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Ask Avery: Freshman mistakes

blog by Avery Hartmans  • 

I’m a college freshman who just arrived on campus last week. No matter whether I’m walking across the quad or going out with friends at night, I feel like everyone automatically knows I’m a freshman. What can I wear/how can I style myself to make it less obvious that I’m new here?

If your school is anything like my school, you’ve probably been experiencing catcalls of “FRESHMAN” and equally embarrassing torments by the upperclassmen. And you’re right: it is obvious to everyone else that you’re the new kid on campus. Freshman are prone to traveling in packs, wearing their university lanyards around their necks and walking around with a campus map. If you’re currently doing any of those things, that’s your first problem. But there are also ways to look less like a member of the class of 2016 and more like the jaded co-ed you aspire to be.

Stop trying so hard

The typical rookie mistake is to think that being a college freshman is just like being a high school freshman — you want to impress the older kids by seeming cool and mature. This is not achieved by wearing heels to class, applying too much make-up or saying things like, “I’m so stoked to pre-game in my dorm later.” You’ll quickly realize that after your freshman year, you’re more likely to throw on something cute and comfortable, wear barely any makeup and keep your partying to yourself. So when it comes for your school-day beauty routine, keep it minimal: tinted moisturizer, light powder and a few coats of mascara will do it. As for your outfit, do what works for you. I usually wear shorts and a cool t-shirt for the hot days and skinny jeans, a cozy sweater and sensible boots as my uniform from November to March.

Be an individual

Just because you’re toning it down a notch doesn’t mean you should totally blend in, however. Don’t be afraid to showcase your personal style and add a unique flair to all your outfits. The majority of girls I attend school with seem capable of only dressing themselves in knee-high leather boots, leggings and some sort of off-the-shoulder shirt. There’s clearly some sort of fashion handbook I was not provided with along with my orientation packet. But when I see a chick rocking high-waisted pants and no-nonsense loafers, I get excited. It was harder to be an individual in high school, but college is the time to figure out what you like. Don’t follow the crowds.

Separate your “going out” clothes from your “classy” clothes

I say this with the hope that you actually have clothes from both categories and your closet doesn’t consist entirely of clothes befitting a lady of the night. If it does, you might want to Google image “Puritans” and take a few notes. But besides the obvious reasons why you shouldn’t wear “going out” clothes to class — you’re there to study, not be studied — it also takes away from the excitement of getting dressed for a night out. You want to look your best when headed out to party, and if you’ve worn your favorite bandage skirt to class, it won’t be special come 9 p.m. Friday night. Getting dressed up is half the fun of going to a party, so don’t waste your best outfits on you freshman economics lecture.

Have some class

A lot of freshmen get caught up in the excitement of going out and not having their dads make them go put on a sweater, so they go buck wild at Forever 21 and purchase way too much of what I like to call “frat wear.” This includes anything sequin encrusted, skin tight, cut down too low or up too high, or basically any clothing that could cause men to query as to your hourly rate if you stand too close to a street corner. A skintight dress has its time and place, but not paired with five-inch heels for a trek to a campus party. Guys will think you’re easy prey and girls will judge. Keep it classy, freshman.


Dear Avery,
What are some new hairstyles for fall? Is wavy, curly or straight hair in? Up or down? Are there cool new styles I can try? By the way, my hair is a couple inches below the collarbone.

The great thing about hair trends is that nothing is ever really out of style. Sure, big trends come and go, but there’s never a season where straight hair is totally “out” and short hair is totally “in.” No hairstyle can ever really be ruled out.

Take the fall 2012 runways, for instance, where there seemed to be an “anything goes” policy. Some designers showcased messy chin-length bobs, while others featured long, boho hippie hair. Blunt, straight-across bangs saw a resurgence, and messy, low ponytails contrasted with severe, slicked-back styles. No one, single style ruled the catwalks.

When it comes to length this fall, you may want to consider trying a shorter ‘do. Summer is the absolutely worst time to cut your hair short because you lose the option to put it in a ponytail. And considering this past summer’s blazing hot temperatures, leaving your hair down was not an option most days. But now that it’s cooling off a little — allegedly — you may want to consider a chop. Lately I’ve been loving a middle-parted, wavy, mid-length bob that just brushes the collarbone. It looks chic and effortless and is easy to maintain.

And now that you’re losing your tan, you may want to try a fall hue where your hair color is concerned. Brunettes should try some caramel highlights, while lighter shades may want to add a little red or light brown to their hair for the cooler months. Blondes may have more fun, but everyone loves a brunette.

Photo courtesy of bishopireton.org.

TAGGED: college, fall fashion, fall hairstyles, freshman, freshman year

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