The ultimate Ohio University girl’s shopping list

Packing for your freshman year of college is on par with the stress levels of taking the SAT for the second time trying to get a higher score. It can be pretty tricky decidng what you think you’ll be wearing day-to-day. To streamline the process, and give you advice into clothing that college girls actually wear, I compiled a comprehensive list of items that are must-haves. Follow this list and these links, and you’ll be styling on your walk to your first ever college class.

Tops:

First and foremost, you’ll need t shirts. Like, a lot of them. You’re going to be exhausted for your 9 a.m. class, you’re going to be looking for a causal look for the weekend and you’re going to be looking gross for finals week, so t shirts are a go-to in college. Whether athletically-inclined, bold and graphic or something you stole from your older sister, just make sure it’s not high school related. Maybe you’ll join a sorority and have more than you know what to do with, but you should start with a small stash of your own.

Festing is cool and all, but you’re eventually going to need to get a job. So, while you’re looking into internships at the career fair, or applying for an executive position in your student organization, you’re going to need to look the part. Bring a casual blouse that you can transition from business to snappy casual.

Casual shirts are what I would call the staple of college life. Am I going out? Did I dress up for class? Am I some trendy fashion blogger? Who knows. Casual shirts can take you straight from class to the nightlife without even stopping by the dorm.

There is not a college aged girl that I know of who doesn’t live in sweatshirts. Comfy enough to nap in, and warm enough for the crisp walk to early classes, these sweatshirts will last you through the seasons. I’d grab an OU one, like this.

Jackets are important for layering when it’s 35 degrees ferenheit in Bentley Hall, or it’s colder on your walk to a weekend party. Plus, almost every girl at this university has this jacket.

Bottoms:

Athletic shorts are useful from classes to the gym. Getting a solid colored pair can make picking outfits really easy, and allow you to buy less pairs. Nike shorts are pretty standard on campus for classes and running errands.

From one girl to another, you will not survive college without leggings. No one will care if you don’t drop $90 on Lululemon leggings, the $5 Forever 21 kinds will work just fine. These will be your every day outfit staple. Class at 9 a.m.? Leggings. Class at 2 p.m.? Leggings. Community service event? Leggings. Guest speaker? Leggings. Leggings? Leggings. These are worn every day of the week no matter the weather. Get them.

In college, when you’re trying to appear classy, or you’re not allowed to wear leggings, you’ll reach for jeans. In the past 6 months Athens has seen an influx of distressed jeans, so I’d definitely grab a pair or two in black and blue denim. Of course, skinny jeans will always be in and can take you from classes to meetings to nightlife to church. I bring 6 pairs of jeans with me every semester, and I have yet to regret that decision.

When the time comes to move up in your organization or for you to get a job, you’re going to need a staple pair of black dress pants . You can absolutely get crazy with dress pants and patterns, but black will get you the job every single time. Plus, who wants to spend money on work clothes? No one.

I was going to include a link to sweatpants because a lot of girls do wear them to classes, and to eat around town, but I hate them, so morally I refuse to include a link. If you do like sweatpants, Nike or Lululemon will suffice.

When you’re not in class, or if you like to dress up for your classes, high waisted cut off shorts will be your best friend. Comfortable, chic and a little bit edgy, these babies will keep you cool on your 7-minute walk to class, and make you look put together. Pair these with the t shirts I liked above, and you’re set for a weekend in Athens. Boyfriend shorts are big for me because comfort is key on college, especially at OU. When you’re out on the weekends or hitting up a local joint to eat, casual shorts will take you a step further than athletic shorts, but won’t skimp on comfort.

Weekends and special events call for skirts. I’m not too partial to them, because dresses are easier to wear and make you look dressed up when you’re not, but plenty of girls wear a-line denim skirts out or to class or crochet mini skirts. Whether it be bars, a weekend trip to Columbus or you’re just feeling yourself for classes, skirts can be a way to elevate your look easily.

Dresses:

Contrary to what you might believe, dresses are not a huge part of college. Yes, things are getting fancier by the day, but your everyday look probably will not include one. Weekends and special occasions are when dresses emerge, and you’ll need to leave your satin homecoming dresses at home. If you join a sorority or get invited to a fraternity date party, you’ll be rocking a dress/romper to remind yourself of the homecoming days that are long forgotten. Pro tip: Don’t wear dresses out on weeknights or to house parties; there is no easier freshman identifier than a dress on a Wednesday.

