UO Amelie Off-The-Shoulder Button-Down Dress would be cute and comfortable in both flats and sneakers alike.

  1. UO Gabrielle Linen Midi Wrap Dress

This dress showcases the wildly-popular gingham trend. BRIT+CO, in their May 5 article featuring some of Selena Gomez’ best looks, showed the star in this two-piece gingham ensemble, making it easy to see why the tiny, checkered pattern has taken over. Gingham is a print that lingers on the understated side of bold while simultaneously maintaining its status as a conversation starter.

These are just three of hundreds of dresses and rompers on sale at Urban Outfitters as we speak! Some of my other favorites are the UO Amber Button-Down Linen Midi Dress, UO Eleanor Plunging Denim Jumpsuit, UO Cali Button-Down Mini Dress and the especially adorable UO Maura Striped Crochet Mini Dress.

Fun fact: When my roommate and I moved in together, we decided we wanted our room to look like the inside of an Urban Outfitters Store. I took inspiration from the plants that I saw in the Towson Location:

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Totally-Eighties Trends to make for a Rad Finals Week

Image of Sneakers courtesy of mamichan via Flikr Creative Commons

The Spring 2018 semester has flown by for Towson Students and although the current weather says otherwise, summer is definitely upon us. Students like myself are looking forward to the sun and relaxation that the impending season brings. But right now, we’re bracing ourselves for the inevitable and excruciating hurdle that is finals week: that dreaded string of  days in mid-late May that cause students torment weeks in advance–meaning right about now.

It’s already happening. Suddenly, every project is due on the same week and the workload/stress combo typical of an entire schedule of courses applies to just one of them. And by finals week, forget sleep. Get ready for late nights (or entire nights) spent studying until your eyes are heavy and each previous day just melts into the next. This repeats itself until you’ve run out of studying snacks, only there’s no point in grocery shopping with just days left of the semester. And if you live on campus, it’s most likely that the bulk of your exams take place on the same two days–except for one last exam that’s two days away–the least important one. If you’re anything like me, you’re left snackless, exhausted and stuck on campus until the last day of finals.

Exams and the time leading up to them can be grueling for a college student, so deciding what to wear shouldn’t have to be. Luckily, the eighties are making a comeback this spring and summer. An “Elite Daily” article from Thursday highlights three of the throwback trends featured in several designers’ spring collections for this year The shoulder pad is one of, if not the most defining wardrobe accentuation of the 1980s, now being experimented with on the runway by designers like Stella McCartney, Gucci and Saint Laurent. Biker shorts are also resurfacing, (thanks to Kim Kardashian and her younger sister, Kylie Jenner) and so is tulle.

Does this mean that you should show up to a lecture hall for an 8 a.m. exam wearing a tulle blouse with shoulder pads? No–unless you really want to, in which case, have fun sticking out like a sore thumb in a room full of sweatpants. In my opinion, the goal of finals fashion is “comfort first.” It should lie somewhere between the two realms of “just rolled out of bed” and “actually stylish.” To me, eighties fashion is that in-between. It was at times wildly in-your-face and at others, so uncool that it managed to be cool. I wasn’t alive for this particular decade but have certainly watched enough eighties movies to consider myself a novice expert in its fashion (embarrassingly enough, I even dressed up as Ferris Bueller for Halloween in high school.) And as a novice expert, I can confirm that the eighties have certainly been making their mark on the more casual side clothing this year, just in time for finals. Here are some eighties trends that are perfect for wearing to your final exams.

  • Belt bags are basically the eighties version of fanny packs, which have resurfaced on runways in 2018 looking much classier and cleaner than the brightly-colored bags that were typical more than thirty years ago. Amazon has great ones. Belt bags are perfect for exams, since instead of lugging around your entire backpack, you’ll only need to bring small things like your Onecard, some note cards and a few pencils–all of which will fit perfectly inside while allowing you to remain hands-free!

 

  • Clunky sneakers like these Balenciaga ones, featured on Who What Wear have also come back from the eighties to grace us on the runways. In the eighties, movies like Back to the Future and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (In which Jeanie Bueller wore the ultimate clunky Nike/sock ensemble) made this shoe iconic. I don’t own any clunky sneakers but have tried my grandfather’s and can say without a doubt that they were very comfortable. They look good with almost anything and when you’re running around from building to building for exams, comfort is key, right?

