Fashion and college have been friends for much of history. From the time that many colleges and universities rescinded school uniform policies and gradually began relaxing rules governing dress policies, students have pushed the boundaries of taste and fashion to the limits; and, in some cases to extremes. While wanting to be a trendsetter is important to some students, the majority are looking for ways to be fashionable and ways of expressing their unique identities – through fashion’s new buzzword – branding. A University of Maryland, College Park fashionista who writes about fashion for the website College Fashion offers tips for the upcoming year.
University of Maryland at College Park
College Fashion LLC.
Boston, Mass. 02123
(614) 715-3900, Ext. 768823
With a double major in communications and English, Demi Tzamaras, who will be graduating from the University of Maryland at College Park in the near future, was born in Washington, D.C., and has lived in the states and overseas. Her passion for fashion is matched with her passion for writing, music and entertainment. For more than three years, Tzamaras has written a “Celebrity Street Style” column that analyzes celebrity fashion trends to advise readers on how to recreate that look under the constraints of a student budget. The column is published at College Fashion, a website that follows college fashion trends and offers advise to its readers on what is in and what is out.
Trending fall fashions
“This fall, having a cool manicure is a must,” Tzamaras said. “Nail art has been getting a lot of attention in the fashion world, and a ton of celebrities like Kerry Washington, Demi Lovato and Zooey Deschanel have been sporting unique manicures with bold colors, designs, and hardware like studs and rhinestones. At home– or rather, in dorm– manicures have become easier than ever thanks to new nail art products sold at your local drugstore, like Essie Sleek Sticks, which give you an instant professional looking manicure featuring prints, rhinestones and more, or Sally Hansen Nail Art Pens which allow you to draw your own designs over your polish.
Leather looks are still going strong, for both guys and girls. Whether it’s leather (or faux leather), pants, jackets or detailing on shirts, you can’t go wrong with adding a leather accent to your fall look. Beware of the leather overload, however, which is a fashion fail– limit one leather piece per look. Standout pants have been a burgeoning summer trend that will transition into the fall. Bold prints and equally bold silhouettes like palazzo pants, harem pants, joggers, and tapered trousers have been sported by fashionistas everywhere, and are an excellent way to make an outfit ‘pop.’ For the fall, add a leather jacket over top and flats instead of summery sandals. Printed skinny jeans are still trending, as well, and look great with T-shirts and sweaters alike.
They aren’t a new concept, but beanie hats have been popular on the fall runways, and are a must for the college student, especially come fall and winter. Designers like Alexander Wang and BCBG featured beanie hats in their collections, and there are a bunch of options out there for the college budget. They’re also a great way to cover up a bad hair day.”
An oldie that is no longer a goodie
“A popular, old college fashion standard is wearing pajamas to class,” she said. “But pulling an all-nighter is not an excuse to look like a total mess. Leggings (for girls) and North Face jackets are also a typical college student look that can still be spotted on campuses nationwide, and while many of us have been guilty to succumbing to this combination, it’s recognized as a fashion ‘don’t.’ Nowadays, there are many easy, comfy clothing options which can be thrown on with the same ease as pajamas, but which keep you looking stylish, even with a lack of sleep. Enter tapered sweat pants, which have now become a trendy look for both guys and girls. The tapered silhouette of modern sweatpants (stores like Zara and Express carry them for reasonable prices) make them a stylish wardrobe staple; they can be worn with t-shirts, sweaters and leather jackets. Also, for girls, boyfriend jeans are another comfy clothing option to replace the old standards– their loose fit makes them easy to wear, and they can be dressed up or down.”
New and in
“For girls, midi rings are a recent trend which has been popularized by fashion bloggers and celebs,” Tzamaras said. “Midi rings are worn midway down your finger, and are currently being sold in a huge variety of cool shapes. Wearing lots of rings, both midi and normal, is in right now– don’t be afraid to stack them or wear a ring on all of your fingers.”
