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Ask CF: Can Dressing Like a Tomboy be Suitable for a College Class?

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Welcome to the latest edition of Ask CF! Every couple of weeks, we select a reader fashion question and answer it here on the site. Do you have a specific fashion question for us? Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn how to send it our way!

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Hi CF,

I’m very much a tomboy and love wearing jeans and a t-shirt. But a lot of my friends say I can’t wear that going into college. Any ideas for outfits that will stay true to my style, but be suitable for college?

Thanks!

College Tomboy

Our Response

Dear College Tomboy,

Fashion is all about expressing your individual personality; that’s why it’s called personal style. Just because you are going to college doesn’t mean you should dress any differently than how you already like to dress. (Of course, if your college has a strict dress code, that’s an exception. But even then you can always add in your own touch of personal style!)

It’s understandable that others may think jeans and a t-shirt aren’t appropriate for college. But with a few additions to these basics, you can transform a basic jeans and t-shirt uniform into a unique and pulled-together look.

Instead of changing your “tomboy” style into something else, embrace it! Male fashion bloggers such as Andreas, Pelayo, and Adam, have been huge inspirations to myself and many well-known women in fashion. Personally, I’ve found my style inspired by men’s fashion recently. Instead of accessorizing a girly mini-skirt with a pretty necklace and sandals, I have found myself reaching for a baseball cap and sneakers instead. And, of course, the jeans-and-tee route has been on constant rotation.

For inspiration to transform your tomboy style into a statement-making personal style of your own, I’ve created a few “tomboy,” jeans & tee looks below that are appropriate for class. Hope this helps. And enjoy college!

Sincerely,

Jessica

Outfit # 1

High waisted jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, baseball cap, earrings
Product Information: Earrings, T-shirt, Jeans, Sneakers, Baseball Cap

Maybe this t-shirt is a little cliché, but there’s no better way to embrace your tomboy style than to express it outright! For the jeans, I chose a high-waist dark denim jegging. Lately I have been loving a high-waisted jean; it’s a welcome change from the low-rise style that has been popular for a few years.

Like I mentioned above, some fun accessories are all you need to add to a jeans-and-tee routine to keep it looking fresh, unique, and stylish. An oxblood baseball cap perfectly captures a tomboy aesthetic. High-top sneakers are a comfy on-the-go shoe choice, while sparkly chandelier earrings bring in a feminine element to the look.

Outfit # 2

Shorts, tee, jacket, boots, hat, necklace
Product Information: Jacket, T-shirt, Hat, Necklace, Shorts, Boots

For this second outfit, I chose to pair some black distressed shorts with a graphic tee. While this boyfriend t-shirt is oversized and casual, the lace print of the numbers add that girlish touch. Additional feminine elements like a jeweled necklace and floral combat boots continue this trend. Finish with a lightweight military jacket and fedora.

Outfit # 3

boyfriend jeans, graphic sweater, sneakers, backpack, watch, sunglasses
Product Information: Backpack, Sweatshirt, Sunglasses, Jeans, Shoes, Watch

No tomboy jeans-and-tee style guide would be complete without a pair of boyfriend jeans. I like the distressed look of these, but there are many other options sans-tears if you prefer. Next, throw on a sweater — I love this graphic superhero one, but a simple knit or color-block sweater could work equally well. Finish the look with accessories like sequin Keds, cat-eye sunnies, a functional black backpack, and a geometric watch.

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What do you think?

Do you consider yourself a tomboy? How do you dress up a jeans and tee look to make it appropriate for class? Do you like these outfits? Which is your favorite? What advice would you give? Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!

Posted on on September 8, 2013 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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13 Responses to “Ask CF: Can Dressing Like a Tomboy be Suitable for a College Class?”

  1. 1
    September 8th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    To be completely honest, as far as I’m concerned, your pajamas are perfectly adequate for a college class (clarification: morning classes – afternoon would be a bit odd, but even then, just put on some sweatpants and BAM, daytime “appropriate”).

    That’s not to say be a complete slob. I’m just saying that unless there is a dress code, it’s frickin’ college, and the only one who cares what you wear is you, so as long as you aren’t naked or whatever, then it’s fair game to stumble to class in your comfy sweatshirt and PJ bottoms, jeans and a tee, hotpants, kimono, zoot suit, etc when you want to.

