Shopping & Style

Ask A Charlotte Expert: Tips For College Style Essentials

August 27, 2013 8:00 AM

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File photo of wedding shoes and flowers. (Photo Credit:

File photo of wedding shoes and flowers. (Photo Credit:

College is the time to develop your individual style as a world of opportunities open up for you. However, the pursuit of style shouldn’t interfere with the pursuit of an education. Being both stylish and studious is the secret of success. Professional stylist Catherine Horgan has some tips to help you find your personal, but practical look on the college scene.

Catherine Horgan
Closet of Style
(704) 408-0055

A self-proclaimed style guru and visual provocateur, Catherine Horgan has been a professional stylist for 15 years. She calls upon her unique blend of skill, aptitude and intuitiveness to create signature looks for her clients. Catherine writes for many popular magazines and blogs, and styles TV and photo shoots, including a recent issue of People magazine featuring Chris Daughtry and his family. She has been featured on “Charlotte Today,” “Fox News Rising” and “The Cooper Lawrence Show,” and is a member of the Association of Image Consultants International where she serves as treasurer for the Atlanta chapter. As the editor in chief of the blog [my] style files, Catherine attends New York Fashion Week and numerous other fashion events each year and is a trusted voice on new products and trends in hair, makeup, skin care and fashion. Her list of fashion tips is aimed at young women headed for college.

Tip 1: Wear Comfortable, Yet Stylish Shoes

Heels are impractical on campus, but Catherine says there’s no reason to sacrifice style for the sake of comfort. “Lean on a great pair of high-top sneakers, even the ones with a built-in wedge, for an easy look that goes from sporty to boho to biker chic. Or, consider a mini to mid-calf-length flat bootie that literally goes with everything.”

Related: Best Boutiques in Charlotte

Tip 2: Dress in Layers

Fall semester is a time of changing weather conditions. The weather switches from hot to cold, while inside classrooms range from frigid to sweltering. Catherine says, “Be prepared by packing a few extra layers in your backpack (cardigan, sweatshirt, scarf). You’ll be certain to handle any situation with finesse.” Catherine’s blog suggests topping your skinny jeans or biker pants with a tank top or tee layered under a sweater; then throwing on a stylish leather motorcycle jacket, maybe in bright red, when the weather turns cooler.

Tip 3: Keep Accessories Simple 

Catherine suggests avoiding bangle bracelets and other dangling accessories that can interfere with taking notes and carrying book bags. “Simplify with a leather wrap bracelet or a pocket square tied around your wrist. It allows for a touch of creativity without getting in the way. And forget heavy necklaces that wear out their welcome after just 30 minutes. Skip the necklace altogether (or keep it dainty) and go for the big hoop earrings. And don’t forget poppin’ nail color — that’s where you can truly express yourself!”

Related: Best Vintage Clothing Shops in Charlotte

Tip 4: Bag It

Big, strappy bags are the style for fall and Catherine points out that how you carry your belongings can make all the difference in being organized, comfortable and stylish. “Stick with a cross-body bag, which provides a hands-free approach to your campus escapades,” she suggests. “Added pockets make convenient spots to store all your little extras.” Neutral colors are popular now, or opt for a bold color such as blush, blue, boysenberry,= or watermelon to make a fashion statement.

Tip 5: Remember Beauty Is Not a Beast

You don’t have to give up beauty to meet your college schedule. Catherine suggests paring down your makeup routine for college class days. “A few staples that you can apply in five minutes or less will take you through the day beautifully. Mascara, lip gloss and tinted moisturizer with SPF. That’s it. You will look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed even if you’re not.”


With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at

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