Discover Studying Abroad

Student Fashion: Looking the Part

Dressing smartly can be a key to success: it boosts self-confidence and can do wonders in garnering respect from the people who surround you.
Photo by Miguel Garces (Flickr) 

New York - South Asian students are increasingly preparing to expand their horizons and explore endless possibilities in campuses across the world. But are they ready for the next step in their growing up phase? Finding a new sense of style to meet the expectations they may have for their university career and future beyond - is an often missed step on the upward-bound ladder. 

The revered American author Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man.” How we dress reflects who we are. Clothes play a large role in determining whether one is to be taken seriously and treated accordingly. Presentations, interviews and other formal occasions may require business attire. Alongside this there is value in  the notion that to every future profession, there is a look. Classic colours and clothes are fit for those preparing for a path into a classical career: architecture, teaching, business; lawyers prefer to be suited up. And Fashion students must also remember to maintain their own, self-styled eclectic look in order to stand out. 

Asian students are leaving a climate much different to that which they are moving to when they go study abroad. A little extra cash to dress the part may be in order. Heavy winter wear and closed toe shoes may be required. Desi juttis (Indian leather shoes) won't work for pounding the stone cold and hardened streets of London or New York City. Slightly more conservative clothing may be required at Middle Eastern educational institutions.

It's all a practical consideration.

There are certain unspoken guidelines when it comes to dressing for college. Wearing pajamas, T-shirts with offensive graphics, flip-flops and athletic gear to class is discouraged and frowned upon…

My advice: owning at least one collared shirt in a neutral color (white or grey is always good) and a business suit (stick with the charcoal grey or black colour), is a must for men. Invest in a tie or two, a black belt, and a pair of formal shoes. Always keep a blazer and a pair of khaki trousers in the wardrobe. For women, a pencil skirt and a smart set of trousers are a must-own for those preparing to enter the post-university job interview phase. Clean, sharp classic cardigans and a white shirt are useful to have too. Hosiery; tights or stockings are practically a must in most countries. a requirement - for braving the elements alone, if not so much for the look. 

Dressing smartly can be a key to success: it boosts self-confidence and can do wonders in garnering respect from the people who surround you. 

Of course dressing on a day to day basis in university is a very individual preference. In the U.S., there is a penchance toward wearing pyjamas and t-shirts along with dirty flip-flops to class. In large cities, and around much of the world, this won't work. If in doubt, keep to a clean, classic look - a pair of khakis along with a simple button down shirt in plain colours is always a no-frills, smart look for just about any occasion. Avoid the torn clothes, and hoodie-sweatshirts - you'll feel better about yourself too. 

It's not to say an individual can't have a sense of style, but it is to say dress how you want to be perceived by others. and boost your own confidence.

Attending college abroad is an expensive business, no doubt, but dressing well might just find you heading into the path you'd like to be on in terms of the impression you give of yourself to your professors and peers. More importantly, it lays a foundation for ease of picking up an outfit and dressing smartly before heading out to work in later years - there will be no time for fretting and worrying about what you are wearing then. 

Aside from all of this, looking the part can be fun! 



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