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Prep For Your Exams and Your Outfit: Fashion Tips for Test Days

Learn how to dress for success this midterm season.


By Ali Cook


Photo By Julian X

Spring Break is fast approaching, and, for a lot of us, one major obstacle stands between us and a week of laying on the beach, seeing our family, or catching up on sleep. That obstacle is…the first round of midterms.


While I cannot control my classes’ testing policies or exam questions, I can control my outfits. After years of stressing over tests, I have developed a few personal test-day fashion favorites.


Wear Layers


You’ll never know the classroom temperature nor how your nerves will impact your body temperature on test day. Prepare yourself to feel nervous and thus feel changes in your body temperature. The last thing you need is the distraction of sweating or shivering, pulling away your focus. 


I recommend a zip-up, cardigan, or flannel on top of a t-shirt or tank top—something you can easily pull on and off to adjust to the room temperature and your nerves. With these, you also avoid the couple of seconds of panic that ensue when you are inside your hoodie, urgently trying to take it off without wasting time. 


Wear Long Hair Back


When you lean forward on those mini desks, long hair will flop right onto your paper or screen. You can avoid the annoyance of having to flip your hair out of the way every 10 seconds by wearing it back. 


I usually wear a loose low bun, ponytail, or braid to keep my hair back. This works well with a comfortable and casual outfit. Slick-backs are efficient and complete a more put-together look. You could even just pull your hair back with a claw clip, which would be perfect if you want to wear your hair down again later in the day.


Balance Your Pants And Shoes


Whether or not a comfortable test-day outfit is better than a cute, put-together “dress as your best” outfit – I cannot say. I will say, though, that there can be a balance between the two. 


When I wear joggers, I like to balance them with Converse. The sweatpants keep my outfit comfortable, but the cute shoes keep me feeling motivated. Choosing shoes you usually wear when you have things to do can help you focus. That is why I sometimes keep my shoes from the day on when doing homework in my dorm room. 


The balance strategy can also work the other way around. If you like to put together nicer outfits for class, you can balance a pair of jeans with Uggs. That way, you stay comfortable, cozy and presentable.


Trust Yourself


No one knows you better than you. If you feel more focused when you dress up, then dress up! You can rock the Blaire Waldorf test-day style with amazing outfits and amazing grades. Or, if you want to put something more relaxed together, you can never go wrong with a sweatpant/Ugg combo if that is what you like! Loungewear is in, and there are so many cute options. Matching sets and straight-leg sweatpants layered over Uggs/slippers are a popular go-to.


While cute outfits are not always at the forefront of your mind when it comes to exam days, I hope some of these little tricks can help you feel more in control and prepared for test days.


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