To the average high school grad, it’s time to reevaluate those awkward fashion faux pas of our youth and embrace a little closet pick-me-up for this new phase. With that first day of university looming overhead, getting your wardrobe college-ready is a must. Not only that, 2014 is a great year for fashion.
From weekend events to those pesky internship interviews, the looks below will illustrate the types of things you’ll need and make you feel fashion forward and sophisticated. Plus they mix and match well, can be found on any budget and will effortlessly carry you into the next four years and beyond – and that alone is cause to celebrate.
1. Relaxed and Casual for the First Day of School
The first day of college is a pretty big deal, and you’ll want to set the stage early for your style savviness. But, chances are you’ll be doing a bit walking and finding your way around. So, it’s best to wear a pair of fashionable yet comfortable shoes to get you through the day. Pair these with a classic top, statement necklace, great bag, and either a cool pair of jeans or a chic pair of camos (which also serve as a neutral), and you’re all set. And by all means, keep the first day fun and relaxed. Trust me, they’ll be plenty more opportunities throughout the year to pull out those pumps and party dresses.
Many of these items can be found on a thrift store budget, particularly the comfy top and jeans.
2. Sporty and Cool on the Weekend
Whether you’re off showing your school spirit at the big game, or hanging out with some new friends on the weekends, you’re going to want to unwind in style. Now is the perfect time to slip into that sporty-yet-sexy look that you pulled off so well in high school. Go ahead and grab the fitted sweats, floral crop top, and bomber jacket. Oh, and let’s not forget the cross-body bag (which allows you to mingle hands free) and Cons (which go with just about everything) for added color. After all, attention to detail is what got you here, right?
Each component of this outfit not only goes well as a cohesive ensemble, but can also be individually and worn with multiple other items in your closet to formulate other new and different looks that will last semester after semester. Something else that’s awesome is that apart from the watch and jacket, everything is in the $20-40 range. You might have a floral tank and fitted sweats already in your closet.
3. Sleek and Professional for That Big Interview
While college is meant to be fun too, you’ll also want to be prepared for those professional events that are sure to crop up. I mean let’s be honest, you do want to get a job at the end of all of this. I recommend investing in at least one form flattering and timeless suit and pumps. Now, I’m the poster child for buying affordably, but with suits especially I suggest getting a quality one (having it tailored if needed) so you can wear it again and again.
To add longevity to your wardrobe just use the pieces as separates. Not only can you wear the jacket as a blazer with jeans, but you can also swap out countless blouses (solid or printed ones like the one here) and cardigans to wear with the pencil skirt.
4. Eye-Catching for a Night out on the Town
Whether you’re relatives are in town and treating you to a nice dinner or you’re checking out a new club with friends, we suggest standing out with a few drool-worthy items. A dress like this red one is a sure showstopper, and if you’re planning to get up and shake that groove thing, its lightweight fabric and comfort make that easy. Go ahead and pair this with a eye-catching necklace, chic pump, and luxe clutch.
Speaking of an eye-catching necklace, here are 5 Things in Your Closet You Shouldn’t Be Blowing Money On. Also, if you go with a dress like this one with a classic silhouette, you can just throw on a blazer and it will easily double as another professional look when needed.
5. Bold and Flirty for Date Night
Between getting your class schedule down, pulling all-nighters, and writing those really long essays, you may want to carve out a little time to get acquainted with the locals. For a date, a pair of leather-like trousers and a peplum top are sleek and the perfect monochromatic palette. Layer on the jewelry, add a textured clutch in a bold color and a pair of ankle boots to match, and you’ll be the center of attention that night for all the right reasons.
Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of the award winning blog, Frugal-nomics.com; a platform designed to share with women how to live and look fabulous on a dime. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on The View, The Early Show, The Today Show, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine, and MTVStyle. A Wilhelmina Model for over a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze provides DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow; and has been a contributor for the Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance, Manilla, Good Housekeeping, and Newsday Westchester, to name a few. Brandhyze is a huge thrifter and a lover of all good deals, follow her on Twitter @MyFrugalnomics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Frugalnomics.