Heading to college in the fall? Odds are you’ll be dressed in casual clothing and sitting in a classroom. But before tossing all your sweats, pajama bottoms and yoga pants in your suitcase, consider a few things first to dress for success:
Be ‘cool’ in casual clothing
- Make sure your clothing meets the dress code policy.
- What’s the climate like where your new school is located? You’ll pack differently if you’re heading to a place with warm or cold weather.
- College students don’t have a lot of money for dry cleaning or space for hanging hand washables. Read care instructions and select practical items.
- Given your specific disability and all of the snaps, buttons, hooks, and zippers, can you manage the clothing on your own?
- Are you so comfortable in your clothing that you can forget you’re wearing it? If it’s uncomfortable, over-the-top, or just doesn’t make you feel good wearing it, you’re going to be distracted (and maybe even distracting) in class. Wear clothes that help you stay focused!
Business savvy selections
As your college years progress, you’ll be heading off to job fairs, internships and job interviews. Your college hoodie isn’t going to cut it! It’s time to break out the suit wrapped in dry cleaner’s plastic at the back of your closet. You don’t own one? Don’t worry! There are stores that sell gently used clothing at prices that won’t hurt your college budget. Check them out first before going to a full-priced department store.
Now what should you pack?
If you already own a nice suit or classic dress, pack it carefully. One of these should get you through the first year or two of college. If you already know that your major is going to involve an internship that will require more dress clothes, start haunting your neighborhood resale or consignment shop. Talk to the manager, and let her know what size and types of clothing you need. Most shops will contact you when this type of clothing arrives. It wouldn’t hurt to pack a nice belt, dress socks, and a pair of dress shoes (black is safe). They don’t take up much space!
Belle, or Beau, of the Ball?
What about your social life? There will be plenty of time to hang out with friends in your comfy clothes, but there’s also going to be special events that call for a little oomph and pizzazz, such as formal dances, banquets or elegant weddings. Think tuxedos, evening gowns and shoes that reflect like mirrors.
It’s time to close that suitcase and lock it. Why? Because you don’t really need to pack formal wear.
Ladies, once you get to campus, look for a local resale or consignment shop. Many women wear evening gowns once and then they give them away. You can pick up a designer dress for a price that will still allow you to pay tuition!
Guys, get outfitted in a tux or formal suit for a reasonable fee at a store that rents clothing. The rental fee covers everything except your underwear! Save the big bucks for your education.