Two-piece dresses are really popular for special events, and rompers are the most popular pick. If you’re invited somewhere else fancy, you’ll want a little black dress: this dress will have you ready for any occasion. Great places for dresses include: Tobi, Lulu’s and ASOS. Off-campus, we also have Figleaf, Bluetique and The Other Place, but mind you, if you shop uptown, every other girl on campus will be rocking the same dress.

When it’s not a special occasion, girls definitely wear dresses out or around when the weather gets nicer. Casual dresses can make you feel cute again after your week long binge of shorts and t shirts. These can be worn out on the weekends too, without much effort.

At some point, for some event or organization or interview, you’re going to need a professional dress. This needs to be simple, classy and ready to get you a job. You’ll only break this out probably twice a semester, but it’s definitely important to have.

Shoes:

If you’re going to pay attention to one thing I say to you, pay attention to the shoes category, AKA, now.

Newsflash, you’re going to have to walk to class. That being said, you need to be comfortable doing so. Casual walking shoes for college girls typically include: gym shoes, Tom’s, sandals or flats. Gym shoes are the best pick because you can obviously wear them to the gym as well, cutting down on items to bring to school. Black Nike’s and white Converse rule the school, so you can’t go wrong there.

When you have to be fancy, flats are a comfy way to look put-together without breaking an ankle. I recommend a classic black or nude flat shoe to keep it simple, but look professional or cute.

Heels are important for aforementioned date parties, interviews and other special events. Important to have are: Nude heels, black heels and a chic pair to show your style. These three pairs are perfect for any situation you may find yourself in.

Go-to weekend shoes in the warm weather are wedges. You won’t fall as easily in wedges, the heel won’t strip in the middle of the bricks like stilettos and they can make your jeans look more dressed up when you’re feeling lazy. Wedges in black and tan will get you through the warm seasons no problem. With heels and wedges, reserve these for the weekends, ladies, and by weekends, I do not mean fests..

You will die without rain boots. You won’t actually die, but you will be miserable without them. It will rain when you’re supposed to be walking to class, and your umbrella can only do so much. I thought I was too good for rain boots my first semester here, and Athens proved me wrong. Get Hunter boots, or get a cheap pair, no one will judge you when it’s raining, I promise.

Speaking of the elements, snow boots are a must-have as well. It will also snow when you’re supposed to go to class, and unless you’d like to sit through an hour and a half lecture with cold, wet feet, I’d get some snow boots. Pro tip: These can be your rain boots; you don’t need snow boots if you have rain boots.

Final element: Sun. Sandals will be your best friend when it’s hot and steamy outside. If you’re living in a dorm, which you’re required to, you’re going to need shower shoes. These are very different things. Get $3 shower shoes from Old Navy, everyone does. Next, get cute sandals from anywhere else. Comfort is key, I assure you.

Accessories:

Kind of optional, kind of not is the rain jacket. I’ve done without one thus far, but some of my friends swear by them. Anything to get you to class dry can only be positive.

Spoiler alert: You might not have time to shower before your 9 a.m. class. Wear a hat and pretend like your hair is not greasy. Or you can pretend like it was sunny that day, and your hair is definitely not greasy. Hats can be OU themed, Vineyard Vines, your hometown, etc. Just make sure it’s not your high school. Make sure anything you bring isn’t from high school, basically.

Whether you’re an athlete, you pretend to be or maybe you don’t like to wear real bras, sports bras are comfy and practical. From yoga class to Philosophy, this gem will keep you in place, while offering cute details to show off. Cute bras are really popular right now, and will be for a while so grab some while they’re hot.

If/when you go out at night, you will not be bringing your big Michael Kors purse. You will be bringing a cross body bag or a wristlet. Small, portable and hopefully durable, this bag will hold your dorm keys, your OU i.d. and your money. Some girls splurge on Kate Spade, I, on the other hand, go cheap because I don’t want my bag to be ruined by a spilled Natural Light beer.

Maybe you actually want to know what time it is, or maybe you’re like me, and want to look chic, but watches are extremely popular as an accessory alone. Wear one to an interview and look sophisticated, wear one to the bar and look cute. Whatever you do, get one. You can use it to count down the seconds until you’re out of your dreaded general education requirements.

