In college, you’re not just a student—you’re a businesswoman, a leader, an academic, a social butterfly. We found appropriate outfits for each occasion, so you can focus on showing off your personality, no matter where you are.
Situation: Meeting with a professor
Hopefully your interaction with instructors won’t be limited to a lecture hall. Maybe you’re meeting up to discuss a research proposal, exam or interesting idea from class, butthey are still your professors outside of class. Show that you respect their time and position by looking put-together.
You don’t need to dress like you would for a business meeting, but it’s also not the time to roll out of bed in your sweats. Wear your typical casual clothes and throw in a fancier piece—swap your T-shirt for a feminine blouse, substitute a cardigan for your college hoodie, or wear nice flats instead of Uggs, sandals or sneakers. Stores like Gap, Uniqlo and J. Crew are great places to find classic, logo-free items.
Situation: Frat or house party
Weekends on college campuses are always buzzing with social events. Depending on your personal preferences and campus nightlife scene, you may find yourself at a fraternity party on Friday night. Focus on looking relaxed, yet classy. Getting dressed up is a great chance to indulge your inner fashionista, but don’t forget about comfort—parties can be hot and crowded, with a high likelihood of spilled drinks.
The goal is more “going out” than “going to class,” but keep it casual and comfy. You’ll appreciate flat shoes after a long night of walking, standing and dancing. Jeans with a cute top is a foolproof combination—add a statement accessory to stand out. An added benefit: jean pockets are a great place to tuck essentials so you don’t need to worry about misplacing your purse. Fast-fashion retailers like H&M and Forever 21 stock many affordable and trendy options. Look there for accessories, or check out dedicated stores like Nine West.
Situation: Job interview
Even as a college student, there will be times when you need to look professional. Whether you’re interviewing for an internship, part-time job or club executive position, appearance matters, so show that you mean business with your attire.
Remember to bring a suit or business separates from home for these situations. If you don’t have these pieces, consider purchasing them. They are staples that you will need eventually and the investment is worth it. Black is always a safe and effective color. Depending on the industry and position you’re interviewing for, you can add character to your outfit through by combining classic accessories. For instance, you can wear a black blazer over a blouse and skirt or even a fitted dress as long as you stick with darker or neutral colors. Generally speaking, keep your outfit business-like. Save your stilettos for the weekend, and wear kitten heels or black flats. Great places to shop for business apparel are Club Monaco, Banana Republic and Zara.
Situation: Semi-formal dance
As a nice change from the typical dance party, your college may host semiformal dances for club events or major holidays.
The dress code isn’t too different from a high school semi-formal. A little black dress is a must-have item since it’s classic, simple and you can always dress it up or down with accessories. If you want to stand out from the crowd, go for a cocktail dress in a bold color or with eye-catching detailing. Just be sure to bring a few options to school with you since you might not be able to find many formal clothes in your college town. Watch your heel height as well—make sure they won’t keep you from dancing the night away. As always, statement accessories are the way to make a look your own. Caché and BCBG are known for their cocktail dress options. For more affordable alternatives, try department stores as they tend to have a large selection.
Last modified: April 4, 2010