College brings on a whole new set of demands to your wardrobe. I mean, there are the things you have to wear to class, the things you wear on weekends, the things you wear chilling in your room, and the things you wear when you're going out. It's that last category that most people seem to have trouble with. I go to a school with a lot of capable, good-looking people who tend to make the most ridiculous wardrobe choices when it comes to going out. I'm talking Jersey Shore status. On non-themed nights.
Forever 21 Striped Slub Dress, $9 at forever21.com: I think the things that bother me the most are the dresses that look like this: really short and baggy on top, with an awkward band around the butt/hips. I just don't understand. It completely hides the thinnest part of your torso, your waist, and then highlights the widest part of your body. It's a recipe for disaster and yet SO MANY PEOPLE WEAR IT.
I'm proposing a few changes to the going out uniform. It doesn't matter if you're going to a friend's party, a frat, or an after party, it's still possible to be cute and fashion-forward without being skanky and cheap. That said, no one wants to wear their new 7 jeans or Alice + Olivia dress to a frat just for beer and indescribable sludge to get all over them. The key is to wear cheap items without actually looking cheap. The way I see it, you can go one of two ways: dress, or shirt and skirt. I don't like to do jeans because nice jeans can be easily ruined, and I stay away from shorts just because I don't really own any, and they're hard to make sexy without being slutty.
American Apparel Interlock Mini Skirt, $25 at americanapparel.com, American Apparel Nylon Spandex Stretch Floral Lace Bodysuit, $34 at americanapparel.com, Monrow Demi Tank, $56.50 down from $113 at shopbop.com: I can't even count how many times I've worn this American Apparel mini skirt out. It's such an easy, perfect piece to wear. It's inexpensive, comes in a huge range of colors, and is seriously comfy. It's the ideal piece to layer under a voluminous tank or under a little cami. I'd pair with tanks like these. I know an American Apparel bodysuit sounds ridiculous, but if you layer something under it, like a navy blue cami, and then put that mini skirt over it, it would be totally adorable. Or you could put a lingerie-inspired top like this Monrow tank on top, which would soften the strict lines of the skirt nicely.
J. Crew Lace Panel Camisole, $168 at jcrew.com, J. Crew Perfect-fit Swirling Petals Tank, $29 at jcrew.com, Alpine Stars Pit Slouchy Tank, $59 at alpinestars.com: Depending on the tank you pick, you can get a really wide range of looks out of a mini skirt like that. This J. Crew tank might be too nice, but it's so cute that I had to post it. It's another take on the lingerie-inspired look, and would be perfect if you wanted to be a bit more dressed up for say, a private party. The delicate straps and color palette are so flattering, and the hint of neon in the pink adds a little extra edge. For a simple look, you could do something like this lightly embellished J. Crew tank or this slouchy ASTARS tank.
Forever 21 Mesh Overlay Dress, $29 at forever21.com, American Apparel Cotton Spandex Jersey Double U-Neck Dress, $36 at americanapparel.com, Sweetheart Two-Toned Mini Dress, $46 at americanapparel.com: If you're into wearing dresses out, I'd stick to something cheap and simple, so that it's easy to dress up in a variety of different ways. This Forever 21 dress has a boudoir, retro vibe that would be so adorably refreshing in a sea of denim booty shorts, and the pop of color at the straps is so flattering. American Apparel is a really good option for cheap party dresses, especially very basic party dresses. This u-neck dress comes in a rainbow of colors, and has a scoop-neck in the front and an even deeper scoop-neck in the back. The actual sleeves and solid color palette balance out the form-fitting cut. For a similar look that's a little girlier, this sweetheart dress is a great option. You get the look of a sweetheart strapless dress with the sexiness of a sheer panel at the neckline, and the fit is divine.
Forever 21 Posh Stiletto Heel, $20.80 at forever21.com, Urban Outfitters Ecote Macrame Slingback Sandal, $28 at urbanoutfitters.com: I'm biased against heels in these situations, just because I'm already 5'8' and a pair of 5' heels puts me at 6'1'. AKA very tall. But if you do like to wear heels, don't wear nice ones. There's no telling what's on the floor of a frat basement, but it's a nasty cocktail that likes to eat nice shoes alive. Go for cheap, but cute heels that you won't be heartbroken to lose or ruin. These Forever 21 heels are crazy affordable, but they look expensive, which is key. If you're like me and tend to wear flats, I'd recommend a simple flat sandal. Ballet flats often look out of place, and boots are just too hot and cumbersome. I like flat sandals that have clean lines but some sort of fun embellishment, like the twisted metallic detail on these sandals. They're chic and comfortable, and again, super affordable.
Forever 21 Unconventional Braided Bracelet, $6.80 at forever21.com, Forever 21 Lustrous Shoulder Bag, $18.80 at forever21.com: Jewelry can be difficult in these situations. I've had friends go through horror stories (my friend's diamond studs got swallowed. Yes, you read that correctly), and when you're dancing around something like a pair of chandelier earrings or a statement necklace is not the best choice for personal safety. I like to stick to bracelets. They aren't going to fall off or get in your way, but they're still able to make a statement. I love this braided bracelet. It has a slightly preppy vibe from the braiding, with a hint of edginess from the chain material. It'll stay snugly on your wrist but also have a lot of visual interest. As for bags, from experience I think the best way to go is a clutch with a shoulder strap that's long enough to wear across your body. All you really need with you are a phone, keys, and maybe some lipgloss, so a giant bag isn't necessary, and a small clutch won't get in your way. The thin strap on this bag makes it very easy to wear, and the twist-lock opening ensures that your possessions will be safe all night.
Forever 21 slub dress: forever21.com, American Apparel: skirt: americanapparelstore.com, bodysuit: americanapparelstore.com, U-Neck dress: americanapparelstore.com, Sweetheart dress: americanapparelstore.com, Monrow tank: shopbop.com, J. Crew camisole: jcrew.com, J. Crew tank: jcrew.com, ASTARS tank: alpinestars.com, Forever 21 overlay dress: forever21.com, Forever 21 heels: forever21.com, Urban Outfitters sandals: urbanoutfitters.com, Forever 21 bracelet: forever21.com, Forever 21 bag: forever21.com.