How to Stand Out on Campus

By Ashley Beam

Standing out on a campus as large as the University of Massachusetts can seem impossible. With tens of thousands of students tightly packed into a campus that can’t even house them all, it’s easy for a student’s style to seem run-of-the-mill next to so many people. And yet, standing out against the massive crowds can be simple, regardless of your personal style or body type.


Starting with the way you carry yourself, an outfit can be subtle but get all the stares. Take a look at your favorite accessories: maybe a headband or a few pieces of jewelry. Now, look in your closet. You want something comfortable and casual with a touch of cute. Now let’s begin.

Making a statement is typically easier when you dress the way you feel. For example, take a simple outfit such as skinny jeans and a white t-shirt. Is the t-shirt a little baggy? No matter — roll the sleeves up to a cropped length and consider tying the bottom of the shirt for a more fitted, personalized look. Are your jeans too “simple” for you today? Roll the ankles up to a length you like, whether it’s simply a small and subtle cuff at the end of the legs or turning your jeans into capris. The “base” layer of your outfit is complete.

Depending on how you style your hair for the day, a headband or beanie is great for a casual and comfortable day out on campus. If it’s raining outside, or if it’s just a bad hair day, or even if you were in too much of a rush to wash your hair this morning, a top-knot or sock bun are simple solutions to hide the problem. If you’re unsure about how to accomplish these styles, a YouTube search will result in numerous easy-to-follow tutorials. Headpieces and headbands look great with these hairstyles, but it’s your choice — one is not needed to rock the bun look.

If the sun is out and it’s a good hair day, hiding your hair with a beanie or headband is not the way to go, unless you prefer accessorizing your outfit of the day with one of the two. Usually, a sunny day seems fit for a bouncy, full curl — a hair dryer, a curling wand, and hairspray are all that’s needed to achieve the look of the famous 50s curls. Curled hair is more versatile and is more striking when compared to a straightened hairstyle. Regardless of the style you choose, a good-weather day is almost always a perfect day to wear your hair down.

After you have styled your hair, take a pair of earrings (if you have your ears pierced). A fun pair of earrings will draw attention to your face, as well as your outfit as a whole. It will add more depth to your ensemble. To add a splash of flare for an eye-catching appeal, indulge on some “arm candy.” Layering bracelets in varying styles that mesh well together adds even more fun to an outfit and can pull the whole look together.

As for shoes, grab a pair of tall socks with moccasins, combat boots or simple fall booties. The rolled up jeans will show off your socks and choice of shoes, spicing up a desired look. Pairing a cardigan that has a neutral tone will accent your shoes. Pull a jacket or comfy sweater over the cardigan to create a layered look over the simple t-shirt.

Look in the mirror — how do you feel about yourself today? What’s your mood like? What does your outfit say about you? You look comfortable and stylish. Only one more thing should be added to this look — confidence and elegance. The empowering feeling of wearing heels out on the town is a great way to begin searching for your confident, yet modest, stride. As colder weather sets in, so does the season for high-heeled boots (who says being stylish means being impractical?).

With assurance in your step and flare added to your outfit, standing out on campus is a retired issue. Be sure to hold true to your self-expression and have fun with it. The way you present yourself can make or break the outfit. Confidence is the key. For guaranteed eye-grabbing, be sure of yourself. People can tell when passion and grace are present in a person’s appearance as a whole. Just remember — an outfit with sass and class needs TLC. Present it well and the rest will fall into place.

Ashley Beam can be reached at [email protected]