College fashion dos and don’ts

By Emily Merlino

With ever-present papers, exams and OWLs, college students often feel like there’s no time to worry about fashion. However, it doesn’t have to take an hour to pick a cute and appropriate outfit for the day. By following some simple dos and don’ts of college fashion, you might just become a fashion star on campus.

Hannah Cohen/Collegian

Do shop thriftily

The Amherst area has a few excellent thrift stores. Don’t be afraid to scour Goodwill or the Salvation Army for unique secondhand pieces. It may take some serious digging, but sometimes you can find an amazing, irreplaceable piece that you can actually afford on a college student’s budget.

Do dress uniquely

Too often, college students get stuck in a homogenous rut of baseball caps and t-shirts. You don’t have to have a trademark look, but you can find a way to make yourself stand out by adding a unique item to your outfit every day. Some people wear flowers for every outfit.By developing a style that’s singularly yours, you’ll foster a distinctive fashion identity that you’re comfortable and happy with.

Do wear party dresses

Semi-formal party dresses don’t just have to be reserved for Friday night. Paired with a cardigan, boots, and a belt, a formerly formal party dress can be transformed into a beautiful everyday outfit.

Do wear UMass apparel

School pride is good! It’s always a nice feeling to see students walking around representing UMass, and there are tons of cute clothing items (in more colors than just maroon and gray) available online or at the campus bookstore.

Do wear leggings

Yes, leggings as a substitute for jeans generally shouldn’t be done, but pairing leggings with a tunic, oversized shirt, dress or skirt looks fantastic and effortlessly casual. Leggings are the most comfortable, versatile and easy clothing item in the world, and every college girl should own multiple pairs.

Black should be the main color, and a couple of pairs of black leggings belong in everyone’s dresser – but fun prints like floral and “galactic” have been popping up all over and would make great additions to your wardrobe. However, as a caveat, if a shirt doesn’t cover the butt, then jeans should be worn instead of leggings.

Don’t wear high heels

Although there’s no way they’re even close to comfortable enough to wear all day around UMass’ hilly campus, espadrilles and kitten heels are adorable for late spring and summer. Six-inch patent leather pumps, on the other hand, are neither necessary nor nearly as cute as you think they are. Unless you have a job interview in five minutes or your shift is coming up at the topless bar downtown, there is absolutely no reason to trek to Communication 101 in heels made for the red carpet of a porn convention.

Don’t wear pajamas

We all know Aerie makes some adorable cloud-print pajama bottoms, but save them for the dorm. The idea of getting dressed for an 8 a.m. class fills all our hearts with dread, yes, but that is still no reason to wear your favorite pig-print footie pajamas to class or even the dining commons. It isn’t ironic, funny or cute – it’s lazy and kind of sad. It’s really not that hard to pull on a pair of sweatpants, leggings or jeans.

Don’t wear Uggs

As we’ve all been told time and time again, these shouldn’t be worn at any time. But if you insist on owning a pair, at least have the decency not to commit the most heinous crime in college fashion: Uggs and shorts. Wearing these in combination reveals that you are not only confused and unable to read a weather report, but you are still wearing a pair of Uggs, universally recognized as the ugliest, most laughable brand of boots ever made.

Don’t wear Crocs

You can’t mention ugly shoes without mentioning Crocs. Luckily, these haven’t made a huge splash on campus this year, probably because everyone realized how God-awful ugly they are, but they deserve to be mentioned anyways. There is absolutely no outfit these can possibly go with besides maybe your plastic trash bag reserved for weekend dumpster diving. And for the love of God, never, ever decorate Crocs with pins or ribbons. This just draws more attention to the fact that you indeed have a pair of Crocs on your feet.

Don’t wear running shoes

Even if you’re headed to the gym right after class, there’s still no reason why you can’t simply carry a pair in your backpack instead of wearing a pair of intense running shoes with your cute skirt and cardigan. Pairing running shoes with a casual everyday outfit doesn’t look athletic, it just looks downright silly.

Don’t wear sweatpants with flip-flops

This isn’t as offensive as it is just plan sloppy. These are two uber-casual clothing items that shouldn’t really be worn separately in public, let alone combined. As a general rule, if it’s cold enough to wear sweatpants, it’s not warm enough to wear flip-flops.

Don’t wear socks with flip-flops

Come on.

Emily Merlino can be reached at [email protected]