Ankle Booties and Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Your Guide to Dressing for the Fall Semester

New England is famous for its picturesque fall conditions, but University of Maine students know that autumn brings more than just apple picking and pumpkin flavored desserts. Although tourists travel from around the nation to catch a glance of Maine’s famous foliage, fashion-conscious Black Bears shudder at the thought of planning weather appropriate outfits.


“It’s impossible to figure out what to wear when you wake up and it’s 40 degrees, but you know it will be in the sixties in the middle of the day,” said communication student Hannah Rheaume. “You really have to learn how to layer properly, especially if you don’t have time to go home between classes.”

As a communication student, most of Hannah’s classes are held in Dunn Hall, where it can be difficult to gauge the temperature of classrooms beforehand. “It can be a hit or miss,” Hannah explained. “If you have a class in a computer lab on the ground floor, it can be freezing. If you’re upstairs, it can be boiling hot. Unless someone opens a window, in which case it will be freezing.”

In the busy life of a college student, it can be challenging enough to stay focused in class without the irritation of being uncomfortable because of weather conditions. The most basic needs must be met in order to create an ideal learning environment, so dressing appropriately for class is extremely important. Because the fashion advice of simply “layering up” can be extremely vague, I decided to follow Hannah and her friends Danica and Haley throughout the day as they adjust their outfits to avoid the frustration of dressing for fall weather. (As for the age-old question of when to transition from iced to hot coffee? That’s up to you.) 

Hannah began her day with a few layers; a “Holy Chic!” graphic tee and leggings paired with a cardigan and faux fur vest created the perfect outfit for stepping out into a brisk October morning. “If I wear a few different layers, it’s way easier to deal with the crazy temperatures in Dunn,” she said. Hannah never has to sweat the drastic midday temperature changes when her outfit creates a number of options.


Danica Hurley, who spends a considerable amount of time in Fogler Library and Little Hall also touched on the importance of layering. “You never know what you’re going to get,” Danica says. “Your lecture hall might be air conditioned, and then the library could be super hot.” Danica wore a lightweight jacket over an embellished tank, noting that details such as the beading on the strap of her top add an element of fun to layering. “Sometimes, if I have a cute jacket on, I’ll be bummed if I have to take it off because my classroom’s too warm. It doesn’t feel like a task to carry around my jacket later in the day if I love whatever I’m wearing underneath it, too.”

Haley Dillon takes a class in Stevens Hall that’s notoriously chilly. “It’s later in the day, so it’s nice out while I’m walking to class. I always have to remember to bring a jacket so I don’t freeze!”

Being a ham, I couldn’t resist hopping in front of the camera and giving some advice, too. Although the walk to my morning math class is borderline bitter, my classroom is on the third floor of Aubert Hall and could reasonably be confused for the sauna at the recreation center.


I threw on a denim shirt, crewneck sweatshirt and a vest. (It’s basically like having three separate outfits on at once; who wouldn’t want the option of having a different outfit for every class?) Have difficulty layering? My advice is to create a common theme within your own wardrobe. For example, I really gravitate towards anything black and gold, so my staple pieces (like my vest, backpack and scarves) are black and gold. As for shoes and accessories, pick a theme that will complement the things you wear daily so that you feel as if your wardrobe is cohesive, but not as if you’re wearing the same thing every day. I wore leopard print shoes and a denim top with my all black outfit to make it more dimensional. When I shop, I make an effort to pick things that will be versatile. Using a bit of discretion when you shop means less daily decision making; as far as I’m concerned, if most of your clothes already match, you have a few extra minutes to sleep in the morning.

“At this point in the semester, you know what your classrooms are like,” said Haley. “It’s just knowing what to bring with you. You don’t need to stress about how to dress for the weather if you go prepared.”