February 8, 2016

Double Duty From Winter To Spring

By Jenifer Valmon



Photo Courtesy of Ryan Durning One of the styles discussed in the article on display. Styled by Jenifer Valmon.

What if I told you April Showers bring the opportunity to repurpose your favorite winter pieces? Yes, you can wear your winter clothes in the spring.

The easiest way to do this is to build your wardrobe with layering pieces or pieces you can combine into the perfect ensemble that will also keep you warm. My favorite layering pieces are the chunky cardigan and the cropped sweatshirt because they can help transform your outfit very easily. Choosing brighter colors when purchasing these pieces will help make the transition from winter to spring seamless.

jens rack 2

Photo Courtesy of Ryan Durning One of the styles discussed in the article on display. Styled by Jenifer Valmon.

No need for a jacket when you can throw on your chunky cardigan over a Maxi dress for those not so warm spring days. But why limit yourselves? You can also use your favorite winter cardigan as a replacement for that boring blazer you wear to work.

You can also turn a dress into a skirt just by adding a cute sweatshirt. Of course you can also wear a high-waisted skirt with your cropped sweater but if you are anything like myself, you love making a dress work double duty to earn its spot in your closet.

A common but often overlooked piece of our winter gear is the scarf. Your scarf is the ultimate game changer. A scarf can have more than one us because it can add the final touch to your outfit or be the outfit itself.


Photo Courtesy of Ryan Durning One of the styles discussed in the article on display. Styled by Jenifer Valmon.

Many talented ladies have started making videos on YouTube to help make your life easier. Don’t know what to wear tonight? Coolirpa will show you how to wear your scarves as a layered peplum skirt, a maxi skirt and strapless dress.

But for the natural hair girl, the scarf can be a bad-hair lifesaver. Your scarves make the perfect hair accessory when you need to look fierce but can’t get your hair to agree.


Photo Courtesy of Ryan Durning One of the styles discussed in the article on display. Styled by Jenifer Valmon.

All you have to do is wrap your favorite scarf around your head. If you’re feeling fancy you can make a bow but it is easiest to tuck the ends into layers of fabric you created by wrapping the scarf around your head. I find this to work best with printed scarfs.

Now you’re ready to grab this spring by the flowers and save a lot of cash by recycling your winter apparel. Remember every outfit is new if they haven’t seen it yet so make sure you change up the way you wear your clothes. Before you head to the store, shop your closet first.


The Other Side of Luxury

By Jenifer Valmon


Think of the fitting room as your own private fashion oasis, where any outfit you can think of is at your fingertips. You have an assistant on call to find the finest quality pieces to satisfy your personal taste and help your dream wardrobe come to life.

That’s what it should feel like in the fitting room of a fancy designer store, but after nine years of working in specialty retail, I found that people did not regard the fitting rooms in this way. Instead they treat it as if it were a cheap motel, to be tidied up after their stay.

It is easy for the customers to adopt this mentality because as part of the five star customer service experience, the employees are trained to never utter the phrase “please bring out all unwanted items on the hanger,” a phrase often heard in affordable stores like Forever 21 and H&M.

As a result the associates end up with piles of $200 silk tops balled up on the floor, white tops with the red lipstick stain and beautiful sequin gowns shedding their sequins.

The carelessness of one customer ruins the luxury experience for the rest. Often times the same customers who create the less than opulent environment complain of having an unpleasant experience. I say to them, if you want a luxurious experience, respect the things and the people that can provide it for you.

To help you not be that person, here are 8 things you need to remember when trying on clothes:

–Never try on white tops when wearing make up (as talented as we all may think we are, the color white is a make up magnet.)

–Remove all jewelry when trying on silk, jersey cotton or any other delicate fabric that may get caught.

–Know your size. We would all like to be a size zero but there are only a lucky few who are so fortunate. Chances are, if you get into a dress two sizes too small, you will need help getting out of it.

–Never leave the clothes you tried on laying on the floor. Be courteous to the future owner of those jeans you hated and hopefully someone will do the same for you.

–Be mindful of the time you spend in the fitting room. Although you should regard it as your own private space, it is not. Other people need to use it and your sales associate will need to eat lunch at some point in the day.

–Always remember the people assisting you are human beings, not machines. Your energy is contagious. It is hard to deliver perfect customer service to someone with an awful attitude.

