Yes, you're going off to college to get a good education, and yes, it may be costing you a small fortune, but that's no reason to leave your fashion sense at home. While cooler weather always brings slightly darker, heavier fabrics, some of the styles that were so popular this summer are still going to work on campus this fall. You may not be able to afford the newest runway version, but you can still capture the essence of this season's best looks, even on a student's budget.
Popular 2012 fall colors include jewel tones such as oxblood, cobalt, deep red and royal purple; a variety of greens; brown; black; navy; winter white; deep orange; pink and gold. For a color that stands out without looking pretentious, oxblood is the new favorite. Its deep, rich wine color is dark and moody. Neutral accessories are all that is necessary to complete an independent, confident look. Essie's "Lacy Not Racy" nail polish is the perfect coordinating accent.
Royal cobalt blue looks both refined and trendy this fall. Perhaps it's the noticeable British influence on fashion right now, but adding black accessories to this powerful blue creates a very sophisticated, Kate Middleton look. If you prefer something a little quirkier, consider adding a bright yellow, deep orange or fuchsia handbag or scarf. You can also awaken a rich chocolate or conservative navy by adding a similar statement-making bright color.
Pantone has introduced both "Ultramarine" and "Bright Chartreuse" as the fashionable greens for the fall season. A lingering military influence is reflected in a healthy dose of olive green clothes and accessories as well. What will be unique in the cooler fall and winter months is the way in which these colors are mixed together. Add something grey for balance, and you will have a casual outfit that is as up-to-date as if it had just come off the fashion runway. Wear Old Navy's comfortable army jackets, skinny cargo pants and some lace-up boots as you hurry across campus on chilly days.
Pantone has also surprised everyone with two other colors that would normally be relegated to spring and summer. "Pink Flambe" and "Rose Smoke" offer the option of a deep saturated pink or a softer, muted version. Use these pinks to add a feminine, flirty touch in an otherwise serious college atmosphere. To balance out the delicacy of pink, consider black accents or the toughness of a little leather.
Winter white is a fashionable standby for cold weather days. Since the old rule of never wearing white after Labor Day has been forsaken, this color is a year-round staple in every wardrobe. However, look for whites in interesting, bulkier textures. Structured outerwear, pants and luxurious sweaters will be available on the racks across the country. White has that wonderful quality of blending cosmopolitan sophistication with sweetness and innocence.
Expect to see this summer's popular colored skinny jeans on campus this fall. They'll be matched up to button-up blouses and oversized cardigans. You'll also see them in geometric and floral patterns. Wearing more than one print at a time is tricky but highly fashionable right now. As a general rule, keep the less complicated pattern over the more complex fabric. Prints by Nicole Miller and Prabal Gurung are in high demand at the moment.
Dressing for college means finding the colors and styles that most suit your personality. Hang on to some of your summer favorites and find ways to extend them into your fall wardrobe. Take a little extra time to make clothing choices that flatter your coloring and body shape, and you'll find yourself well-dressed for college life.