Look Fresh: Tips on Packing for College

Here I am my first semester of college. Naive, over eager and not yet an expert on what to wear...

This guide is geared toward Southern schools -- many of which are home to the cash-draining Greek Life system.  Whether you're looking to "go Greek" or not, you need to know how to pack and shop(!) wisely before the school year begins.

There are two categories: Unnecessary & Best Practice.
1-2-3 Go!  Email me with questions (see form below)!


Unnecessary | Expensive-as-all-get-out "cocktail" dresses 

When I arrived at Wofford College in the fall of 2006, I was floored by the number of expensive-as-all-get-out "cocktail" dresses that were crammed into the tee-tiny closets of the freshman dorms.  I mean people were bringing in $350+ bedazzled, sequined, custom, bla bla, you name it kind of dresses.  

Guess what happened to those dresses?

  • They were trashed at parties
  • They didn't fit after a few months -- face it, lady, your daughter will probably have a beer or two.
  • Friends borrowed them for functions -- those friends quickly became frenemies -- and said friends inevitably destroyed a hem, broke a zipper or put a run in the dupioni silk.  Ya lost a spendy dress and a friend. Nice work.

 (left) TED BAKER $249.59 | (right) ASOS $58.04

If you (or your daughter) is insisting on spending over a grande on 3-4 dresses for college, you tell her to sit down and shut up.  It's a waste!

Unnecessary | 1,000 pairs of the same item... 

I can't tell you how many women I've worked with -- ages 21 to 32 -- who are embarrassed by the number of J. Crew 4" chino shorts they own.  You don't need 57 pairs* (at $45 a short).

Grab one or two: one neutral, one fun color.

Then, do yourself a favor...  

Run on over to OLD NAVY, Nordstrom (BP) or Urban Outfitters and grab some shorts that will not look like every-other-girl-on-campus. 

Grab a few fun prints to pair with solid tee shirts.  

If you literally cannot wear any other shorts other than the J.Crew chinos -- buy different lengths, even the long ones -- and do fun things with them!

*This is not exclusive to J. Crew shorts, of course.  I see crazy repeats of all types in women's closets.  Don't be a buy-one-in-every-color kinda gal. You're better than that.

Best Practice | Tops & T's 

Whether you're doing your own laundry for the first time or your campus has a laundry service... the water is hot.  Seriously.  That plush, soft, beautiful (spendy) tissue tee is not going to withstand a million washes... WITH TOWELS.  They will pill, shrink, get dyed, etc.  Wise up!  

Grab some V-necks or scoop neck tees from

  • Target
  • Costco or
  • Banana Republic | J.Crew | Kenneth Cole | Calvin Klein outlet

Best Practice | L-B-D

If you're about to start rush (bless your heart), you will probably need a white and/or black dress.  
A L-B-D is an investment I encourage you to make.  A really great dress can be re-paneled with some weight gain/loss.  Black never goes out of style.  Etc., Etc., Etc.
Order several styles, determine the perfect shape for you and have it nipped and tucked for best fit.

All styles to the right are from J. Crew

Best Practice | For the Feet

There are a rare few who actually lose weight in the first semester of college and I'm sure it has to do, in part, with the amount of walking across campus that takes place.  That being said, not everyone can out-walk the calories that are in 12-packs of beer. 

Fresh-girl college needs:

  • good pair of walking shoes -- for walking to class, walking to meetings, walking everywhere.
  • A pair of comfortable "going out" shoes that are okay to TOSS after a 2-4 semesters.
  • 2 pairs of sneaks
    • "fashion" sneakers (also works for walking to class shoe, duh) + fitness sneakers.
  • A flat boot for fall/winter (also, to pair perfectly with a sundress in the Spring!)
  • A waterproof shoe.  Class isn't cancelled when it rains... and she'll mostly need to walk there.
  • Shower shoes.  Don't forget shower shoes. 

Unnecessary | For the Feet:

Packing a kajillion pairs of shoes.  
You simply will not have room. 

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