Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How To: Dress for Midterms

I don't know about anyone at other schools, but at Tufts we're smack-dab in the middle of midterm season (aka death), and planning adorable outfits is pretty much the last thing on anyone's mind. Which I totally understand, but at the same time, I think that there's a direct correlation between how you dress for an exam and how well you do on it. I know. Pulling out the statistics skills. It's getting serious.

Juicy Couture Velour Track Jacket, $68.60 down from $98 at shopbop.com, Velour Original Leg Pants, $88 at shopbop.com, UGG Australia Sundance II Boots, $225 at shopbop.com: This is exactly what you shouldn't be wearing to an important exam (or out in public in general, but baby steps). Why? Aside from the fact that it's not 2005 anymore, this is the kind of thing that you wear for lounging around in your room, watching TV, and being lazy. I have nothing against any of those things, but they put you in a certain mind frame that's not conducive to taking a test. My theory is that when you feel good about your outfit, then you feel good about yourself, at least on a superficial level, and when you feel good about yourself you're more optimistic and confident. Feeling pulled together and confident is a much better way to go into an exam than feeling slobby and lazy, which is exactly how I feel when I wear sweats and UGGs.

I don't think you should pull out a suit or cocktail dress for an exam, but putting together a comfy, but chic outfit will not only make you feel better, but probably help you do a little better too.

J. Crew: Vintage Slub V-neck Tee in Heather Grey, $29.50 at jcrew.com, Ankle Stretch Toothpick Jean in Premium Twill, $98 at jcrew.com: For something like this, where you want to look pulled-together but still be comfortable, I like to stick to basics. Pairing a slightly oversized v-neck with cropped matchstick jeans creates a really flattering silhouette that highlights your legs and neck/chest. The contrast between the draping of the tee and the clean lines of the jeans is striking, and the ankle-crop cut of the jeans has a total Audrey Hepburn vibe, which adds an instant dose of chic to the ensemble. Keeping the color palette neutral means you won't be distracted by bright colors during the test, and also means that you can jazz everything up with accessories easily.

Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent Oversized Lightweight Navajo Sweater, $350 at shopbop.com, Rosena Sammi Lucky Necklace, $99 for gold vermeil at shoprosenasammi.com, Giles & Brother Tiny Wing Studs, $78 at shopbop.com: Classrooms are always cold, especially during exams, but a sweatshirt feels like giving up and something like a leather jacket or a blazer can be a little constricting/distracting. I'd opt for a big, open cardigan like this Cynthia Vincent version. It's large enough to wrap around yourself for a lot of warmth (the fact that it's part cashmere doesn't hurt either), and the casual, asymmetrical drape of the cardigan softens the minimalist bones of the outfit. The color palette is neutral, so again not distracting, but the fun, intarsia-esque pattern adds a folksy undertone and keeps all those neutrals from getting boring. As for jewelry, I'd stay away from bracelets, rings, and long necklaces, all of which will get in the way while you're trying to write. I'd go for something like this short necklace from Rosena Sammi, which says 'lucky' in Sanskrit. It's simple and chic, and who wouldn't want to be lucky during a midterm? A small pair of studs from Giles & Brother draws the eye to your face, but still has a bit of a sense of humor. I think the little angel wings could stand for good luck, and they're kind of unexpected and fun, and they're only half an inch long, so they're not too overwhelming.

Frye Dorado Riding Boots, $498 at fryeboots.com, J. Crew Leather Classic Ballet Flats in Soft Graphite, $98 at jcrew.com: This outfit could go a bunch of different ways based on what shoes you choose. I'd stay away from flip-flops or heels, because if the room is cold and you're wearing flip-flops, your feet will freeze the entire time, and if you're wearing heels and walking around the room getting Kleenex, going to the bathroom, whatever, that clickety-clackety noise will make everyone want to kill you. Personally, I think boots or ballet flats are the best options. Boots are great because you can layer some comfy socks underneath them and keep your feet nice and warm, and they really instantly pull-together any ensemble. I love these Frye boots. One of my roommates for next year has them, and they're so gorgeous in person. They have an equestrian ride, but they don't look like actual riding boots (which is a huge pet peeve of mine), and the rich brown would warm up this neutral outfit nicely. Or you could play up the Audrey Hepburn cut of the jeans and go for a simple ballet flat. They're really comfortable, easy to wear, and add a little retro elegance to this look. The light grey hue ties in with the grey v-neck, and would contrast perfectly with the black jeans.

That's it, guys! I know dressing up to take a test seems counter-intuitive, but think about it like an interview. An interview is something you prep for that could decide your future, and a midterm is something you study for that decides how well you do in a class. Do you want to take a potentially grade-changing test in sweatpants, or do you want to look and feel fabulously chic? Totally a rhetorical question, since there's only one answer. :)

Image Sources:
Juicy Couture jacket: shopbop.com, sweats: shopbop.com, UGG boots: shopbop.com, J. Crew: tee: jcrew.com, jeans: jcrew.com, Cynthia Vincent sweater: shopbop.com, Rosena Sammi necklace: shoprosenasammi.com, Giles & Brother earrings: shopbop.com, Frye boots: fryeboots.com, J. Crew flats: jcrew.com.

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