The Fashionista is back! After a long hiatus, I have decided to return and share with you advice, along with some new tips I’ve picked up during my recent fashion experiences. I may not be Anna Wintour, but my recent experience at Marie Claire magazine, an Oscar de la Renta photo shoot and New York Fashion Week should give you an idea of how many notches I have on my Ferragamo snakeskin belt.

[media-credit id=20135 align=”alignleft” width=”167″][/media-credit]Now, I must say that UCSB has certainly upped its level of couture, all thanks to you dear readers (well, some of you). More gents and ladies now inject fashion into their everyday wardrobes, and for that+ I applaud you for making the campus much more visually pleasing. Of course, there are still a few of you who stand firm in your I-don’t-give-a-damn-about-appearance belief, but here’s a news flash for you: you look sloppy.

Sure, reject this article and reason that sweats are necessary to wear to class. At the end of the day, it’s your ego and dignity at stake, not mine. However, it’s not about looking fashionable; it’s about displaying an image to the public, regardless of the purpose. Looking put-together is not difficult. If anything, this ‘hard’ work will get you rewarded. Case in point: On my way to work one morning, a woman complimented me on my Nine West silk dress. For anonymity, just know that she is very high on the ladder of society. Needless to say, I could’ve died a happy, chic woman right then and there. To hear a compliment of that stature is like receiving an Oscar, and since then I have encouraged others to receive their own Oscar moment. Who says fashion is stuffy and a waste of time? That dress took me seconds to put on and is one of the most comfortable items in my closet. The rule of thumb? Know which fabrics and fits flatter your body without restricting your movement.

If my experiences have taught me anything, it’s that small details make the outfit. Nina Garcia (the Kobe Bryant of fashion) would always check out the crazy stilettos — I wouldn’t recommend walking to campus in five-inchers, but four, sure — in the fashion closet and emphasize the importance of dressing up a plain tee with a dazzling necklace. Sure, necklaces can weigh your neck down and belts make you keep adjusting your outfit, but if those little bumps are too much for you to handle, you chose the wrong accessories in the first place. Again, know what flatters your body without being swallowed in a sea of baubles and leather. Appreciate these petite trimmings and their remarkable contributions to the styling process. If you ever catch yourself staring blankly in the mirror to see how you can jazz up your outfit, reach for accessories. A cinch of a belt, a clasp of a bracelet or a tie of a scarf can be the solution to your dreadful fashion woes.

We all get those lazy Sunday days, but that does not excuse your rationalization of throwing on dirty, oversized college paraphernalia (not that sporting UCSB attire is bad, but looking like rags makes the college look sloppy). I’m not asking you to go Gaga with your outfits, but start out in the kiddie pool — a UCSB tee with a vibrant cardigan or jacket — and work your way to the deep end. You will thank me when you have an Oscar moment of your own. Remember, first impressions are often the truest, whether you like it or not.