Take My Word (4 New Fashion Trends)

I may not be able to do accounting or perform surgery. And I’m not even going to pretend that I’d have the patience to teach. But what I can do is give you insights into fashion trends before any one else may be able to. Call it useless and for 95% of the time you’re likely right in this assumption but that other 5%, the 5% when you’re searching for what to wear or what to buy. Well that my friend is my prime time. The time in which I eerily get a sixth sense about what is going to be a hit this year. So it only feels right to impart my ‘fashion’ wisdom on at least those who turn to this fashion blog. Just call me the doctor of clothes, or don’t because that sounds really terrible! Moving on…


1. Yellow Blazer (Jacket)

Call me crazy but if you don’t have a yellow blazer it’s time to get one. I can feel it in my bones and my bones are telling me that yellow is bound to be hot this year. If you want to get slightly ahead of the curve go on and purchase yourself a yellow blazer so you can sport it before anyone else does… Well, almost anyone.

2. Matte Nails

I’m slightly obsessed with this trend. You can either ask for this look at your next manicure or buy a bottle yourself! Completely worth the $5.

3. Turban Time

So this trend is not for your every day girl, but I couldn’t resist adding it to the list. Wrap it up if you’re up for a little more than just your average trend.

4. High-Waisted Jeans

They’ve officially made their comeback and I have to say I’m in full support. If you’re feeling the hipster vibe, give them a shot. If you’ve held onto them since 1989 it might just might be time to reconsider. Stick to dark washes or black for a more flattering look. All that said, let’s look for high-waisted skinnies and keep the mom jeans from making their rounds.

Now you may impart your fashion wisdom onto someone else.

26 Fashion Tips I’ve Learned Over the Past 26 Years!


This weekend I will be turning the big two six. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet. For one, 26 is one of those numbers where you have no idea what to celebrate. I now can rent a car. I can have a glass of wine. I can…well… do everything that I could pretty much do at 25. And whether that is a good thing or a bad thing I’ve yet to figure out.

Then there is the inevitable thinking back to what you thought you would be doing at 26 when you felt like 26 felt was a lifetime away. Somewhere between junior high and high school I had convinced myself I would be chatting it up with Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts. Ya know, after my brilliant debut on GMA (Good Morning America) in which we would clearly become friends.

I’ve heard (from Oprah) that your 20’s are for figuring it out. And if that’s the case, I believe I’m at least succeeding or attempting to do just that. The one thing I’m sure of is that I’m wiser than the year before. In which case, why not impart my wisdom (of some sort) with some of the best fashion tips I’ve learned over the past 26 years. So here it goes:


1. Put your nails in a bowl of ice water to dry in 60 seconds

2. Wear nude under garments under anything white

3. A dab of light eyeshadow in the corner of your eyes makes them pop


4. Tie a skinny belt multiple times around your wrist for a new boho chic bracelet

5. Brush a stripe of bronzer down the middle of your nose to make your nose appear slimmer (Kim K does it)


6. Always bring stylish flats to walk around in NYC

7. Always have a pretty umbrella handy when visiting in NYC

8. Splurge on shoes

9. Never purchase an item from Old Navy without a discount (they come almost every week)

10. Turn your scarf into a vest for double usage

11. Only buy mid-rise jeans

12. Buy one clutch that can easily be moved from purse to purse so you can wear multiple purses in one season

13. Double your long chain necklaces to make bracelets

14. Wear your favorite cropped pants in the winter by wearing long boot socks & covering them up with tall boots

15. Turn your scarf into a shawl (wear it across your back, pull over your arms to the front then go back under your arms to be tied in the back) and wear over strapless dresses in the winter

16. Tie your trench coat in the back and wear it as an inside jacket

17. If you have a passion especially for fashion, start a blog

18. If you find t-shirts you love, buy them in multiple colors

19. Wear white after labor day

20. Even if you’re tall, wear heels

21. Overpacking isn’t worth it

22. If a collared button up no longer fits, cut off the bottom of the shirt and the sleeves and still wear it under sweaters

23. Use good shampoo & conditioner… it actually makes a difference

24. Find old door knobs to use as jewelry hangers

25. Don’t hang up your sweaters, fold them and they’ll last longer

26. To move up seats at Fashion Week stand in the aisle, ask the attendant, and wait 5 minutes minutes before the show starts… second row baby!