–Don’t forget your underwear, socks or bras as they are essential pieces of your getup (it happens more than you think).

–Finally, the fitting room is not a bus station. No one needs to know you were here and the little bench in the room doesn’t need your freshly chewed gum as a souvenir.

Hopefully these tips will help you understand that luxury is subject to the value placed upon it. A thing or a place can only be luxurious if you see it and treat it as such. With this I hope you make your next trip to a luxury retailer as pleasurable as possible by appreciating the things and people who work to bring you a lavishing experience.

The Legend of the Killer High Heels

By Darren Harris

Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons

Since the 1600’s the creation of high heels continues to be an ever evolving trend for men and women. There are different kinds of healed shoes such as the cone, kitten, prism, puppy, spool/Louis, stiletto, and the wedge heel, to name a few.

In the history of high heels, the trend has come and gone throughout the years. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that high heels started making a comeback in fashion and in everyday wear.

Jameka Johnson, a sophomore student says, “Not only am I in love with wearing a stiletto, but any type of high heel for that matter, and knowing that the high heel has been around for so long shows that it will continue to stand the test of time.”

To honor the history and many styles of the high heel, the Brooklyn Museum opened an exhibit to display the legacy and many styles of the high heels known as “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe.”

Maria, one of the customer service representatives of the Museum states, “this exhibit pays tribute to the history of the high heel, and the contributions it has made to society, and educating people on the legacy behind the heel.”

The art exhibits features over 160 different historical and contemporary heels, that were donated by Chanel, Manolo Blahnik, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Pietro Yantorny, and Christian Louboutin.

In addition to the displays there are six short films, that served as a tribute to the high heel. The films were created by filmmakers Ghada Amer, Nick Knight, Rashaad Newsome, Marilyn Minter and more.

The high heel is typically one and a half to four inches tall, but at the exhibit there are some heels that are close to six inches. Those were specifically designed for the exhibit. In some cases the height of the heel can cause serious cons. For example, the higher the heel, the more likley it will cause lower back pain, foot and tender pain, stress on the knee, and an unbalanced gait.

While some of the pros to wearing high heels is that it gives off this tall look of about five to six inches being the maximum in height

The high heel creates a stylish look for women in their appearance especially when wearing an evening gown, or skirt to a girls night out.

Despite the high heel sometimes causing an unbalance in the way wearers walk, in the same sense it creates good body posture that helps to straighten the length of the back to produce proper airflow. Heels also build confidence in presence and appearance.

“I believe, that depending on the heel, it can determine the women’s confidence,” said Evelyn Fair, a sophomore. “I absolutely believe that women should wear high heels once in a while, because it does boost their confidence and allows them to feel sexy and good about themselves.”

The high heel has been around for many centuries and will continue to inspire and be reinvented as designers find elevating ways to keep high heels trendy.

“Every women should have a fabulous pair of high heels,” said Fair.

To learn more about the pros and cons about the history of high heel, visit The Brooklyn Museums “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe” that will continue to run until Feb.15, 2015, located on the 1st floor of the Robert E. Blum Gallery.


The Criminalization of Style

The History and Effects of Sagging

By Jenifer Valmon

Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons

From the oversize baggy pants of the 90’s to the legging like, slim legs of the last decade, sagging pants have become a permanent fixture in Hip Hop as well as American popular culture. With mega stars such as Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber adopting the style, sagging pants are a part of the urban youth’s uniform, including John Jay students.

Fashions adopted by urban youths have been met with opposition throughout history. Gene Demby’s Sept. 11 post on the Code Switch blog, denotes the way in which urban street styles have been one of the main characteristics used to accuse certain individuals of being suspicious and criminal.

Demby draws parallels between the ways that the “zoot suits” of the Jazz era were synonymous with young Black and Mexican American delinquency in the 1930’s. And how saggy pants are responsible for labeling delinquency in the same group of individuals in the 90’s and today.

There has been a wave of backlash against the controversial fashion for decades with the most recent being the most forceful strike against this street style.

An unanimous vote was cast on the law against sagging pants, on July 15, in the city of Ocala, Florida. Council Woman, Mary Sue Rich, headed the vote.

Sagging your pants two inches below your waist in Ocala would have earned you up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.

