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Oct 23 2016
by Mia Renee Cole

7 Ways to Dress Up Your Sweatpants

By Mia Renee Cole - Oct 23 2016

There are many great things about college, but the one that probably feels the best is the fact that we're no longer expected to look nice for class. High school halls felt like runways from Hell - if you didn't make it in the fashion scene, you didn't make it socially. Now, all of us (whether fashion conscious in high school or not) enjoy dressing down for class and consider "dressing up" as a pair of jeans with a belt. 

Though we're all enjoying class in the comfiest way possible, for those of us who want to be more fashion conscious in our dressing, we are faced with a hardship: how do we look cute and stay comfy?

1. Pick the right top.

There's some old-school fashion rule about the type of top you fit with the type of bottoms you wear. This is exemplified here. Since you're going to be wearing baggy sweatpants, you don't want to be wearing a baggy top either. A nice, fitted t-shirt could easily do the trick. 

2. Play up the sweatpants.

Believe it or not, there are different styles of sweatpants, some of which don't even look like sweatpants. Use this to your advantage. Joggers, for instance, are all the rage right now and aren't as baggy as traditional sweatpants. They can easily be paired with a top and/or accessories to look cute. Check out Forever 21's selection of different affordable and attractive styles of sweats.

3. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.

Accessories can make any dull outfit shine. On the cooler days, pick a stylish scarf. On the warmer days, ditch the scarf and go with a cute statement necklace or choker that will bring attention to your neck. It's the simple things that can make all the difference.

4. Use color.

Traditional sweatpants tend to lack any color, and this is okay! Grey or black sweats can work as a great neutral for a pop of color somewhere else. Whether your choose to wear a patterned top, bright kicks or a floral scarf, these items will actually "pop" out from the rest of your outfit, drawing attention away from the sweatpants. This way people will see your bright, fun accessories and focus less on the sweats.

5. Don't forget the hair.

Hair matters - it truly, truly matters. If you want a more chic look, try wearing your hair down in the most natural way possible (for effortless waves, wash your hair the night before and braid it back before the morning). If you want more of an athletic/lazy day look, a messy top knot/ponytail will do the trick (tip: tease the roots of your hair and the hair you wrap into a bun for a more voluminous, styled look). 

6. Makeup also matters.

Makeup is definitely not a requirement for class and, considering the time it can take to do some looks, I definitely don't blame those who choose to go to class au naturale. If you want to dress up your sweatpants look though, without necessarily going all-out with the accessories and hair, you can choose to do a bolder makeup look. Something like a simple winged eyeliner can do the trick. Makeup dresses up any outfit, even sweatpants.

7. Own it.

Never be ashamed of what you wear, how you wear it or where you wear it. Regardless of how you feel or how you look (or how you feel you look), walking around campus with an air of confidence will make you look (and feel) ten times better. People everywhere will be asking, "how do they make sweatpants look so damn good?" 

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Mia Renee Cole - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mia Renee is currently the Senior Editor with Fresh U and a student at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is studying Spanish and French. In her free time she enjoys knitting, photography and drinking hot tea while writing on her personal blog. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @miareneecole or her blog at!

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