You can blame it on global warming — I think the weather on the first day of school is getting progressively warmer. I could have sworn I was wearing tiny turtlenecks and Scottie-dog-print dresses to my first days of “K through 5” (real cute, right?). My point is that it’s more difficult to dress school-appropriate when the weather is more beach-appropriate.
Besides, dressing for back-to-school in college is a bit different from any other grade. There are no finger-tip-length shorts rules, no four-fingers-wide sleeve rules, no can’t-have-words-on-your-butt rules. A girl could wear short-shorts with ‘Juicy’ stamped on the back and a tank top to 9 a.m Intro to Psych if she really wanted to. But that’s not the impression you want to be making on your professors.
I’m not saying you have to show up to Olin in a business suit if you want there to be any chance that you’re taken seriously. You can even wear a cute t-shirt — just balance it out. Roll the sleeves so it looks more polished, pair it with tailored shorts (not your dip-dyed cut-offs) and throw on a chunky necklace. Skinny jean fanatic? Pick a darker wash and wear them with a collared sleeveless blouse and ballet flats.
You know that one student who ends up being the professor’s go-to for answering questions when no one else volunteers? That’s probably because, at the beginning of the semester, that student was always the one volunteering the answers. Your professors are going to be forming their opinions about you in the first few weeks, so you can either be the kid who rolls out of bed fifteen minutes before class without their work done, or the one who prepares everything the night before and shows up on time looking ready to work. And it can be fun. One of the reasons I love (am obsessed with?) fashion is because it’s such a great form of self-expression. Take advantage of these dress code-less years — pretty soon you’ll be in the real world and I’ll bet your office won’t be cool with Norts.