Old and out
“For girls, headbands are out,” she said. “’Gossip Girl’ character Blair Waldorf popularized them on the show, and college girls experimented with over-the-top headbands to achieve Blair’s neo-classic look. While classic styles never fade, the headband, (especially the bolder Blair styles, featuring large bows and flowers), no longer holds a place on the fashion radar. Instead, opt for a turban (or turban headband) which is the trendy new way to keep your hair back while making a statement. These can be worn to emphasize a boho look or update a classic look. For guys, it might be a no-brainer, but cargo shorts are a ‘don’t.’ While I admit that there is a practicality to them, cargo shorts are flattering for few and a thing of the past.”
Dress for success
Tzmaras said: “Dressing for success in the social/peer environment generally calls for a more relaxed look, embracing trends of the season and with an emphasis on personal style. We are all aware of the huge social media presence in college. Nights out are more often than not photographed and posted on various online social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, and because of this, students often want to avoid the dreaded repeated outfit. If you are one of these people, don’t spend your money on expensive clothing unless they are investment pieces that can be worn for years to come. Instead, shop at budget friendly options like Forever 21, where you can get trendy pieces that won’t break the bank. Quantity over quality is not a sin during college. When meeting with professors, advisers and other faculty, it is a good idea to dress up your more relaxed daily look and take a more conservative, business casual approach. College is an excellent place to network with adults who have had working experience in the field you are pursuing (and of course, face time with your professors can help your grade, too), and you want to be taken seriously. Showing up to a meeting with your school’s faculty in sweats is unadvised, even if you’re one of the most accomplished students on campus. A blazer is a great way to instantly add a professional touch to an outfit for both guys and girls. A T-shirt and jeans suddenly looks put together with the addition of a blazer; girls can wear them over dresses, as well.”
“As a college student, you’re often on the go and under stress, so looking stylish and put together at all times can sometimes be a challenge,” she said. “A good way to make sure your style stands out, even with the pressures of college life, is to invest in a daily accessory that is unique. For example, a cool backpack or book bag is a daily college essential that can become a signature part of your look. Companies like Herschel Supply Co. offer unisex backpacks that make for a modern, stylish addition to any outfit. For girls who prefer boho-inspired looks, Billabong has an amazing selection of backpacks featuring an array of eye-catching prints.
In addition to backpacks, another daily accessory that can help create a signature look are headphones. Many of us walk around campus plugged into our iPhones and iPods, but rather than wear a pair of boring earbuds, try a pair of standout headphones or earbuds instead. Beats by Dre is a popular option, but brands like Urbanears have modern, colorful designs that actually accessorize an outfit, and will make you stand out on campus. Of course, branding your personal look is all about originality and not being afraid to experiment with different looks. College is a great time to find your own signature style, and the best way to do that is to try out trends and see what works best for you. Find what colors suit you best, what clothing styles flatter your shape and look for pieces that represent your personality. Jewelry can often serve as a style signature (such as a special piece from a trip abroad or passed down to you by a family member), or serve as a jump-off point for a full outfit.”
Fashionable campus gear this year
Tzamaras recommends: “A pair of cool sneakers is a definite must for the campus fashionista. Getting to classes, activities, meetings, etc. often requires a good deal of walking around campus, so comfortable shoes are a plus, especially if they can spice up an outfit. This season, there are so many options for fun, functional footwear. Printed sneakers are a great option, which brands like Vans and Keds are a go-to for. The wedge sneaker is still popular, as well. Also, a cute key fob or small wallet to stash your student ID, dorm or apartment keys, money, etc. is also a must. Since keys and your student ID generally need to be with you at all times, keep them safe in a pretty carrier rather than carry a generic keychain.”
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Jeffrey B. Roth has won numerous state and national news and feature-writing awards during his career. A well-known crime writer, investigative reporter and a feature writer, Roth writes for a number of magazines and newspapers. Listed in the Locus Index of SciFi and Fantasy authors, Roth is the author of a number of published short stories and poetry. His work can be found on Examiner.com.