  2. 2
    September 8th, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    I love the tomboy look, and I think guys think it’s sweet when girls copy their style! My go-to “guy outfit” is a baseball tee with cuffed jeans and converses.

  3. 3
    September 8th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    It all really depends on what your college is like. I too am a jeans and a t shirt kind of girl. When I was in high school everyone got really dressed up for class; makeup, high heels, pretty dresses. So when I went to college I was totally prepared to be the under dressed one. My school was so laid back that I would be the most dressed up one in the class with a plaid flannel, jeans, and converse on. Had I worn heels like in high school I would have been the laughing stock! Wear whatever you want to wear. The best part of college is having the chance to be whoever you want to be :)

  4. 4
    September 9th, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Why souldn’t it be okay to look like a tomboy in college????
    Here in Germany we wear to our University classes the same cothes we wear every day. If you would dress up for class as someone you are not, that would be strange. But even if you are a person who is always dressed up people are okay with it. we can come as the individuals we are. No one cares if you come as a punk, a tomboy, a lady whatever. I think academic institutes should not dictate to you what to wear, because isn’t their mission to think and be independet.

  5. 5
    September 9th, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I’m pretty sure tomboys wouldn’t wear cat eye sunglasses or sparkly ear rings.

  6. 6
    September 9th, 2013 at 10:07 am

    To the tomboy who wrote in,

    Enjoy dressing up as yourself AND as anyone else :)! I really miss having the freedom to experiment in college. I attended a large state university in the NorthEast and dressing up everyday was exciting. I loved standing out in the sea of clones who had adopted jeans, uggs, northface jackets, and longchamp totes as their uniforms. I started off super girly in college (think sandals that matched EVERY color of shirt i owned), and ended having experimented with the grunge look, tomboy, androgynous, city chic, etc… It’s actually hard to label how I dressed because I think, in the end, I just wore what I enjoyed and what I felt good in. So take inspiration from those around you, and constantly find a way to add pieces that mean something to you. The freshman me would have balked at wearing wedge sneakers with a dress but if you like it, go for it!

  7. 7
    September 9th, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I love these outfit inspirations.

    My university has a strict rule about appropriate outfits for class (no showing too much skin, no sandals, no I-just-got-out-of-bed look). T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers cover all that and they have been my uniform everyday for the past 3 years. Suffice to say, I’m getting bored and I’m in dire need of something to spice them up. This post couldn’t come at a better time for me. Thank you CF!

  8. 8
    September 9th, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I love these outfit choices, great picks. But I have to say to “College Tomboy”. Don’t worry about what others think, college is a time to find your unique self!

    You will never be this young again, make mistakes, enjoy yourself. Once you graduate outside of college the opportunities to express yourself through clothing, hairstyle, makeup, etc will often be set by your employer. Jeans and a tee was usually my go to wear for college and I never had anyone say I looked like a tomboy or that I was dressing wrong.

  9. 9
    September 9th, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Many of the girls in my class wear “tomboy outfits” and nobody cares ;)

  10. 10
    September 9th, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Super agree with the “it’s awesome to be a tomboy” premise. I think that as long as you’re clean and come prepared and alert, that makes a huge difference. I would also put any tomboy in a more androgynous direction fashionably. (think leather loafers, large watches and blazers.) My hair is cut in a pixie style and I super enjoy playing up the masculinity every once in a while.

  11. 11
    September 9th, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    It does NOT matter what you wear to college classes. I guess unless your college has a dress code, which i find odd, you can wear a toga if you want. Looking like a slob? well thats your choice too!

  12. 12
    September 10th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    College is about being yourself. If you want to dress as a tomboy then do that. You’re not in high school, you don’t have to please anyone.

  13. 13
    October 1st, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I love this question, and I love this post! When I saw it, I immediately thought of Emily from Pretty Little Liars :) Granted, she has her dressier moments and being so beautiful she could probs wear a sack and pull it off, but I think her style is something a tomboy and/or someone quite sporty could draw inspiration from. :)

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