Ask CF: What Should I Wear for the First Week of College?

Make a chic first impression with these first week outfits.
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Welcome to the latest edition of Ask CF! Every two 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!

Ask CF Question

Hey!

I legit love CF and have been checking it for months. I debated a bit before sending an email but I start college soon and I really need first week of class and orientation week outfit ideas. I hear that students here are expected to dress casual yet smart.

Also I am afraid of using up my best outfits in the first week or two and then dressing like a total slob the rest of the semester. Any tips for that?

Thank you!

Our Response

Dear LW,

When it comes to dressing for orientation/the first week of college: dressing "casual but stylish" is always a good idea, as it allows you to make a good impression on your peers and professors, while still allowing you to be comfortable in what you're wearing.  

I'm going to give you some outfit suggestions for how to dress this way, but before I do, I'd like to answer your other question of how to continue dressing nicely as the school year progresses.

Here are my tips for picking your outfits the first week of college & staying stylish all semester long:

  • Don't be afraid to re-wear outfits: For many people, wearing the same outfit multiple times is a fashion taboo. However, as far as I am concerned, it is one of the best ways to make the most of your wardrobe--just switch a couple accessories if you want. And, if you're afraid of people noticing, don't be, as chances are that they're doing the same thing, too! After all, who on a college budget has the money to buy a new outfit for every day?!
  • Shop your closet/mix and match: College is the perfect time to get creative with your wardrobe and try new styles, so make the most of what you own by combining pieces that you might not have thought to put together. Not only will this help you to familiarize yourself with what you already own, but it will allow you to put together brand new looks without spending a penny!  Finally, don't be disappointed if an outfit doesn't end up looking as good in real life as you imagined it would in your head--it's only fashion, after all, and you'll have countless opportunities to try again!
  • Plan outfits the night before: This is perhaps the easiest way to ensure that you don't fall into a fashion rut; in fact, there are entire apps dedicated to outfit-planning, if you're interested! By planning your outfits the night before, you're not only saving yourself time in the morning, but you're also preventing yourself from simply putting on whatever happens to be clean/available the at the moment, which is one of the easiest ways to unintentionally fall into the boring/sloppy-outfit trap.

Now that you know how to prevent yourself from falling into a fashion rut, keep scrolling to see my outfit ideas for orientation and the first week of college:

First Week of College Outfits: #1

First week of college outfits: Look featuring blue-and-white striped puff-sleeve shirt, green stone stud earrings with pavé gold stones, set of three gold stacking rings (one ridged, one open with clear stones, and one with large transparent pale pink stone surrounded by two clear stones), tortoise cat-eye sunglasses with rose gold arms and ombré brown lenses, medium-wash chambray ruffled shorts, medium-wash skinny jeans, black faux leather backpack with gold hardware and closure, coral-and-white printed silk bandana, beige pointed-toe loafers

Products: Shirt - Mango, Earrings - Loft, Ring Set - Loft, Sunglasses - Mango, Shorts - J.Crew, Jeans - H&M, Backpack - Mango, Bandana - Madewell, Loafers - Gap

Comfortable and cute, this outfit is so easy to just throw on and go to class. To get the look, put on a long-sleeved striped shirt with puffed sleeves, and pair it with some ruffled shorts or skinny jeans, depending on what the weather is like where you are. 

These beige, pointed-toe loafers are perfect if you plan on walking around all day during orientation, and add a dose of modern prep to the outfit.  

Throw all of your essentials for the day into a chic (faux) leather black backpack, and tie a bandana around your neck (or around the backpack's handle!) for a vintage-inspired touch. Add a pair of green and gold pavé studs for a subtle pop of color, and some delicate stacking rings for a bit of sparkle. 

If it's sunny out, finish off the look with these classic cat-eye sunglasses.

First Week of College Outfits: #2

First week of college outfits: Look featuring white v-neck short-sleeved t-shirt, pale blue ankle-strap sandals with very small wooden block heel, high-waisted dark-wash a-line denim skirt with white drawstring ties, French Bulldog stud earrings with clear stone "collar," gold "wing" pendant necklace with clear stones, ombré tassel bracelet in shades of green, white, and pink with copper beads; copper tote

Products: T-Shirt - Madewell, Heeled Sandals - Steve Madden, Skirt - Target, Earrings - Amazon, Necklace - Zappos, Bracelet - Zappos, Tote - Amazon

This outfit is great if you're looking for a more dressed-up version of your standard denim-shorts-and-a-t-shirt ensemble. To re-create it, start by tucking a white v-neck t-shirt into a high-waisted a-line denim skirt.  

Next, add a pair of beautiful pale blue suede sandals with a barely-there heel, as well as a copper tote for a fun touch.

Complete the look by accessorizing with a quirky and adorable pair of French Bulldog studs, a boho tassel bracelet, and a dainty pendant necklace.

First Week of College Outfits: #3

First week of college outfits: Look featuring coral-pink spaghetti-strap button-down midi dress with pockets and sweetheart neckline, gold stud earrings with round iridescent clear stones, thin gold bangle bracelet with round pyrite stone, gold open heart necklace with clear stones at top left side, medium-wash denim jacket, white Keds Champion Originals Leather sneakers, Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in "On The List," a bright coral pink shade; '50s-style pale mint cat-eye sunglasses with yellowish-green lenses, white woven belt, neon pink bucket bag

Products: Dress - Urban Outfitters, Earrings - Bloomingdale's, Bangle - Wolf & Badger, Necklace - Nordstrom Rack, Jacket - Old Navy, Sneakers - Keds, Nail Polish - Macy's, Sunglasses - Nordstrom Rack, Belt - Ann Taylor, Bag - SilkFred

This girly and feminine outfit is sure to make a great impression at the beginning of the school year!  

Start by putting on a lovely coral-pink midi-dress, and belt it at the waist using a white woven belt to create a more defined shape. Layer a simple denim jacket over it for a bit of warmth, and slip on a pair of classic Keds sneakers in leather.  

A neon pink bucket bag adds a bold touch, while delicate jewelry, such as these classy stud earrings, pyrite bangle, and open-heart necklace add a dash of elegance. Paint your nails a cheery shade of coral-pink (or one of our other favorite nail polish shades), and you're all set to go!

First Week of College Outfits: #4

First week of college outfits: Look featuring light blue off-the-shoulder short-sleeved romper with white floral print and light blue tassel draw strings at waist, olive green bomber jacket with ruffle going down the front and gold hardware, gold stud earrings with round turquoise stones, gold double open cuff bracelet with a clear stone at each opening, gold necklace with three gold beads, faux leather cognac brown backpack with braided details, pale gold metallic scalloped flats

Products: Romper - Abercrombie & Fitch, Jacket - Target, Earrings - Shopbop, Cuff - Bloomingdale's, Necklace - Shopbop, Backpack - Sole Society, Flats - Target 

This trendy and chic college outfit is a great option for wearing both to orientation and to class. Start by putting on a sweet blue-and-white floral romper; next, layer it with a gorgeous olive-green bomber jacket with a cute ruffle detail that you can wear for three seasons. 

Grab a cognac-brown (faux) leather backpack with chic braided details, and put on a pair of pretty pale gold metallic scalloped flats. Lastly, accessorize with a pair of bright turquoise stud earrings, a modern cuff bracelet, and a sophisticated gold necklace.

Good luck with your orientation and in your first week of class; I'm sure you'll look great!  Thank you for your question!

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What do you think?

What do you plan on wearing/what did you wear for orientation? What about during the first week of school? What do you do to prevent yourself from falling into a fashion rut as the semester progresses?  

Let me know in the comments!

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