College is a crucial time for developing your own personal style. Whether you’re fashion-obsessed or you tend to throw on the closest thing in your closet, your style is a reflection of who you are as a collegiette. There’s just one problem: sometimes our college duds don’t always look appropriate after we graduate. Her Campus is here to help with which looks you should leave behind once you graduate and what to replace them with to keep your style in check with the “real world.”
1. Crop tops with shorts
Pairing a crop top with shorts is a go-to look for collegiettes for nights out or warm days. However, showing off too much skin in your day-to-day life outside of campus can get you a totally different reaction than you’re used to.
But entering the “real world” doesn’t mean you have to ditch the crop-top look entirely! “To downplay the look and avoid exposing too much of your belly, definitely shop for this look as an outfit, rather than pairing two separate pieces on your own,” says freelance stylist and consultant Elizabeth Kamm. “Designers intentionally have paired tops with bottoms, whether it be a full tea-length skirt or high-waisted pants.”
Kamm’s advice to ensure this look stays classy? Keep the exposed portion of your stomach to about an inch thick, and the upper part of the torso exposed (which means your belly button should be hidden).
“My favorite look in this trend is a high-waisted pencil skirt paired with a matching sleeveless or short-sleeve top,” Kamm says. “The entire look is uniform, except for the exposed skin. It's as if a dress was cut in two.”
If you want to try the crop top in your professional life, Kamm advises pairing it with basics such as a chic blazer, but she warns that it’s important that collegiettes are “being careful that it is neutral or complimentary enough that it makes sense with your outfit.”
2. Too much sheer fabric
Sheer dresses and shirts have become popular with collegiettes for events ranging from a night at the bar to a formal function. This look can be sexy and classy, but when it’s overdone, it can often look tasteless.
To avoid overexposure, Kamm recommends picking one small area of your body, such as your arms or the hemline of a skirt, to be covered by sheer material. “The idea behind this look is to convey delicate femininity, not necessarily putting everything on view,” she says. “As such, this is a trend which is very appropriate for the real world because it is really about fabric and texture, making you noticeable by adding just a little bit of flair to your outfit.”
3. Leggings as pants
While we may wear them with long sweaters, with baggy tees or standing on their own as pants, unfortunately, off of a college campus, leggings-as-pants can be perceived as inappropriate because they’re often sheer and always tight. If you’re not ready to give up this look completely, go for a different material, such as these On The Edge Faux Leather Leggings ($22.80 at Forever 21) or try jeggings, like these Stella Jean Leggings ($79.90 at Express) that allow you to keep the comfort of leggings without the overexposure.
The key to rocking leggings in the real world is to make sure that they go under something to make sure you’re not showing people more than they want to see. Playing with layers, material and color can help make your look stand out for the right reasons.
Being forced to reverse a sweatpants habit is some collegiettes’ worst nightmare. Their comfort and convenience makes sweatpants extremely popular everyday wear. However, off of your campus, wearing sweatpants in public may make you appear sloppy and careless.
Don’t think that once you leave your campus you have to leave comfort behind as well! Ditch your sweats for a more put-together yet cozy look such as harem pants. These offer the same type of comfort while giving you the chance to show off your personal style.
If you want to stay with a basic design, try these Soft Woven Harem Pants ($19.80 at Forever 21), or go for a more funky design with this Band of Gypsies Side-Slit Harem Pant ($39 at Urban Outfitters).
5. Bodycon Skirts
For a night out at a party or even a more formal function, many collegiettes turn to the bodycon skirt, which can enhance your legs, butt and hips. While you’re probably rocking this look weekend after weekend, it can be hard to look classy in something so infamously short and tight.
To go for a look that keeps it classy while also showing off your assets, try a pencil skirt or a midi skirt. If you’re thinking that these looks are strictly professional, try out these super-cute modern versions!
Contrast Knee Length Skirt, $13.80 at Forever 21
High-Waisted Midi Pencil Skirt, $18.99 at Charlotte Russe
No matter what your personal style may be, now that you’re leaving school, it’s time to make sure you’re expressing yourself in style. Start shopping, collegiettes!