How to Make Your Style Stand Out in College

Tips for refining and owning your personal style.

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College can be a great time for discovering what you like, fashion-wise, and experimenting with your personal style. However, you may find that, once the initial excitement of being in a new environment has worn off and things like schoolwork and personal responsibilities start piling up, you start falling into a rut of wearing whatever is most convenient… and that your version of that is almost identical to everyone else’s!

Of course, there is nothing wrong with dressing similarly to other people; humans are social animals, and it is natural to want to fit in. Moreover, even if you aren’t intentionally trying to be like others, you may find that what you like just so happens to be what lots of other people like, too–and that’s perfectly okay! After all, many things that are popular are that way because they’ve managed to stand the test of time, and because they work in a lot of different situations.

But, maybe you’re looking to expand your horizons a little, or perhaps you just need to switch things up for a while; either way, you’re in the mood to stand out!

So, keep reading for five tips on how to do just that.

1. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

If you’ve read some of my articles here on CF, you’ll notice that I always try to pair every outfit with at least one accessory, whether it’s a cute scarf, sparkly jewelry, or fun sunnies. That’s because I firmly believe that the right accessories can take an outfit from plain to fabulous with little to no effort involved–not to mention that buying a couple of accessories can often be cheaper than buying a whole new outfit!

So, if you find that your outfits have been looking a little repetitive lately, why not add a unique accessory into the mix? Not only will doing so make your look stand out, but it’ll hopefully allow you to view the clothes you currently own in a new light.

2. Hit Up Thrift/Vintage Shops

Thrift/vintage shops can be a great way to allow you to participate in current trends without spending too much money (What goes around comes around, after all!); however, they can also be a great source of fashion inspiration when it comes to putting together beautiful looks that might not necessarily be at the forefront of the fashion world at the moment.

As far as I am concerned, the best way to go thrift/vintage shopping is to have as few expectations as possible (since you never know what you’re going to find), and to be ready to hunt around for a while to score something spectacular (because, again, you never know what you’re going to find).

If it’s your first time wearing something vintage, don’t feel pressured to go all out; even if you just pair, say, a thrifted blouse from the ’70s with your usual skinny jeans and ankle boots, you’re still bound to stand out much more than you would if you just paired these pieces with something more basic.

3. Mix and Match Different Styles

Oftentimes in the fashion world, clothes are separated into categories, such as feminine, sporty, edgy, etc.; furthermore, it’s often expected that if you wear one thing from a specific category, the rest of your look will also involve pieces from that category.

However, some of the best looks come about when pieces from “clashing” categories are paired together. This is why I totally encourage all college girls who are looking to make their style stand out to branch out of their usual aesthetic and try something from a totally different style.

Some “starter” ideas include wearing a feminine floral dress with an edgy leather jacket and combat boots, pairing a preppy button-up shirt with tomboyish baggy jeans and colored ankle boots, and wearing a casual, loose-fitting sweatshirt with a sequined skirt and flat mules.

4. Consider Changing Up Your Hair/Makeup Routine

Hair and makeup routines are the easiest areas to fall into a rut. After all, finding a look that works for your facial features, budget, and routine can be hard. But, if you’re trying to stand out, changing up your beauty routine–even by adding or taking away just one productcan make all the difference!

So, if you frequently wear natural-looking makeup, why not try adding some red lipstick? Or, if you regularly wear your hair in a messy bun, why not try wearing it down and in its natural texture? Finally, why not try matching an element of your beauty routine to your outfit for the day? (For example, if you’re wearing a green dress, try putting on purple eyeshadow for contrast; or, if you’re sporting a boho look, try putting your hair back in a sleek ponytail for an interesting juxtaposition of aesthetics.)

5. Own Your Personal Style!

Regardless of what your personal style is, the ultimate way to stand out from the crowd is to wear what you love and run with it. So, if you really like sporty style, go right ahead and wear a super-cool tracksuit. Or, if you love getting dressed up, don’t be afraid to wear a tulle skirt in broad daylight.

The point is that, sometimes the reason people tend to dress so much alike in college is because people are afraid to look different. And, while this is totally understandable, it also unfortunately tends to get in the way of many people’s self-expression.

Therefore, you should take this as a sign that you shouldn’t be afraid to wear what you want. Even if you end up hating it, you can always try again with something new another time; as I’ve said before, it’s only fashion!

Hopefully these tips have helped inspire you to stand out of the crowd; after all, you’re (usually) only in college once, and there’s no better time to take a style risk than now. So, take a chance; you never know what style discoveries it might lead to!

What do you think?

How do you like to stand out, style-wise? Do you have any other tips to add to this article? What about stories about taking a fashion risk, and having it totally pay off?

Let me know in the comments!

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