There are many reasons why school students look forward to finally becoming college goers: access to more independence, the exciting transition into adulthood, much more interesting courses than at school and last but not least, the chance to finally ditch those dowdy school uniforms and opt for the fashionable, trendier ensembles.
Fashion, as they say, is a statement but it doesn't only have to be of your style preferences. Your wardrobe choices can say a lot about your personality as well as your individual sense of style.
Your childhood friend may be comfortable in tailored chic but you might think your personality blooms the best in loose fits and comfortable slacks while your new college friend prefers bold graphic tees that speak out her mind.
Whichever way you want to go, what with this phase of your life associated with independence and a 'coming of age' vibe, university might just be the perfect opportunity to let it shine.
Although the traditional campus couture for Bangladeshi students usually falls along the line of a neat, tailored shalwar kameez with some classic, strappy sandals to complete the look, it doesn't hurt to go a little risqué with your fashion decisions sometimes.
If you are reluctant to shed the traditional look completely and would like dashes of the East in your wardrobe, opt to play mix-and-match. Simply pick out your regular embroidered kameez and team it with a fitted pair of jeans to replace the baggy shalwar. Substitute your dupatta for a subtle scarf in arabesques or cute floral prints and you have yourself a trendy but modest ensemble perfect for the busy college student.
Fariza, for example, a second-year student at a private university, says that when she wants to keep up with what's 'in,' she will match her brightly hued kurti or her fatua in subdued tones with her favourite pair of skinny jeans or even lace leggings when she's feeling particularly daring.
Trendy but modest and versatile yet stylish, this form of fusion clothing, which mixes the best of the East with the best of the West and of tradition with modernity, is a particular favourite for the average college student not only because it stays true to the current trends but also because it ranks high on the comfort quotient, which Fariza warns, is key to life as a college student.
Staying with the necessity of comfort, Fariza points out that because you will probably have to frequently walk from one class to another (or run if they're on opposite sides of the campus!), it is best to leave your stilettos and wedged heels in your closet. Instead complete your comfortable outfit with a pair of gorgeous flat sandals or even a cute pair of ballet flats.
When selecting the perfect outfit for university, some people feel restricted in their fashion options because of the comfort obstacle but Laamia, a student from North South University, completely disagrees on that fashion has to be sacrificed for the sake of comfort and insists it is possible to have both.
Even though she too advises on leaving the pumps at home (despite being a devoted 'shoe girl'), she insists that “While it may not be possible to fully express your fashion personality at university through clothes and shoes, you can make that up with classy statement accessories. “Accessories can lift up what would normally be considered a dowdy look and the best part is that they're not even much of a hassle.” And her 'must-have' fashion accessory for university? The 'it' bag.
In honour of your fat Chemistry book and your big laptop, Laamia recommends roomy and easy to handle tote bags. In this way, you finally get the opportunity to ditch the faded and dull backpack you carried throughout high school for something that's not only chic but also fully functional for the average college student. Besides the bag, you can earn yourself a spot on the chic list based on your choice of jewellery, scarves, hair accessories, etc. Bearing in mind that you still want to look like a serious college student, keep away from anything too flashy or outlandish and opt instead for chunky bracelets or plastic bangles.
You can visit Bibi Productions for some stunning ethnic bangles to complete your fusion outfit. You can pick out a classy watch that will not only add a much needed level of practicality to your outfit but will also do its job as an 'it' accessory. A scarf can serve as the most versatile piece of your outfit. You can use it simply as a scarf or shawl or turn it into a fancy dupatta when the situation calls for it. Either way, it is the perfect fashion substitute to your dupatta. Simply adorn it with embellishments such as sequins or beads or even intricate embroidery and you have yourself a perfect college outfit.
The key to 'campus chic' is to be yourself. Contrary to popular belief, fashion is not about peer pressure or following the latest trends. Instead, it is all about finding out what you are most comfortable in and what you feel shows your fashion personality. And if it's not 'in trend?' You can always be a trendsetter. The fashion world has plenty of space for anyone who wants to make a statement.
By Mahareen Khalid
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Sanjana Rahman