Back to Basics:
Packing for college is not like packing for vacation. You will be packing for a long period and the clothes you select will have to handle all the activities you will be involved in between the first day of school and your first break and trip home.
Cover the basics first. You are in college now, so let's focus on what you'll be wearing to class first. Jeans always work, and bring your favorite tops and tees. What you select will depend on your personal style preferences "you may be a dress or skirt girl" but make sure you have enough matched outfits to cover a full week of classes, plus a day. That sets you up for laundry once each week, which should be manageable. Guys, ditto. Bring at least five full classroom outfits plus a couple of extras to cover for the laundry day or a rough night.
You are planning clothing from the skin out for every day of the week. Bring at least ten days' worth of undergarments, plus jammies or sleepwear. You may be commuting through halls to the bathroom, so consider a cover up or robe of some sort and swim gear is a good idea as well.
If you're a resident of Arizona and you're going to school in Maine, you'll have to factor in cold weather clothing you don't even own yet. Depending on your transportation arrangements, you may want to make your purchases before you leave. If getting to the mall will be a hassle in your new school, buy first and take the stuff with you. Or, if you're willing to wait, you can purchase online, have the stuff delivered to your dorm and avoid having to pack and haul the extra stuff to school in September.
If the climate is going to be cold, you'll need to add a warm coat. If you're limited to one, make sure that it's a design that can dress up a bit, like a pea coat. A down parka may be warm, but it's not going to work over your little black dress for that mixer you'll want to attend.
Warm sweaters, serious socks and boots are must haves as well. You'll want a pair of boots that work with jeans as well as dressier outfits. And don't forget a hat, gloves or mittens and a scarf or two.
We all know that accessories make an outfit--and that they are easy to forget when you're packing. It's important to include belts, scarves and basic jewelry. Bring some good, classic pieces that are versatile. Remember, you will have limited storage space.
Shoes get a paragraph to themselves. You could go crazy here. Be smart. You'll want at least two pair to wear with your various class outfits. In addition, you'll want a pair of flip flops or shower shoes, athletic shoes for working out and at least one dress pair for interviews and dates. Add to that the winter footwear, if needed, and you should be set.
Playing Dress Up
You will need at least one nice outfit for more formal events. Make sure when you pack it you include appropriate footwear, undergarments, jewelry and jacket to complete the outfit. Finding out that the only shoes you have to wear with your cute ensemble is a pair of beat sneakers is not fun.
When you're putting together outfits in your mind, think from the skin out, and from head to toe as you assemble your packing.
You'll definitely need a backpack or tote for school "stuff", but don't forget a couple of handbags that will cover the rest of your life. Bring something that is fairly neutral that you can get some mileage out of. There's no point in bringing the sequined clutch if it doesn't go with a thing you're bringing.
What Not to Bring
When you're pondering what clothes to bring to college, there are some things that should be crossed off the list right away. Please, leave behind any garment emblazoned with your high school mascot. You are beginning a whole new phase of your life, start fresh. Nothing screams "freshman" like your swim team sweatshirt.
Also, avoid the temptation to "start over" from a fashion perspective. You want to be comfortable and true to yourself. Now is not the time to investigate that small part of you that wants to become the stereotypical hipster.
Good luck with your college career. Pack light, pack right and have fun.
What are you wearing today?
Create a lookbook and
share your style
Knowing what to wear for your body shape will ensure that you look your absolute best no matter what the occasion. Get fast fashion tips and style advice from stylists, fashion bloggers, experts of our fashion community. Find out the dos and don'ts of dressing, and get expert tips on looking your best.