First half of college: complete.
What did I learn?
I learned a lot in my classes, don’t get me wrong, but I learned more about myself. I went to college hoping I would come out smarter and more confident, which I did. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t any challenges. For starters, it didn’t take me long to realize that on a small campus, feeling confident in what I wear usually requires a little more effort.
On my way to class, the dining hall or back to my dorm, I would always run into familiar faces. This was great because I got to see my friends around, but I found it disrupting at times because I let it hinder my style.
At first, dressing up on a small campus concerned me because when everyone knows each other, word spreads fast, and that makes it easy to dwell on what other people think. I didn’t want to wear an outfit that others would find too weird, revealing or out-of-style. Because of this, I pushed aside some trends that I wanted to wear out of fear that I would be judged. Soon enough, I realized that it’s okay to wear what I want, and I started doing so where and when I wanted to.
Here’s how I did it:
Find your style
The most important step is to maintain confidence and a high self-esteem. Fashion is an outlet for you to express your personality to others. In order to share your style with the people around you, you must first love and accept yourself, because your style is a representation of who you are. You have to be able to embrace your own style before others can learn to appreciate it as well.
As a freshman in college, I had the opportunity to reinvent myself. No one on campus knew me before that year, and being able to dress up how I wanted gave me the chance to change my style.
I am still figuring out who I am and who I want to become, and I am using fashion to help me discover that along the way.
Have a support system
A big factor that helps me embrace my style is the support I get from my friends. If your friends are just as fascinated by fashion as you are, then you’ll find that it’s always easier to dress up as a group. You may be scared of standing out if you’re alone, but when you have at least one person by your side, you will automatically feel a boost in self-confidence. A support system to remind you that your style rocks every day definitely helps you feel like you can wear anything. That’s why it is very important to surround yourself with people who are not only accepting, but who encourage you to be a better, and more stylish version of yourself.
Running into people you know when you cross campus can sometimes be a good thing. If you’re looking for a good excuse to dress up more often, this can be it. After all, it’s only natural that you would want people to see you when you look your best, right?
On another note, it’s important not to forget that as much as standing out can make you feel self-conscious, it can also sometimes feel rewarding. For example, on days when you are looking better than usual, there is no harm in wanting to be noticed. Maybe your skin is clearer, your hair lacks frizz or you are wearing the new shirt you bought last week. Sometimes dressing up to look extra cute is the perfect way to bring attention to the rest of your beauty.
One valuable difference I’ve noticed on days when I dress up is an increase in my levels of productivity and happiness. You know that feeling you get when you are fully styled, your outfit matches from head to toe and you found the perfect accessory to carry along with it? It feels like you have your life all put together, doesn’t it? This feeling is especially important when you are a student. If maintaining your style motivates you to stay on task, get your work done and feel like a girl boss, then that’s all the reasoning you need to get dressed up for classes.
Keep it comfy
Even though I want to express my style as best as I can, I keep in mind that I don’t want to overdo it. After all, I am still on a college campus. Therefore, I acknowledge that I should keep my looks casual. I also try to stay as comfortable as possible. Since I spend a lot of time in classes or at the library, I want to make sure that my outfits do not draw attention away from my work simply due to discomfort. When choosing your outfits on class days, consider pieces that adapt to a school environment.
Define your style
With every outfit I pick out, I strive to make a signature style for myself. I try not to wear too many neutral tones and to add a pop of color to each look. I usually choose a bright color for my top or shoes if the rest of my outfit is dark. Everyone has a different way of creating their look, whether it is through color, material or accessories. Once you find the type of look you feel most comfortable in, try to balance it into your everyday style.
Back to school shopping
Shopping for new clothes to wear when I go back to school, or just refreshing my wardrobe mid-semester, is another form of motivation for me to dress up around campus. I’m always excited to wear something different. I try not to buy clothes just because they resemble the trends on my campus, and instead shop for clothes that match my style. This ensures that what I wear at school is always custom to my comfort and personality.
As far as trends are concerned, they tend to be well defined on small campuses. Just don’t let that hold you back! Even if most people around you are following the same fashion trends, it’s okay to wear clothes or accessories that are different. Remember, your style is whatever you want it to be.
It’s important to stay confident and true to yourself when you go to college. For big and small campuses alike, you should always feel free to express your style.
College is about finding yourself, but so is fashion.