Our internet friend Katie writes:
First, I love your blog. You’re alway so superfantastic it makes me squeal in a totally non-fangirlish sort of way.
Unfortunately, I need your help.
I’m a big girl who’s a first-year college student at a school in New York, and it’s a fifteen-minute to half-hour walk from the residence halls to the academic side of campus, depending where on the academic side you’re going. The library is closer, but the computer science buildings and such are on the far end of campus. Much of the walk there is on a brick walkway, and people walking on foot have to contend with people on rollerblades, bikes, and skateboards, though there will be fewer of them once it starts to snow.
But! This is my problem! I don’t want to be like the other girls on campus, content to wear frumpy sweatpants or old jeans and t-shirts, and I refuse to touch flip-flops. See, my school has a 70/30 male/female ratio, so most of the girls on campus know they don’t have to be superfantastic for male attention, and don’t want to be superfantastic for themselves.
(And no, I don’t want to be superfantastic for male attention either, I’d much rather attract female attention. I’d also like to avoid getting hit on by said males whenever possible, but that’s not an option.)
So I need clothes, dear Francesca. Clothes that can stand up to bitter New York winters. Shoes that can survive walking through a foot of snow to get to class, and heels that won’t get caught between bricks and lead to a broken ankle. Layers, so that I can be comfortable in the freezing outdoors and the chilly library; the far too warm third-floor physics department and my sweltering sixth-floor dorm room. Clothes that make me look superfantastic without looking like I’m desperate for male attention, because the most persistent here insist they’re a “cure” for lesbianism and the shyer ones just stare at my chest.
I’m right on the line between average and petite, wear a size 24 pant and a larger top (between 24 and 30 depending on cut and stretchiness of material). I’m very large-chested and can’t wear tops with thin straps or lacy shoulders because I hate showing my bra straps. I don’t mind denim, but I love soft fabrics. And I’m a poor college student paying over thirty thousand a year for school.
Can you help me?
Francesca says: Katie, the fashion gods have heard your cry, and created a store just for you: Avenue.com, which has lots of clothes good for layering, at reasonable prices, and with a look that is both attractive and cozy-comfy for the hard-working, fashion-conscious college girl who wishes to look feminine but unpretentious. Up to Size 32, just for Katie!
Francesca recommends the “Shop by Outfit” option for ideas of what to wear during the cold Northeast winters. Katie will enjoy the outfits under “Weekend Wear,” such as this layered look comprised of cotton bootcut jeans, a tank top, thermal hoodie, and quilted vest (dress up with a pretty necklace and earrings to bring the femininity factor up a notch):
and in the “Wear to Work” section is this very pretty and chic ensemble, sure to drive the college boys crazy in Katie’s unattainability, and turn the heads of not a few girls, too:
The outfit is comprised of machine-washable pants, a “floaty, flirty” blouse, and that adorable red quilted peacoat, which Francesca covets.
Now, for shoes. Francesca is familiar with the ill-paved cobblestone pathways, and sympathizes with the need for stylish shoes and boots which will keep one warm and not get caught in those stubborn cracks or break the bank.For days when it is very cold but not raining or snowing, Francesca recommends the Ariane by Bastien, which claim to be waterproof but Francesca never believes these things about suede:
For days of snow or rain, there is the Claire, also by Bastien (in black or dark brown) — or browse the “boots” category on this blog for Plumcake’s many suggestions for wide-calf boots.
Before it gets that cold, Katie could wear the Kira 40 by Rieker (in black or chestnut) which covers the whole foot, making the chemistry lab assistant happy, has wide heels for maneuvering the cobblestones, and are made of leather for the comfort while standing around mixing chemicals and telling off the obnoxious boys. It is a handsome shoe, rather than pretty, but is functional for Katie’s many logistical needs, and is certainly many steps up from sneakers and flip-flops:
Happy shopping and happy studying! Please let us know how your new wardrobe works out!