When Danielle Tomson ’12 walked into my “International History” class on the first day of the semester, I noted her use of bold red lipstick in conjunction with black skinny jeans, black leather boots and a wonderful black military coat. This girl was anything but funerary in her New York uniform, and I made sure to survey her outfits over the coming weeks.

I was never disappointed. Tomson’s modern twists on classic ’40s coquettish style were welcome departures from typical college-vintage. She mixes the frilly and the menswear, the chic and the grungy, all the while producing a knockout look every time.

Pictured here is my favorite Tomson outfit. She is sporting black suede flats, basic black spandex leggings, an oversized menswear button-down, a huge zebra-print scarf and classic sunglasses — when I first saw this, I was confused about whether I was in class at Yale or in Katherine Hepburn’s closet. The outfit combines elegance and comfort, boyfriend-tee comfort.

“I like to think about how fashion reflects economics. Pairing a businessman’s shirt with cashmere and vintage frames evokes a sense of classic yet eclectic style in times of economic hardship,” she said.

Tomson knows that the secret to any good getup is the ability to sport one high-quality item with a very simple one. After all, anyone who looks like a walking mannequin for the labels of Bergdorf Goodman should only be found on “Sex and the City” or “Lipstick Jungle.”

Can you work Tomson’s look? Try it: Pair an oversized shirt with skinny bottoms. Don’t be afraid to embellish by adding a patterned something or other. Spice it up with some bright, but tasteful, red lipstick. And never fear, because vintage will always be here. As Ms. Tomson teaches us, the lesson for this spring is simple: Go Big or go home.