Here's something they won't tell you on your college campus tour — the desire to eschew all nice dressing in favor of the most comfortable clothing possible will be strong, particularly during trying test/paper-writing times. But don't fall into the sweatpants and hoodie trap! There is a way to look put-together even when your first priority is (and should be) to ace your chemistry final and you can still get to your three-hour lecture on time, while not looking like a sloppy college kid. Seek out basics that are just a notch or two above terrycloth comfort, like sleek dresses in relaxed silhouettes, leggings that will last all semester, oversized tunics, pants with elastic waists and tailored bottoms. Keeping these pieces in steady rotation will ensure that you can seamlessly transition from small group discussion to off-campus dinner without feeling underdressed. Check out our 20 picks for optimal campus dressing that prove you need not abandon your fashion sensibilities while earning your degree.
Alison Baitz is a freelance fashion and culture writer. When she's not busy chatting about online shopping or rooting out cool new designers, she's interviewing up-and-coming musicians or sampling food for articles and calling it research. She's proud to be a part of the DC-based food zine The Runcible Spoon. Yes, she is on Twitter: @itsmealison.