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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Fresh meat.

It's your first day of college and whether the halls are chanting this or not, you're sure your forehead is displaying a bold tattoo proclaiming to the world, "I am a lost and helpless baby Gator."

Don't worry. The voices are just in your head. You are lucky enough to have fellow colleagues who are much too kind and poised to point you out with a taunting chant.

Nonetheless, you have been spotted. It's something about your stick-straight hair and head-to-toe Hollister attire that lets us know your ranking in this world. Our inner dialogue might be as sweet as a reminiscent "I remember being a freshman" or perhaps a more cynical "glad I'm not a clueless freshman."

Many of you will receive, if you haven't already, the sly grin from the weathered upperclassmen who are secretly thinking, "Ah, freshman. What a tool." But rest assured, your fall from top dog in high school doesn't have to be so drastic. There are ways to appear older than your juvenile years.

Begin by boxing all your high school staples. Send them straight to your younger sibling. Obvious identifiers should include anything with a Hollister, American Eagle or Abercrombie & Fitch logo splattered across the chest, gluteus or back.

Nothing screams American teen like a big "So Cal Love" framing your tush.

The same is true for any cartoon or cleverly phrased T-shirt for Hot Topic aficionados.

While you're packing, also stash away your beloved senior week T-shirts and high school sports sweats. You were No. 25 and played sweeper for your field hockey team. Good for you, but no one cares. Save your glory-days gear for the gym.

College is a time for experimenting and getting to know yourself. This is just as true for fashion as anything else.

To look like you put your style together effortlessly, think about how you imagine yourself as an adult.

Where will you be? What will you be wearing? Do you see yourself as a classic Audrey Hepburn at a Massachusetts country club or a free-spirited Marianne Faithfull at a Lower East Side dive?

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When you've got a semi-clear picture of what you someday want to be (this will probably change at some point in your college years), start experimenting. Mix up your Abercrombie jeans with a flower-printed blouse for a boho-chic look or your Hot Topic Smiths shirt with black skinny jeans if your soul hums to a tougher tune.

We snobby upperclassmen expect the young ones to be clueless. If you have your personal style down pat, we can see you know how to hold your own.

Next, you don't want to look like you did all your back-to-school shopping at the Reitz Union. You might as well run around screaming, "Mom and Dad are so proud I'm finally in college," if all your clothes are orange and blue.

You'll notice that UF has a lot of school spirit. That might even be what drew you here. And that's great, but it's just pure science. The longer you wear something the more worn out it looks.

If every day you wear a brand new Gator shirt, sweatshirt or whatever, we're going to know you're new in town.

Wear your Gator gear around the house and wash it a couple times.

Unless it's a game day, you should never be completely covered in Gator gear. It shouldn't look like UF puked on you after a long day of tailgating.

Aside from Gators color, Gainesville, being a hot, humid college town, calls for clothing that is functional and breathable.

This might come as a big disappointment for us fashion lovers, but it's just a fact that hiking around campus in heels and semi-couture dresses won't cut it. I'm still trying to learn that lesson.

In this neck of the woods, wear flowing dresses, structured shorts, embellished tank tops -- anything cotton.

As far as colors go, I prefer whites, earth tones and pastels since the town is more rural than urban. Light colors also help you stay cool.

Think more of Carolina Herrera's resort collections instead of Burberry's street wear.

For shoes that are comfortable and stylish, avoid rubber flip-flops and chunky sneakers. Instead, choose strappy earth-toned sandals and shiny flats.

The cliché "less is more" stands for hair and makeup. Stay away from the straightening iron. Let your luscious locks do what they do. In your day-to-day makeup bag all you need is a good bronzer, lip gloss and mascara.

For night time, I have no rules. I suggest and ask that you go crazy. Get dolled up. Wear the high heels, black eyeliner and sequined, short dresses. Perhaps your generation can help reinstate cocktail wear in a town that stays casual day-to-night.

As with everything else in life, the key to success here is to be yourself. It's easy to want to look like all your friends in high school, but do that in college and we'll see your ripe years coming from a mile away.

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