The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Fashion by Felicia

Felicia Caponigri | Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fashion, as we know, takes many forms. There are so many styles, labels, designers and trends to make us run mad. There is, however, one universal element of fashion — it is a non-verbal, visual language. No matter what you wear, your clothes communicate what is important to you and what you hold most dear. Here at Notre Dame, there’s one activity that drives our tradition more than any other — football. While we may be saying farewell to tailgates, pep rallies and cheers until next season, there’s no reason we can’t carry football’s importance to us on our sleeves, literally. What though the odds be great or small, wearing plaid in memory of the Irish Guard, gold pants in honor of our awesome players and military jackets inspired by our band can win over all. So, let’s cheer for old Notre Dame and wake up the fashionista’s echoes cheering her name, while our loyal style-setting spirits go fashionably marching onward to our own life’s victories.

Kelly Green

There’s more than one way to go green. Plan an ensemble around this “Go Irish” color, and you’ll make more than just the Boston College fans green with envy.


The football jersey has evolved over time. The different phases involved decorative stripes on the arms, as well as the classic number on the jersey. Work a jersey-inspired sweater with an unexpected fringe skirt, and you’ll make college a whole new playing field.

Elbow Patches

In the early years of football, circa 1900, the only upper-body protection was elbow patches. Although our football players have upped the padding, the original has become a fashion classic. Move over upcoming finals, you’re ready to make your own tackle. 


Call your own shots in an outfit inspired by a referee’s uniform. No one will contest your calls. 

Blue and Gold

Make the Fighting Irish’s colors an inspiration for your daily study look. In an outfit like this, how could you not take your own academic game to the next level?

Irish Guard Plaid

The Irish Guard makes us swoon. Wear a plaid skirt, and if you’re feeling adventurous, add a black fur hat. In this look, the crowds will part just for you.

Cheerleader Spirit

Who says cheerleading can’t be done off the field? A pleated miniskirt gives a cheerleader’s extra kick to your everyday ensemble.

Gold Pants

Who says only football players can flatter their figures with metallic on the bottom? In gold pants, you’ll have all eyes on your very own academic plays.

Marching Band

Lapels, gold buttons and a military-inspired cut? You don’t have to play an instrument to rock this look.

Gold Helmets

Who says only the players are worthy of iconic headgear? Gild yourself in a metallic beanie and a gold scarf.Gold Scarf: JC Penny, $16.99

Gold Beanie: JC Penny: $14.99



The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Fashion by Felicia

Felicia Caponigri | Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This fashionista has a confession to make: I own a pair of yoga pants. Shocking, I know, but I am human (although in most fashion boutiques I feel Divine, but that’s another column). I try not to call too much attention to them in the hopes of one day redeeming myself in my inevitable future meeting with Anna Wintour, but there’s no hiding it.

As the weather turns colder, they taunt me with their comfort and warmth. I stare at them like a style jet-setter adrift in a fashion desert, desperately seeking an oasis of ready-to-wear bliss. These deranged hallucinations highlight a problematic type of fashion interpretation: all or nothing. Often we feel as though we can’t be simultaneously casual and dressy, comfortable and elegant.

We are either in our finest clothes, longingly dreaming of the yoga pant aphrodisiac, or we are in yoga pants and other comfortable, sportive gear (think your favorite old t-shirt, or overused sweatshirt) without a care for how unpresentable we really look. Think Anne Hathaway in “The Devil Wears Prada,” dressed in her headband and sweatshirt after a day at Runway. Now think of her full Runway get-up. You see what I mean.

It’s as though we fashionistas are dealing with our own Robert Louis Stevenson complex: Dr. Sport and Ms. Luxury. However, we are living in the 21st century. If ever there was a generation that could combine two dueling personas into one without forsaking any style desires, it’s ours. Recently, our London counterparts have blazed a trail to help us solve this very real style challenge. Enter SportLuxe.

