Ask A Denver Expert: Tips For College Style Essentials

August 27, 2013 6:00 AM



In high school, anything goes when it comes to fashion. This is the time to experiment, try on different looks and figure out your style. However, once you go to college, it’s time to start refining your style. Kristen Mueller and Hannah Witte of Polished Personal Style share some tips on how you can transition your wardrobe from teen to adult while still keeping it fun and vibrant.

Polished Personal Style
Lone Tree, CO 80124

The stylists at Polished Personal Style are not only passionate about fashion, they are passionate about helping people look and feel their best. Offering a full range of style consulting services from consultations to personal shopping, these ladies go out of their way to make sure that you have the most versatile wardrobe with tons of options. Kristen and Hannah bring their fashion sense, business savvy and personalized service to every client.

1. Mind the dorm

In general, dorms aren’t known for having spacious, luxurious closets in which you can hang your stuff. In fact, some walk-in closets are bigger than a college dorm. Hannah advises making the most of your wardrobe while saving space. “Avoid wasting space in your small dorm by not bringing so many trendy pieces. Instead, bring the classics: jeans, blazers and boots.” Kristen recommends bringing items that you can work in many ways. “It’s essential to buy and bring pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. Don’t pack your entire closet from home.”

2154 E. Commons Ave., Suite 322
Centennial, CO 80122
(303) 660-8118

Offering clothing and accessories that are stylish, yet sophisticated, this boutique is a must-stop for college wardrobe shopping. With simple basics and tons of affordable accessories like scarves, purses and jewelry, you will be able to find plenty of merchandise to take with you to the dorms. The shop is staffed by helpful, upbeat employees that will help you on your quest for a more grown-up wardrobe. 

2. Act your age

Nobody is saying that you need to start wearing shirts that button all the way up and stop showing off your ankles, but save the binding party clothes for nights out. Hannah states, “For girls, dressing in tighter clothing sends an immature message to professors and peers. Opt for a tighter denim cut, such as a skinny jean with an oversized top. For guys, we know you love to live in the active wear, which is fine for class and late-night study groups, but for a class presentation, put the sport coat on.” She advises that if you still want to show a little skin, to do it sparingly. Try peek-a-boo cut-outs or a slightly cropped top.

Related: Top Places in Denver for a Makeover

1151 S. Pearl St.
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 698-2229

With clothes from J Brand, BCBG, Siwy Denim and more, Gracie’s has everything you need to revamp your style. The boutique carries many options at different price points, so you don’t have to spend your entire book budget on clothes. The owners are stylish themselves, so they select quality merchandise that will help you look polished without looking old.

3. Focus on the future

In the professional world, a popular saying is, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” Kristen recommends carrying this mantra into your collegiate career as well. “It’s important that your image begins to represent that you are a young professional in the making. It’s a great time to think about ‘How would I dress for success?’ or taking the ‘You look good, you feel good’ approach. Getting up, showered and dressed in the morning will warrant better results than rolling out of bed in your sweats and finger brushing your teeth on the way to class.”

1631 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 443-3976

Violette carries plenty of staples that are appropriate for work, but can also take you to happy hour. With affordable prices, you can ramp up your work wardrobe on your student budget. Stop into this boutique for all of the essential staples for every season. Located on Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, this shop is also located in a prime shopping location, so you don’t have to run all over town. 

4. Bring the staples of your high school wardrobe

Kristen offers advice on some items that are easy to mix and match with your new collegiate style. “Think basics like solid colored t-shirts and neutral shirts to pair with jeans or shorts to start off the year. As the weather gets cooler, have a favorite sweatshirt, sweater or leather jacket to layer on with a scarf and/or beanie. A great winter coat will get you to and from class with warmth and double as a topper for football games.”

Related: Best Women’s Clothing Shopping in Denver

Ali’s Closet Consignment Boutique
1610 E. Girard Place, Unit K
Cherry Hills Village, CO 80113
(303) 843-9956

Ali’s Closet has a plethora of wardrobe staples that are feminine, flirty and fun. The pieces found at this shop are perfect for women of any age. If you like clothes with a vintage feel that are easy to pair and accessorize, then this is the shop for you. From statement necklaces and bags to wrap dresses, this shop has everything you need to take your high school wardrobe up a few notches.

5. Seniors start prepping for post-college

If you’re getting ready to start your senior year in college, plan for how you will dress for internships and interviews. Hannah gives recommendations about how you can put out a professional vibe without sacrificing your young adult style. “Oversized suits on men and women look ridiculous and out of place on a younger frame. For men, always get your suits tailored. Opt for the tailored trousers, dress shoes and a nice fitting button-down that can be worn alone or under sport coats. For ladies, pick a more fitted pant instead of a wide leg and pair it with a silky blouse or cardigan in a jewel tone like emerald or purple.”

Erol’s Tailoring and Alterations
314 Columbine St.
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 377-2400

This tailor in Cherry Creek North offers excellent, speedy service at great prices. It is the perfect place to have your clothes altered for the perfect fit. From hem adjustments to fit detailing, Erol’s does it all. Go out and find an affordable suit and take it to Erol’s for the finishing touches that will help you to stand out. The tailors here can work with any type of fabric, so any piece of clothing can be altered to look amazing.

If you aren’t sure what to bring and what to ditch, check out Polished Personal Style and set up a consultation.

Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at