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Saying goodbye to summer and hello to Economics 101 is never easy. However, saying, "Hello, new fall wardrobe" always makes a girl happy.
With limited space in dorms and sorority houses, packing smart is essential.
"It's really important for college students to bring items that are functional and can be worn multiple, different ways," said Amy Levin, founder of the fashion blog College Fashionista. "Since many students are living in really small spaces, it's about bringing functional pieces that can work in the classroom and can easily transition into night or the weekend."
It's not necessary to jam-pack your closet.
"The best thing to do is to have great sets of classics that fit you well and that you know you love," said Joshua Seth, an editorial stylist who has worked with "InStyle," "Zink" and "Flaunt." "You can pair these with just a few trendy pieces and you are set."
So, college-bound gals, as you grab your suitcases and get ready to hit the books, remember to pack the must-have fall items that will keep you looking fabulous all semester long.
It's really important for college students to bring items that are functional and can be worn multiple, different ways. ... It's about bringing functional pieces that can work in the classroom and can easily transition into night or the weekend.
- Amy Levin, founder of College Fashionista
The Top Layers
When you think collegiate fashion, one quintessential piece that jumps to mind is the blazer. While this classic has been around for a while, new, fashion-forward variations make it a definite fall must-have.
"There's something so collegiate about a blazer," Levin said. "What I love about this jacket is that you can find a shape that flatters both your personality and body type."
Levin suggests a shorter, more fitted blazer for a Blair Waldorf-inspired look and a longer, boxier blazer to add a splash of menswear to the feminine ensemble.
Seth agrees that this multifaceted garment is perfect for every college girl. "The blazer is great for date night or internships or class presentations," he said. "It's a more sophisticated look when you want to make a great impression on someone."
Blazers don't have to be dark either. Seth says the fall fashion shows showed a lot of gold, bright yellow, bright green and true red blazers. Adopting one of those nontraditional looks will help the wearer bring her own personality to the trend.
Another classic piece is the white blouse. With the right additions, this fashion staple can take you from bookworm to campus queen in no time.
"The classic cut and color of a white blouse acts as a perfect palette for you to add accessories and layers," Levin said. She suggests tucking the blouse into a leather mini and pairing it with your favorite platforms.
Another fall must-have is the nomad, or wrap, sweater.
"It's a great layering piece so you can definitely mix and match with it," Seth said. "This season is definitely about fun and bringing out your personality."
He advises playing with textures, like mixing your cashmere sweater with silk and denim.
To keep this look ultra-chic, make the palette monochromatic.
"It's more about texture than color," Seth said. He suggests shopping Rodarte, French Connection or J.Crew for the perfect wrap sweater.
As the weather gets cooler, don't reach for a frumpy coat. Choose a statement piece guaranteed to wow, like a beautifully tailored wool jacket.
"It's a great staple for that true collegiate feel," Seth said. "You can throw it on over a casual look to bring a sense of sophistication with the tailoring."
He suggests an olive or navy wool coat.
"Alexander Wang did a really great one," Seth said, "and Banana Republic also has a really nice wool coat for the fall."
Below the Belt
The stylists agree that a great, long skirt and a good pair of jeans are essentials for fall.
"A long skirt, either midcalf or ankle length, is a must," Seth added. "It's a great item, even if it's crumpled up and worn without having it perfectly pressed.
"You can pair this with kitten heels or a flat boot and long cardigan for day or glam it up with a studded belt to add a little rock 'n' roll element for night. For evening, I would also tuck in your top to showcase the waist of the skirt."
Denim is a no-brainer.
"A good pair of jeans is a must-have for any college student," Levin said. "You can wear denim with a white T-shirt for the classroom and then pair your jeans with a blouse and heels for going out at night."
While denim jeans come in styles like skinny and flared, Levin cautions against following the crowd.
"Don't necessarily stick with the trend," she said. "Find a style that flatters your body type."
Her suggestions for students on a budget? Gap or Levi's jeans. If you have room to splurge, then try J Brand or Textile by Elizabeth and James.
Oxford flats are just as collegiately timeless as blazers. They're the perfect stylish and comfortable addition to any outfit.
"Flats are crucial for trekking across campus to make it to class," Levin said. "Oxfords are a classic style that looks both polished and fashion forward."
She suggests trying a white or colored pair to spice up your look or a different material, like velvet, to add a little edge.
Another way to add edge to any outfit is to accessorize with a piece of statement jewelry.
"A big piece of fun jewelry in a bold color or interesting shape can give an instant face-lift to a not-so-new ensemble," Levin said. To keep your look one of a kind, Levin suggests hitting up vintage stores. She says you get a great price point there and "something unique that no other student has."