We are all guilty of throwing on our favorite sweats, leggings, or jeans, Ugg boots, Northface jackets, and grabbing our Vera Bradley back packs before heading out the door to class. Somehow, college co-eds have become accustomed to the idea that this is “fashionable” or “stylish.” Truth be told, it is not.

I don’t know how it happened or who is to blame for it, but somewhere along the line, leggings were confused as pants, and conformity was considered “chic.” As any college student will tell you, apparel such as leggings and sweatpants are simple and little to no thought has to go into forming an outfit – so simple that it seems almost silly to put something together.

Sometimes, it’s not always just the simple comfort of lounge wear. Society and our peers have consciously and/or subconsciously have us thinking that if we don’t dress in a particular style, use the “right” lingo, buy the “right” clothes, look a certain way, or listen to top 40 pop, that we’re not equal with those around us. People are unique and special and each and every single person has a distinct quality that sets them apart. Embrace individuality and express it through clothing. There is nothing unique about looking like a clone of every other girl in your college. Unless of course you and your friends are attending medical assistant schools, in which case the conformity of wearing nursing scrubs is acceptable.

In order to beat conformity and not just be “the girl that looks like all the other girls,” simply start by taking a look at what you like. What kind of music do you like? What colors make you happy? Do you like tight clothes or loose clothes? Which celebrities style do you like? How do you want to represent yourself? Fashion is more than clothes and style is more than outward beauty.

Think about it as wearing your heart on your sleeve. . . just with actual sleeves.

Make an inspiration board, make a list, start a fashion blog, go to a boutique near you – find inspiration. Take a look around at all the different styles available to you. You don’t have to dress “preppy” or “grunge.” Rather take from each style aspects you find interesting, that best flatter you, and meld them into the style that fits you, your personality and  energy the best. Pick clothing that best represents how you want people to remember you. Set yourself apart from the leggings, fleece hoodie, colorful print back pack crowd and be you.

As the saying goes, “first impressions last a lifetime,” and if we are all being honest with ourselves, no one wants to be caught in sweatpants that say “PINK” across your butt when you meet a professor or a romantic interest. Ladies, we are in college, we are in the beginning stages of entering the real world. The working world requires us to be appropriately dressed. Crop tops and short shorts, do not fit that description.

You were born an original, don’t die a copy.

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