 

  • Eighties-inspired oversized layers are also perfect for final exams–as long as they’re not too heavy, since the weather is getting warmer. They could be anything from bomber jackets, like the one Molly Ringwald is wearing here,  to blazers, like the ones worn by the Heathers. Ferris Bueller also deserves to be mentioned again for its own awesome display of oversized jackets and sweaters. The point is that oversized jackets, sweaters and button down shirts are as cool today as they were in the eighties. Why? Because of how comfortable, versatile (I wear my dad’s big shirts as jackets all the time) and practical they are! Think about it like this: you’re probably going to be wearing shorts during final exams. It’s hot outside, but maybe the classroom you’re in is air conditioned.A big shirt or jacket can also be taken off to double as a blanket when your legs get cold. Then, when you leave the building to go back outside, you can tie said shirt or jacket around your waist for a laidback look.

With finals around the corner, you have enough on your plate. So study hard and let these eighties looks take care of fashion so you don’t have to!

Goodwill, Good Fashion, and Queer Expression Through Clothing

What comes to mind when you hear the words “Goodwill” or “Salvation Army?” If you associate these stores with the word “dusty,” you’re not alone. If you go thrift-shopping a lot, like I do, you kind of have to accept dust as part of the package until it becomes more like second nature than a slap in the face upon entering. There’s also a lingering stigma associated with these places; that the people who shop there are poor, have bad taste, or are lacking in some way. Or that the merchandise sold in thrift stores is all cheesey, dated, and cheaply made.

If you think about it, most people are quick to brag about the donation they just made to Goodwill, because quite simply, it feels good to donate. What could be better than creating more closet space and giving your gently-loved goods to someone who could really use them? It’s a win-win! But shopping at a thrift store is still, in some respects, not something people tend to be open about. Many people feel that they’ll be judged for doing so, or would be ashamed if someone found out that the item they were wearing had been previously owned.

Maybe they wouldn’t feel this way if they knew that major influencers–some of the coolest of the cool–shop for clothing at thrift stores. A Yahoo News article from April 18 features Asukal, a singer from the Philippines, now living in New York. She’s a diy enthusiast who makes everything–from her own music, to the jewelry that she wears (she talks about a necklace made of a hardware store materials) to adorning the sets of her music videos with silver paper! In an age where most people shop online, Asukal prefers to shop in-person to ensure the right fit, and normally thrifts. In an interview for Vogue, she spoke about thrift-shopping in the Filipino capital city of Manila at “ukay-ukay” stores with friends, where they would dig through bins to find 5-cent blouses, one of which, a silky, red “bib” that she still owns. She calls her covet-ably effortless personal style “Garbage-Chic” and sees her clothing as a lighthearted form of expression.

Thrift stores may look bland on the outside, but for those like Asukal, with an open mind, they can be magical. Some of the coolest pieces I’ve ever worn have been thrifted, and I can personally vouch for the fact that thrift stores are some of the best places to find vintage clothing–if you approach them with time and patience. In thrift stores, no two items or pieces of clothing are alike. Like hand prints, or snowflakes, each item is unique to the tastes of its previous owner and the journey they traveled (that was really deep, but it’s kind of cool if you really consider it.) To me, that’s what makes thrifting such a fun experience! When I compliment someone on their outfit and they say it’s vintage, or from Goodwill, I’m immediately intrigued and hit with an insatiable desire to spend hours in a fluorescent-lit room, scouring racks and racks of clothing for a shirt or dress that’s cool, nostalgic and brightly patterned.

So when I met Madison Benton, I knew right away that she was a girl after my own heart. Like me, she’s a Towson Student who loves to clothing and shopping for it. She’s describes herself as an out and proud lesbian and feminist who likes looking gay: “…I don’t like people assuming I’m straight,” said Benton. “I also like being able to see a queer person out in public and imagine myself giving them a little head nod [because] we both know what’s up.”

In class, I would always notice the outfits Benton was wearing–so cool, yet so effortlessly put together–and became drawn to them. Hearing from her that the majority of her insanely chill wardrobe was from Goodwill was just icing on the cake. I was instantly inspired to go out and do what she did–put $5 and $10 items from a thrift store together to create something casual yet chic with a retro flare. This past week, when thinking about thrift-shopping as something I would be interested in writing about, I decided that I had to interview her. She’s sweet, funny and a thrifting expert who makes it look easy!

G: How would you describe your style?
M: Retro lesbian

G: How would others describe your style? (I think it’s adorably retro and casual with some 2018 mixed in!)

M: Lol what you said

G: What’s one new trend you’re obsessed with?
M: Baggy jeans

G: Who or what inspires your looks the most?

M: Gays. You can spot from a mile away (I want to be that gay).

