Your College Wardrobe Shopping List – Fashion School Tips For High School Grads Entering College

Congratulations, young lady! You’ve just graduated high school and are off to college in the fall. Along with all the questions swirling in your mind about what classes to take, what clubs to join, and where to live, the ultimate question for fashionistas is “What am I going to wear?” For most students, it’s the first time they’ll be living on their own without a parent telling them how to dress in the morning.Don’t let that freedom make you think it’s okay to go to class in your sweats and flip-flops. Dressing up for college is important because you want to make a good impression with your professors; it shows you respect them. And you want to look your best just in case the future love of your life is sitting right next to you in class. So here are the wardrobe essentials you should be packing, according to our panel of fashion school experts.Jeans. They’re practically the uniform of the college student. Stock up on various washes and fits, and make sure you’ve got some skinny jeans in the pile. Don’t worry if they’re not expensive designer labels. Stores like Forever 21 and H&M sell the latest, must-have styles for not a lot of money.Dress slacks. Oh yes, you’ll want to wear pants that aren’t jeans as well. They’ll be perfect for faculty meet-and-greets, job interviews, and even church on the weekend. Stick with basic colors like black, grey or navy, in a dressier fabric like wool. Cotton trousers are fine, but should be reserved for more casual occasions.A boyfriend blazer. An adorable little boyfriend blazer is a great piece to tie your whole look together. Even if you’re wearing a tank top and jeans, donning a blazer over it will make you look quite fashionable. And the more relaxed look of the boyfriend blazer will go with most of your wardrobe. A show of hands with our fashion school panel also suggests that professors might take you more seriously and give you better grades when you wear one now and then.Dresses. We’re not talking ball gowns here, or even a Little Black Dress (though that’s always nice). Get a few simple jersey dresses in various solids or fun florals. You’ll find them to be some of the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe, great for both going to class and going on dates.Tee shirts. Just when you thought our fashion school experts were going to get all fancy on you, along comes the good ol’ t-shirt. Let’s face it, if you’re going to college, you have to have them. The graphic tee is a fashion essential, while ringer tees have that college flair. You may also want to get a t-shirt with your college logo, but wait until you get on campus to see what other students are wearing. Sometimes only freshmen buy logo wear, and you don’t want to stick out as a newbie.
Cute tops. Sure, you’ll have t-shirts, but a few dressier tops will add flexibility in your wardrobe. Basics like button-down shirts, in white, blue or pink, are also great wardrobe staples.Sweaters. Try to have at least one cardigan, great for layering over tank tops and blouses, and one warm, fluffy crewneck to keep you cozy during those all-night study jams. Of course, it goes without saying that every college student owns five sweatshirts to every sweater, but it’s always nice to have the option.A coat. Depending on where you go to college, you will need some kind of coat. Students on the west coast can get away with a lightweight jacket, but remember that even in warm Southern California, evenings can get pretty chilly. If you’re going to college on the east coast, or most of the middle of the country, it goes without saying that you’re going to need a heavy jacket. Try coats with a Thinsulate lining for less bulk, so you don’t look like an Eskimo.Flat shoes. You’re not going to have a lot of time running between classes, so a pair of flats will be easier on your feet than flip-flops. Classic sneakers like All-Stars are also a good footwear choice. And topsiders are back in a big way, so if your look is preppy, go for this quintessential boat shoe.Our panel recognizes that, outside of a fashion school, the typical college student is going to wear shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops all year long. But you should dress better than that because college is a place to grow up, not regress into childhood. In which case, we may have to make your mom move in with you. And that wouldn’t be pretty.