Collage by Jao San Pedro.

Collage by Jao San Pedro.

My school’s formal is coming up, and I have a lot of ideas running through my head. I want to try wearing a one-piece instead of a dress this year, but this is where you guys come in, because I don’t know much about formal one-pieces. I’m fine with it being shorts or pants, and fall/winter colors would be great! —O., 15, Hamilton, Ontario

Dresses are certainly not the only option for formal attire! You can look just as elegant with an evening-appropriate jumpsuit (jumpsuit = one-piece with pants) or a fancy romper (romper = one-piece with shorts), and you’ll stand out from the crowd because your outfit will totally be unique!

First tip: Look for styles that have embellishments such as rhinestones, glitter, sequins, and lace. ASOS has a wide range of romper and jumpsuit choices in various sizes, including this sleeveless sequin jumpsuit, which would make you look like a disco ball on the dance floor! Same goes for this playsuit and this romper, which has amazing sleeves. This dazzling romper from ASOS’s Curve line is pretty fantastic. There’s also this metallic gold jumpsuit from Modcloth!

Now, let’s take a gander at some other possibilities:

Caption TK Clockwise from upper-left corner: Satin romper, $81, ASOS; Maxi romper, $78, Nasty Gal; Embellished romper, $99, ASOS; Lacy romper, $92, Revolve; Sequin romper, $118, Nordstrom; Backless jumpsuit, $47, Lulu’s.

Gorgeous, right? The first one is super-special because it has huge, dramatic sleeves—just watch out if you’re eating chips and dip, ’cause you don’t want to dunk those sleeves in something like SALSA! (Trust me, I know from personal experience.) If you want to make an unforgettable entrance, the maxi romper by Nasty Gal will totally do it. I feel like it’s something both Taylor Swift and Isabella Rosellini might wear as they enter a room.

Now, if you decide to take the romper route and want to wear it with tights, there are plenty of options. If you’re looking for something with a little flash, I like these glitter opaque tights, and these tights with a decorative floral design on the back of the leg. If your romper has enough embellishments to shine on its own, fishnets or some simple opaque black tights will do the trick.

As for shoes: If you want to do something with a little height, I suggest some cute platform wedges, like these. They will look dressier than a lot of flats, are still easy to dance in, and will literally elevate your outfit. You can also go for a pair of metallic kitten heels.

For a little more va-va-va-voom, try throwing a faux-fur shawl over your jumpsuit or romper, especially if you decide to go with an unembellished solid-colored style, like the blue pantsuit above. If that’s your look, either a black or white shawl will work! And satiny white gloves are guaranteed to give off more of those wintery vibes. Hope this helps! —Marie

I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to punk-ify my clothing when I mainly own clothes from Old Navy? I’m really (really) bad at buying my own clothes because whenever I have to make decisions I freak out. My mom ends up buying a lot of my clothes online, and while it’s convenient, it doesn’t leave me with a lot of options for how to dress like a hardcore, DIY, give-no-fucks type of girl. So basically just casual day-to-day ways to punk up basic outfits would be great. Thanks a ton! —Sim, 16, Portland

Hey, Sim! Once upon a time, I, too, was a regular girl with gutter punk dreams and an Old Navy reality. This “punk rocker” outfit of mine from Halloween 2001?


Brought to you by Old Navy! Let’s be real, though: You are as hardcore as you feel. And you don’t need spiked and studded decadence to feel punk as hell. The Number One Thing You Need is…drumroll, please…CONFIDENCE! I’m not just being corny. I’m totally serious.

Imagine your life as a music video, soundtracked by your favorite band. Pull back your shoulders and keep your chin up. Keep your eyes straight ahead as you’re walking to class. Adapt your stride to the pace of the song. (Unless you’re thinking like, 240 blast-beats per minute! You want to cultivate a tough, assured presence among your peers—not a speeding ticket.)

Now, once you’ve mastered your best Debbie Harry strut down the hallways of your high school, you need a fresh, sartorial canvas to work with. Start with a rotating cast of simple statement pieces that you can find virtually anywhere in the mini-mall, or even in your own closet. For starters, try a denim jacket or a plain hoodie. A pack of black or white T-shirts. Some slim-cut jeans. A comfy pair of sneakers or boots.

