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Enter the “Big Girl World” and Leave Your College Closet Behind

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

As I draw closer to leaving the cozy comfort of my college campus and into the real world – I constantly wonder when I will start dressing like the so-called “adult” that will be bestowed on me. Growing up, I thought it would all happen in one fail swoop, and then one day, you walk up into adulthood. However, it comes in waves. 

It feels like just last week I was learning how to grocery shop and this week I am interviewing for jobs. So this will be your *gradual* guide to leave your college closet behind and enter the world of “big girl world” fashion because slow and steady wins the race. 

Here are some simple closet swaps to dress as a so-called “adult!” 

  1. Trade in the trusty frat sneakers

I know we hate to admit it, but we all have a handy dirty white shoe in our closets for going out. The frat shoe. Torn up, worn out, and in need of a good clean – unfortunately, it’s time to lay it to rest after you walk across that stage and into the real world. 

Instead, opt for a heel when going out on the town. Plus, a nice pro is that you can be taller than all the men there. If you prefer a close-toe shoe, opt for a nice heeled boot. These can come in various colors and styles; pick what makes you feel best!

  1. The Itty Bitty Top 

After the frat shoe, the second going out essential in college is going out tops. I’ve been there with a bin full of itty bitty shirts to pull from on a night out. You know, the tops with random holes cut into them, tacky, outdated patterns, or cheap trends from Shein.  

However, covering more for a chic look is best for those post office happy hours. The small piece of fabric can be swapped for a chic off the shoulder top or a silk high neck. Or choose a classic black strapless top. If you don’t want to let go of fun patterns go for the classic ones like stripes, plaid, or gingham. 

  1. Get comfy in a cool way!

We all love our comfort clothes whether it’s our favorite pair of sweatpants or leggings. But sometimes you need to keep it professional in and outside of the office. Luckily you can get pants that aren’t sweats but might as well be! 

After COVID, the rise of comfortable pants skyrocketed in fashion. There are many options that can replace sweatpants and leggings for a more business look. Two recent trends in the pant sphere are in the athleisure market and European style. Athleta and Lululemon have athletic workwear that tapers around the leg and provides the illusion of dress pants. A staple European choice: trousers have hit the scene with trendy oversized trousers and pleated wide-leg trousers. 

  1. Dress it up and Accessorize!   

Walking around with a phone wallet was my save and grace for these last three years. Holding all my cards and only worrying about carrying my phone. Finally I upgraded to a Lululemon belt bag which was a convenient addition. Then I transitioned to carrying around a simple everyday black purse. 

These small steps elevate an outfit. Accessorizing is the key to adding a bit of personality in an effortless fashion. Whether it is your favorite piece of jewelry, red tights, a classic black belt, or a funky bag that adds a bit of flair – try to add more of YOU!  

  1. The Sandwich Method 

Running late for class or work and putting together a cohesive outfit is always a struggle. Fashion can be a formula to put together a classic look. The Sandwich Method is an easy way to accomplish that! 

Try the sandwich method by matching the top, midsection, and bottom of your outfit together. The outfit should have something cohesive with the three sections, such as color, detail, or texture. This could be matching a red headband with a red bag that has red accents and red shoes. Or even putting on a gold necklace with a black belt with a gold belt buckle and shoes that have gold detailing. 

Now leaving your college closet behind will not grant you a passage into adulthood, but it may help ease some nerves about your new endeavors. Fashion is a way to express yourself and have confidence in the “Big Girl World,” whatever feels right for you. Marilyn Monroe said it best: “Give a girl the right kind of shoes, and she will rule the world.” – so go out there and rule the world!

Riley Snowden is a current senior studying Communication, Media, and Culture at The University of Tampa. She has conducted research on a Feminist approach to Open Source Investigation with a focus on the Russian and Ukraine War. Snowden is originally from Annapolis, Maryland and enjoys being active by running.