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My Top 8 Closet Staples that Helped Me Transform My Wardrobe

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Growing up attending private school, I got used to not thinking about what I was wearing in the classroom. After 12 years of the same polo shirts and plaid skirts, I came to UCLA overwhelmed by the sheer possibilities of what to wear. A whole new outfit every single day? It was just as exciting as it was terrifying. Whether you’re just like me, faced with countless clothing options and no idea where to start, or you’re just looking for new inspo to spice up your campus fits, here are eight of my favorite pieces that changed my style for the better.  

Flared Leggings

As fashion trends shift back towards wider-leg pants, flared leggings have quickly become all the rage (and for good reason). Admittedly, I was late to the game when it came to the flared legging trend—however, once I tried my first pair, I haven’t looked back since.

The appeal of flares lies in their versatility. Quick trip to the dining hall? Pair them with a sweatshirt and you get an effortless look that’s just as comfortable as it is cute. Heading out for the night? Match them with your favorite going-out top and you’re all set! No matter what your personal style is, flared leggings are a quick way to level up your look.

Cable Knit Sweaters

Few looks scream “fall” like the classic cable knit sweater. As seen in the Rory Gilmore aesthetic, the cable knit is clearly an autumn staple for a reason. Whether you choose to go with the standard cream color or want to spice it up in brighter shades, this piece always makes me feel ready to snuggle up by the fire with a good book. However, it’s also way too cute not to show off. These sweaters are typically worn with either a comfy pair of jeans or a cute mini skirt.

Platform Shoes

Sometimes you just need to switch up your shoe game. If you’re looking to venture beyond your usual sneakers, platform shoes are a great way to mix things up. The trend of platform shoes has been around for a couple years now, but it’s still a great way to transition into a more stylish shoe option. You can also use them to stay warm during the colder seasons if you still want to keep wearing skirts or shorts. Not interested in wearing heels on your trek to campus? No problem! There’s all kinds of comfy styles with a shorter platform.

A Blazer, Oversized or otherwise

Wearing a blazer might seem slightly daunting as a college student. However, there’s nothing that gives me the confidence to face being an adult more than a super cute, business-appropriate fit. 

You never know when you might need to break out the blazer for a more professional event, but I’ve found it’s just as fun to wear a matching blazer and mini skirt set for a day out with my friends. The trendier, more serious little sister of the puffy winter coat, blazers are a great way to elevate your style as you start to go from adolescence to adulthood.

The Perfect Game Day Top

The beginning of the school year has become synonymous with college football season. One fashion tip that I’ve learned from becoming a college student is no matter what school you attend, your game day fits are no joke. Everywhere I turn, there seems to be a never-ending stream of ads for bright, eye-catching football game tops. While this can be overwhelming, it’s essential to find the top that makes you feel your best while you’re cheering on your team. The types of styles range from tube tops, tanks and classic tees, but the choice is ultimately yours. No matter where you’re watching the game from, it’s never been easier to show your school spirit and look good doing it.

Comfy Rompers

The perfect combination of an adorable dress with the built in comfortability of shorts, my love for rompers has only grown since entering college. Not only is this piece easy to style, but it’s great for those days when you want to look good without having to put together a more complicated look. You can wear a sweatshirt over for a more casual look, or wear the romper on its own as the centerpiece of your fit. I find that the romper has been a refreshing change of pace for when I want to wear a dress, but it’s also an effortless alternative that has some added protection.

Corset Tops

This one may seem like an obvious choice, but they’re popular for a reason—the corset top trend is one that I have wholeheartedly embraced since starting college. 

I tend to pair my corset tops with a pleated skirt for a slightly dressier look, but they’re also typically paired with jeans for everyday wear. The corset is a great way to spice up your looks for going out without venturing too far out of your comfort zone. The other great thing about the corset top trend? You can find them practically anywhere, in a range of colors and styles. It’s never been easier to find the corset top that speaks to you.

Sweater Vests

Sweater vests have become a recent obsession of mine over the summer, and I definitely plan on bringing them into my wardrobe this school year. One major plus is that you can wear a sweater vest on its own or layer it underneath a long sleeved shirt, so they’re perfect for every season. Paired with a mini skirt, it’s a great way to channel your studious side and look good doing it. With the recent return of the preppy aesthetic, a sweater vest is perfect for infusing those put-together, academic vibes into your everyday style going into the new school year.

College is all about finding the pieces and styles that speak to you. These items have helped me be my most confident self on campus, inside of the classroom and out. If you’re hoping to shake things up this school year and be more adventurous with your fashion, hopefully these pieces will inspire you to branch out as you enter this new phase of your life.

Kelly is a second-year Communications major at UCLA from Pasadena, California. During her free time, she can usually be found lost in a book, grabbing a coffee, or obsessing over the latest reality TV show.