The ins and outs of college apparel


INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS ARE great for taking conventional items, such as jeans from @madebymayor, and adding a fun college twist.

Nicole Fuches, Reporter

Incorporating college gear into one’s wardrobe is not uncommon, so how can we find items that show our unique style? Fortunately, there are many platforms to find apparel that not only show school spirit, but offer a variety of style choices. 

Etsy: diverse and crafty, but practical

What is great about buying college apparel, or any apparel, from Etsy is its dependable reputation. Not only do shoppers support individual artists, but they purchase items that are one of a kind. Most of the items are likely to be owned by someone else, so purchasing them means that it is unlikely for someone else to be wearing the same thing. 

Not all the featured colleges are big name schools that everyone knows. In fact, some colleges may be unfamiliar to those who do not live near it. This is very reassuring because it means many people, not just students who attend world renowned universities or major state schools, have a chance at finding the gear they need.

The styles the site displays also honor diversity. Unlike Instagram accounts, whose apparel tends to focus on one or two types of clothing, Etsy has it all. Sweatpants, crop tops, crewnecks, cropped sweaters, t-shirts, v-necks, halter tops, sunglasses, jerseys and backpacks are all accessible through this one platform, making it easier for shoppers to find what they need.

DEPENDABLE PRODUCTS SUCH as this Duke sweatshirt are easy to find on Etsy, which features a strong variety of apparel for various universities.

That said, the types of clothing shown are not surprising. Instead, they are what many students expect from an apparel site. Although there is nothing wrong with providing what is expected, it can appear lackluster in comparison to some popular Instagram accounts. 

Instagram: unexpected and cute, but limited

Popular Instagram accounts, such as @bygabby_ or @madebymayor, do the unexpected when it comes to college gear. 

For example, @bygabby_ takes typical items, such as v-necks, halter tops or t-shirts, and puts her own twist on them. The v-necks are cropped with criss-cross stitching, some halter tops are shaped like bandanas and a few t-shirts incorporate logos from bands to complement the college designs. Though atypical, the bold decisions pay off to form a light, carefree style that is perfect for the upcoming summer. 

THIS CRISS-CROSS V-NECK from @bygabby_ represents the creative types of college fashion that can be found by shopping through Instagram accounts.

On the other hand, @madebymayor not only adds a personal touch to typical items, she decorates them in an unordinary way. Some of her t-shirts have fringe and her jerseys have chokers, which unexpectedly turn into well-balanced combinations.

However, this account also decorates important items that tend to be taken for granted in apparel shopping—skinny jeans and jean jackets—and the payoff is huge. By ironing on college logos, these jeans highlight the effectiveness of simplicity while taking risks. 

Even though it is beneficial to have these Instagram accounts taking on a unique angle, they are not the most inclusive. For one thing, they tend to provide options that are best suited for warmer seasons, making it difficult for students in colder climates to find items year round. 

Additionally, not only is it almost impossible to find accounts for guys, the featured girls tend to represent a limited size range. Therefore, it would be difficult for all students, proud relatives or younger siblings to find something for themselves. 

Student Stores: inclusive and high quality, but too common

It’s hard to go wrong with shopping directly at a campus’ student store. There, shoppers can find a large variety of styles suitable for all seasons, body types and genders, while also accessing spirit items that are not clothes such as bumper stickers or lawn chairs. 

Plus, they still provide room for the unexpected. For example, the University of California, San Diego offers unconventional, neon pink windbreakers while the University of California, Los Angeles provides a number of tie-dyed t-shirts.

Since student stores tend to carry products manufactured by large companies, there is also more of a guarantee that the items will be of higher quality. This means that returning or exchanging items may be easier because they pack the necessary paperwork with their deliveries as a precaution.

Despite these conveniences, student stores tend to focus less on individuality. Since they are run similarly to a large company, adding iron-on logos of other personal preferences,is not an option. 

Another fact to consider is that since they receive more business, it is less likely for a buyer to have an item uniquely to themself, so if being the only one who wears something is a priority, it is better to not shop this mainstream.