Fresh take on university

It’s important to present yourself in a professional manner. Photo: Getty
It’s important to present yourself in a professional manner. Photo: Getty
This Valentine’s Day, Brittany Pooley gives you fresh university fashion and lifestyle tips you’ll love.

The term ''Fresher'' comes from word Freshman and is used to describe university newcomers. Though this word is loaded with many connotations, it implies a fresh start.

As we head back to university this semester, Pooley gives you advice to help you achieve a more productive and presentable semester.

Create a morning routine

Morning routines are designed to set you up for the day. They help you to better achieve your goals by implementing productive actions and managing behaviour.

University is a time of transition and requires a different set of behaviours than those we may be familiar with.

Maintaining a morning routine to suit our new environments and lifestyles can disrupt our previous habits and help us create new ones that better align with our values and goals.

Some good customs to incorporate into your morning include waking up earlier so that you are not pressed for time, making your bed so you're not tempted to climb back in, letting in natural light to set your body clock, drinking water to detox and rehydrate your body, having a decent breakfast to maintain energy levels, exercise and meditation for your physical and mental health, reflecting on your goals and planning ahead, listening to music to alter your mood, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee at your favourite local cafe.

Whatever you choose to fill your morning with, ensure you engage in mindful practices and allow time to make some positive headspace before you take on your day.

Mastering the nonchalant

Nonchalance is the appearance of effortlessness. As your days become longer, and sleep-ins become a thing of the past, it's tempting to roll out of bed and head to campus in your sweats.

While comfort is key, there are other considerations to make. University may be a time for education, but it's also a time to create professional relationships with your peers and lecturers that could one day help you in your career.

Because of this, it's important to present yourself in a professional manner.

To master the nonchalant, we can take a little advice from the French and not overdress.

Create chic, sophisticated looks that are minimal, yet maximal in style. Opt for functional pieces in neutral shades. University essentials include: T-shirts and button-up shirts in muted tones, two jackets (one light, one heavier), a tailored coat (perhaps a fawn trench), fitted jeans, a tailored pant, a heavy knit, a skirt of your favourite cut, a little black dress, a pair of penny loafers, a pair of leather boots, and a pair of sneakers.

Bring in colour with your accessories. Ignore trends and be subtle with brands. Create yourself a signature look. Focus on the small touches that create an outfit that understates gravitas and attitude.

Wear minimal make-up by finding an everyday, uniform beauty look that uses only the essentials.

Carry yourself in a way that shows self-respect and encourages it from others. Remember, there's no such thing as fashionably late when it comes to a 200-seat lecture theatre.

Plan your outfit the night before

A pre-planned outfit allows for a simplified, stress-free morning.

It grants you more time, eliminates outfit regret and discards that messy reject pile from your bedroom floor.

The last-minute panic of ''I have nothing to wear'' is often more to do with lack of time than lack of options.

Planning ahead gives you the time you need for styling. It helps you to better assess what's in your wardrobe, and grants you time to build an outfit around some of your more neglected pieces.

Making this a habit is simple: The night before, lay out your outfit down to the last detail - socks, shoes, underwear and accessories.

Take into consideration your calendar for the following day; you may have an important presentation, meeting, interview or just a coffee date with a friend.

Check the weather: nothing says ''adulting'' more than a weather-appropriate outfit.

Assign a dedicated space in your room to place your pre-planned outfit (I recommend on the back of your door).

Hanging it up will allow your clothing to breathe and relax. This eliminates any wardrobe dust and decreases your clothing overnight.

If anything is in dire need of a press, do this now to save time in the morning.

If you want to take it to the next level, you can preplan outfits using a wardrobe app, and select an outfiti to lay out the night before.

The simple act of planning your outfit makes your morning so manageable it feels like cheating.

Pull yourself together

Whether it was a wild night or all-night study session, be sure you pull yourself together the next day.

Firstly, style your hair. Dry, styled hair makes you appear on top of your day, while wet or unkempt hair can do the opposite.

To avoid this, plan some easy, five-minute go-to hairstyles for uni days. Secondly, wear a watch.

Cellphones can be rude and disruptive in a campus setting. Checking the time on our phones can often lead us down an unproductive path.

Wearing a watch will help you to better manage your time with little distractions at just a tilt of your wrist.

Thirdly, decrease and de-lint your clothes. Wearing creased or lint-ridden clothes can make any outfit look like an afterthought.

Invest in a lint roller and steamer if you can't hack the iron for a polished, more purposeful look.

Finally, get a decent bag. Smaller bags can be tempting for styling, but realistically they're not uni-friendly. Opt for durability with heavier canvas or leather (preferably faux) and never be without that crucial textbook.

To avoid excess weight, pack and unpack your bag daily with only the fundamentals for the day.

Good or bad, reflect on your day and make room for improvements. Every day is a fresh start.


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