“Everyone’s saying I’m targeting young black men. I’m black. I’ve been black for a long time, why would I be targeting black men? I would just like to ask one of these men, ‘What is the advantage of pulling your pants down so far?’” said Rich, on July 22, to Genevieve Shaw Brown of Good Morning America.

The decision was later overturned due to legal threat from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, claiming racial profiling of young black men and calling the law “clearly discriminatory” according to Catherine Mejia’s article on WESH.com.

Nelson Arroyo, 25, a senior at John Jay, admits to sagging his pants in the past. It portrayed him as “not caring about his appearance,” Arroyo said. Arroyo believes the look sells the “bad boy” persona, popular in mainstream media and attracts a negative kind of attention.

In 2010, New York Senator Eric Adams launched a campaign against sagging in NYC. In the campaign, he urged young men to drop the trend using billboards around urban areas, depicting enlarged pictures of the ill-fitting attire.

Adam’s went as far as asking School Chancellor Dennis Walcott to take the initiative to ban sagging in NYC classrooms, in his New York Post article on March 11, 2012.

“I sag my pants because I wanted to emulate the older men in my neighborhood, after I got to college it became clear that I would have to assimilate a little to adapt here at John Jay, but I didn’t necessarily abandon the idea because it’s all about a sense of style,” said Manuel Castillo, 19, John Jay sophomore and Urban Male initiative (UMI) mentee.

UMI is a campus based peer advocate-mentoring program. The program’s mission aims at helping students transcend obstacles usually attributed to being part of a minority, regardless of race or gender, but focuses on Black and Latino men. Black and Latino men have a lower graduation rate than any other group. The program provides social, academic, and personal support, as well as networking opportunities on campus.

Castillo has been a member of UMI since his freshman year and has found it to be a place to connect to his professors and to “overall better yourself.”

The fight against the popular style of dress has even reached popular television shows and social media outlets. One of the most memorable is the then 62-year-old Larry Platt’s audition on American Idol for the show’s ninth season. Platt preformed his original song “Pants On The Ground.”

“Pants on the ground, pants on the ground. Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground,” begins Platt’s song.

The more recent being, the “pull your pants up challenge,” famed by Malik S. King’s YouTube video, posted on Aug. 29.

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons

In his video, similar to the ice bucket challenge, King challenges a number of friends to pull their pants up. He also claims that conversations in black communities should move away from racial profiling and he says, focus more on what we are doing to contribute to the problem by re-evaluating the way we present ourselves.

King’s comments prompted a discussion on CNN’s show “The News Room,” two days later. The commentators included political commentator Marc Lamont Hill and Tara Setmayer.

In their discussion Setmayer agreed with King’s notion that the sagging pants contribute to racial profiling by saying “in the real world presentation matters.”

Hill, on the other hand believes that there is no connection between sagging your pants and black people being criminalized. He also debunks the jail origins of the fashion as urban legend.

“The truth is before black people pulled their pants down they were still getting locked up. My concern is, that if we continue to tell young black men that they can’t behave or dress or otherwise demonstrate their way out of police oppressing, then we’re blaming the victim here,” said Hill.

Florida is not the first or only state to legally attack this style of dress. New Jersey also passed a law that banned the fashion at Wildwood boardwalks with fines ranging from $25 to $200.

In this land of the free, women seem to be more free to choose what they would like to adopt as their style . Although many women’s fashions carry specific stereotypes, none are punishable by law at this moment.

“It’s ludicrous to me. Society has this view of what the average person should look like and anything that does not match that look is demonized by society. I’m a person that enjoys expressing who he is and if someone decides to do that [sag], that’s their choice,” said Castillo.


Fashion Faux Pas

By: Darren Harris

Staff Writer

Summer is almost over and the season is beginning to change to fall, and along with the change of season, fashion seems to follow right along.

The summer fashions have seen a tremendous outburst of color such as violet tulip, freesia, white, placid blue, sand and dazzling blue in
jeans, shorts, blouses, shoes, and accessories.

So, what are the fashion mistakes to steer clear from when transitioning your wardrobe from summer to fall?

According to womens-fashion.lovetoknow.com, one of the biggest mistakes women make during the fall season is “mixing prints,” where “florals don’t complement plaid, and paisley doesn’t work with polka dots.”