G: You shop at Goodwill a lot and score the most amazing finds. How did this start?
M: I’m broke af and I love to shop

G: Describe some of your favorite Goodwill finds

M: Baggy jeans!

G: What are your suggestions for someone new to thrifting?
M: Wash your hands when you leave and wash the clothes you buy before you wear them!

G: What are some of your other favorite places to shop?
M: Well I work at Charlotte Russe and I get 40% off there so I normally just buy stuff there.

G: How do the outfits you see on campus inspire you?
M: I like anything bold. If someone is wearing something out of the ordinary I applaud it.

G: If your style were music, what would it sound like?
M: I would want it to be kind of a Billie Eilish,Hayley Kiyoko kinda thing, but in reality it’s probably Halsey.

G:If your style were a food, what would it be?

M: Finger foods

G: Who are your fashion icons?

M: I don’t really have any fashion icons

G: What does fashion mean to you as a lesbian?

M: Sometimes I’m feeling more masc and sometimes I’m feeling more femme, so I’m able to express those feelings through what I wear. I also would like a young Queer person to see me in public, assume I’m queer and think to themselves “ok I wanna be out and proud like her”

G: What do you hope to say to the world with your clothing?

M: I hope to say “this girl is a feminist, this girl is a lesbian, and this girl doesn’t give a fuck what anyone thinks.”

 

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Coachella Craze: Beyoncé, Festival Street Style, and a Towson Student’s Ideal Festival Outfit

Summer weather made its debut this weekend on the East Coast, much to the rejoice of college students everywhere, who took to social media to chronicle outdoor kick-backs and day-trips to the beach. Some of us had to work…Meanwhile, in a time zone roughly 2,500 miles away, Coachella’s first weekend lineup was in full swing. The Indio Valley-based music festival which started in 1999 made history this year when Beyoncé became the first woman of color to headline it. If that’s not amazing enough in itself, the wildly-successful solo artist took to Coachella’s stage to reunite with her Destiny’s Child groupmates, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, for the first time in five years.

Fans and festival goers were awestruck by the reunion–by Beyoncé herself, ten times as much. The vivid artistry on display was enough to warm the heart of one festival-protester in particular, model and activist Cara Delevingne, who used the hashtag #Nochella, to express her disdain for the bigoted beliefs of its owner. An article posted this afternoon to “ET Canada,” chronicled Delevingne’s response to criticism from fans who felt that her expression of appreciation for Beyoncé’s artistry was ironically-timed with her Coachella boycott. Delevingne, who identifies as sexually fluid, took to her Instagram account to shower Beyoncé with praise, and to share this story, defending her choice to shame and boycott the views of Coachella’s owner, Philip Anschutz, who is anti-LGBTQ.

I personally feel that Cara should not have to defend herself for her choice not to attend the festival. After all, Beyoncé is not Coachella itself (contrary to the beliefs of fans in attendance of her performance who were left convinced that the festival belonged to her–#Beychella.) In fact, one might say that Coachella, a large, sweaty crowd of mostly white millenials who have been camped out for several days, donning glow-stick necklaces and synthetic flower crowns while shamelessly itching to spot celebrities, is the antithesis of  what she represents. Beyoncé, like Cara Delivingne, is no conformist.

In my book, one of the few things second to powerful, change-making women who stand up for what they believe in, no matter the cost, is what those women are wearing. I look to them as role models in terms of character as well as style. Women help make Coachella such a coveted experience–for me, and a million other 20-year-olds–because of the charmingly unique and crazy variations of festival outfits they don in weather that often reaches the triple digits (pretty hurts!) The Coachella festival is to young Americans what the Met Gala is to the celebrities they dream of being–a chance to flaunt each year’s most flamboyant fashions–or just to bare their midriffs.

Coachella style has two extremes. Some festival-goers are happy to sport a crop-top or tee-shirt with their coolest pair of shades and some comfortable sneakers. Others, like new mom, Kylie Jenner, who was seen at the festival this weekend sporting this wig and latex getup, see it as their chance to go all out in the fashion department. If you’re not familiar with music festival fashion, you’ll probably react to it the way a conservative grandmother would to her grandchild sporting a blue mohawk. That gnawing dissatisfaction you feel will then turn into a shopping craving the next time you go to the mall, until you realize that you won’t be able to satisfy it because the outfits of music festivals are truly unparallelled. Harper’s Bazaar just put together a photo compilation of its favorite street style looks from this year’s Coachella festival. They are breathtaking.

