Nikki’s Inbox: “How Do I Maintain My Girly Style in College?”

I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now and I love all of the helpful advice you give to everyone, so I decided maybe I would muster up the courage to ask my own.

I’m a 5’1, petite girl with my weight concentrated around my legs and stomach, and I have slightly broad shoulders. My hair is about down to my neck, and kind of unruly. My style tends to be very girly, as I wear a lot of pleated skirts, over the knee socks, layering, etc. However, as I am heading to university soon, I’m worried that I will be seen as childish and won’t be taken seriously by professors or potential bosses. How can I revamp my style to become more mature looking, yet also keep my old girly charm? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you so much!

Cynthia, 17/USA

Thank you for being a loyal reader of Ask Nikki, Cynthia! I hope you’re excited about going to university because it’s a whole new experience. So I can understand why you want to be taken seriously, especially when it comes to your personal style.

The thing is you don’t need to totally overhaul your wardrobe (although new school means new clothes most of the time) as long as you have a few key pieces. What’s really important though, is an attitude adjustment. You definitely need more confidence, and should be willing to try new looks.

Upgraded Pleated Skirts and Skorts

Pleated skirts are the main element in the girly style you love, darling, and yes, it’s still something you can wear in college. You just need to update it by way of length, as well as colors, patterns and other details. For example, instead of a shorter, mid-thigh cut, go for one above the knee. It still flatters your petite figure and looks youthful. Look into simple A-line skirts as well, which are a favorite of mine, because they’re so easy to mix and match with anything! Details like an inset belt, grommets or sashes add a fresh twist to your favorite skirt.

With skorts, you don’t even have to worry about having to wear boyshorts or undershorts because there’s already one. Today’s skorts look just as cute as skirts and even come in various styles like wrap-style, dip-back or asymmetric hemlines. They definitely look cute with a striped sailor top and white sneakers, or just plain slip-ons for lazy days.

Dressed in a Sec: Jumper Dresses and Mock Two-Pieces

There are days when you’ll probably wake up with only 10 minutes before your first class. What’s a girl to do? With jumper dresses, all you need to find is a base layer — which can be a plain T-shirt, tank top or sweater. If you have more time, you can opt for a more preppy vibe like a button-down or a cute floral blouse to go with it. As long as your jumper dress doesn’t look like an OshKosh overall, you should be able to wear it well.

Mock two-piece dresses are also life-savers because you don’t have to worry about coordinating! Just pull on a denim jacket or a cardigan for windy days or when you’re stuck in chilly study halls all day. It’s also easy to dress up or down just with the right outerwear — like the cardi/jacket suggestion — plus accessories or shoes like ballerina flats, ankle boots, low pumps or creepers, depending on your mood or the occasion.

Expand Your Toppers

If you’re used to simply wearing a cute blouse or cartoon-print T-shirt with your pleated skirts, time to level those up too! Go for a more tailored look with shirts and blouses that have darts and princess seams. That way, they don’t just hang loosely on your frame, Cynthia. Plus they look good when tucked inside skirts, shorts or jeans, and perfect for rocking a preppy style with loafers and a boyish blazer.

Instead of going for cutesy animal designs or snarky graphic tees, simple tops with details can really up the feminine factor in your outfit. Flutter sleeves, tonal lace trim on the neckline, contrast trimming, lace-up plackets — all these draw the eye and make a meaningful first impression.

Do Up Your ‘Do

I’m not much of a hair care expert, darling, but I use a lot of hair serums myself to tame my dry, slightly wavy hair and that helps a lot. You can also use eye-catching hair accessories like hair bands, pins and hair elastics to keep your hair looking sleek and styled. In a pinch, a cap can help hide a bad hair day, too!

Kao Essential CC Oil image from Watsons Hong Kong

Don’t forget that accessories can showcase your youthfulness! Lectures are made more fun with some quirky cases and stationery. Meanwhile, fishnet socks with bows at the back look oh-so-pretty with red ballet flats because socks are where it’s at right now! Finish with off-kilter brooches for your jacket or bag.

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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