Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To: Dress for Rush

Sorority rush is a tricky thing.  Sisters work so, so hard to make it seem natural and spontaneous when you're in a house, but the truth is that there are months and months (literally) of planning that go into that week of events.  Speaking as a sister going through it right now, it's much more intense than it looks.  As a rushee, when you only get 10 or 15 minutes to make a good impression on someone you have to realize that how you've presented yourself, with your clothes/hair/makeup, will factor into that a lot.  Because honestly, how much about someone can you leave from 10 minutes of conversation?  I can learn more about you from looking at your outfit for 30 seconds.

Now, my school has a fairly informal rush, but we do ask you to dress a certain way and in different sorts of outfits on different days.  The guidelines that potential sisters get are much more vague than the guidelines we get as initiated sisters, but your best bet is to dress how we dress.  What we're told to do is dress like we're going out to a nice dinner with friends and family--fashion forward but not too trendy, not frumpy but not overexposed, and dressing it up a little with rich hues, luxe textures, and classy jewelry.  The one thing you have to keep in mind is that for most schools, like mine, rush is in winter.  It's COLD.  So a cute little sundress won't cut it when you're standing outside in the snow.  You want to balance the cute and the practical.  Here's what I'd recommend as a formula for a less formal rush:

Juliet & Company Champagne Pearl Stud Earrings, $20 at, Joie Bittersweet B Top, $168 at As far as jewelry goes, you don't want to do anything crazy here that will distract people from you and what you're trying to convey about yourself.  I'd recommend going for a simple pair of posts and maybe a small pendant necklace.  I like these earrings because pearl studs are so stereotypical sorority, but this pair is fun because they're such a flattering shade of pink and slightly oversized and glam.  Now, on to tops.  I'd really skip the skirts and try jeans and a top.  You can go two routes here: do a more statementy top and then just your coat on top, or do a more basic top with a cute little cardigan.  For a bolder top, I love this Joie blouse.  The red is so classically chic, the ruffles add a sweetly girly twist, and the cut is extremely flattering for almost all body types.

J. Crew Dulphine Bling-Button Cardigan, $39.99 down from $69.50 at, J. Crew Vintage Cotton Sunburst Tank, $58 at Or if you want to go the more neutral top route, I love this tank/cardigan pairing.  I wouldn't do a tank without something on top because it's a dangerous slippy slope into exposed bra straps and equally un-classy things.  This top is basic and white, but the sunburst detailing keeps it chic and interesting.  The deep green cardigan warms it up with a flattering jewel tone, and the bling buttons just scream cute.  A fitted cardigan like this is great for layering over a flowier tank to give it some straight.

 J. Brand High Rise Skinny Jeans, $216 at, Frye Melissa Button Boots, $318 at Jeans can be hard.  I'd really go for a high-waisted pair here because they'll suck in any problem areas, and won't run you the risk of any accidental exposure like low-rise jeans.  I like a dark wash and a slim cut because it's really flattering, and the slim cut makes it easier to tuck into boots.  Boots are a great option because they're practical for the weather and they immediately make you look a little more dressed up with minimal effort. 

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