What Four Years at College Has Taught Me About Fashion

Shannon Walsh is a senior at Georgetown University. She originally started university at NYU where she pursued a BFA in acting. After transferring to Georgetown, she decided to pursue a BA in Economics, and a minor in Sociology.

After spending four years at two very different universities, one notably artistic and the other on the preppy side, I’ve finally unearthed the must-know facts about college fashion. And while your outfits may not be as important as the people you meet and the classes you take, I can attest to the fact that they have a funny way of dictating how you approach school and the world that follows it.
As a freshman, I was under the impression that socializing went hand in hand with wearing short skirts, high heels, and enough make-up for three people. After all, everyone else did it, why wouldn’t I? Even in twenty-degree weather, I would parade around the streets of New York with shoes that would get stuck in sewers and shirts that exposed a bit more belly than was appropriate. These kinds of clothes not only failed to attract the attention of the people I hoped to interest, but they were absurdly uncomfortable.
By my sophomore year, I’d grown out of the phase a bit. I realized that I loved cowboy boots and vintage clothing. I started collecting shirts and skirts in thrift stores in Montana and other areas of the mid-west I visited each year. These items slowly worked themselves into my outfits—at first, I’d throw in a cool bracelet with an otherwise very conventional ensemble, but over time, I started adding my own flare to things. The best part of all of this was that I learned how to rock a super comfortable pair of bohemian pants with a pair of equally-as-comfortable high-heeled boots that I could wear out on a weekend night. Simple. Fun. Comfy.
Since then, I’ve adopted a fashion-sense that would definitely be considered out-of-reach for my freshman self. I go to bars in jean shorts, boots, and a plain black T-shirt, while other people are struggling to get up the bar steps in their Jimmy Choos. And low and behold, these are the nights that I receive the most compliments for my clothing. Sure, it’s fun to dress up every now and then, but being comfortable and wearing something you feel defines you will ultimately be the better option.
The secret to the fashion world in college is to wear you comfortably, effortlessly, and with confidence. There is no point in venturing into “mainstream” fashion if it doesn’t fit you- not only will you be physically uncomfortable, but you’ll shy away from people knowing you’re not in something that’s really you. Four years at school have taught me a lot when it comes to the world of academia, the kinds of friendships I value, and the things I want to pursue after graduating. And when it comes to the type of person I am and the things I like to wear, four years have taught me that there is no silly ensemble of clothing. There is nothing that is wrong to wear, or immature to wear—so long as you can strut your stuff with confidence and ease, your college experience will that much more smooth and enjoyable.

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