How To Pack For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday of the year.  The fall foliage is on full display, you’re surrounded by family and friends, and the food is never-ending.  But if you’re one of the many young professionals who no longer call their hometown “home”, Thanksgiving is also a time filled with stressful travel arrangements and the realization that you have to complete that dreadful task required of anyone going anywhere for any reason at all: packing.

Remember when I said Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday of the year?  Well, packing is my least favorite activity ever.  Ever.  EVER.  I’m a chronic over-packer.  I never touch half the things I shove in my bag, and then curse myself as I’m lugging said (extremely overweight) bag over my shoulder.  And so, to make things easier on everyone, I put together a little list of the must-haves for your trip home.  Feel free to accessorize as you wish, but please, for your own sake, try to keep your checklist to a minimum.  The worst that can happen?  You re-wear an item of clothing (the horror!) after washing it in mom and dad’s laundry machine (heaven!).  Or, there’s that thing called Black Friday.  Last time I checked, that place you spent 18 years of your life had a mall.  So stop packing as if you’re vacationing in the tundra.  Where you’re going, there ARE roads.  And H&M.  Trust me, you’ll survive.

And so without further adieu, a packing guide for Turkey Day:

Your favorite pair of jeans.  Yes, pair.  Singular.  You only need one.  Just make sure they’re not too skinny (you are planning to eat a 15 course meal followed by a healthy dose of leftovers, right?):

A cardigan and a comfy, cozy sweater.  The sweater for obvious reasons, the cardigan to throw over basically any other outfit you wear throughout the weekend:











A dress.  Unless you live in Las Vegas, leave the sparkles and bandage dresses at home.  Pack a dress that straddles the line between casual and special occasion.  You want something that you can wear to the Thanksgiving dinner, and also to brunch with your high school buddies:














Versatile boots.  Boots are the easiest shoe to match with everything, and guarantee that you’ll stay warm throughout the weekend.  Pack a pair in a neutral color that matches most of the other items in your bag.  Shoes are heavy and take up space, so stick to one pair:








Outerwear.  This obviously varies depending on where you call home, so if you’re headed to San Diego or Miami, you can skip to the next one.  Otherwise, bring a good, warm coat that you can wear no matter the occasion, whether out to drinks with your pals or to your Grandmother’s house.  And don’t forget a scarf and hat.  As Grandma would say, you don’t want to catch a chill:











PJs!  This is my favorite part.  Pick your comfiest, coziest, most holiday-inspired pajamas:











Is there something you never travel without?  Do you have a Thanksgiving must that I forgot?  Clue me in in the comments section below!


After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

Cheap, Easy, & Under 25

Okay, it’s not as creepy as it sounds but at least got your attention and for those creepy fellers who have stumbled upon this blog… please leave now. As for everyone else I’m excited to show you the cheap & easy finds all under $25.


1. Old Navy Dress

This dress is already on my Christmas list. I’ve done my blogging duty by checking it out in person, and you can note that it is just as cute as I thought it would be. I’ve been rather impressed with Old Navy lately, and this look could be easily be worn through fall into early spring by layering with a pair of tights, boots, a scarf, and a jean jacket or even a blazer if necessary. Plus it’s only $19!

2. Old Navy Hat

I’ve had my eye on this hat for sometime now. The price keeps fluctuating up and down, but I’m pretty certain it’s not going to drop down past $12 until it gets closer to the end of winter. That being said, you can get 25% off  by 11/7 at OldNavy.com! So if you’ve been looking for a cute cloche hat, I’d highly suggest this red one. It’s seriously adorable. Trust me, I tried it on!

3. Kohl’s Scarf

It’s a weird thing to say, but birds are currently hot. While you can’t really go wrong with $5 scarf? You might as well be on trend when you find one.

