Scarf it Up
Europe may be a medley of diverse countries and cultures, but if there’s one thing that holds EU style together it seems to be the go-to scarf—almost every collegiette™ abroad we talked to named this simple accessory as the number one item that stood out as being truly European.
HC contributing writer and BC ’11 grad Allison Lantero, who has lived in both Italy and London, says that the major trend both countries hold in common is pashmina scarves. “I don't think I owned a scarf before I moved to London,” she admits. “But they are so versatile and can update almost any outfit…I now have an entire dresser drawer dedicated to scarves.”
Regina, a sophomore from Ohio University, says even of German fashion: “scarves are worn all the time, summer and winter.” Invest in a few—in a range of colors, patterns and textures—and instantly transform a too-simple outfit.
Basic Black—With Some Wiggle Room
Studying abroad in London, England this semester, Santa Clara University junior and all-American girl Brenda Alba was surprised to find that “English girls do not wear bright colors, or any colors beside gray, navy, and black.” This isn’t just the Brits; HC design intern Carrie Morris didn’t find many brights in “the city of lights,” when living abroad either. Dark colors are “very Parisian and typical,” she says. “I hardly saw any bright-colored clothing,” although swatches of “brightly colored tights (crayon red and teal were popular choices) with otherwise monotone black and grey outfits” also proved popular among the classically chic mademoiselles.
We admit that black may seem a little boring to the average American girl. So, to keep the look from feeling blah, incorporate gentle splashes of color into an otherwise understated outfit—whether it’s a color-blocked handbag or a richly hewed statement necklace over your LBD. Black may be basic, but it’s also the easiest way to achieve that coveted European sophistication.
Make a Statement
It’s often easy for a college girl to get stuck in a rut—skinny jeans, a V-neck and out the door. But what sets the everyday outfit of our European peers apart is often the addition of a fabulous statement accessory. Catia S., a 24 year-old assistant from Italy, explains that for most Italian ragazze like herself, “it is really the use of accessories that make an outfit more unique…A necklace or a pair of earrings are able to enrich even a simple tank top.” Of course, “a crucial element is also having le borse (handbags) of various shapes and sizes,” she says—she personally has more than a dozen.