Tuesday, August 16

Back to School: How to Pack!

I remember exactly one year ago looking at my closet blankly wondering... What on earth am I going to take to college?! Or, even more perplexing, what wasn't I going to take to college? I scoured my favorite fashion blogs but unfortunately, I never really found out whether I should take four winter jackets or whether I should really take half of my 55+ dress collection. I recieved an email from a reader last week asking for advice and after navigating the waters of building a practical college wardrobe for one year, I decided if I could help just one person with their packing, devoting a blog post just for packing up your clothes for college would be well worth it!
A College Fashionista's Guide to Packing For College:

1) Purge!!!!!

I realized shortly into unpacking that I brought way too many clothes. If you haven't worn something in not even six months, but three months, absolutely don't bring it. Even if it's the best top in the world and so cute but something you only wear once a month, you will learn that having a closet of basic v-necks is a whole lot more suitable. Seriously. Don't. Bring. It. It's one thing to have a single dressy shirt that you pull out for interviews/dates, but a closet full of these 'couple time wears' won't get you far! 
2) Be Practical.

Practicality was probably my biggest problem. I brought way too many of those tops that I only wore with one pair of jeans or one skirt and I ended up with a not so versatile closet that left me more than frustrated in the morning. And if you were wondering... I did bring half of my 55+ dress collection. This isn't just about making "cute" outfits. This is about the fact that when you are walking to your next class across campus and you're wearing your twenty pound backpack and realize after many a snicker that your dress has crawled its way up your back revealing your underwear to the entire world, you realize dresses aren't made for college. They're made for the easy days when you don't need to lug four textbooks around, but on the library days, you don't need them. And you'll just end up looking foolish. Bring ten at most. Ten of your favorites for those nice days. Same for skirts!

3) Outdoor Apparel. 

Jackets! Jackets are crucial not only for your outdoor comfort and safety, but because they take up a lot of room in your closet. I'm talking... a quarter if not more of your teensy dorm closet.  Not all of you live in a four season location, but as far as fall/winter, you absolutely need a jacket that can do everything. I swear, once November hit, almost everyone knew everyone by the color/style of their jacket. You need to have a jacket that isn't only warm and will protect you against snow and rain, but it must be comfortable, too. It is possible to find a jacket that is cute, warm, water resistant, and comfortable. Because you'll be wearing it more than you think. If you find the right jacket, you won't need a separate one for football games, a separate one for rain, a separate wind jacket, a separate snow jacket, nor a separate cute "date" one. You can get all of that in one (or two!)  perfect jacket. 

4) Build a Wardrobe!

This year, I really had to learn about what made a wardrobe. As previously stated, I brought a lot of dresses and a lot of skirts. I only brought a pair of jeans I kind of liked. I brought about fifteen cardigans and ten tops. Building a wardrobe of "pieces" rather than stand alone items are so important! When you shop for school clothes, make a list of items you have a lot of (i.e. dresses) and another list of items you don't have a lot of (i.e. jeans). And if possible, be as specific as you can. Think also about colors that you could incorporate into your closet that would be versatile. Also, this year I decided I was going to bring as many 'solid' dresses as I could because I found that they are easier to style with different pieces than patterned ones that can only match a couple sweaters. This all parallels my 'be practical' portion of this post but I really can't reiterate how investing in quality clothing instead of quantity of clothing takes you soooo very far in college. I went through three pairs of boots before I finally decided to invest in a pair- and they lasted through -25 degree days for the rest of the winter/spring!

5) Packing/organization!

For a lot of people, stuffing your clothes into many suitcases when moving to college is easiest. However, I decided somewhat on a whim to pack mine into boxes. And behold, it was the best choice I made. I brought my medium sized suitcase along with cardboard boxes and simply put my suitcase under my bed. I used that suitcase for every home visit, small break, and winter vacation! As far as stuffing all of your clothes into dorm closets and dressers, I learned from my best friend Maggie that if you don't have to hang it, don't. By the end of the year, only my dresses and sweaters were hung. I rolled my tank tops, sweatshirts, tshirts, and underwear and ended up fitting three times as much stuff into my dressers! I also invested in some handy plastic containers that I put under my bed (lofting is a great option!) for some extra storage. As far as shoes, I ended up buying a bin that I put in my closet and just tossed them in there. I'm sure there's a better way for storing shoes, so if any of you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them ;)

Anyways, I hope this helped at least one of you! Feel free to email me if you have any more questions! About clothes, packing, or anything related to college or not!



Celynne said...

Man, I remember how I dressed my first year in college... Jeans ONLY, and band t-shirts with hoodies. Occasionally a sweater or a wife beater. No shorts. No skirts. No blouses. No dresses. It's hard to believe I am the same person haha... This is some great advice though definitely. I recently moved a few months ago and just put all my clothes in boxes too, worked best.

Steffys Pros and Cons said...

ah packing for school is so hard you have to bring so little!! good luck :)

<3 steffy
Steffys Pros and Cons

fb said...

Eeep! Thanks for posting this. It's getting down to the wire and this is going to help so much.

elanor, said...

i don't know HOW i'm going to do this when it's time for me to pack for collage! thanks so much for the advice though...!


Hannah said...

Maggie, this is fantastic! I'm not a college kid or planning any extended stay trips, but if I was this would be super helpful.

I would also suggest packing clothes that are jersey or stretch fabrics. They can hold up a day of wearing or a week on the floor without getting wrinkled like other materials.

kylee said...

i never realized this until now but that may just be one of the biggest perks about living at home. no way could i deal with picking and choosing what to pack for school. i have enough trouble picking out single outfit for the day.

Natalie said...

I am definitely going to need to bookmark this post for next year at this time when I'll be the one packing to go to college, finally. :) Getting rid of all of the clothes that I never wear or anything, I definitely need to do that. Plus all the places I'm applying to are in wintry locations so I'll definitely need to improve my warm clothing options...

Lidiya said...

I absolutely love this post -so helpful, I loved your stance on being practical - it's hard but the truth, I'm like the least most practical person in the world :)

Jamie Rose said...

This is a really great post! I'm a senior in college and still haven't mastered this. I usually just lug most of my wardrobe back and forth haha. I need a lot of light, summery clothes because it stays hot here for so long so I bring a lot because I'll get bored of what I wear. I wish there was more cool weather here because I love coats and have so many awesome ones. I don't think I'd be able to just bring one! Maybe if I didn't have space, but I have my own apartment so I can bring them.

This post gives a lot of really helpful advice I probably should've been following the past three years haha

Natalie said...

Oh my gosh... It's actually really funny because I just read the Jessica Darling series over this past summer, and completely related to her! Crazy... we're creepily identical except for the fact that I have absolutely no love life to speak of, haha. ;) But ah, thank you for that awesome compliment, to say that I remind you of her. That makes me smile. :D

Kuleigh said...

I'm looking forward to going back to school tomorrow! This blog definitely helped. You'd think after three years I'd be a master packer but I guess not! I always end up with too much stuff!

PS I moved blogs... l'ours et le renard