4. Nasty Gal Necklace

Now that I’ve made my statement about the birds. They sadly don’t even compare to how hot the collard necklace trend is. While it’s not my recommendation to get on every fashion band wagon, I think this one is too cute to miss. Think about all those basic sweaters, long sleeve shirts, or tees you could easily dress up with this $12 necklace. Totally, worth it? I’d say so.

5. Target Suede Wedges

I was on a search for one of my friends who happens to be a fairly tall girl. She wanted a wedge with a little heel but nothing too high and something that would be comfy enough to wear to work. Needless to say, I found it at my local Target. Online it states that these shoes are $30, but in store I believe they range anywhere from $15 upward. Go in store to purchase this one.

6. Nasty Gal Necklace

I think you know how I feel about this.

To wrap up this post, I believe being cheap, easy, and under 25 has never looked so good. Do you have any more deals to add?

Ombre Look for Less for Fall

While ombre was a major trend this summer, I think it can be easily incorporated into fall. I love the subtle effects of this trend and how it can be worn many different ways.

I was really inspired by the Spring Ready to Wear 2013 looks from Burberry Prorsum. While, this is a spring look I think ombre should still stick around for fall.


Check out these dip dyed slouchy socks from Free People, I love the different color combos! These would be perfect for fall with a pair of low boots and some skinny jeans to add a warm and colorful look to fall’s muted tones.


This statement maxi skirt from Urban Outfitters will make you stand out this fall. This bright fire-colored chiffon would be perfect with some teal or black tights underneath and a tight, long sleeved shirt. This skirt is so unique it would be great for many occasions.


I love this dip dyed hi-lo dress in orange and cream, this dress could be great for a warmer fall day with some boots, or pair it with a chunky grey sweater and some leggings for a perfect fall, ombre look.


(The Calm Before The Storm) A Week of T-shirts & Freedom From The Internet Before Fashion Week

Based on my title you might be led to believe that I’m going somewhere exotic, but lets be real I’m on an entrepreneurs budget and the most exotic place I can get to is a family vacation in North Carolina. Not that I am dissapointed by that for one second. The need for a vacation is something that I’ve been craving for over a year now. Since it is finally around the corner I couldn’t be more elated. For the first time in probably over two years this 20 something is going to take a one week break from posting on my blog. Crazy, right?

Now to anyone reading this, it’s likely that one week isn’t that big of a deal, but for a blogger one week is nothing short of a lifetime followed by a slight anxiety attack that she’ll lose everything she worked for. This means no posting, checking stats, tweeting, or pinterest-ing. In some ways it seems merely impossible since I haven’t take a break in over two years now, but I think it’s time to unwind, or should I say unplug?

In order to come back fully refreshed I’ve made the conscience decision that a week of minimalism is the best way to go including in what I wear! This meaning that I’m not dressing to impress anyone but the sand crabs and maybe the occasional dude in an american flag speedo…or not!  Every 20 something fashionista (in my book) deserves a week of t-shirts and full on fashion laziness followed by a one week hiatus from the interwebs. This vacation couldn’t come at a better time since the following Monday I will be reporting live from the chaos that is New York Fashion Week. And don’t worry, I’m sure my photography during vaca will likely document the trip for posts to come after, but that doesn’t count. Right?

Vacation Game Plan


(Travel Day) Runners Shorts, White tee, Flip-flops


 (First Day of Arrival) Runners Shorts, T-shirt, Flip-flops

Vacation 3

Monday – Saturday

(Beach Days) Swimsuit, Flip-flops, Cover-up

Monday – Saturday

(Going Out) T-shirt, jean shorts/cotton shorts, sandals black/brown

Vacation 1


Vacation 2


(Travel Day) Runners Shorts, T-shirt, Flip-flops


Leave for New York Fashion Week!

What I Am Packing (the bare minimum)



Runners Shorts

Flip Flops


Tennis Shoes

V-neck Tees

Jean Shorts/ Cotton Shorts




Cut It Out For Less!

What’s in-fashion these days? Cutting it out of whatever you are wearing. Less is more when it comes to these peek-a-boo styled cut outs, seen everywhere lately. Even Michelle Obama has been trying out the trend at the London Olympics!

