Incoming Freshmen Series: How to Stop Looking Like A Freshman
This is the first post of the Incoming Freshmen Series. Read our introduction for more information, and stay tuned this week for our upcoming posts.
Like many of those who are have just started or are about to start their freshman year, my orientation is still fresh in my memory. Though the details are foggy, I remember the general outline of the schedule and unfortunately, I remember what I was wearing. I was decked out in a Florida Gators hat that has since gone missing, a Florida Gators T-shirt, a black-and-orange lanyard and a pair of gym shorts, as you can see in the picture to your right.
At UF, the freshmen used to wear special caps. Thankfully, those days are over, but there are still ways to spot the freshmen a mile away just from what they choose to wear.
At the time, I didn’t see a problem with it. I was representing my school and wearing what I felt comfortable in. After my first year, I realized why the upperclassmen were snickering as I roamed the halls during my Preview orientation session.
Read on after the jump to see what I was doing wrong, and how to fix it.
Save the school pride for gameday. Spoiler alert: we all know what school you go to, because we’re there too. In no way am I saying not to absolutely devote time and effort to your university, but you don’t need to be representing 24/7, contrary to the latest NCAA Football 12 ads.
Don’t double-letter. Ever. This is something I learned from my pledge semester in Greek life but it holds true with all organizations and your school. If you’re wearing a organization or school’s hat, don’t wear a shirt with the same organization. It looks like a uniform, and it’s the definition of overkill.
Leave the high school shirts where they belong. I was a proud mathlete my freshman year too, but I don’t wear the shirt around anymore. In fact, I donated it. High school is a time to look fondly upon for some, and not so much for others, but it’s ancient history from a style perspective once you’re inside your university’s hallowed halls. Protip: they’re great shirts to sleep in if you don’t want to get rid of them just yet.
Dress appropriately for the weather. Don’t be that guy with a sweater in 90 degree weather. You don’t look cool, you’re just confusing everyone else.
Limit lanyards. Here, our orientation gives out lanyards, so they are a dead giveaway for freshmen. If you’re a lady, hold your keys in your purse. If you’re a guy, put them in your pockets. I’m currently wearing a work-issued lanyard with my nametag, but I’ll be damned if you see me wearing one outside of work.
No cargo shorts or pants. Ever. This might be different up north, where there’s less of a Greek influence, but some wise man once told me: how much stuff are you carrying to fit in all of those pockets? It looks stupid, and I believe it should be restricted to official usage, like in the military.
Leave the high school styles in high school. I wore exclusively American Eagle, Hollister, and Aeropostale in high school. I’ve made it a habit to stop doing that since I’ve gotten to college. Why? It’s rare that you’ll go out in the postgraduate world and see someone wearing a Hollister tee-shirt. College is meant to prepare you for adulthood – seek out different brands and styles that represent you. I’ve personally become a big fan of Polo Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers, but there is much more variety across adult brands from places like Express and department stores like Macy’s.
Wear workout gear when working out. I used to walk around everywhere in middle school in my Nike Air Forces Ones. I was a varsity basketball player then too, but since stalling out at 5’4″ in high school, I’ve kept my basketball shoes on the court. The same should be said for cut tank tops and gym shorts. Slight exception for that really early morning class, where workout attire is as acceptable as PJs.
Buy some formalwear. Every day won’t be prom, but it’s important to have at least one suit if you’re guy (or at least a sports coat and a tie) and one skirt suit (or at least a pantsuit) if you’re a girl. I know it’s not the business world, but you’d be surprised at how often I used my suit freshman year – be it for formal organizational functions (interviewing for higher positions or a year-end formal) or for employment functions (on-campus job fairs, job interviews, job promotion interviews) or even certain events where looking good is not a bad idea (certain campus speakers, meetings with important campus individuals). Definitely a good investment.
Never wear socks with sandals. I just looked outside the window and saw someone doing this. You will always look like a douche. Always.
Only wear slides in the shower. If you’re gonna wear sandals, wear real sandals. The slide shoes are what you should wear for shower shoes, but not outside. They are the embodiment of not caring how you look.
And, finally, there is a difference between having your own individual style and being obnoxious. This is my golden rule of style. Bright orange tube socks might be your thing, but they are obnoxious. My fraternity brothers and I love wearing pastel oxfords and madras pants, but I’m the first to admit that at some times, we look stupid. You don’t want to blend into the crowd, but you also don’t want to be the crowd’s laughing stock. Be smart.