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Class Dress in Below-Forty Weather

For all the ladies of Sewanee, rockin’ class dress during the early fall and spring is pretty easy. Sundresses all day every day (except for the moment you go back to your dorm after class and change into shorts and a t-shirt) are a no brainer. But what happens when the chill of winter sets in?

I thought I would have to address this problem back in November. However, it seems like Sewanee’s cold spell chose not to hit this past semester. The temperature didn’t really go below fifty until finals, and even then, I found myself wearing short-sleeves one day in December.

However, the temperatures have been dropping in Tennessee lately. Some of this might be blown off from Winter Storm Hercules, but I’m convinced (and kind of hoping) it’s a more of long-term thing.

The weather finally getting colder leaves us with a bit of a dilemma, though. Dresses and skirts aren’t entirely practical for temperatures below 40 degrees. Sure, tights are a thing, but they’re not as warm as pants. Fortunately, most professors are more lenient when it comes to winter weather class dress. If you’re lucky enough to be in one of those classes, then go right ahead with jeans and sweaters for two months. It’s probably the warmest – and comfiest – bet. Don’t forget though that the whole point of class dress is to show professors you care, and are putting an effort into your appearance. If it’s too cold to do that through your clothing, try to show it in other ways! Maybe wear a little makeup if you normally don’t bother for class, or if you prefer to go without make-up, then put a bit of time before class into a cute, elaborate hairdo, like a crown braid.

Unfortunately, there are still a few professors who are sticklers on class dress year round. Anyone who has Engel’s English class, this is the part of the article for you. When jeans aren’t recommended and dress pants don’t exactly flatter your body (don’t worry, you’re not the only one!), you’ll most likely have to stick with dresses and skirts in those colder months. There is still hope, though! Sweater dresses are definitely my favorite type of clothing, and for good reason – they’re soft, cute, and super warm. A sweater dress is a one piece statement that does a good job of keeping you warm in the winter, and between that, boots, and tights, you’ve got some pretty decent coverage.

If you don’t own a sweater dress, and your pockets are spent after Christmas (Or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice), never fear. There are still yet more ways to keep warm. Sweater tights are much more thick than regular tights, and do a good job at keeping out the windy chill. Knit knee socks or boot socks can also be layered over tights or leggings, like these babies from Mountain Outfitters, and are equally effective. 

Sewanee’s campus is undoubtedly amazing, but between being on top of a mountain and how large our campus actually is, walking between classes, your dorm, the library, and ‘Clurg can be a bit rough when winter sets in. So as soon as classes start up again, figure out what your professor expects in terms of class dress, and build from there. And remember: frost bite on your legs is not worth it. Stay warm, ladies!





Hey guys, I'm Page, and I'm from Nashville TN. I tend to use guys as a gender-neutral term, so please don't freak out. I'm a freshman at Sewanee: University of the South. Hopefully I'm going to major in Politics with a minor in History. When I'm not writing for HerCampus, I'm writing for our school's paper, giving tours, or playing rugby. I like books, hot chocolate, the color navy, and Indiana Jones movies. 
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