Strategically placed cut outs in whatever you are wearing can lead to a very interesting and fashion-forward look. Check out these cool pieces that I found!

First off, I love this cutout maxi dress from ASOS. If you’re not crazy about this trend yet, go for something along these lines (no pun intended). It is simple and still conservative with its cut-outs, but is also very trendy and unique. Wear this maxi dress with some simple flat sandals and you are all ready, set, to go. Sorry, too much Olympic watching…

Here’s another cutout dress from ASOS, this white and beaded frock could be dressed up or down for any occasion. While this dress has more cutouts than the last dress, I love how conservative and classy it stays even though most of the neck is missing. Wear it with some simple black pumps and your hair in a loose up-do to show off the cutouts.

For a cutout top, I love this neon sleeveless blouse from Delia’s. It’s super fun and the cutout in the back is just right. This top could easily be worn with a pair of white jeans and your go-to wedges for many different occasions. Don’t be afraid to cut it out of your wardrobe this year and make a statement with a little bit less!

Courtney Ott is a student at the University of Cincinnati in the college of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), majoring in fashion. She is a proud native of Cincinnati, and her hometown favorites include Skyline Chili, Graeter’s ice cream and the Cincinnati Reds. As a broke college student, Courtney has become an expert at finding the look for less. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyWOtt

How to Have A Frizz-Free Summer

We’re in the thick of it.  No I’m not talking about summer.  I’m talking about Frizz season.  By the time July rolls around, we’re all pretty much swimming in frizz.  While we have visions of the laid back beachy waves and long luxurious tendrils, the reality is much more frustrating.  Within five minutes of walking out the door, most of us end up succumbing to tying all our hair back in defeat and calling it a day.  But why let frizz win?  We are grown women.  Isn’t it time we learned a few hair tricks to deal with the unruly hair demon?

The Top Knot – The top knot is the perfect summer style.  Not only is it stylish and so on trend right now, but it ensures that not a single hair is left on your neck.  Get friendly with a can of hairspray and go crazy with some of the new looks in top knot wear.  From the classic ballerina look, to actually tying your hair before wrapping it around the base, to braiding the pony into a bun, the knot is your oyster.  Get creative and look fabulous, no frizz guaranteed.

The Katniss Braid – Another side effect of the spring blockbuster movie event is Katniss’s hairstyle.  While this revelation is in no way groundbreaking (everyone’s been gabbing about, and copying, her look since the trailer came out), it is perfect for summer.  Start at the ear of one side, and begin French braiding your hair over to the other before finishing off with a side braid down to the ends.  While a braid is always a good idea when the frizz starts up spring up and the heat forces you to remove all hair from your neck, this braid is especially perfect.  French braids keeps more hair back and account for the frizz on the base of your head, not just the pony tail.  Use hair products as needed (whatever works best for you) and shine serum to really keep those frizzies in check.

The Hat – This summer has been one of the best in years for hiding frizz.  Hat styles abound, and the head bucket is more in fashion than ever before.  Go wide-brimmed or short-brimmed, straw or fabric, colorful or beige, round or square, embellished or simple.  Whatever style you favor, throw it on your noggin.  It takes 5 seconds, involves no fuss, and lasts all day.  Easiest.  Look.  Ever.

The Headband and Turban – Ready to give up altogether and shave your head?  That’s what summer scarves are for.  Whenever I see summer scarves in stores, I get a little sad.  They are all so gorgeous, yet my sweat glands make it impossible to EVER wear a scarf around my neck, loosely tied or not, once the mercury hits 60 degrees.  But rather than leave these babies behind in tears, why not get a little inventive and wrap them around your head?  No matter how bad your hair may look, nobody will ever see.  Genius, right?  Not ready for the ultimate turban commitment?  Twist the scarf into a ribbon and wrap around your head as a headband, tying at the nape.  You can add this look to spice up a braid, a pony, a bun both high and low, or untamed tresses you’ve left down.  Your hairstyle will get a little punch of color and creativity AND your hair will stay out of your face.  I call that a win win.

