Five-step guide to college fashion

Incoming freshman: there’s no sugar-coating it—you’ve got it tough. Meeting new friends, learning the layout of a new city and trying to remember which class happens on which day—all while dealing with moving away from family, friends and comfort—can be one of life’s most difficult experiences. But, don’t worry, every single person on the UW-Madison campus has been through it already and survived. Before you know it, new friends will become old, unfamiliar territory will become your favorite study spot and classes will begin to fall into place. The only area left to master is finding your killer college style.

Avoid sweats at all costs

Sweatpants and/or other cozy bottoms may feel like the right way to go, especially in the dead of freezing Madison winters. But, what will happen when you curl up in a seat in Humanities, the room beginning to look more like a bedroom than a classroom? Wearing real bottoms will not only make you look like you’re prepared for the day, but they’ll make you feel the part as well.

Dry shampoo is your friend

Now, I’m not condoning staying out late on a school night, but sometimes, life can be unpredictable. Especially during freshman year. FOMO is real—and it’ll probably cause you to miss showering every so often, whether it’s because you stayed out too late or needed an extra hour to snooze. Whatever the reason, pick up a bottle of dry shampoo to help you out in those sticky situations. It can take a greasy mop to hair care commercial standards in no time.

Comfort goes a long way in shoe choices

When you’ve got a jam-packed day of class, work, organizations and dorm floor bonding time ahead of you, you’re going to want a pair of kicks that will take you from activity to activity without suffocating your feet. As much as you may want to strut your stuff in a new pair of heeled boots or loose sandals, you will soon see that campus is not very forgiving when it comes to walking. Do yourself a favor and invest in supportive shoes. Save the stilettos for senior year—that is, if you’ve learned the layout of campus by then.

Layer, layer, layer

After the first semester of your college career, it will probably be obvious that classroom temperatures vary as much as the world’s climates. Your 8:50 lecture may be as hot as the desert, but fast forward to 11 and you’re shivering while taking notes. Although it may seem bulky and, let’s face it, a little extra to carry around a couple layers, it can make an important difference in your focus during class. When your body is at a normal temperature, your brain can function adequately.

Express your own unique personality

All that being said, college is, as cliche as it sounds, the perfect time to express yourself. Use your personal style to make a statement about who you are. One of the best ways to meet new friends is through wearing clothes that represent your interests. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. College is the place to experience your potential. 

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