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College cool: Try these budget fashions for campus

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/13/12/50/s8KmR.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - KOHLS.COM
    This Daisy Fuentes pointelle open-front cardigan in medium heather gray is perfect for a morning class. $59.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/13/12/50/1q6aEc.Em.138.jpeg|473
    - Courtesy of Bethany Diffey
    Bethany Diffey of Charlotte is the creator of a fashion blog, bsoup.blogspot.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/13/12/50/FK4PZ.Em.138.jpeg|473
    - BANANAREPUBLIC.GAP.COM
    A pencil skirt that’s not too short will serve you well for interviews and other events when a polished, professional look is needed. Sloan pencil skirt. $79.50.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/13/12/50/eARud.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Mark.Williams - TARGET.COM
    A black moto jacket gives an edgy vibe to a nighttime look. $34.99.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/13/12/50/Ua3Zw.Em.138.jpeg|470
    - Courtesy of Kenya Hunter
    Kenya Hunter, Charlotte fashion blogger.

More Information

  • For the guys

    Kenya Hunter offers a few must-haves for guys as they pack their college wardrobes:

    • Add a pair of colored denim or chinos to your standard khaki rotation.

    • Crisp button-down shirts always look polished (opt for wrinkle-free fabrics). Consider bold prints and color choices.

    • Don’t overlook quality leather shoes (slip-on or lace-ups) for occasions when sneakers aren’t appropriate. And invest in a stylish watch, belt and glasses for a put-together look.


  • Edit your wardrobe

    Mary Kate Steinmiller, senior fashion market editor for Teen Vogue, offers these tips for smartly editing your wardrobe to fit your tiny dorm closet and your new college lifestyle.

    • Think about how you’re going to spend your time, and plan your wardrobe accordingly. “Most students spend the majority of the day at class, followed by their social life and then special occasions.” Most of your clothes should be items you’ll wear to class.

    • Learn to do laundry before leaving for college. Steer clear of fabrics that require hand washing or dry-cleaning. Look for easy-care fabrics that don’t require much ironing.

    • Think up and down when it comes to organizing your dorm closet, using every inch of vertical space. Layer jackets over dresses on hangers; if you’re using the right hangers it shouldn’t damage the garment below. Store items under your bed by using a loft, or at least risers, to give yourself extra under-bed storage.



College life is full of potential fashion pitfalls: Waking up minutes before an 8 a.m. class across campus. Last-minute internship interviews. Weekend nights out that range from frat parties to gallery openings.

It’ll take more than a tiny dorm closet full of T-shirts and jeans to strike the right look in the university world.

We asked two local fashion bloggers, Kenya Hunter ( kenyalfashionblog.com) and Bethany Diffey ( bsoup.blogspot.com) for their favorite easy-care, budget-friendly college looks.

Steal some of their tips and tricks and prepare to graduate with high fashion honors.

The 8 a.m. class

Slightly unkempt is the new polished, says Diffey, so for morning classes, pull on an oversized sweater in an interesting texture (quilted, cable knit or even neoprene) over distressed skinny jeans in different hues. Instead of blue denim, try black, gray and white.

A slip-on sneaker or moccasin makes you a little more stylish than wearing workout sneakers as you sprint across campus. “When in doubt, stick with the 3 S’s – stripes, skinnies, sneakers,” Diffey says.

As temperatures drop, a print scarf or anorak jacket will keep you cozy in a cold lecture room while keeping you on-trend, she says.

For mornings when you’re not in the mood for skinny jeans, Hunter loves joggers – lightweight, breathable, roomy pants that can by casually styled with a simple T-shirt and slip-ons or glamorized with heels and a chic blouse for later in the day – when class is out of session.

The internship interview

Do not – we repeat – DO NOT wear denim or that adorable miniskirt to an internship or job interview.

Sure, the interview is taking place on a college campus, but interviewers are picturing how you’ll function in their offices, so it’s key to look like you will belong there.

Opt for a can’t-miss outfit of a well-fitting pencil skirt or trousers, blouse, sweater or blazer and heels, Hunter says.

Diffey recommends a tailored jacket or blazer, pairing pants with a classic loafer, and keeping accessories understated.

Buy colors and styles that are classic and not trendy, and this outfit can serve you well for many interviews, professional presentations and author meet-and-greets. Just remember to keep your “professional look” staples neat and clean – an emergency dash to the dry cleaner may not be easy to squeeze into a college schedule.

The party night out

To avoid buying a separate wardrobe of “going out” clothes, glam up your everyday staples with the right shoes and accessories, Diffey says.

“Take one of your campus looks and swap out sneakers for leopard heels, layer on a moto jacket and add super glitzy earrings for a sophisticated look,” she says.

Remember that party nights can mean lots of walking on (and off) campus, so consider a pair of flats in a cool print instead of heels, Hunter says.

She recommends mixing jumpsuits into the nighttime rotation of skirts and skinnies as a festive look that is easy to dress up with heels or down with flats or sandals.

Shorts paired with a bomber jacket is a fun way to create unexpected contrast and is easy to move and dance in.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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