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Trending Now: Eight wardrobe essentials for college

This week, columnist Amy Lee breaks down her top eight college essentials. (Courtesy of Amy Lee)

By Amy Lee

Feb. 21, 2014 12:00 a.m.

With the seasons constantly changing and the pressures of living on a college student’s budget, it’s hard to keep up with all the latest trends in fashion.

Each week, Lifestyle | Theater editor Amy Lee will discuss and uncover trends relating to fashion that have gained popularity both on campus and in the world. From thrifting to do-it-yourself fashion and on-campus trends, Lee will let you know what’s trending now, why and how.

This week, Lee takes it back to the basics and talks about how you can stay in style with eight college fashion essentials.


As sad as it may sound, other than leaving my mom and parting ways with old friends, the most daunting thing about going to college was the closet space.

A self-proclaimed hoarder of clothes, I basically turned my entire room at home into a closet. But I knew that living with two other people in a compact dorm room would limit my wardrobe choices. Fortunately, I found out which clothing items I needed to get by in college only a few weeks into my first quarter. Here are my top eight must have college clothing items:


1. LBD

A little black dress is essential to anyone’s closet, regardless of age. Although we only have four years in college, a little black dress, to be incredibly cliche, is timeless. This piece is No. 1 on the list because of its versatility. It’s in your best interest to find a dress that can be worn both casually and formally, one that you could find yourself dancing the night away in but, with a few accessories, is internship interview appropriate. Pull on a top over it, and your LBD can also be conveniently worn as a skirt. Places like Gap and American Apparel typically offer this classic number all year long.

2. White blouse

Like the LBD, this is another key piece to any wardrobe for the very same reason: White blouses are versatile, everyday pieces that can be easily dressed up for formal occasions. Linen, chiffon or polyester-based, you can pair this blouse with jeans or a pencil skirt and it will always match. I would recommend getting a button-up, collared white blouse like this one from J. Crew to ensure that it can be formally worn.

3. Blazer

Although it’s safe to say that the trend of wearing blazers casually has slowly died down, blazers are still something to keep in your closet today. Whether it’s for your internship, sorority or fraternity, job or just for when you’re feeling dapper, this structured piece has a lot of utility.

4. Basic crew neck shirt

For most college students, a t-shirt and jeans is the uniform. However, because basic t-shirts come in the same style, the hardest part is distinguishing quality. While fast fashion chain stores like H&M; and Forever 21 offer basic t-shirts for less than $5, it’s more practical to invest in one quality shirt that will endure several washes. American Apparel also makes affordable t-shirts, but if you’re looking for something more durable, T by Alexander Wang is a higher-end line specializing in basics.

5. Sunglasses

UCLA students enjoy the privilege of sunshine almost all year long. Sunglasses are a must – not just for your wardrobe but for the protection of your eyesight when trekking across campus under the beaming sun.

6. Black flats

UCLA’s campus covers more than 400 acres of land and, with a full day of classes, both your head and feet will thank you when you’re not complaining about the blisters on your feet. Black flats are not only the most simple but also most comfortable pair of shoes. They make for a good choice for formal occasions because they are so basic that they stay within most office or work dress codes.

7. Black denim

Though it’s a common conception that blue denim jeans go well with any outfit, black denim is by far the most versatile: If you find a quality pair that doesn’t fade with each wash, these pants can sometimes be substituted for slacks for formal events. Otherwise, black as a shade generally fares well with any color, and will speed up your process of getting dressed in the morning by widening your options for tops, patterned, neon, pale or not.

8. Knitted cardigan

Call it the aging grandmother inside me, but I think everyone needs to stay warm. While a sweater is limiting because once you’ve put it on, you’ve already committed to wearing it all day, a cardigan offers the best of both worlds. With cardigans, you get the warmth of a sweater, yet the functionality of a jacket by being able to take it on and off freely. These cozy pieces of outerwear can be found almost anywhere, like Urban Outfitters and Zara, as well as thrift stores.

What are your college wardrobe essentials? Share them with Lee at [email protected].

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