There are of course more drastic measures a girl can take, like Keratin and Brazilian treatments.  These treatments cost a pretty penny and people debate their health effects, but they do garner stellar and long-lasting results.  For a cheaper and less radical option, head to your nearest Walgreens or Ulta, as drugstore brands are beginning to come out with 30-day treatment kits. Consult your salon stylist before trying a store bought item!


So tell me, what are your tried and true frizz-fighting techniques?  I wanna hear ‘em.  Seriously.


After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.


“I’m On A Boat” – Look for Less

While Andy Samberg’s hit song “I’m On A Boat” might be a giant inspiration for this look for less, I don’t think his “swim trunks and flippy-floppy’s” is the look I want you to achieve. But his boating adventures and dreams are the perfect inspiration for nautical style. From anchors to stripes, nautical is definitely a hot style this summer.

If “I’m On A Boat” isn’t inspiring you, check out these dreamy pics as some inspirations for these summer looks. During these sweltering days of summer, a nice trip on a boat is what we all need to keep from sweating to death.


Boating look number one! Pull a classic white v-neck from your closet and pair it with a loose but stunning red scarf. I am in love with these high-waisted royal blue shorts with gold button details on the waist band. These shorts define the nautical look. Pair with some braided gold sandals and you are set for your boating adventures.


Total Cost = $79.84

For your nautical escapades try this black and white peplum top from ModCloth. Pair this top with some bright red shorts for a punch of color. This gold chain necklace from Banana Republic is the perfect nautical accessory, it’s worth the splurge because it is the perfect statement necklace for any outfit, especially perfect for a nautical look. Throw on a pair of Sperry’s with this outfit and you won’t be able to take them off for the rest of the summer. I wear my Sperry’s almost everyday because they’re practical yet stylish. These classic boating shoes complete the look!

Total Cost = $204.49


Or for an easy and breezy boating look check out this dress from ModCloth with blue stripes and a matching red belt. A pair of nautical anchor earrings in navy and gold makes for the perfect nautical accessory. Check out these wedges from PacSun that can easily be worn all summer long, definitely worth buying!

Total Cost =  $109.49

So take a boating adventure minus the rap song (unless you prefer it) this year and set sail into the nautical look with these adorable looks!


Courtney Ott is a student at the University of Cincinnati in the college of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), majoring in fashion. She is a proud native of Cincinnati, and her hometown favorites include Skyline Chili, Graeter’s ice cream and the Cincinnati Reds. As a broke college student, Courtney has become an expert at finding the look for less. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyWOtt

Neon & Neutral Inspired by Jason Wu Resort 2012 – For Less!

Neons and neutrals are the perfect way to add some color to your life without looking like an array of neon light signs. Check out Jason Wu’s Resort 2012 Collection that debut this week. Neon bags with neon accents incorporated into neutral outfits equals sophistication yet fun.

Neon and neutral can be intimating to put together, it’s a quirky combo that works perfectly when done right. Some advice I have to offer is to choose a piece that does the work for you. Try this dress from ASOS, with an Aztec print on top paired with a neon skirt. Or pair this neon and black striped top from Forever 21 with some black or white shorts for an easy neon and neutral look.


Another way to wear neon and neutrals is by pairing them with basics and combining them together for the perfect combination.

Try this neon sleeveless dress from Alloy with nude heels.

Or pair these adorable linen pants from Forever 21 with a neon blouse.

If you’re not neon crazy I recommend working these pieces into your accessories, as Jason Wu does. Try a Cambridge Satchel Company tote. I am dying to get one! While they do come in all sorts of neon colors, I realize they’re not necessarily “for less”. However, I must confess they are totally worth the splurge!

Last but not least take a look at these affordable accessories. I can guarantee some major compliments from these last three items: the backpack is from Target, the bangles from Forever 21, and the clutch is from ASOS.

Courtney Ott is a student at the University of Cincinnati in the college of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), majoring in fashion. She is a proud native of Cincinnati, and her hometown favorites include Skyline Chili, Graeter’s ice cream and the Cincinnati Reds. As a broke college student, Courtney has become an expert at finding the look for less.