Wardrobe Essentials for College Women

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By Marie Frankson

Campus News

Many students go to four-year colleges and universities after they graduate from a community college, and one thing is certain: when you go on to a four-year college, you’re going to need some clothes. When you’re in college, you’re just starting to really get to know yourself and your personal style when it comes to fashion and you’re going to need to build a wardrobe that will last you all four years and can go into the “real world” with you as well. This is a guide of basics that every college girl should have in her wardrobe.

1)            Great bras and panties: Underwear is the foundation of your outfit. If you don’t have a bra that fit, well, then the rest of your outfit isn’t going to look right. Spend the time and money on getting a well-fitting bra and panties. I suggest going to a lingerie store like Victoria’s Secret to get a bra fitting before you buy one; you may be walking around wearing a bra that’s too big or too small for you and these ladies will tell you what you should be wearing.

2)            Jeans that fit well: Jeans are the basics in everyone’s wardrobe. Find a brand of denim that fits you well and then stock up on various styles and washes. For jeans, I go shopping at Old Navy, but other places like Gap, American Eagle, and Abercrombie & Fitch have great jeans as well.

3)            Basic tops: Get a few tops in varying lengths and solid colors. Cotton tee shirts (long sleeve, short sleeve, and tank tops) can be very easily dressed up and down.

4)            Cardigans: Cardigans are a great way to dress up the above mentioned basic tops. Go with cotton cardigans in different colors and in different sleeve lengths so they can be worn year-round if you so choose. Cotton can be tossed in the washing machine and drier when you do laundry, so this is more economically friendly than, say, cashmere, which has to be dry cleaned.

5)            Black dress pants, and perhaps a skirt: Get a pair of black well-fitting trousers with a wide leg for job interviews and recruiting sessions. The trousers should be long enough to wear with heels but not too long that they drag on the floor. For those who prefer skirts, stick with a black knee-length A-line or pencil skirt for a polished look.

6)            White button-down blouse: This is to go with the trousers and/or skirt as part of your work wardrobe. A crisp, clean white button-down blouse is a classic piece that can be versatile as well. It can be worn for a job interview or it can be worn with jeans and flats or knee-high boots for a cool, trendy look.

7)            Flats: Ballet flats are a nice piece to have in your wardrobe for those days when you just don’t want to wear heels or sneakers to school or work. Get a basic black pair because black goes with everything, but don’t be afraid to get a trendy pair as well, such as a colored pair or a pair with embellishments.

8)            Black pumps: Another basic for your work wardrobe, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on these; a good pair of pumps will last you forever (maybe not forever, but a really long time). These should have a moderate heel height or no more than four inches to insure a professional look in the workplace. These can also be warn to semi-formal events.

9)            A dress: Let’s face it, sometimes you just need to wear a dress for certain occasions. The color of the dress is up to you, but the length shouldn’t be too short. Think semi-formal, not night club attire.

10)          Rain/snow boots: If you’re going to a place where it doesn’t snow, then you can just ignore this, but many of us aren’t so lucky. Unfortunately, you may have to sacrifice style for a nice pair of warm boots if you don’t already own a pair. When it comes to rain boots, there are thousands of cheap and trendy pairs to be found in a variety of stores and even online.

11)          Sweatpants: For when you’re lounging around your dorm, working out, or want to be comfortable while taking exams. Victoria’s Secret sweats are a bit pricey but they are soft and last a long time.

12)          A carry-all bag: Some days you won’t have time to go back to your dorm or apartment to get your books and other materials so you’ll need a bag that can carry everything and keep it all organized. Some people prefer backpacks, others prefer messenger bags or tote bags; just be sure that there are a lot of pockets so you can hold as much as you need.

This is just a tentative list about what clothes a girl should have when she attends a four-year college. Bear in mind that climate and your own personal style are major factors in your clothing choices; many young women realize they need more casual clothing and others may realize as they advance in their education that they may need more business attire, but these are basics that every young woman should own as they can be dressed up and down and can go a long way.

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