With the start of each new semester there comes brand new looks. The million-dollar question is: do you find your wardrobe lacking?

Quality, not quantity, should be the emphasis for a well-built college wardrobe. Pieces should be versatile and dependable without sacrificing personal style or taking up too much room in a limited closet space. I have gathered four items that I consider the “holy grail” wardrobe must-haves, pieces that will do the fashion work for you so that you can focus on having the time of your life in college. These pieces are also particularly useful for UTSA’s campuses.

All of the shops mentioned are at The Shops at La Cantera, right across the street from campus.

Sunglasses

In San Antonio, it stays bright and sunny well into autumn, and the summer months can be blinding. Sunglasses are an absolute necessity for both your wardrobe and personal health, as they protect your eyes from harmful rays. They are so much more than just an accessory.

Shades in bright hues add a pop of color to an outfit, while silver or gold frames give a laid-back vibe. For the most flattering look, it helps to try the frames on before committing. Order online only if you know you can rock them or if you’re okay with making a return.

Places like Forever 21 and H&M have inexpensive frames in many styles, good for those who enjoy having a variety of options from which they can choose from. Check Sunglass Hut for designer brands if you’re willing to make a splurge.

Statement Sneakers

UTSA is a campus where walking is unavoidable; whether you’re trekking across parking lots or navigating between buildings, you’ll need footwear that is up to the task. A pair of good sneakers will make your walks much more bearable.

Sneakers are fantastic for letting your personality shine through because there are so many brands, colors, and styles to choose from. Some websites even let you customize your own pair with your unique requests. Add a sporty vibe to any outfit with your pair: match them with jeans and a t-shirt for casual days, or with a dressier piece for a contrast that will help you stand out. My favorite is combining bold sneakers with a classic button-down shirt.

There are many shoe stores to choose from at La Cantera. Visit Journeys or the Vans Outlet for Vans, Converse, and other casual styles. Finish Line has more athletic shoes from brands like Nike and Adidas.

Party Dress

With college life comes college parties. Work hard, and you can play hard. And, of course, you’ll want to look your absolute best while doing just that. A party dress is an essential piece to have in your wardrobe, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be little and black.

The perfect dress is often hard to find: it should give you confidence like no other, flatter your figure, and help you stand out in a packed party. If you find this dress, do not be afraid to buy it. Pieces like this are rare and can last for a very long time, if tended with care. Change it up with shoes and accessories for different vibes so you can wear it for many occasions. Think of it as an investment!

There are also many places at La Cantera to potentially find your perfect dress. Spend a day trying on dresses and find what really suits your body and personality. Remember that different stores have different specialties. Try department stores for dressier frocks or Zara for something that can take you from a professional setting to a party.

Crossbody Bag

Huge purses are so high school. For running around campus and going out with friends in the evening, a small, easily transportable bag is the way to go. How much stuff do you really need to take with you to class? Leave the bulky bags for carrying notebooks and texts and streamline your personal belongings.

Crossbody bags are easy to take from day to night, are dressier than a big purse, and will save space in your closet. Get one in your favorite color or a subtle neutral shade and this bag will be a piece you’ll use for semesters to come.

Check Macy’s and Nordstrom’s for designer brands, Urban Outfitters for less expensive options, or Vera Bradley, a preppy brand that is popular around campus.

These are the four pieces that I have found essential when planning my personal looks and navigating the campus. Are there any other pieces that you consider essential to your wardrobe? Is there anything in particular that benefits your fashion at UTSA? Let us know by emailing web@paisano-online.com.

-Sonia

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