What Not to Wear: College Edition


By Lauryn Botterman

If you’re ever second-guessing your fashion sense, refer to this guide for a few handy rules and pointers.


Perfecting the ideal weekday ensemble is a fine art. You shouldn’t show up to your 9:30 Psych lecture looking like you’re ready to rage, nor should your outfit scream “I’m a total scrub.” Like it or not, people will judge you based on what you choose to wear, so it’s in your best interest to take some pride in your appearance. Plus, classes are prime time to scope out potential hookups. If you’re donning the oversized sweatpants/sweatshirt getup that you haven’t washed in three weeks, it’s doubtful that you’ll get a second glance.

On the other hand, you certainly don’t want to give off the impression that you’re trying too hard. Girls, anything that you would consider wearing to a Saturday night at the bars (read: sequins, skin-tight skirts, crop tops) is most likely inappropriate. Stick with skinny jeans or leggings and a cute sweater and you’ll be good to go. You don’t need to spend an hour perfecting your makeup, but a little mascara, blush and tinted lip balm can go a long way. The goal is to look put-together as opposed to slutty or sloppy.

For guys, the rules are pretty straightforward. Please don’t come to class in your flannel SpongeBob jammies. It must be really tough to roll out of bed, brush your teeth and sift through the pile of clothes on your floor for something to wear, but taking three extra minutes to pick out a well-fitting T-shirt and jeans is worth your while. And for the love of God, no Ed Hardy!

Party Attire

Ladies, there is a fine line between risqué and Not Okay. Showing some skin and a hint of cleavage is all in good fun, but when shit takes a turn into I Can See Your Hoochie Town, you need to cover up. If you plan on maintaining any shred of dignity, it’s always wise to leave something to the imagination. Plus, a combination of being inebriated and surrounded by sweaty co-eds in a crowded basement is particularly likely to cause wardrobe malfunctions.

Better make sure the goodies are tucked in safe and secure before the night begins. Also, don’t be another drunk girl waltzing around in sub-zero temperatures in a minidress and heels. Bring along a cheap, but warm, jacket to wear on your way to those frat parties (a “fracket,” as I like to call it) and consider layering sweatpants over your bare legs. You may not look so sexy en route, but at least you’ll avoid hypothermia.

Men have mostly standard options for weekend wear as well: jeans and a T-shirt or polo if you’re feeling fancy (but don’t pop your collar, douche). You can also try blending casual and classy by pairing Levi’s with a button-down. Complete the look with a spritz or two (less is more here) of your favorite cologne (not pubescent aerosol body spray) and your trusty boots or Nikes.

And for future reference, here are some fashion faux pas and unfortunate trends that you should never wear in public:

  • Ugg boots (only acceptable in the privacy of your own home)
  • Sunglasses indoors
  • Sunglasses when it’s dark outside
  • Leggings made of pleather or adorned with any animal print
  • Skinny jeans on guys (even hipsters can’t totally pull it off)
  • Navy blue and black paired together in one outfit
  • Acrylic nails (particularly those with obnoxious colors or patterns)
  • Pajama jeans (what the fuck?)

Good luck, look sharp and stay classy.