It's just a fact that packing for college is intimidating. It doesn't seem horrible until you really get into it and start to realize just how much you need to bring with you, and then it kind of feels like you're drowning (no big deal). And sure, the room decor and school supplies are a huge obstacle in themselves, but the clothes and accessories you need to bring along almost rival them. There are so many different clothes you need to pack that it becomes easy to forget certain items you'll end up really needing at some point in the semester. One type of clothing you need a few different versions of that might slip your mind? Dresses. After likely spending your high school years wearing variations of jeans and T-shirts, it's understandable that you might forget about the dresses you'll need for your days at university.
While you might still go to classes in your comfy clothes, lots of situations are going to pop up where something more stylish is going to be necessary. Why run to the mall to spend money on something you have hanging in your closet back at home? You definitely shouldn't bring every piece of clothing you've ever purchased, because you'll never have enough room, but the good thing about dresses is that they're easy to pack. They don't take up too much space and they're really light. You'll thank yourself later on when you're getting changed in your dorm room, searching for the perfect outfit for something very specific. Don't forget to add these dresses to your college packing list!
1. A Casual Sundress
Floral Print Crisscross Dress, $15.90, Forever 21
Plus Size Drawstring Dress, $15.90, Forever 21
Unless you're headed off to a college in area that is always cold, a breezy sundress is necessary, especially for the weather in August and September. Sundresses are more versatile than you think, and will be your go-to for so many different situations. In warmer weather, just add sandals and you're good to go. As it gets chillier, you can add layers to this for a cute fall outfit, like boots and a cardigan. You could even make this winter appropriate with tights and a turtleneck. And at just over $15, you really can't go wrong.
2. A Casual Long Sleeved Dress
ASOS Curve Long Sleeve Swing Dress, $36, ASOS
BDG Long Sleeve Striped T-Shirt Dress, $69, Urban Outfitters
What's better than a dress with a pockets? A dress with long sleeves. These are especially great for that weird in-between weather right when fall starts, when you want to wear a dress but you're worried it will get too cold later on. Like the sundress, these are super versatile and can be dressed up or down easily. A black swing dress or striped t-shirt dress are ideal basics. With heels and some jewelry, they're ready for a night out, but with ankle boots and a scarf, they're made for class when you want to look more presentable.
3. A Dress That Makes You Feel Sexy
Lucca Couture Twill Slash-Waist Mini Dress, $61, Urban Outfitters
Plus Size Metallic Ribbed Knit Dress, $12.45, Forever 21
Whether you're trying to impress someone at a party on campus, attempting to look older for a night out at the bars, or going on a romantic date, a dress that makes you feel sexy and confident is a definite must-have. This Lucca Couture dress from Urban Outfitters features a tight silhouette and the waist slit makes it look like you're in a skirt and crop top (except you're much more comfortable). The ribbed knit dress from Forever 21 proves you don't need to show skin to feel sexy — sometimes something long and slinky does the trick. Go for whatever makes you feel awesome about yourself.
4. Something Fancier
Love Me Some Off The Shoulder Dress, $48, Nasty Gal
Truly You Wrap Maxi Dress with Ruffle Detail, $62, ASOS
I know, I know, college in real life isn't like the movies. Students go to frat parties in cut-offs and cute shirts, not heels and mini skirts. So why would you need a fancy dress, especially when so many people tell you not to bother? I say bring it in case. You never know what could pop up that requires a dressed up outfit! You might be invited to an event like a wedding, you might do a sorority thing that requires black tie, there could be a theme party that fits the bill... the possibilities are there, and you should be prepared. Bring something like this off-the-shoulder dress from Nasty Gal, which is stylish and sexy, but not over the top. Or opt for a fancy maxi dress that feels a little more versatile, like this ASOS pick.
5. A Date Dress
Socialite Crossback Faux Suede Shift Dress, $26.40, Nordstrom
Plus Olive Ribbed Zip-Yoke Bodycon Dress, $19.99, Rue21
A date dress is different than a fancy dress, obviously, because you don't want to look like you're trying super hard. And it's different than your sexy dress, because sometimes you want to tone it down a bit. Instead, a date dress should be the perfect mix of casual and cute that you feel comfortable and happy in. You can't go wrong with a shift dress, which can easily look less dressy when worn with ankle boots.
6. Your Little Black Dress
Wanderlust Black Skater Dress, $44, Lulu's
Lace Sleeveless Skater Dress, $24.99, Target
Yes, the old rumors are correct: Everyone should have a black dress they love hanging in their closet. College is no exception. Your favorite LBD should be versatile, comfortable, confidence-inducing, and classic. I love this skater dress from Lulu's or the lace option from Target. You can make either work for literally any occasion, which is the whole point of an LBD.
7. A Maxi Dress
Maxi Dress, $17.99, H&M
Club L Lounge Plus Sleeveless Maxi Dress with Hood, $41, ASOS
A simple maxi dress in a solid color is more wearable than you think! You'll be happy you have this when you need to look put-together for class, a party, or just hanging out with friends somewhere. They're so easy to put on and require so little accessories, which makes them ideal for fast outfits when you're in a rush. And maxi dresses definitely aren't just for summer — with some layers and boots, they work for colder weather too.
8. Something More Professional
Smoothie Enthusiast Dress in Navy, $69.99, Modcloth
NY Collection Faux Wrap Dress, $44.99, Macy's
While you don't need to wear business casual clothes to class, you never know what kind of professional situation you might find yourself in, especially if you're going into your junior or senior year. You might have something important going on with a professor, a job fair where you want to look your best, or an interview for an internship... something like that. In any of those situations, you'll want to be wearing something that makes you look mature and ready to take on whatever you need to take on.
With these eight dresses, you're sure to slay in any situation.