Back to School Fashion Guide: Sorority Rush

Perhaps once during your campus tour or during Bruin Day you passed by Hilgard Avenue. Maybe your mom, aunt or older friend had been part of a sorority when she attended UCLA. Either way you must have caught sight of the beautiful neutral-toned houses, each with their own carefully landscaped front yards and great big Greek letters on the front sides. Hilgard is also known as Sorority Row, and perhaps from that one glimpse of those houses or based upon the encouragement from family and friends, you have decided to rush for a sorority. 

The first day of sorority is quickly approaching, but after raiding your closet you don’t know what to wear. Generally each day has a theme, and girls tend to dress alike according to guidelines the sororities set. “When I was going through recruitment, the dress code that we had to follow was ‘business casual,’ and then slightly more dressed up each day with the last day being the most formal,” Eujin Park, a second year Visual Communication Design major at San Francisco State University, explained. Don’t worry, that does not mean you need to buy new outfits just for rush. HC writers Renée and Kaitlyn, two girls not in sororities, did a bit of research, interviewed some of our sorority friends, and got the scoop on sorority fashion. We even found some pieces from our closets that would work great for rush. Check out our looks for Sorority Rush week at UCLA! 

Day 1: Sorority Letters Day aka “Open House” 

Sometimes called the “Sundress Round,” day one is the most casual. A dress or pair of jeans with a nice top can be paired with sandals, flats or sneakers. Renée wanted to go for a simple yet chic look so she wore this adorable Strappy Side Button-Up Menswear Plaid dress from Target and matched it with black slip-on Vans. For this outfit, comfort was her main goal, since you’ll be walking around and checking out different houses for most of the day. You’ll want to wear something easy to slip on and move around in.

The outfit is not the only part to consider when thinking of your fashion during sorority rush. Hair, makeup and nails also make a difference, especially when your first impression might be your only impression. “I think generally, natural makeup is expected. As a PNM [potential new member], you want to look good and make a good first impression. As someone on the other side, the same goes, you want to look good and make a good impression, but you also want to represent the House well,” Margaret Wood, a fourth year economics major at UCSB described. 

Day 2: Service Day aka “Philanthropy Day”

While Day 2 is still pretty casual, your outfit can be more dressy. Service day aims to promote philanthropy, so Kaitlyn wore a floral dress from B Collection by Bobeau and low heels. She wanted the outfit to a step up from the everyday sundress from Day 2, and the long sleeves and heels seemed the way to go. The material on the dress was super soft and moved around well, perfect for rush. 

Don’t feel constricted to only skirts and dresses though. “Our guidelines were pretty lenient, and we were allowed to wear pants on Philanthropy Day with our Panhellenic t-shirt. That being said, dresses were a requirement for PNMs during the last two days of rush,” shares Susan Fanelli, a fourth year communications major at Tulane University. 

Day 3: Sorority House Tours Day 

The third day you’ll have narrowed down your preferred houses, and some houses may have cut you as well. You’ll tour the houses, learning more about the chapter’s structure and philanthropic efforts. Since it's the second to last day of rush, and these are some of your preferred houses, dress to impress. If you get confused, just remember that your outfits should get progressively more formal or fancy. 

For this day, Renée opted for a more business casual approach to make her outfit more formal, in this case a skirt paired with a blouse. Her pink top and pencil skirt are both from Aritzia.  

Day 4: Sorority Preference Night Dress

This is the most formal day and the last day to give your best impression, so you will want to pull out your dressiest outfit. Renée and Kaitlyn both chose to wear jumpsuits and heels for their outfits. A classic black dress is also a great choice! Renée’s jumpsuit is from Forever 21 and Kaitlyn found hers at Madewell. Preference night is a more elegant event, and dressing up for it reminded them of high school homecoming or prom. If heels are not your thing, they recommend some dressy flats with a shine or made of suede. 

Especially for the last night, make the extra effort to do something to your hair and pop on some makeup. “For active sisters already in a sorority, we have to apply some sort of heat to our hair for recruitment whether it's curling or straightening it, just so that we look proper and nice... I think most girls have their nails painted or get manicures or pedicures for recruitment to look nicer. However, it's not something that is required by anyone,” Park said. 

Bid Day

It’s the big day — or should we say BID DAY! “Bid day requirements basically fell along the lines of ‘wear something comfortable, but be ready to change in and out of your shirt.’... When I was the rusher, I wore jean shorts, sneakers and a baseball cap. It was ridiculously casual,” Fanelli advises. 

With recruitment week coming to an end, bring out your favorite pair of shorts and a simple top because you’ll be receiving your bid day shirt from your new sorority! Nothing but smiles for this special day, and welcome to your new home!

While neither of Renée and Kaitlyn are in a sorority, they wanted to challenge themselves with exploring outfit ideas for Sorority Rush week. This was such a fun experience and they are so excited for all you Bruins that do decide to rush. Remember, the most important part of choosing your outfits should be to wear something you feel comfortable and confident in. Best of luck with recruitment ladies! HCXO ~