When I was younger, I would spend the last few weeks of summer trying to get my outfit for the first day of school just right. Elementary school often required frilly dresses that my mother picked out with shiny, patent shoes I loved to clack around in. As I grew, dresses graduated to skirts and then finally to the timeless jeans-and-tee combo. But no matter how effortless the look was meant to be, days went into planning it.
Flash forward to the first day of classes in college, and I’m still planning my outfits from head to toe. There’s nothing that gives classmates and professors a better sense of who you are than the clothing you wear the first time you meet them. Your outfit should accurately reflect who you are as a person, and with the following tips you’ll be well on your way to the coolest kid in class.
Dress for comfort
There’s nothing worse than seeing someone in a killer outfit that looks like it’s actually on the verge of killing them, so always make sure you feel good in the clothing you wear. If you’re the kind of girl who can throw on a pair of six inch heels without flinching all day, more power to you. But if you’re like me and your feet start screaming at you after one minute of wearing them, flats might be a better option. Either way, when you feel good in what you wear, you exude confidence and everyone can sense it.
While a streamlined, professional look is never a bad idea, there is a limit to how dressy you should be. Most college classes are a very casual environment, and your clothing should reflect that. Unless it’s a requirement to go for a business casual vibe, why not swap that pencil skirt for some skinny jeans and sandals? You become much more approachable when your style appears low-maintenance.
Don’t be sloppy
On the other end of the fashion spectrum, your outfit shouldn’t be so casual that it looks like you just rolled out of bed and left. I know there can be days when the allure of sweatpants is just too strong to resist, but those should be few and far between. When you don’t put in the effort to look presentable, it can be seen by professors as laziness that would translate to your schoolwork. A pair of comfortable, worn-in jeans with a solid T-shirt often gives me just as much comfort as my sweatpants, and I can even throw on a scarf to dress it up a little more. There are always comfortable, while still stylish, options.
Show off your personality
When you dress in plain clothing, it becomes very difficult for those around you to read you as a person — they might even label you as boring just because of what you wear. Injecting a healthy dose of personality into every outfit you assemble is the best thing you can do to let everyone else know how great you are. If you like cats, why not throw on a cutoff swimming in cat faces? Or if you’re obsessed with anything vintage, wear that awesome skirt you found at the thrift store. No matter what your personal style is, there’s always a way to let others know who you are before you even open your mouth.
These are just a loose set of guidelines to help you get started in your quest for the perfect outfit for the first day of classes, but the fast-paced fashion world is constantly changing, and who knows if these will stick for very long. There’s really only one rule you truly need to follow for style success: you do you.