How To Dress Like A College Student

Flickr / Nan Palmero
Flickr / Nan Palmero

Note: This does not include liberal arts colleges. Those places are usually very Marc Jacobs trust fund chic.

Think of college as being a four year pajama party. You just want to be comfortable even if it means scaring every person who’s around you. Run into your Women’s Studies class ten minutes late wearing sweatpants, Uggs, a tank top and a rat’s nest of hair. Look around the room and see ten other girls wearing the same thing. Take pride in being anti-fashion and pro-functional.

Be a stoner and describe your style as being Hippie Fabulous. Girls will wear long flowy skirts, a generic tank top and have dreads. They won’t shave their armpits and they’ll wear Tom’s deodorant (OMG, the mercury!), which means that they will smell bad all the time. Being Hippie Fabulous means shunning high fashion and general good taste with gusto. Consumerism is gross. You just spend your money on the essentials: Weed, beanies, and the occasional hallucinogen.

If you’re a boy who’s Hippie Fabulous, you’ll wear ripped light denim jeans with a Bob Marley shirt or something with a controversial quote. You will smell really bad. Your hair will house live animals and your toenails will be the color of putrid yellow. You will still somehow have lots of sex.

Alternate between two looks during your entire college career: I Don’t Give A Fuck Because I’m Hungover and I Care So Much and I Hope I Get Laid Tonight. During the day, you look like a homeless person who’s addicted to Adderall and at night, you pile on the makeup, wear your most revealing dress, and go to the clubs. Occasionally you’ll dip your toes into the following looks: Walk Of My Shame/Shame Spiraling And I Hate Myself, I Have To Write A 30 Page Paper In Five Hours, Oops, I’ve Been Mistaking My Xanax For Birth Control, Mom Please Call Me Back I Need To Talk To You, Mom Leave Me Alone, Maybe I Should Major In Psychology, How Many Gross People Can I Sleep With Before I Really Hate Myself and I Will Shoot Myself If I Have To Go To Another Theme Party.

Spend your entire college experience making fashion mistakes but don’t care. It’s not like it will stop you from having loads of vacuous sex. You could go to a party wearing a garbage bag and still take home someone cute. Take advantage of this because it will never be like that ever again. The real world does not have sex with garbage bags.

Graduate from college and realize you need a real wardrobe. Go to Forever 21 and buy something you deem professional looking. Maybe a blazer? Store all of those 80s workout costumes and Uggs deep in your closet and never look at them again unless you’re drunk and feeling emotional. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • PerspicuousJ

    More like ugh boots.

  • Aja

    Finally something I don't identify with at all.  I never dressed like any of these descriptions.  Ever.  (I do however own some fuggs.  But I bought them this winter because I didn't think they were relevant anymore and Virginia gets cold).

  • Michael Koh

    Goddamn Ryan, this is so good

  • Ro

    Amazing. I want to write a follow-up to this–“How To Dress Like A College Student at A Liberal Arts School.”

    • M909

      Please do. Popular at my school–Uggs (a staple, really), American Apparel anything, leggings, designer denim, and North Face jackets.

      • J.Quin

        Oh, so you go to the University of Oregon, then?  Me too!

    • ghosts

      Please do. Attending a liberal arts college in San Francisco is a big double whammy…
      I'm surrounded by some of the most pretentious fucks I've met who believe holes, stains and mismatched patterns and being a grandma are in. Hygiene isn't cool and Urban Outfitters is much more than just a mass producer of overpriced, 'vintage' clothing. Maybe I'm just not hip wit it

  • Danielle

    “Alternate between two looks during your entire college career: I Don’t
    Give A Fuck Because I’m Hungover and I Care So Much and I Hope I Get
    Laid Tonight.”

    This is SO extremely true

  • damo

    fucking good but why only describe the “hippie fabulous” crew? what about the other species in the vast college ecosystem?

  • Aelya

    I suggest a piece about how to dress for certain majors. Unless it's been done

  • genna mae

    Fucking Tom's deodorant does make us smelly! I'm glad other people in the world recognize that that shit is anti-antiperspirant.

  • Sas Jam

    Pretty on the nose.
    These were the years where I learned to despise sweatpants and the ladies whom wear them outside the home.

  • Megan

    I may go to a hipster-filled Liberal Arts school where everyone cares too much about how they look but I much prefer that over this.

  • flip

    college is nothing like this, seriously.  nothin

    • dechonmustard

      my college is.

    • jack

      this article was written on cruise control

  • SaraJane

    i read TC without looking at the name of the writer. and this time, for the 3rd time, i got it right, it's Ryan!

  • bxbbcr
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  • Slothrop

    You just used the phrase “putrid yellow.” Then again, this is Thought Catalog.

  • Hbjhbjh

    you're a moron. this isn't about liberal arts schools but you talk about going into a women's studies class. -_-

    • Genderfuck

      i know. so moronic. what a moron. GOD

  • sloppysoup

    “During the day, you look like a homeless person who’s addicted to Adderall”… this may explain why my sister calls me a shut-in

  • tatel

    UCSC is just like this

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