Kieran is a recent graduate of NYU’s Film/TV program who hails from the Los Angeles area. He enjoys writing about a number of different things: fashion, movies, sports, video games, and everything in between. When he isn’t writing for Admitopia, you can find him freelance editing, taking actor headshots, or eating burritos
Part of the appeal of coming to college is finding out who you really are. It’s a journey of self-discovery under the guise of partying and education (but mostly partying), and a large part of that is finding a style that works for you. I came from the suburbs and moved to college in New York City, so I had a lot of style-growing to do very quickly.
I found that there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that you look great and are ready for any scenario. To save you the anguish of learning the hard way by showing up to a party in yesterday’s underwear, I’d like to share them with you:
1. Buy clothes that fit.
One of the big things that happens for a lot of people coming to college is that their bodies change. Whether it’s gaining or losing the freshman 15, a lot of people have different physiques than they did in high school, and so it’s important that your clothes look like they’re yours and not your older brother’s. Words like “slimming” and “trim” are really just synonyms for “it fits,” so maybe your favorite pants from 8th grade just shouldn’t come with you to college.
2. Start with the basics.
James Dean was the original sexiest man alive, and he did it in a plain white shirt and a pair of jeans. Things like solid tops and dark-wash jeans are really great beginning wardrobe pieces because they go with a lot of different things, and they are easy to layer: if you want to try out a new sweater that you like, it’s helpful if your clothes that you have can accommodate your new purchases.
3. Notice styles that you like (and don’t like).
A really important and often overlooked part of wearing cool clothes is identifying the clothes that you think cool. Maybe you like the look of a longer dress than you’re used to wearing, or a brand of jacket that you haven’t heard of; being aware of what you like is huge. But the converse is also true: if you see a style that either doesn’t work or just doesn’t feel like you, cross it off the list. Your roommate can be a great place to start. If they have something that you like the look of (and it fits), ask them to borrow it, see if it strikes a chord with you.
4. Dress for the occasion.
Have you ever shown up to a party in a T-shirt only to find that everyone else is in jackets and ties? That’s the reason to make sure that you have at least one outfit that you would be comfortable wearing to a fancy restaurant. Knowing what the dress code for an occasion is always the first step in picking out an outfit. Whether it’s a pantsuit or a football jersey, you should always tailor your outfit to where you’re going and who is going to be there. And, if in doubt, overdress; everyone looks good in a suit.
5. Wear clothes that you like.
It’s easy to get caught up in what’s trendy or what all your friends are wearing, but the most important thing about finding your style is making sure that you like what you wear. Your style is an extension of you—even if your favorite thing is head to toe tye-dye, you’re better off wearing that and feeling great than wearing what you think you should and feeling like a robot. The reason we like looking good is because it makes us feel good, and makes us more confident in ourselves.
So there you have it. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a good starting point. Finding a style that works for you is a key part of figuring out who you are: whether you’re a skirt girl, or a cardigan guy, there’s a style out there that looks good and works for everyone – you just have to find it.