Contributing Writer

In addition to the general concerns about beginning college—roommates, classes, missing home—there is the pressing issue of what to wear. Making a positive first impression with clothing can be quite crucial.

For first-years, orientation weekend and the beginning of the fall semester are full of many new experiences, seemingly countless new people, and beautiful yet confusing new scenery. The last of that trifecta means plenty of miles walked on and around campus, and even more if you’re the type to get lost easily. That being said, wearing comfortable shoes in these first few weeks is possibly the most crucial shoe decision you’ll ever make.

Sneakers are always a safe option and anything from super sporty Nikes to patterned Keds are acceptable. Flip flops and sandals are fine for shorter distances, but may leave the wearer with extremely dirty and tired feet by the end of a long day.

Most importantly, the female population of first-years should not even think for one second that wearing heels or even wedges would be a worthwhile decision. Instead, they’ll be left with toes in agonizing pain and leave others with the impression of being high maintenance.

Naturally, wearing rather provocative clothing to orientation activities could possibly lead to a nice young lady being deemed a slut. In her defense, her skirt may have ripped accidentally or she didn’t have time to look in a mirror before dashing out of her room. But a person seeing her for the first time wouldn’t realize this. While guys don’t have to worry about that too much, they should take care not to look too sloppy, which proves to be an issue for both sexes. It’s necessary to determine the fine line between sloppy and grungy. Nowadays, rips tend to be intentional and bagginess isn’t a giveaway for insecurities. As a general rule, if it’s wrinkled and smells, wash—don’t wear.

T-shirts are some of the best conversation starters out there. These cotton staples can break the ice and unify people with their prints. For example, a shirt that states, “It’s going to be legen—wait for it—dary” will draw other How I Met Your Mother fans to the wearer and a conversation over favorite episodes will quickly ensue.

Sports-affiliated clothing can offer a similar result, leading to discussions of recent games and favorite players, but it could also exhibit a darker side if someone is a serious Yankees/Red Sox/Phillies hater. Besides uniting people with similar interests, clothing can be a great way to remember names (Hannah wore a Harry Potter shirt). Better yet, imagine you meet someone named Steve, and you probably will, but for whatever reason you can’t commit that to memory. But Steve was wearing a shirt that says “Cuba.” Kindly ask if you can call him Cuba and now you’ve got yourself an inside joke and a name you can remember.

The objective isn’t to dress to impress, rather it’s just to make a good first impression (because strolling across Hartman Green in a business suit every day of orientation would be bizarre).

Questions? Email Elizabeth at

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