I have a confession to make: for the past 13 years, I’ve put way too much effort into my back-to-school wardrobe.
I used to view each year as a time to start fresh -— I had a free pass to change up my style and, of course, do some serious shopping. This year, however, everything is different. Long treks across campus and 8 a.m. classes make me less excited to don the heels and lipstick I might have reached for in high school.
Still, I’m determined not to show up for class each day looking as if I just came from the rec. As I figure out how to balance my love of fashion with my love of comfort, I’ve come up with a few tips for rocking the disheveled college student look without completely abandoning your sartorial standards.
In the week and a half I’ve been on campus, I’ve managed to acquire approximately 3,000 MU-branded T-shirts. Although it’s tempting to throw on a T-shirt and Nike shorts and call it an outfit, try to set your standards just a tad higher. If you like the preppy look, T-shirts look great tucked into cuffed shorts with a statement belt. If you’re set on skirts, anything in flowy cotton or jersey will be casual enough to complement a tee, yet still far cuter than what you might wear running.
Now that shirts are covered, I’m willing to bet that you’re housing at least a couple of pairs of sweats next to your drawer of MU spirit wear. Sure, sweats may seem like the logical dress code for your ridiculously early chem class (after all, everyone else will be too sleepy to care, you reason). Instead, try out a pair of leggings. I know, I know, leggings may seem like an equally lazy outfit choice, but they allow for much more versatility than sweats. With sweats, your top options are limited to T-shirts and tanks (I have yet to see anyone pull off a fancier top with something so baggy), but leggings paired with a long blouse or a slouchy sweater manage to look stylish and still be super comfy.
If you’re going to give leggings a try though, keep these two rules in mind: first, leggings are not meant to be pants. Adjust the length of your tops accordingly. Second, make sure your go-to pairs are appropriately opaque. Your classmates and professors will appreciate that you come to class fully clothed.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges of picking out an outfit when you really don’t want to be awake is figuring out a color scheme. A popular solution to this problem seems to involve buying out the apparel section of the bookstore. Like I said, school spirit is great. But at the same time, remind yourself that black and gold are not the only colors in the rainbow. Yes, it may take you a little longer to match your clothes if you’re working with more than two colors, but your style will be immediately distinguishable from the majority of campus. And let’s be real, that searing MU goldenrod really doesn’t flatter anyone’s skin tone.
No matter how you choose to dress for these first few weeks of classes, remember that style is all about details. It’s easy to elevate a haphazardly assembled outfit by throwing on a few carefully selected accessories. Glasses can be an excellent way to inject instant personal style into an otherwise boring outfit, and as an added bonus, you get to skip the step of struggling with contacts on that morning you slept through your alarm.
Wearing a signature necklace or bracelet can also add interest to just about any look, and having a few unique pairs of shoes in your collection will give your outfits versatility even if you find yourself gravitating toward the same few clothing items day after day. Leave your wedges and any shoes you have yet to break in at home though —- for the first few days of classes when you’re still fleshing out your schedule, you’ll be happy to have shoes in which you can easily walk.