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02.09 What Not to Wear on Campus

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Say No to Sweats and Stilettos
By Kara Olson

College is a time for self-discovery. These are, four years to explore politics, cultures, religion, sexuality, and relationships. But there is one aspect of college students’ lives that is often swept under the rug, something that can make or break a first impression ~ which we all know you can’t take back.

So what is it?

It’s what you wear. Getting dressed can be such an afterthought that a college campus can wind up looking like no one has ever turned on a television, opened a magazine, or shopped anywhere besides their school’s bookstore.

Yes, everyone has a busy schedule. But having an 8 am class, pulling an all-nighter for a big exam, or being so hung over you would rather detach your head from your body are no longer acceptable excuses for looking like you were blindfolded when you stumbled into your closet that morning. There is a fine line between being comfortable and looking like a slob. Sweatpants paired with a fitted tee? Fine. Wearing a sweatshirt with leggings or skinny jeans? Sure. An entire sweat suit that does nothing for your figure and makes you look like you’re training for a marathon? Not so much.

On the other hand, there are those who try too hard. I don’t care how important your presentation is that day, curly up-dos, a full face of make-up, and stilettos for class will never fly. If you think people are making fun of you as you walk by, you’re right. You can look professional and put together without looking overdone. A solid colored pencil skirt, white button down, and ballet flats will do the trick. Plus, why would you want to waste a cute top, new heels, or that hairstyle you just perfected on a class? Wait for the weekend when more people will see you and be impressed by your style.

So how can you dress somewhere in between slob and snob? Every college girl should have a few staples in her wardrobe for her day-to-day look. She needs a button down, jeans (that fit properly), hoodie (fitted), white tee (fitted…are we seeing a pattern?), and flats. From here, incorporate accessories and trends of the moment to style up these basics. Try skinny dark jeans, a white tee, a bright cardigan sweater, and a big linen scarf. Or you could pair a button down with a pair of leggings, bold necklace, and flats. The key is to look like you just threw something together with little effort, but not to look like you just rolled out of bed.

The most important lesson to learn? Know your personal style and stick with it.

If you like to wear just a simple t-shirt and jeans, then do it! You’ll automatically look good in it because you’ll feel like yourself. And even though experimenting with different styles is good because it allows you to discover what works and what doesn’t, still keep in mind who you are. Don’t try to copy a look you would never wear just because the girl who is dating that hot guy in your accounting class wore it. It will look and feel like you’re wearing a costume.

In case you’re still worried about what to wear, here are a few DON’Ts to keep in mind

• Jeans skirts with leggings/tights
• Sweatpants with elastics at the ankles
• The outfit from the night before (people do remember)
• Wearing head-to-toe Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister
• Pajamas
• Jean jacket and jean pants (what I like to call jean jumpsuits)
• Shirts that show cleavage or your stomach
• Anything that sparkles
• Lace-trimmed tank tops
• Shirts and/or pants with words like “Hottie” or “Bad Girl” across them
• Light-washed flared jeans

It may be hard to believe these fashion crimes are still being committed, but you would be surprised. If you stay away from the items on this list, nothing you choose to wear can be that bad.

So let’s make a pact to wake up 10 minutes earlier, put a brush to that hair, turn the light on in your closet, and make 2009 a better looking year!

2 Comments

  1. “On the other hand, there are those who try too hard. I don’t care how important your presentation is that day, curly up-dos, a full face of make-up, and stilettos for class will never fly.

    The most important lesson to learn? Know your personal style and stick with it.”
    But what if my personal style is full makeup, stilettos, and lace-trimmed tank tops? What then?

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