The style transition from high school to college is not a simple one as many factors come into play from majors to disposable income. It’s important to display proper personal grooming as well as clothing that reflects a serious college professional ready to take on the professional world. Of course, what fashion majors and what business majors are expected to wear to class each day differ drastically. Victor Uphaus, a fashion professional and professor at Miami International University of Art & Design, explains how to dress to convey the right message while staying within budget.

Victor Uphaus
Miami International University of Art & Design
1501 Biscayne Blvd. Suite 100
Miami, FL 33132
(305) 428-5700

Victor Uphaus is a professor at Miami International University of Art & Design in Downtown Miami. He currently teaches Management 1, Management 2 and Retail Marketing to fashion majors as well as Success Seminar – a mandatory course for all entry-level college students, making him a fitting consultant for college style. Uphaus also has an extensive fashion background outside of his professorship. He has over 20 years of store management experience at such firms as Gap and Brooks Brothers.

(Credit: AP)

Stick to the classics. Classics, besides looking great, are an important way to build a solid wardrobe base. This is a great way to maximize spending money by simply adding to the wardrobe each year rather than wasting money on replacing trendier items. Even classic items may be translated for a bit of personal appeal with special details for looks of interest but that will still keep the pieces from becoming looks for only the moment. Classic pieces should be purchased from retailers with reputations for quality in keeping with longevity.


Seek quality.

Quality items are incredibly important. Pieces lacking in quality will ruin the overall look no matter how well it is put together. To add, a lack of quality wastes money on pieces that will quickly be in need of replacement. There are many brands that now offer value prices as well as quality items, making them perfect for the college student’s budget.


For students with creative majors…Invest in key pieces for the season and do your own research on trends and looks. Avoid pieces that you’ll only wear one time. Try to buy things you can mix up a little with pieces you already own and that can provide you different looks. Build a wardrobe and avoid those impulse purchases.

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For students with more conservative majors…

Invest in a good quality suit or business dress and make sure it’s tailored and fits properly. Stick to business colors such as navy, grey and black and build from there. This will help you secure a job because how you dress sends a message of who you are and companies are very selective of who they choose to represent them. Many recruiters and hiring managers will judge on first impressions. Try to dress like the brand you want to work for, you’ll need to come across to them as if you are already part of the team.


The details. Invest in quality shoes and handbags by always choosing quality over quantity. It is best to have pieces that will last a long time rather than a lot of pieces that will be thrown away months later. Grooming is also extremely important because it’s not only clothing that communicates who you are. Successful companies and professionals want to be around other successful people and they will judge you by your dress, appearance and personality. Book smarts alone will not get you where you want to be – it is the total package that will.

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Chanoa Chen is a well-published blogger and online journalist on topics ranging from luxury lifestyle living to fashion shows and trends. A self-proclaimed Miami Beach fashion expert, she is also working on launching her first jewelry line, Boki Love. Her work can be found at