The Six Outfits that Girls Wear to University

Post-secondary education is supposed to be a time for personal growth and exploration, and there's no greater way to express your individuality than with the clothes you wear. For the first time in your life, you're not constrained by teachers, family expectations, or fairly reasonable dress codes, and if your parents love you enough, you're not constrained by budget. University students can express their creativity as much as they want, and find a totally unique way of presenting themselves to the world.

So, naturally, everyone wears the exact same thing.

If you're a university student yourself, or if you just enjoy crying into your Bachelor of Arts degree at your old Alma Mater on the weekends, you're almost guaranteed to spot girls sporting one of these six possible outfits. Each has been painstakingly illustrated here by yours truly, to help you properly identify:

The White Girl Uniform:

If you live in an area that boasts a large population of the common 20-something white girl, you've seen this outfit before. It comes in many forms, but some elements are always present. For instance, no white girl is complete without a pair of Uggs boots, the only boots that combine the durability of craft foam with the ruggedness of bedroom slippers. Legend has it, they get their name from the sound you make when you inevitably slip on the ice and greet the concrete butt-first. Tights are an equally indispensable part of this ensemble; at some point, these leg coverings evolved from being mere shields to protect the world from the sight of your splotchy, veiny legs, to being full-fledged pant replacements. Of course, a lady does not venture out into the world with crotch on display, so a comically oversized sweater is a must-have for the modern modest girl.

And, of course, what's a white girl uniform without accessories? The most crucial of those is a scarf, but not just any scarf will do. No, this has to be a special, oversized scarf. Beach-towel-sized is acceptable. A scarf large enough to cover a picture window is even better. And if you can find a canvas circus tent cover with an 'authentic, vintage' print, you can wrap it around your neck and get the white girl high score. An iPhone filled with Taylor Swift songs and a pumpkin spice-flavoured coffee beverage are optional, but recommended. Having an unkempt owl's nest pinned to the very top of your head as a bizarre attempt at a hairstyle, however, is mandatory.

The Edgy: Abridged Edition:

Remember high school? When your only real responsibilities were to present a pulse, make half-hearted attempts at your homework, and avoid getting pregnant? If you had the right combination of a rebellious spirit and a shockingly permissive set of parents, high school was the ideal time to let your freak flag fly. It was easy - all you had to do was get up three hours early each day to get all of your face paint, hairpsray, studs, gloves, zippers, piercings and prosthetic horns in place, and make biweekly hair appointments to have your tri-coloured mohawk touched up. Going off to college meant you'd have more freedom - you'd finally be able to have your earlobes stretched until you can train the family dog to jump through them.

But then reality struck. When you've got three quizzes to take, four essays to write, seven midterms to study for, two group projects to lament, one professor to seduce, and three and a half bowls of ramen to devour, there's just no time to maintain that carefully cultivated 'corpse' look you had going on. Before you know it, you're throwing on two coats of eyeliner and running out the door with dishwater-coloured hair each morning, a mere ghost of the ghostly presence you used to be .

The Protector of the Earth:

This girl is so organic, her body wilts every time she walks past a McDonald's. Her biodegradable outfit has more nutritional value than your lunch, and you'd get more dietary fibre from chewing on her dryer lint than you do from your specially-formulated breakfast cereal. Her clothing has all been imbued with the blessings of the ancestors of the fair-trade workers who made it; the only thing that's seeped into your clothing is the dried tears of the eight-year-old Malaysian child slave who made it.

If you want to dress like a Protector of the Earth, the first thing you'll need are pants so large that MC Hammer would ask to have them taken in (how's that for a dated reference?). If the local bourgeoisie shops don't stock such a thing, try to make do with overpriced yoga gear - they're sure to have that. A rolled-up tablecloth worn as a floor-length skirt is just as good. The rest is really up to you. Just make sure that everything you're wearing looks like something that a concert-goer would have worn to a certain infamous music festival your parents are too young to have attended, while simultaneously inducing massive amounts of guilt in everyone who lays eyes on you. Showing a little skin is encouraged; demonstrate to the masses what a quinoa- and organic-chickpea-fed body is supposed to look like.

The Northern Neophyte:

As I previously mentioned, I go to school in Edmonton, Alberta. For those of you who haven't visited Edmonton, the intensity of its winters is rivaled only by that of the hypothetical nuclear ice age that would follow a worldwide atomic apocalypse. Those of you who have visited Edmonton are acutely aware of this, because you're probably still frozen to the ground.

Students who come from parts of Canada that can actually sustain life don't always think to check historical temperature trends before they make the big move to Alberta's capital. We're Canadians! Cold is supposed to be universal up here. What we don't realize is that for some of us, 5 degrees below freezing is enough to draw alarm, while others don't bat an eyelash until the mercury drops below -40C. Newcomers to Edmonton are always easy to spot - they're the ones bundled in every item of clothing they own, peering at the world through the gap between their fourth and fifth scarf and wondering just how in the hell everyone else is getting by with just a hoodie.

The Anatomy Major:

This girl may or may not actually be a biology student, but she's certainly giving everyone a refresher course in anatomy every time she saunters down the hall. The only dress code this girl obeys is the legal parameters for indecent exposure. One good look at her will tell you exactly how many tattoos, bruises and chicken pox scars she has. If this young lady's overexposure to sunlight ever results in the formation of a cancerous mole, random passersby will let her know about it long before she gets around to seeing a dermatologist.

Despite basic instinct and general common sense, this look is frequently worn in all seasons. Even if you live in an Arctic hell-hole that all the world's deities forgot, the only modifications you'll ever see to this outfit are the addition of mittens and a scarf. It's also worth nothing that a Jillian Micheals level of fitness is in no way required to pull this off; so long as you have the core strength and the commitment to suck in your rolling foothills of stomach flesh all day, you're all set to venture out in public. Overall, this is the perfect look for women with especially hardy torsos.

The Complete, Total Despair:

When your weekly homework can comfortably fill a standard-sized dumpster, there's no time to be wasted on appearance. This girl has more important things to do than bathe. You probably don't want to know when the last time she did a load of laundry was, either, and you're almost certainly better off not knowing how long its been since she's changed her underwear. Instead of spending endless hours fussing over her makeup and curling her hair, all this girl has to do is shake most of the obvious body lice out of her sweatshirt and get back to studying.

This look isn't something that a subset of the female student body consciously aspires to; rather, this is something that every student will eventually be reduced to, regardless of how pretty she was in high school. Students rocking this outfit are practically non-existent in the first days of school, but by the time midterms are in full swing, every other girl will be proudly displaying some variation of this. At the end of the term, when finals are fast approaching, the student body will be virtually indistinguishable from a homelessness convention. Don't fight it, female students - total despair is as inevitable as it is repulsive.

Do you recognize your own personal style here? What other kinds of outfits have you seen on college campuses? Let me know in the comments!

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