Like myself, my roommate, Lauren, has long been intrigued by Coachella fashion. I asked her to delve into her closet to put together her ideal Coachella outfit and was not disappointed. It had several components typical of the lesser extreme of music-festival style (remember, we talked about tee-shirts, sneakers and cool shades…you know, the comfortable, practical gear,) while still maintaining edgy femininity that makes street-style alluring: jewelry, pops of coordinating color, etc. What makes this outfit even cooler is that she thrifted her scarf, boots ($5!!) and belt from one of her favorite local spots called Charity’s Closet. Her dress, from Urban Outfitters, is no longer online, but here are the links to her hat and sunglasses.

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Florals Are Blossoming!

 

Spring has arrived in Maryland. For now, this means little. Walking around campus, it’s easy to tell that students are fed up with winter weather; wishing to retire the windbreakers and fleece hoodies that should have been stuffed into bins weeks ago. It’s hard to blame them.  Towson University’s first half of Spring Break marked a snowfall large enough to bring most people’s plans–mine included–to a screeching halt. This week is off to a chilly start but promises weather ranging from the fifties to mid-seventies by Friday.

Warm weather on the horizon brings several things to mind: swimming, outdoor concerts at nearby venues like Merriweather Post Pavilion, late-night snow cones and sleeping with the windows open. And every year, as if on cue, the arrival of spring has me itching to freshen up my wardrobe with pastel colors, bright patterns–anything is a welcome change from the baggy, insulated garb that holds East-coasters prisoner for the better part of five months. My main obsession, as of late, has been with floral print. By “as of late,” I mean for the past several weeks. But I would be lying if I said that my love for florals is new. The pattern’s place in my heart has always been unwavering–kind of like Celine Dion’s Las Vegas Residency.

Man Repeller, a popular blog and online fashion bible of sorts, is on top of the floral fever that seems to roll around like clockwork every spring. Contributor Harling Ross’ post featuring the romantically retro Gunne Sax dress, is a must-read. She chronicles her Etsy search-party for variations of the frock, which she notes, (to my delight) was worn by Hillary Rodham Clinton when she wed Bill. Do I see a myself wearing a Gunne-Sax dress to my class in the Liberal Arts Building on Wednesday? No…I’d be too scared to try! But I am interested in floral prints, high necks and ruffles!

Spring’s ongoing struggle to emerge has given me plenty of time to brainstorm outfits to wear when the day that I no longer have to tote a jacket to class finally arrives. I’m really into florals and Old Navy has a TON of them right now. My cold-weather staples have had a good run. Since school started this past fall, I’ve been into velvet pants, giant sweaters, windbreakers and cozy socks. I have a giant wooly cardigan that’s cream colored and has paired nicely with pretty much everything I wore this winter. But by the weekend of Easter, Spring Break had come and gone, and frankly, I loathed the idea of spending such a quintessential spring holiday wearing a baggy, high-necked sweater (which is ultimately what I did.)

The day before Easter, I went to Old Navy in search of spring dresses and was not disappointed. The store had a wide and intriguing selection of brightly-colored, vividly-patterned jumpsuits and frocks. I left with two jumpsuits and one dress–each of which fit perfectly. Not only is Old Navy a budget-friendly retailer for college students like myself, who love to shop, but their sizes are inclusive of all body types and range from 0-20, unlike most stores, where the largest size is usually a 14.

Two of the first items I picked out were the Sleeveless Linen-Blend Jumpsuit in Light Blue Print and the Sleeveless Cami Jumpsuit in Black Floral. Both are calf-length, culotte-style jumpsuits–breathable, functional and versatile in any setting. The camisole straps are ideal for scorching, summer weather. For a day in the sun, both jumpsuits would pair perfectly with sandals and shades. But if you’re on your way to class, or to work, like I will be this summer, pair one of them with a cardigan and flats (or sneakers, if you’re like me and work retail) for an effortless look that doesn’t break the dress-code.

The last item I picked, which happens to be my favorite, was the Fit & Flare Tiered Cami Dress in Peach Floral. At first, I wasn’t sold on this dress. It claims to be “peach” but is very pink in person. However, when I tried it on, it was way less intimidating–almost inviting. I was charmed right away by the comfortable feel and romantic design of the dress. I work in a craft store, so I won’t be able to wear this to work during the summer. However, as a college student, I can promise that this dress is ideal for running around from class to class. Once it gets warmer, I’ll definitely be giving it a try.

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Close-up of my Fit & Flare Tiered Cami Dress in Peach Floral from Old Navy