When Fashionable Meets Functional


When Fashionable Meets Functional

The Second Installment of Fashion Advice Column for Busy College Students


Being a college student and a decently fashionable member of society can be a daunting task – especially when it comes to what fashion pieces are both stylish and functional in an every-day college student’s life. It’s hard enough to put time into matching an outfit together every morning, let alone creating a signature “look” that’s unique to your own style.

Natalie Sicher ’21

There’s no way I am the only one who constantly hears my mother’s voice murmuring, “Will you wear that more than once?” just about every time I go shopping. As a student, I struggle with wanting to remain stylish, not wanting to spend every cent to my name, and investing in pieces that I know my mother would approve of.

There are a few fashion pieces that are absolute staples for college students and the versatility of these pieces are what really would get the stamp of approval from mom.

This first one might sound completely obvious, but it has been one of my favorite ways to express my sense of style as well as maintain the greatest sense of utility as a student. No one wants to carry their laptop, notebooks, water bottle, or just about anything a student on-the-go needs in their hands.

So, what do they use? A backpack. Backpacks have really withstood the test of time as they have maintained a staple in the fashion world and the everyday lives of college students. The possibilities for this staple accessory really are endless, and you can choose whatever suits your style, and your budget, with ease.

You can go super boujee with your backpack and make the investment towards a designer one… or shop online for the king of kings when it comes to backpacks: the Jansport. No matter what backpack you sport, just make sure it is conducive to both your style and lifestyle. You want to be stylish, but, not to be forgotten, your backpack has to be able to hold your massive, loose-leaf, incredibly expensive Econ textbook, too.

Some people claim to be “shoe people” and some people claim to just not really care. At the end of the day everyone has to wear shoes to walk into most public places and that is not changing anytime soon. I am on the far side of the spectrum as I consider myself “shoe obsessed” so investing in shoes is one of my favorite things. For some, however, shoes can be the hardest part for a student to tie their whole look together.

It is absolutely a necessity that as students, we not only sport something stylish on our feet, but something comfortable as some of us have to make the trip all the way from the quad for class. No one likes blisters, especially when you get one on the way to your 9am class on a hot day because your shoes couldn’t mix fashion and functionality.

My piece of advice when it comes to the perfect shoe for a college student is simple: sneakers. Sneakers are not only some of the most comfortable shoes in the game, but they are so versatile that you can dress them up or down without too much trouble. Sneakers go with just about anything, and if you invest in the right pair, they can take your style to the next level on the fashion scale.

Personal favorite: my Air Force 1’s… I’m on my fourth pair.

My final staple piece for every college student’s closet is a very important one, especially when it comes to the season changes we have here in Cambridge. One day it can be 60 degrees and sunny, the next day there will be four inches of snow on the ground. I am not saying these weather conditions can be intolerable…well, maybe I kind of am.

The perfect jacket can be the key to success when it comes to being stylish as well as dressing for the weather. This staple jacket needs to be more than just your average light cardigan, but lighter than a winter jacket. Remember, layers are everything! The perfect jacket is the one that you can easily fit over a thin t-shirt in the spring or a few sweaters in the winter.

This happy medium of a jacket is individualistic to everyone’s personal style, but some of my favorite examples include a leather jacket, a Levi’s jean jacket, or a trendy bomber jacket. These jackets are staples not only because they can be worn season to season, but they also pass the test of style as they keep the outfit stylish without completely overtaking the look, especially when it’s simple to just take the jacket off when it’s not necessary.

Staple pieces can be hard to decipher among your wardrobe, but these three pieces are definitely a safe and stylish start for every college student. The best part about these staples- I can almost guarantee your mother will approve, and you’ll have a ton of fun building up a strong base to your own style.

Grace Tworek ‘21 (gracetworek@college.harvard.edu) loves giving fashion advice.