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Ask A Chicago Expert: Fashion-Forward Thinking For Spring 2016

Not everyone has a natural sense of style. For some people, trying to tap into what's trendy and "now" in fashion is about as challenging as algebra to a great deal of the population. Fortunately, there are some people out there who have a knack for knowing what looks great and how to attain that perfect fashion-savvy look. Elise Giannasi, author of the personal style blog Belle Meets World, is one of those individuals with fashion pizzazz, and she's here to help us all to know what's hot in fashion and how to acquire a great look.

Elise Giannasi
(Photo Credit:

Elise Giannasi
Belle Meets World
Chicago, IL.

Giannasi started her fashion blog has a simple hobby, and now it's grown into something that is both helpful to so many others and fulfilling on a personal level. "I never imagined I could have an impact on anyone in this arena, though I'd had friends and colleagues asking me for style and beauty advice for years and years. With that comes responsibility, though. People look to me as their expert, so I always want to make sure I am giving them honest advice," she explained.

Originally from very fashionable New York, Giannasi arrived in Chicago as a self-described "snobby New Yorker," but quickly discovered that the Windy City is no slouch in that area either.

"Chicago has a fantastic style scene with tons of bloggers and stylish women who aren't afraid to wear the latest trends or to put themselves together from head to toe. I was so pleasantly surprised by that when I moved here...I was wrong, and humbled. Chicago girls got style," she said.

By maintaining her blog and contributing to additional fashion blogs in the city, Giannasi receives a great deal of feedback on her posts. And although she truly enjoys learning that her readers respect her opinions and will try a style or particular product that she recommended in her blog, she also welcomes opposing views and treats them as an opportunity to grow and remain open-minded.

"I've learned and grown the most when I've been challenged. It's uncomfortable, but helpful." And as for what's in store for Giannasi in the new year, she's planning on shifting the focus of her writing slightly to be more instructional. She wants to offer her readers suggestions for not only the current trends, but tips that work well all year long. A passionate advocate for women, she looks forward to helping more women in the workplace, and offering tips on how to create and maintain an executive presence.

Let's take a look at Elise Giannasi's top tips for fashion-forward thinking for this coming spring.

Trend To Keep

What to keep and what to purge from the closet? For most of us, it's a mystery. But here are some hints in regards to what items you'll want to hang on to according to the Belle Meets World blogger. The biggest trend is coord sets and jumpsuits, she advises. "Throwing on one of these outfits is so easy and instantly chic. It can also be quite slimming to dress monochromatically from head to toe, so I recommend choosing one in a solid color. A soft blue or buttery yellow is what I'll be looking for myself. If you don't want to buy a new jumpsuit or coord set, take yours from last season into spring by adding a pair of breezy wedges and a flowy scarf."

Trend To Buy

And now for something new! A trend to buy in on is flare pants. "I'm really excited about the return of the flare because it helps to balance out the proportions of your lower body. If you're a gal with hips like me, skinny jeans can draw attention to your widest parts — I love them, but they are tricky to master. A nicely cut pair of flared jeans or trousers, on the other hand, adds length by drawing the eye towards your feet. When shopping for flares, look for a pair that fits snuggly at the hips and allows you to tuck in a top. Avoid billowy tops and opt for a lightweight tee to keep the lines slim on the rest of your body. Let the flares be the star of the show! Add a pair of killer platform sandals, and you're golden!"

Colors To Try

Ever feel lost regarding what color is hot during a particular season? "It drives me nuts when the color of the moment is a wacky pastel shade that flatters no one and can only be worn for a few months. Not so this spring!" exclaims Giannasi. "This season, I recommend experimenting with a fresh take on all your neutrals. Instead of navy, use powder blue as a go-to shade. Try enhancing your tans and whites with metallics like rose gold and silver. And finally, ditch the black for a muted gray. Though neutrals can be boring, you'll feel light and airy in these alternative styles. And you'll be able to wear them season upon season — excellent!"

Related: Best Places For Office Wear In Chicago


And there are few things that top off a look better than makeup, and Giannasi is here with some beauty tips as well. "Beauty: Blush! Blush! Blush! I saw it all over the runways for spring and was psyched because blush is my favorite makeup item. Many women avoid blush because it often looks unnatural, but I think it adds a youthful glow and playfulness to any face. The key is to blend, blend, blend — and then blend again. This spring, instead of playing with different shades of lipstick or eye-shadow, I recommend trying different shades of blush to go with your outfits. If you wear a pale yellow, orange or gold look, opt for a bronze or peachy shade of blush. Match your pink and purple tops and dresses to a soft rosy or lavender blush. Blue clothing looks good with most blush colors, so you can get a little adventurous!"


What to wear with what you're wearing? It's not as simple or fun for some as it is for others. But Giannasi is here to help. "This season, I predict a focus on hair embellishments — particularly bows and colorful jewels to accentuate your tresses. What I love about hair accessories is that they can be worn on all lengths of hair — from short pixie cuts to super long locks — so no one will be left out from this trend this season! On shorter hair, try wearing a metal barrette in the shape of bow to hold a few pieces of hair off to the side. On longer hair, tie a ribbon around a pony tail. And for dressy occasions, a vintage jeweled brooch can be tucked into an up-do."

Related: Best Places To Buy Men's Dress Socks In Chicago

Soon after earning her BA in journalism, Melanie Falina began writing about one of the loves of her life - music. Since then, she's covered some of the biggest names in music, in addition to writing on an array of other topics as well. She has written for Black Belt magazine, KISS: The Official Authorized Quarterly Magazine, Examiner,, Yahoo Voices, and more, and was editor for Don Lemmon's KNOW HOW Book Three, Refuse To Fail. Melanie is also a poet with six published collections of poetry available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and various establishments.

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