Saturday, September 8, 2012

Freshman Faux Pas

          Fall is in the air (okay, not really, but just go with it) and that means one thing: school is about to start! While here in New York City we have yet to feel any sort of a fall breeze, students have certainly descended upon the city, quite visibly in their Jeffrey Campbell Litas for Fashions Night Out. For many freshman, it is their first time living away from home, and that means many new experiences to be had. Since freshman year was actually not all that long ago for me, yet seems like moons and moons ago, I feel only semi-qualified to dispense advice, but here it goes – my top tips for college freshman.

Crystal Renn in French Vogue
However, a similar feeding frenzy may be seen in the wee hours of weekend nights at colleges across America. 
Eat (and Drink) Healthy – If there is one thing you can do freshman year in college, it is to eat healthy. While your metabolism can probably still handle overly-doughy pizza and daily bacon cheeseburgers in the cafeteria, you will be setting yourself up for failure in the long run. Choose the salad, sushi, and hot meal stations instead of the quick, junky fixes. Drink water instead of soda. ALWAYS eat breakfast – keep instant steel cut oatmeal, Think Thin bars, Kind Bars (the new low sugar ginger or dark chocolate pecan are my personal faves) and eggs/egg whites (if you have a microwave) on hand in your dorm room. When you have 8:00am classes, breakfast is always a good idea, and will get your brain working far faster. Snacks like nuts, jerky, hummus, nut butters, fruits, veggies, and whole-grain organic snacks are great to keep in your fridge, and make a great late-night alternative to that greasy pizza that everyone seems to end up devouring by the pie. For nights out, obviously avoiding alcohol is the best way to skip the calories, but if you want a drink, mix unflavored (most flavors = 89378729829 grams of sugar) liquors (vodka, rum) mixed with plain soda water or if you have to, diet soda. There are even stevia-sweetened cocktail mixers sold all over the place now. Those Skinny Girl drinks? Not much skinnier, so don't be fooled - they have approximately the same calories per gram as regular alcohol, so don't start drinking them under the impression that they are guilt-free. Wine is also a good choice, but keep in mind that the sugar content may give you quite the hangover the next day.  Even a light beer is not too bad if you can stick to just one or two. The worst possible offender is that mysterious “jungle juice” that you will see in abundance in red Gatorade coolers at parties for the next four years. A mixture of Sprite, red Kool-Aid, vodka, rum, beer, and tequila doesn’t sound delicious, it sounds like a horrible hangover.

College-aged male favorite, the beloved Kate Upton, looks far sexier in this understated suit than in her typical overly-sexed up garb (although the aforementioned male population may beg to differ).
Pick One Tight Item of Clothing to Wear at a Time – College is often the first time you can wear something, well, basically almost nothing, without your parents telling you to immediately change into grandma’s floor-length night gown for a bit more modesty. But that doesn’t mean you should go all out – wearing uber-short, skin-tight, strapless dresses for nights at the local dive-bar. While it may seem like the only way to catch males attention, the truth is that they actually see far too many girls dressed a la Kardashian, and although my theory is not confirmed by straight males (yet), I think a girl showing a hint of leg or a flash of collar bone may actually be far more appealing and mysterious. While American Apparel may be kept in business by the girls who buy backless, just-below-the-butt mini dresses; you don’t have to be one of them. Show off one feature at a time  - perhaps it is your toned legs, your fabulous cleavage, or your muscular arms – and you’ll be far more intriguing than those who have it all on display. A perfect pairing is a curve-hugging mini with a looser blouse tucked in, paired with fabulous heels and of course, an empowered attitude.
Even if you are fortunate enough to own these frou-frou meets space age Alexander Wangs, please, please, please don't ever wear them to a grungy bar.  
Invest in “Bar Shoes” – Leave the Christian Louboutins (although I hope to god that at 18 you don’t yet own a pair) or any shoes you care about at home where they are safe from the evils of the dive bar scene. Freshman year is often the first time people have ever had a drink, which, in a few words, means lots and lots of spills. Expect your shoes to get trashed (hopefully, you won’t also be trashed).  Find a pair of comfortable, simple heels that you don’t mind getting a little dirty and are easy to clean. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have seen girls walking through the city barefoot (!!) because their feet hurt. Also, here is a novel idea: rock flats or sneakers. We are seeing loafers and platform sneakers everywhere now, and they look just as fashionable with skinny jeans as do those ankle-spraining spike stilettos. Plus, you’ll ACTUALLY be able to dance.
You don't actually HAVE to sleep in your makeup to get this look - smudge your fresh liner with a q-tip instead and spare your skin.
Always Wash your Face – Please, please, please. If there is one beauty lesson I try to bestow upon each and every person I know, it is to religiously take your makeup off before you fall asleep. Heck, I can’t even take a short nap in mascara.  I don’t think there is anything more disturbing than foundation and black mascara on a formerly clean pillowcase. While there is some sex appeal involved in second-day liner, the pimples are irreversible, so get that same look by smudging your fresh eye pencil instead. I religiously remove my makeup, and actually take pleasure in the routine. My favorite remover of all time is Kryolan’s Abschmike (yes, I have no idea what that means in German either). It is basically a tub of grease that gets absolutely everything (and I mean everything) off, and doesn’t irritate eyes. I actually bought it because I once saw a backstage shot of Pat McGrath’s kit and this was in the picture, so I was intrigued. The 11 oz. tub has lasted me the past five years, so it is basically dirt cheap per use. If you prefer non-greasy removers, Lancome and Vichy both make excellent ones that won’t sting eyes. If you often find yourself too exhausted, keep a pack of makeup wipes, like my favorites, Comodynes, or even baby wipes by your bed, and a cheap bottle of moisturizer, like Cetaphil, to slather on afterwards. Your skin (and pillowcase) will thank you the next day.
Typography by Matt Lyon 
Enjoy It – Freshman year was the best year I had in college. It was so easy to meet people – all you had to do to strike up a conversation was, “what dorm do you live in?” – and there was a real sense of community among classmates. It is also a time of self-discovery, where you can take a broad range of classes to find out what really interests you. Perhaps you never would have known you had an interest in Byzantine Art or the philosophy of Aristotle had you not taken a random course – a chance course could be the key to finding your destiny, as lame as that sounds. Meet as many different types of people as you can, and do as many out-of-the-box activities as possible, too. It’s a time for learning, not just in classes, but also about the world itself. 

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