It’s not easy being a college gal. The modern college girl is expected to be top of her class, leader of a club, the best friend, the girlfriend, and the life of the party ñ all while being stylish. For girls on the run it’s easy to forgo spending time picking out an outfit every morning. Understandably, an early morning coffee run seems more tempting than the dreaded “I have no clothes” routine. So what’s a busy girl to do?

Don’t dread your closet anymore! Work with the clothes you have and must-have fashion essentials to put together an outfit for any occasion in a matter of minutes. Stylish girls make it look so easy. Well, it is. Pairing favorite pieces with basics will make it seem as though you too spend hours putting together outfits.

1 Cardigan

The best tip for a wardrobe is to layer, layer, and layer. Cardigans give the visual effect of layers while remaining light enough to slip on in the summer months. Worried about bare shoulders while in class during the sweltering summer heat? Hide skin with a light, cotton cardigan while in professional environments. A bold colored cardigan can add a pop of color to an otherwise dull outfit. Play with textures. A thicker wool cardigan in neutral colors transitions well from fall to winter.

2 Summer dress

A few colorful summer dresses should be hanging in every girl’s closet. Dresses are a cheater’s method of looking stylish without much effort. You don’t have to worry about pairing tops and bottoms. Just grab a dress, throw on a cardigan, flats, and some bold jewelry and head out of the door.

Dresses should be statement pieces! Pick dresses with visual interest, whether that’s a rich color or detailed pattern. The latest dress trends include cut-outs, high-low hems, and unexpected materials like sequin or mesh. Dresses pull multi-duty by transforming from simple office wear to elegant date night to wild girl’s night out.

3 Jeans

A no-brainer, right? There is sure to be a perfect pair of jeans for everyone woman. Jeans come in a variety of styles and washes. Low-rise are favorites among young women while high-waisted are making a retro comeback. A well-fitting pair of dark-wash jeans makes women look slim and most importantly, fashionable. Don’t underestimate the basicness of jeans. There is a reason why jeans have remained a wardrobe staple since their introduction in 1873 by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss.

4 Tights

I can’t praise tights enough; they’re amazing. Tights add a unique twist to an otherwise boring outfit. Plain black tights are a safe choice; complimenting most skirts and dresses. For those with some courage, tights come in all sorts of crazy neon colors and animal prints. The rule of thumb is to have one statement piece while the other parts of the outfit remain neutral to balance out the look. Pairing leopard tights with a neon pink dress is a definite don’t ñ keep the over-the-top looks for themed parties.

Tights have become such a staple in women’s wardrobes that there are whole boutiques designated to their sale. It shouldn’t be difficult to find tights at the mall, in department stores, or even online. Keep in mind that while some brands are particularly expensive, they are still just tights and are inevitably doomed to run.

5 Fall coat

Fall is a tricky transitional month for which to dress. While layers might seem like the obvious solution, depending on the climate it may be too warm or chilly for a double layer of shirts. A warm fall coat paired with a dress or jeans and a blouse should work for the majority of the season. The coat can be taken off during sudden heat spikes.

One nice fall coat can instantly elevate the rest of the outfit. Jean jackets have become popular lately. They can be paired with dresses and skirts. However, shy away from denim on denim looks. A neutral color trench coat is classic. For an edgier look, a black pea coat can be worn in the later half of fall when weather delves into chillier territory for cross-campus treks.

Photo credit: fashion by dELiA*s

About the author: Samantha Rose blogs on fashion, music and the vibrant life of a college student at and is an editor for Brown University’s fashion magazine “Unhemmed.” She contributes to a number of websites, including, covering the “college beat” with a fresh perspective.

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