Sorority rush is an exciting time, but some parts of it can be stressful—like figuring out what to wear! Each round of rush comes with different dress codes, often particular to each school. We rounded up some helpful tips for finding outfits that work for you.
Some campuses hold a rush orientation, which gives women the opportunity to chat with sorority members and discover the benefits of joining a sorority. At this point you don’t have to be registered for formal recruitment. Everyone will be excited to meet you and provide you with the information you’ll need to decide whether the process is right for you. It never hurts to looks your best because it’s a special chance to make a great first impression!
Other schools don’t allow you to meet with sorority members before formal recruitment begins, but instead you’ll learn about the process and meet your rho gammas, or recruitment counselors, who are sorority members who separate themselves from their sororities to help out with recruitment. In many cases, you’ll be standing or walking a majority of this time, so wear comfortable clothes! Save your cocktail dresses for later and keep it simple with pastel or printed shorts and a simple top. Avoid heels and slip on a pair of comfortable yet chic sandals or flats.
The first round of rush is your opportunity to really show off your personality! Girls will ask you simple and easy questions to get to know you, and you’ll be given the chance to ask general questions you have about their houses. The earlier rounds are more casual and lenient than the later rounds, so hopefully the relaxed environment will help you to open up and feel comfortable around many new women.
During the first round, wear a cute sundress and a pair of ballet flats or nice sandals. “It is important to look appropriate throughout the entire rush process,” says Mackenzie Barrott, a senior member of Alpha Xi Delta at Indiana University. “When we are recruiting, we want you to feel comfortable, but a revealing outfit can distract us from the conversation or give us a wrong impression you weren’t looking for. If you ever question whether a dress is too short or too revealing, it’s probably safe to say it’s not right for rush.”
With each round, the sorority becomes more personal with you, and introducing their philanthropic affiliations is a perfect example of that. Each sorority has a cause they support; they often hold events on campus to get the community involved and raise money to support their unique causes.
Philanthropy Day is a great day for sororities to show their philanthropy and for you to potentially find a house that supports a cause close to your heart. This day leaves little for you to stress about, because a recruitment shirt will probably be provided to you. Many sororities will include you in special activities to support their causes, such as creating cards for ill children or soldiers at sea. Although you won’t need to find an intricate outfit for Philanthropy Day, a pair of colored shorts to complement the shirt you’re given is a good choice. You could also try an origami skort for a trendy twist.
Skit Day is a fun event that allows sororities to express their personalities and values through a skit. A dress suitable for a nice dinner is recommended. Most women choose to dress up their look a little more for this round, but many sororities have their guests sit on the floor to watch the skit, so choose something that will allow you to comfortably get up and down and sit without worrying about your dress.
A more formal outfit doesn’t have to and shouldn’t take away from your style, so play with jewelry to complete your look. Heels are acceptable in this round, but make they’re comfortable enough to walk around in all day. You will not regret keeping comfort in mind after a long day of chatting and walking!
“I wore a fabulous pair of heels that I knew killed my feet, but I wanted to show them off,” says Becka Coveliers, now a member of Delta Zeta at Purdue University. “I soon regretted this decision and opted out for flats at lunch. Best decision of my life!”
Preference Night, the night where you get an inside look at a few of your top-choice sororities, is the dressiest night of the rounds, but don’t let this shake you! Choose clothes you feel comfortable in that will help you put your best foot forward, but don't go broke looking for the trendiest thing. You’ve handled these types of events before: Think about past dresses you wore to wedding receptions, upscale dinners or holiday celebrations. Choose a dress that’s not too revealing, meaning no plunging necklines, cutouts or miniskirts, which can distract girls from getting to know the real you.
Be sure to avoid solid-white dresses, because many sorority members will be required to wear this color on Preference Night. Instead, go for bold colors. If you’re comfortable in heels, you may want to wear them since you’ll be seeing only a few houses.
You did it! Bid Day is the amazing day when you’ll find out which sorority you’ll be in. After your rho gamma/recruitment leader hands you a bid card with your new home on it, you’ll be rushing to meet your future sisters.
“It reminded me of my high school pep rally, but better,” says Grace Rasulo, a Delta Delta Delta sister at the University of Missouri. “Singing or dancing, you name it. It was overwhelming in the best way possible, and it was amazing how fast I connected with the girls who also chose my house.”
Sororities love to shower their new girls with gifts, and you’ll likely get a T-shirt with your new letters upon your arrival. Wear a cute pair of jean shorts and a simple tank that will allow you to slip on your new letters and join your new sisters!
Overall, remember that the guidelines they give you are just that: guidelines. Be sure to show your personal style and wear the things you like and feel comfortable in. For more rush tips, check out these insider tips for sorority rush!