This column is not saying not to wear prints, but instead, ensure that you’re going to wear a solid color that will complement the print blouse of your choice.

Priscilla Sanchez, a John Jay student, said “every girl should have a cute print top, but they shouldn’t overdue it, and that seems to be the issue i have noticed a lot on campus is the print can sometimes overpower the entire outfit.”

Another fashion mistake during the fall season according to www.gurl. com/fashion-mistakes-faus-paux is “not layering properly,” and the importance of layers for the morning, afternoon, and evening outfits.

New Yorkers tend to experience the emotions of the weather changes, and it’s important that they layer properly through the day.

Barrie Nulman, a John Jay student, said “I always try to wear a good amount of layering during the fall season, because I know that the weather can change during the day, and it’s essential that I wear layers that not only complement my style but also the New York weather.”

What about snow or rain boots? Should you bring an extra pair of shoes to change into once you reach your destination? During the fall season, New York City can experience large amounts of rain and snow that can often kill even the most pre- pared fashionista. Rain or snow boots can conflict with the style of an outfit if they aren’t form fitting to add to the appearance. In a recent poll at John Jay, 85 percent of students voted that it is easier to keep their rain or snow boots on throughout the day instead of changing into shoes. Students, such as Denise C. Taylor, hassle with keeping on wet boots. “Although it is easier to just keep the boots on, they become difficult to walk in, and really kill the look on a girl’s outfit,” said Taylor. In this case, looks come over comfort. According to John Jay student Marcela Nash, “style outweighs comfort any day and it’s just a fashion nightmare to wear rain boots that do not compliment someone’s outfit.”

If a person decides to wear rain or snow boots, then try to choose a neutral color that can be worn with multiple outfits. Fashion is always evolving and changing, and it’s important that fashionista’s stay on top of their wardrobe to ensure that they don’t become fashion victims during a season that often demands you to choose between comfort or style. Looking at the trends that are perfect for the fall and winter seasons, such as robe coats and dresses over pants, one must be

careful with these looks as they can make or break an outfit. There are statement making trends this fall season, and if

you’re selective yet fashion forward with your style, you’ll be making heads turn.

Men’s Do’s and Don’ts

By: Jenifer Valmon

Contributing Writer

For those of you who enjoyed the hot days of summer, withdrawals are likely on the way. No need to break out the box of tissues or shed tears for your favorite summer shorts, because fall is around the corner, and I’ve got just the right tips that can help revamp your wardrobe.

Nick Carvell, from the UK GQ magazine, reviewed the fall trends of 2014 in London.

According to Carvell, biker jackets and mankets (yes, mankets) are going to be this fall’s male trend. Mankets are the scarf/cape hybrid worn by Paul Galvin, an Irish soccer player and fashion columnist for the Irish Independent News- paper, as a sort of overcoat.

Corey Stokes, of www.complex.com, noticed trends in New York to be sweater layering and “techy, fleece outer wear.” Both Carvell and Stokes were able to agree that “scarfs that weigh as much as three babies,” also known as mankets, are going to be big for the fall.

But the question is: Who is wearing a manket in the “move or get run over” city of New York? If you need to stop the doors from closing when you’re about to miss your train, mankets can be the perfect accessory for the fashionable subway surfer.

If you live anywhere within the five boroughs and commute to class, biker jackets are the right pick for you. They are versatile and more practical for the active John Jay men.
Biker jackets can be worn as a casual piece with a pair of sneakers,denim pants and a white t-shirt, or it can be used to bring a little edge to a pair of slim trousers and a button down shirt. Either way, little effort is needed to put together a stylish outfit.

Black is always a safe color to choose but if you want go for other colors try to keep it neutral. Look for dark indigos, dustybrowns, and shades of hunter green. These colors will allow you to mix and match when creating the rest of your look. It will also make it easier to find the right layering pieces when the temperature drops.

Leather is ideal for longevity, since it wears very well and usually looks better with time, but nylon or cotton blends will do the job while being gentle to your budget.

Whether John Jay men will wear mankets or biker jackets, only time will tell. Whatever you choose, remember to make it work for you, regardless of your style. Don’t kill yourself to follow the trends and end up fashion road kill.

Grey Scale

Grey Scale

Dichromatic Winter Wonderland

Dichromatic Winter Wonderland

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Red Edge

Outfit of the Day

Outfit of the Day