You know the stereotype: College students only wear sweatpants and hoodies. While there’s nothing wrong with a comfy day or two, you can still look your best while you go through your degree program. Whether you’re doing biomedical research to get a medical degree or are studying politics and their impact on the American public, you can still show off your style when you’re on campus.

Combine Form and Function

From medical programs to pharmacy courses, you want to prioritize clothes that work both in and out of the classroom. While it’s easy to prioritize comfort wear, try to switch up your wardrobe. Choose materials and fabrics that are breathable. Skinny jeans and tees, while simple, are great options for hopping between classes.

One of the good things about the skinny jeans and tees combo is that you can always class it up with jackets, blazers, and layers. Depending on the sleeve length, you can even cuff your tees to switch up your look. If you’re wearing a skirt to class, focus on how it sits on your waist and keep an eye on the length. Not every skirt is necessarily school-appropriate.

Knowing what to wear also means knowing what not to wear. For instance, you can absolutely wear a dress to class if it’s a sundress or maxi dress. A flared dress or cocktail dress, on the other hand, won’t look quite as professional in an academic setting. You also need to know how to dress for your body so you feel comfortable during all of your courses.

Pregnant women and petite women, for instance, have different style needs than other women. If you’re a petite size or a pregnant woman, you need to choose form-fitting outfits that still give you room to move. Petite dresses for women, such as petite maxi dresses, are a great fashion choice. A pregnant woman, on the other hand, should choose outfits that incorporate stretch fabric.

Know Where to Shop

College students are often strapped for cash. That means you may need to take some novel approaches when you’re shopping. There are a few things to keep in mind: free shipping, free returns, and discounts. Look for additional information on each store to learn about return policies and potential discounts.

Some stores offer a text message program that will occasionally send discounts in exchange for your mobile number. Some discount programs require additional information like your email address. If you’re struggling to find retailers that match your budget, it may be time to turn to the discount stores.

Discount shopping and thrift shopping are a great way to snatch some fabulous styles on a budget. Always try before you buy, however, because discount stores frequently don’t offer free returns and some sales are final. If you’re looking for specific styles and sizes like petite dresses or tees with a non-traditional sleeve length, understand that you may have limited options at a discount store.

It’s easy to adopt a “take what you can get” mindset. That doesn’t mean that you should settle for ill-fitting or poorly-made clothing just because you’re on a budget. For instance, if you wear a petite size but are struggling to find the right fit at a discount store, don’t buy something loose and baggy just because you feel like you have to. At the end of the day, you need to feel good about what you’re wearing. Clothing that doesn’t work with your body will only make you feel self-conscious and distract you both in and out of the classroom.

Whether you’re getting clinical experience for a medical degree or are studying congressional appropriation in a poli-sci course, fashion doesn’t have to go out the window. There are ways to dress to look your best, even in academia.