SportLuxe is a way of dressing that combines your finest luxury wear with those ever loved and oft-derided yoga pants. The main mission of the style movement is this: Wear the yoga pants and every other precious comfortable item in your closet, just not all together. Say you want to wear your yoga pants ⎯ go ahead, but pair them with a nice sweater and a suit blazer.

Keep the shoes comfortable (tennis shoes, boots), but don’t go for the obvious choice. Pick the odd shoe out. Maybe they’re those pink Converse you’ve been dying to wear, or the green high-tops stashed in the back of your closet. Play with volume. Pair your favorite hooded sweatshirt with a down vest, adding jeans and a pair of killer shoes. Ladies, grab those stilettos ⎯ why not?

Accessorizing is key here too. Unless you want a Nicki Minaj (although she was recently front and center at Versace for H&M) or 50 Cent look, leave the sparkly stuff in your jewelry box. But do go big, and add touches of fur (faux or not, and as the weather suggests) wherever you can.

The best part about this trend is its unisex factor. Incorporate your boyfriend’s sweatshirt into the look. Gentlemen, get a great parka with a touch of fur yourself and show the women how it’s really done. Note to all, however, leggings and other pajama inspired gear does not apply. Treat the structure of this ensemble as you would a job interview outfit and you’ll be good to go.

At this rate, I might just incorporate those yoga pants into my next Swiss Alps chalet ensemble. Well, a fashionista can dream, right?

Contact Felicia Caponigri at [email protected]


The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Fashion by Felicia

Felicia Caponigri | Sunday, November 6, 2011

Life is a jungle.


While C.S. Lewis and Rudyard Kipling may have mentioned this fine metaphor in their own literary works, we fashionistas need only the inspiration of Fashion’s First Woman to find the kernel of truth in this phrase taken up even by the likes of Guns n’ Roses. Without Eve, the first woman to ever accessorize and take up the mantra ‘dress yourself’ with gusto, it is doubtful we would spend as much time as we do on our own passion for fashion.


Blessed in our very own Garden of Eden, we Notre Dame students are attempting to prepare for the jungle of life that lies beyond a du Lac diploma, and as Eve so poignantly displayed, no entrance into the great big world can truly be effective without proper attire (although note today the inclusion of fig leaves into one’s ensemble is entirely one’s own personal prerogative). In this contemporary Garden of Eden, like Eve, we too have pesky snakes driving us to our very own apples that threaten to ruin our paradise existence.


Some reptilian thoughts of doubt come to mind: “Walking up or down the Main Building staircase shouldn’t affect my graduation prospects because I was in heels, right?” “Is there enough popcorn left in Coleman-Morse to drown my latest fashion sorrows?” “The Starbucks line is a legitimate excuse for class tardiness, isn’t it?”


Unlike Eve, we 21st century fashion lovers are privy to a fashion accessory that combats juicy apples, and most importantly their snake purveyor, better than Fashion’s First Woman herself could ever have imagined. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and when there’s really no other way to beat them? Just wear them. Bonjour, cher snakeskin!


Part of exotic materials used as the hallmarks of high fashion brand creations, the use of real snakeskin is seen by many (including PETA enthusiasts and Reese Witherspoon) as endangering the snake population. Whichever ideology you follow, snakeskin is now used as a general pattern by most clothing lines, and is also manufactured in faux materials (so simply check before you purchase).


In any event, the snake motif has been emboldening fashionistas for centuries. First with Cleopatra, then charming turn of the century Louis Vuitton travel luggage customers. In the 1970s, the material staged a coup in the United States, inundating the popular fashion imagination on cowboy boots and belts, allying the fabric with the attitude of Western explorers ready to battle any rattlesnake that came their way.


The key to accessorizing snakeskin is to make it the key piece of your outfit. Depending on the color of the snakeskin pattern on a top, for example, (green, brown, etc) choose a monotone color pant or skirt. Snakeskin bags add an exotic factor to a simple jeans and T-shirt outfit, or can complement an evening look of high heels and killer LBD. If desirous to match multiple snakeskin patterns, stay in the same color palette.  Whatever you do, have no doubts when wearing this killer pattern.


This fall, as it turns out, skin is in.