There are only two schools of thought on school bags. People either wear backpacks exclusively or they wear purses; I fall into the later. If you’re in a math or science major, you’re going to need a backpack for who knows what: calculator, expensive books, laptop, etc. Everyone else can carry a purse because, frankly, I don’t even understand what people fill backpacks with. Longchamp, Michael Kors or Target will do. Make sure it fits your laptop and notebooks, but other than that, show your personality.

 

There you have it: The ultimate packing guide. I know you’re going to over-pack first semester, everyone does. I hope this list offers you the ability to over-pack the right things.

Intimate view of ‘For the Love of Athens County’

I forced my friend Melany to come along with me on my adventure to the opening of the art exhibit “For the Love of Athens County.” The exhibit’s grand opening housed 50 people, but, during our visit, we were the only ones in the gallery.

Getting to ARTS/West: Athens Community Gateway to the Arts wasn’t difficult, but it was out of the way, so I can imagine why the majority of students don’t venture that far down West State Street. I mean, I’m a junior here, and I had never even heard of the place.

External View of the ARTS Building
External View of the ARTS Building


After arriving to the building, we realized the front door is not always open. Following our creep around the building, we came to an unlocked door. Apparently, this is the one that students and community members are supposed to use on days with less traffic frequenting the center.

Walking through the door, we were met with three women sitting at desks in an office probably wondering what in the world we were doing there. It was a cold and rainy Monday when I told them we were there to see the art exhibit. Excitement suddenly appeared on their faces.

Walking into the large gallery room, I could immediately understand why they were so excited to have us there. We were, quite literally, the only people in the space. Spooky at first, it was a nice experience to see artwork that community members had so carefully chosen to showcase.

A panorama of the gallery with no one in it.
A panorama of the gallery with no one in it.

“For the Love of Athens County” is an annual art exhibit that features 19 photographers’ smartphone photographs of what they love about Athens. The photographers range from students to community members, young and old— the youngest is 12 years old.

Example of community work at the exhibit
Example of community work at the exhibit

The photographs are for sale, and include a quick snippet of what the photograph is about, or where it is located. We stumbled into some really beautiful images from places I’ve never heard of, such as the Moonville Tunnel. Adding these to my mental notepad, we meandered around.

Kelly Lawrence, the curator of the gallery, turned off the lights for us because she said it makes the photography stand out more. In the light coming from the hanging lights above, we appreciated the gallery in all of its small glory, enjoying our two person VIP gallery viewing.

My friend Melany looking at the art.
My friend Melany looking at the art.

“It makes me really sad that I didn’t even know this place existed,” Melany said, “I wish there was a better way to know about things going on like this.”

It’s really a shame more students don’t make it past North Court Street. Athens is full of secret gems, such as this center, that are just waiting to be discovered. This exhibit continues through the month of February, and has free admission. Take a look at what community members see in Athens, and consider submitting work for next year.

Happiness is a Choice

“I Was Within and Without”

Standing at five feet, one inch tall, I can fit into many inconspicuous places, but this one is my favorite.  I live above Brenen’s on Court Street, and have a perfect people watching location. The windows aren’t sealed properly. Air escapes from under the frame of the window and chills my chicken legs. Luckily for me, I have fleece slippers and a warm blanket that never leaves my legs. The sun peaks in the window just right, lighting up the stage for the actors to take their places. I grab a mug of Hazelnut coffee or a full glass of white wine spritzer, depending on the time of day, and head to my little nook.

Me, sitting in my window nook with a cup of coffee
Me, sitting in my window nook with a cup of coffee

They say that introversion comes from the exhaustion of social interactions; I know this much is true. Talking to people in class, meetings, and in bars on the weekend is physically tiring for me. I crave space to recharge, spend some time on my own, but to feel socially connected, somehow. For two years I wished for a place that I could relax, but still feel involved with the campus I’m living in. Looking for a place to call my own, it was important to me I had a window that would allow me to live through the life of others, while allowing myself to spend time alone.

I captured this photo from my window of the snowstorm we had.
I captured this photo from my window on Court Street of the snowstorm we had.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in the Great Gatsby, “Yet high over the city, our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” It narrowly discusses how Nick is both a participant in social interactions and an observer.

I’ve spent hours in this window watching drunk girls cry over the ever-too-early closing time of Wendy’s, the slipping and sliding of students on their way to class, and waving to my sorority sisters as they walk by to check if I’m in the window. I’ve watched snow fall, rain cascade, sun shine, and leaves fall. I feel extremely connected to the people who frequently walk past my building, and I’ve lived the lives of thousands.