Once you’ve got your base look together, you can ACCESSORIZE. This can mean different things to different punks. Does your favorite band sell any merch at their shows or online? Buy a T-shirt, a patch, a button—or make some! You can even pay Etsy a visit and scope out some patches and buttons to decorate your stuff with. If you’re worried about overdoing it, start small. Pin a couple buttons on the pocket of your jacket, or pull a Girl Scout Merit Badge Supreme by lining up the whole front and back with your band-love. If you’re feeling bold (and handy with a needle and thread), top it off with a backpatch! Once you get into the hang of it, you can push the envelope a little more. Try experimenting with some T-shirt colors that don’t have names like “heather grey.” Go for those tacky animal print socks. Scrawl song lyrics on your Vans, and maybe some beautiful, kindred spirit will notice them?

Now for the advanced stage: modification! Give old clothes new life with what I like to call DIY Fashion Surgery. All you need is a pair of scissors. (Or a friend who is good with a pair of scissors.) Do you have an old summer camp T-shirt that still fits? Cut off the sleeves! Is your grandma finally getting rid of that bedazzled kitten sweatshirt she’s had since 1992? Cut the collar and make it an off-the-shoulder piece. Do you want to make a old, sad pair of jeans even MORE distressed? Fold each pant leg in half and cut a simple slice across each knee with scissors, as per this lovely tutorial. (You can also try shredding and fraying them like so, if you feel so daring.) And when it’s warmer outside, why buy new shorts when you could just level some pants up into cut-offs? Choose your own punk adventure! —Suzy

My personal style has always leaned toward clothes that you can only wear during warm weather, like skater skirts, crop tops, tank tops, and cut-off shorts. But every year when the weather turns cooler, it gets harder for my sense of style to show because I am just not sure how to dress during colder months and still maintain the looks I want to achieve. I usually just end up wearing plain jeans and a T-shirt every day, and it feels a bit boring for me. Any advice on keeping my wardrobe weather appropriate, but still vibrant? My style also is kinda hip-hop/grunge/’90s, if that helps. —Vivien, 15, Charlotte, North Carolina

I just moved to Wisconsin, and I need to stay warm in the winter, but I also still want to look nice. I’m having trouble finding a super-warm coat (and other items) that will keep me warm but also don’t make me look like I’m wrapped in a sleeping bag 24/7. I’m willing to spend quite a lot of money on this, but I just don’t know where to look! —A., 18, Amsterdam/Wisconsin

The changing of the seasons doesn’t mean your style has to suffer, mah boos! You can totally wear stuff like skirts with thicker fabric, wool skirts, long-sleeved dresses, and sweater dresses. It’s all about layering. Let’s take a look at some style bloggers who live in cold climates for inspiration!

cold clothes

From left, that’s Karen from Where Did U Get That, Keiko from Keiko Lynn, and Blair from Atlantic-Pacific.

All three of these bloggers manage to look stylish even when their freezing their tushes off, in part because they accessorize with tights, high boots, and statement coats. With just a few key pieces, you’ll be just as fashionable when it’s freezing!

First up, shoes. If you find yourself trudging through snow and sludge, then a serious winter boot is a necessity. Well-made styles can be costly, but they will last you for years. Sorel makes really awesome winter boots, like these fur-lined classics, and Hunter boots, which are similar to the boots Blair is wearing above, come in different colors, like fire-engine red! If you don’t need something so weatherproof, you might try some over-the-knee suede boots like these. I also love these boots with a cute, quilted detail and these strappy ones.

Tights are one of the most important elements to stylish winter dressing. Definitely stock up on fleece-lined tights, like these or these, which are thicker and warmer than regular ones. You can also get fleece-lined leggings like this shiny version.

Now, more accessories! Make your outfit more exciting AND keep your neck warm with a scarf like this pizza one or this one that looks like ice cream cones! Keep your head covered with a pom-pom beanie or a knit beanie with kitty ears! Don’t forget some eye-catching gloves! And finally…A COAT! Look for a statement coat in a loud pattern, or a bright, solid color. And if you end up going with a standard black coat, it doesn’t have to be a bummer—it just means your accessories will be the stars of the show! Here are some ideas:

coat cllage

Clockwise from upper-left corner: Faux-fur jacket, $120, Urban Outfitters; Fur-trimmed coat, $170, Modcloth; Animal print coat, $135, ASOS; Wool-blend cape, $80, H&M; Faux-fur coat, $135.00, ShopBop; Pile-lined Parka, $60, H&M.

Stay warm! —Marie ♦