Now, some people are evangelical about their flip-flops. Aesthetically or practically, I'm not their biggest fan, but there is not a single soul who could convince me to go into a dorm bathroom without them on. If I'm taking a shower or need to run outside and don't feel like finding a pair of socks or real shoes, the flip-flop is my partner in crime. For this reason, my money is always on the super cheapies, the $1 pairs you can grab at Target, Old Navy, or anywhere that shoes made of 99% rubbery foam and 1% squelch can be found. And don't let the cost fool you: these things can be dynamite. Just last semester, the pair that had lasted me since freshman year (that's 3 years) busted. I probably could have fixed them but, really? I just ran to the store and picked up another, even cheaper pair.
Two: A killer First Day outfit
The first day of classes is a crucial one wardrobe-wise. You want to make a good first impression on your classmates and professors, so a basic shorts + tee is out of the question. But if you look too good, you run the risk of setting the standard too high and looking like a slob everytime you do want to get a little more basic. You wouldn't want your classmates to go "Wow, she looks like crap today" when you just feel like throwing a t-shirt, would you? (Note: the likelihood of your classmates actually thinking that is slim to none, especially considering that half of them will probably be wearing sweatpants. But if you're me, you're thinking that they're thinking it, and that's just as bad and twice as neurotic.)
The look I created above is a version of my go-to plan: slightly nicer bottoms (a cropped pant or maybe a nicer pair of shorts) paired with a casual top that still has some sort of interesting feature, flats, hair accessory, and a statement ring. I must now confess that, while I've often mentally enthused about the versatility of a statement ring (or cocktail ring), its ability to dress up an outfit without adding an overbearing amount of jewelry, I did not actually own one. No longer! This past Saturday, I adopted a lovely little pale yellow flower into my home and heart and onto my hand. Rejoice!
I buy a new pack of hangers every time I go back to school, bring all the hangers I've bought from previous years, but I still never have enough hangers! This might be because my drawers overflow much more epically than my closet, so once there's no more room in the dresser, up it goes! Now, thanks to Mommy Dearest, we all know that wire hangers are entirely unacceptable--they'll warp your clothes. It might not be the best choice, but I'm a student who would rather spend money on clothes than clotheshangers, so I just pick up the megapacks of plastic hangers at Walmart/Target/your favorite big box store.
Four: A great (book) bag
You're not in high school anymore, ditch the backpack! (Or, if you are, why not mix it up?) With more variable class schedules, you no longer have to fit everything for every class into one bag at the same time. Show off your style with something much more fun. My biggest warning regarding bags is to make sure you pay attention to the opening size; the measurements may seem perfect, but you can't take advantage of the textbook-sized bottom if you can't get it in.
Another thing to consider is what you do with your bag during class and the location of your school--it sounds silly until you show up after the first snow in October (what, you don't live in Wisconsin?) and realize you'll be setting your beautiful oversized purse directly in all the muddy meltings from your classmate's shoes. For that reason, a no-muss messenger bag or tote is my choice, but if you can fit your textbooks in it and can keep the elements away, a cuter bag can really make going to class seem more fun! (Okay, it won't really do that, but it might make you smile!)
Five: Fabulous yet evolving hair
No pic for this one because this is one of those answers that means something different to everyone. Now, in my estimation, your hair is one of the most personal parts of your style. It's something you have "on" everyday, regardless of whether you want to or not (unless you rock the wigs, in which case, shine on you crazy diamond!)--it is literally part of you. For this reason, you want to have kickin' hair when you show up at school, to impress your friends and awe your enemies and because you just want to feel fresh for the new year.
Now, anyone who has gotten their hair cut in their life probably knows by now not to get it done the day (or the two days, or if you're trying something brand new even the week) before you show up somewhere. Your hair needs a chance to get used to the new look and you need a chance to get used to your hair, figure out what to do with it when it's no longer salon-perfect. And when you're in college, it's pretty likely that you (a) might not have extra funds for a haircut, (b) are wary of going to a different salon (if you have a usual stylist at home), or (c) will be way too busy having fun--uh, studying--to make an appointment for your hair. For this reason, your hair needs to be like a Pokemon.
You have two options here:
You may choose a hairstyle that will start out like the adorable Squirtle and, as time goes on and hair grows, evolve into the totally cool Wartortle, and then again into the BAMF Blastoise.
You may prefer to be like Eevee (a personal favorite) and pick a style that can evolve in an ever expanding number of ways, depending on the changes in your own style and feelings on the matter. This process will often involve hair dye.
Those are the things (or concepts, I suppose. We're pretty loose on the definition of "things" around here) that I would never head back to school without! What are your picks this round?
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