Some people treat school as their runway to showcase their style and personality, putting together the cutest outfits and see which of them would generate the most buzz among people. For the rest of us students, however, we are generally too bogged down by everything else that is going on, from assignments to projects to various CCAs. The general consensus of those who have given up is: who has the time to play dress up when we are so BUSY?
However, in a school like SMU (not sure about the other universities), looking presentable is almost an unspoken rule, since firstly, the school being located in town; secondly, it is better to look professional for the tons of presentations we have to make; and thirdly, to not look sloppy among the rest of the students who actually bother taking care of their appearance.
I personally love dressing up and putting in effort to keep up my appearance, but there are days where I have so much on my plate that I feel like being lazy too. I had to learn to keep a balance between looking good yet making it as effortless on my part as possible. Thus, three months into school, I have come up with my own hacks to always looking presentable at school, no matter how busy I am, and am here to share these tips with you!
1. Sleep and wake up 10 minutes earlier every day
Sleep is extremely precious for students, so it wouldn’t be fair to take even a single minute of it away from us. It is better to just sleep a bit earlier at night then wake up earlier every morning.
10 minutes might not seem like much, but it is ample time to do one additional thing to our morning routine, like putting on eyeliner, having more time to pick out an outfit, make a better breakfast, or simply not having to rush through the process when getting ready. Feel the difference of when the pressure of time is not looming over you as you get ready.
2. Invest in key pieces with interesting details
“Invest in basic pieces” – a phrase that you have heard probably a million times from everyone in fashion, so I assume that everyone already has those basic pieces in their wardrobe.
That is where this tip comes in – invest in quirky pieces that have interesting detail to it. Just several of these can elevate your wardrobe instantly. The best part about this tip is that you get to have fun – Play around with different prints, lengths, textures, colours and fabrics.
I tend to veer towards certain types of interesting pieces. As you can see from the above picture, I either stick to clothes in a solid colour but with interesting fabric or textures, like the army-green pleated midi and velvet flats, or i choose stuff with smaller or more muted prints, like the shirt, lace skirt and bomber jacket. It makes it a lot easier for me to match it with the other items in my wardrobe!
3. Quirky specs and a bold lip colour
My go-to look for school – a bare face with glasses and lipstick
This is my personal favourite tip. Don’t have time to do a fully made up face? Simply leave your glasses on and swipe on a bold lip colour and you are good to go! Trust me when I say that this makes your face look instantly awake even without doing the rest of your makeup.
Glasses have come a long way from the thick and geeky ones that our parents used to wear. They now come in all shapes, sizes and price points, so all you have to do is choose one that suits your personality the most. Particularly good for hiding eye bags while making a fashion statement. If you were blessed with perfect eyesight, simply pick up a cosmetic pair from any optician or accessories shop and pop it on.
After selecting your perfect second set of eyes, pair it with a statement lippie, like a classic red or a deep fuchsia. This will make all the attention go towards your gorgeous lips, and the easiest statement maker that you can achieve in under 10 seconds. I love my deep brown reds and terracotta colours this season because it matches the colour scheme of my wardrobe perfectly (and also because, well, Colourpop).
This trick has saved me so many times, especially on days where I’m running late or just feeling plain lazy.
4. One Colour for All (or in this case, your bag and shoes)
As a student, I completely understand the importance of having a bag that is stylish, roomy enough to fit all your documents and stationery and be able to match all your outfits, all at once.
It is not to say that we cannot have fun with our shoe and bag choices, but from personal experience, I have tried changing up my bag game once every few days, and scatter-brained me would forget to bring one or two important things while transferring items from one bag to another, not to mention missing some other things in the process.
Thus, I would recommend getting a bag that you can use throughout the year without having to change it. Neutral colours are ideal in this case because you can be sure that it will match your outfit no matter how crazy it is. Black is a go to colour for me because it not only goes with all my outfits, but is also able to stand out on its own instead of fading into the background, like with ivory or grey for example. Plus, you can’t ever see black things get dirty, which is a super plus point!
I would also suggest getting a pair of shoes that matches your bag, although this isn’t a rule that I set in stone because it is considered ‘backward’ to be matchy-matchy. The reason why I prefer to do so is because matching accessories are usually a no-brainer when putting together outfits, and saves a whole lot of time for time-pressed students such as myself.
5. Be Confident!
Nothing says chic like confidence does. Not only does confidence make you feel better about yourself on the inside, but it’ll also make you look better on the outside.
Just imagine: One day, you feel extremely good about yourself for some reason. You take a look into your wardrobe, then pull out the most daring pieces that exist and put it on, knowing that you have the confidence to pull it off and look fierce AF. You arrive at school, knowing that you look the best you have ever looked, and see that other people have taken notice as well. You start to walk a little taller. You become much more friendly with everyone. You suddenly don’t feel so timid anymore. Your inner confidence has manifested itself into the way you dress, the way you walk, and the way you talk.
There will definitely be days that we are a little bit under the weather, because we are all human after all. That’s why being confident every single day takes lots of practice, mindfulness and dedication to achieve. Like everyone says: Fake it till you make it – act confident until you actually are!