Advice, Lifestyle

Fitting in with the fashion show on Commonwealth Avenue

Walking to class at 7:45 a.m. on a Tuesday sometimes feels like I wandered into New York Fashion Week completely underdressed. My jeans and a sweatshirt don’t hold a candle to the people who got up early to walk the Commonwealth Avenue runway.

Why do Boston University students look so good all the time? And how can I even begin to feel put together next to the casual Balenciaga wearers and College of Fine Arts fashionistas?

A few key pieces in your wardrobe can dress up any outfit, especially as we get into the cooler months that allow for jackets and layering. These items can mostly be found at your local Goodwill, but they can elevate your style.

clothing rack
A rack of clothes. Ilana offers a few outfit additions for our Fall wardrobes. COURTESY OF AMANDA VICK VIA UNSPLASH

Additionally, these items can spice up your wardrobe regardless of your gender expression. I want to help anyone feel more confident in their outfits, no matter their identity.

Leather Jacket

One of my favorite ways to make any outfit look cooler is just throwing on my trusty leather coat. The second that the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, I grab this out of my winter clothes storage and wear it whenever I can.

Whether it’s a Moto jacket or a full coat, leather jackets are an easy piece to spice up the most basic of outfits. 

Usually, I will throw mine over a t-shirt or sweater paired with jeans with my white sneakers or boots. 

A fond memory from my freshman year at BU was crossing the street to get to class and being stopped by the sweetest person who complimented my outfit. I was just wearing black jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, but the leather coat made it cool girl certified.

If you don’t want to contribute to the leather industry, Target and other popular retailers offer vegan leather options for a reasonable price. Another option would be looking at a thrift or vintage store. A friend of mine found a gorgeous leather coat at Boomerangs thrift store in Cambridge for around $20 last year.

White Turtleneck

This may seem like the most basic possible suggestion, but it’s an essential piece to have when layering your clothes. 

Throw a band tee or a crewneck sweater over a white turtleneck, and you’ve suddenly got a far more interesting outfit. Also, it’ll help keep you warm during the bitter cold months in Boston. 

I used to be anti-turtleneck because I thought it would feel like it was choking me the entire time I wore it, but you just need to search for the right fit. Once I found one that I liked, I wore it any time that I could.

Layering different necklines or silhouettes can revamp the clothes you already own without having to buy a ton of new clothes. Even just popping a BU sweatshirt over the turtleneck will keep you fashionable and warm. 

Again, this piece could be found in a thrift store — especially during the warmer months since people usually aren’t buying them as much — but it can also be found on a budget at H&M or Target.

If you want to take this tip a step further, try a colorful turtleneck. It could add a pop of color and personality to your previously plain outfits.

Layered Jewelry

Continuing the theme of layering, my final suggestion is to accumulate jewelry of different lengths and sizes to layer over your outfit. 

Accessories are just as important — if not more — as the clothing when it comes to an outfit. 

Jewelry is definitely my weakest spot when it comes to fashion because I’m still learning how to utilize it, but it always makes me look better. Even athleisure can be elevated with the right jewelry.

You don’t have to worry about sticking to one metal, but starting off with either gold or silver can be less overwhelming if you’re completely new to layering jewelry.

I recommend looking at flea markets or vintage shops, like SoWa Vintage Market, for really unique pieces that stand out to you. However, if you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money, you can find some pre-layered sets on Etsy or Amazon.

At the end of the day, wear what makes you feel most confident and comfortable in your own skin. Just because other people on campus are dressed to the nines does not mean that you have to do the same. 

However, sometimes a good outfit can improve your confidence and day drastically. So, don’t underestimate the power of some simple additions to your wardrobe to improve your fashion and your mood.

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