It has been a few years since I packed up my world and headed down to Washington D.C. for another year of college but the items that made their way into my suitcases are still top of mind. One of my loyal readers who receives Sparkles and Shoes every day by email sent me the cutest note, “My daughter is headed off to college for her first year, and is wondering what to wear and where to shop for that collegiate preppy look. Do you have any ideas for her please?”
First off, what a great question, yes of course I have a few ideas! Second, oh my goodness, can I go back to college and do all four years over again? Yes please. Packing for college is definitely a daunting task and whether or not you are 18 and headed to university here are my top must-haves for a girl going off to college and searching for that ‘collegiate preppy look’:
1) Longchamp Le Pliage Medium Shoulder Tote: I used this bag to transport my books and laptop to and from classes, practice, lunch, and the library for four years at school. It was so well loved that after three years I got a new one for my senior year and I still use it today!
2) North Face Resolve Rain Jacket: The weather can be temperamental at almost every school and if you have back-to-back-to-back classes you could be away from your dorm for five hours or more. If rain is on the forecast these light weight jackets are great to toss in your bag and you will be happy you have one when the skies open up. Personally I chose a bright colored one to brighten my mood on gloomy days.
3) Vera Bradley Zip ID Case: For likely the first time in your life you will need to carry around the keys to your room and your university ID with you at all times. I had one of these for four years and usually kept $20 and a spare hair tie in the zippered compartment.
4) Michael Kors Jet Set Crossbody: Heading out at night you want to bring as little as possible and have it as near as possible. I recommend a crossbody that will fit your ID holder (see number three) along with your cell phone and a lipstick. I recommend going with black because even if you are careful other people will spill on you. This is a fact.
5) Hunter Original Gloss Tall Rain Boots: Again, an item I lived in while in college. Stepping in a large puddle as you hurry from class to class can honestly be a day ruiner – do you know how long wet shoes and socks take to dry when you can not take them off? Save yourself the misery and march straight through those swampy ponds with these boots!
6) Large, Comfortable Scarf: I am a huge fan of large scarves as they can be thrown on top of almost every outfit as a statement accessory that doubles as a layering piece. You never know when you will sit in a lecture hall and be directly under the A/C vent or get the last table in the cafeteria next to the freezing windows – I recommend a scarf that can double as a shawl!
6) Little Black Dress: When you head off to college you will have all of your favorite items packed, make sure you have a flattering little black dress in that pile. I found that it was only when I did not have an outfit in my closet that I got invited to a charity gala or alumni networking cocktail party, a little black dress can save the day!
I also recommend as the weather gets colder (if it does get cold at your school) that you invest in a nice dark colored peacoat and a heavy duty, long puffer jacket for freezing days. For inside your dorm I would suggestion a terry cloth robe – sure, a towel will work but when you are walking down the hall carrying everything you need for your shower trying to keep ahold of your towel shouldn’t be a worry, especially if you are in a co-ed hall. Invest in a bathrobe.
For your dorm room I recommend you purchase cute bedding, you will be spending a lot of time in your room. Speaking of your room thin velvet hangers will be key because you will likely have a very small closet and when I was in school I had an over the door mirror over my closet door and dark colored bath towels stashed at the top. And over the course of four years of Georgetown I learned to pack eye shades with earplugs, a heavy duty power strip / surge protector, and a ton of command strips to hang up posters and paintings.
What was your must-have college item?