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Tips from a professional stylist: How to go from flip-flop status to full-on dress code

School is almost around the corner, so transitioning away from the summer dress code may feel like a drag. We know you may be tempted to throw your hair in a quick messy bun and pair it with leggings and an oversized tee, but you still want to dress to impress even while learning remotely this fall. You may be struggling with your back to school fashion choices, but fashion consultant, Dr. Charlene Lawson has mastered fashion down to a science and spills how you can still be fashionable from the comfort of your home.

As a young girl, Lawson describes her relationship with fashion as a love affair. She was even voted "Best Dressed" in high school. She knew she wanted to pursue fashion, however due to having a child at a young age, she ventured into the field of oil and gas, after earning her Ph.D. in chemistry from Howard.

On her first day as an air science consultant, she sported a killer black suit with patterned leather pumps...making quite a statement on her first day. Lawson recognized wearing feminine attire for her colleagues in a male-dominated field was foreign. Many women would approach her to inquire about her fashion and seek helpful advice. A light bulb went off as Lawson began assisting her colleagues to refine their simplistic wardrobe.“I helped a few of my girlfriends clean out their closets. I went shopping with them and redid their wardrobes. To see their confidence shift and go from a five to a ten, I was loving what I was doing." Lawson thrived seeing her colleagues sporting their new fashion—and rediscovered confidence—and decided to launch Style Chemistry Consultant in 2018 because she knew there was “a need for this type of work.”

Lawson has styled countless clients across the nation and now she wants to help you feel empowered as you return to school virtually. She shares 8 top-of-the-line tips to live by as you tackle your classes this fall.

1. Dress up daily


Image: instagram.com/carrieberkk

Ever heard of the phrase fake it 'til you make it? By dressing up every day, even from your home, you will create a more productive learning environment. “I do encourage you to dress up every day for class, even if you’re not in a physical classroom because what you wear will not only make you feel confident, but it affects your mental space. You will be able to pay more attention and to perform better with your education,” Lawson shares. 

2. Statement sleeves are a must

Statement sleeves will certainly make you stand out while adding a feminine flair to any outfit. The playful-yet-daring look will make you feel like a boss as you attend daily lectures. “In the morning you can keep your pajama bottoms on, that's okay, but for your top half, big bouncy sleeves or any type of arm texture can escalate any outfit and give your top a dressy vibe. It’s super stylish and trending for the fall,” Lawson confides.

Image: Instagram.com/shopaugustbay

3. Consider wearing abstract earrings to spice up your look

You will have a lot of screen time this fall, so adding a bit of glam with cutting-edge earrings can add a creative touch to your look. “With virtual learning, there will always be a focus on your top half, so abstract earrings are definitely a statement piece. Some trends will start mixing modern and geometric sets, so always have a pair of fabulous earrings in your closet,” Lawson advises.

Image: Instagram.com/rachelmulherin

 4: Leopard Print is still in

Although Leopard print has never gone out of style, it’s rumored to be making a major comeback this fall so you may want to reconsider stocking up on some cute animal-inspired styles. Leopard print is versatile so you can dress it up or down making it the ultimate playground for creativity. “Attention to all my cheetah girls, your fave is going to be everywhere this fall, so anything in your closet from skirts to dresses and shoes...I would have a cheetah print. And the great thing about leopard or cheetah is that it's considered neutral so it really goes with anything, so you can really make it work,” Lawson explains.

Image: Instagram.com/thecozyvibe

5. A pair of slouchy boots will save your wardrobe

Slouchy boots work with almost any and every outfit, so snag a pair if you don’t have one already. Your wardrobe will thank you later. “When school gets back in full fledge, slouchy boots are going to be popping for fall-winter fashion. They're really fun. You can wear them with skinny jeans, a skirt, some tights or a dress to be super stylish,” Lawson shares.

Image: Instagram.com/neiljrodgers

6. Jazz up your waist with a belt bag

Belt bags are the epitome of comfort combined with style. You can store quick everyday items with the convenience of being hands-free and you don’t have to compromise cuteness. “Use your belt bag to belt your blazer or add a funky twist to your one of your favorite dresses to rock for next season,” Lawson says.

Image: Instagram.com/theeleventh

7. Camo will bring out your inner baddie

The camo print is another versatile piece that can dress up the most boring pieces in your closet. The print won’t break the bank and the “army detail can give any look a confident kind of vibe,” Lawson shares. Wear this print to feel pumped and energized to ace your first exam.

Image: Instagram.com/belleimichelle

8. Casual can still be cute

On those days where you don’t feel like being a fashionista, a pair of biker shorts or sweat joggers requires minimal effort without sacrificing at-home style. “You can wear a super cute sweatsuit with jogger bottoms or you can wear the biker shorts with a cute long t-shirt and some sweet sneakers to have a very comfortable casual, but stylish look,” Lawson shares.

Image: Instagram.com/dazhaneleah

We can't wait to see your back to school fits! Tag us on Instagram @girlslifemag!

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by Samantha Dorisca | 7/29/2020
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