By Hannah Orenstein
Don't lie, back-to-school shopping has been your favorite part of school since kindergarten. But this year, you're heading off to college for the first time –- and suddenly, the wardrobe you've been rocking since your freshman year of high school doesn't seem to cut it. College comes with its own particular slew of fashion crises: What kind of bag should you bring to a frat party? What do you wear to 8 a.m. classes when you're too tired to keep your eyes open? Don't stress –- here are 10 key pieces to get you through college.
1. School-spirit apparel
We'd never ask you to throw away your high school T-shirts and sweatpants. Hey, wear your “Seniors '12” T-shirt proudly! (While you're hitting the gym or in bed –- not to class.) While it's great to hold onto memories from high school, you don't want to be that girl stuck in the past who starts every sentence with, “When I was in high school...” Sweatshirts, gym shorts, water bottles, bumper stickers –- you name it, your college probably has its name stamped across it. Flaunt your new school proudly! Stop by your campus bookstore to add a little school spirit to your wardrobe. If you're looking for something beyond the basic school t-shirt, consider college apparel from brands like Victoria's Secret PINK, American Eagle, and more.
2. A cute, classy cocktail dress
A semi-formal cocktail dress might not seem like an obvious thing to pack, but it can get a surprising amount of mileage throughout the year. Sorority formals, holiday parties and fancier occasions off-campus (especially if you go to a city school) all tend to need a cocktail dress. For the most versatile pick, go with a dress that isn't too revealing and can be worn year-round. A classic LBD is always a good choice -- it looks just as cute at your sorority's spring formal as it does at a holiday party.
3. A dressed-down outfit for class
College life can be pretty hectic. Between late nights in the library and the occasional early morning classes, looking cute for class can sometimes slip to the bottom of your priority list. This is where your go-to class outfit comes in, whether it's denim leggings that don't dig into your skin or a cozy sweater that hides last night's pizza binge. When you're running late in the morning, it'll be easy to throw on your fallback outfit and make it to class on time. (And a tip for Friday classes? Forget about dressing to the nines –- most of your classmates will be too tired from the long week and a potential party last night to turn campus into a catwalk.)
4. A going-out outfit that makes you feel like a supermodel
Party time! While you might have worn the same outfit from school to a party in your friend's basement in high school, college parties tend to have a different dress code. A trusty black bandage skirt and pretty top is the standard uniform at most schools, but feel free to think outside the box. Show off your legs in a flirty mini-dress or add a laidback touch with a denim jacket.
5. Fierce -– but walkable! -– going-out shoes
You have a hot dress, hair worthy of a shampoo commercial, impeccable makeup and... flip-flops? We're all for slipping into flip-flops at the end of the night if blisters set in, but if you know your night won't entail too much walking, try heels! A pair of platform pumps gives you height plus a little extra comfort; wedges are an especially walkable choice.