We’re halfway through summer, and students across the country are starting to think about heading to college, many for the very first time. We chatted with Seventeen magazine’s fashion director, Gina Kelly, about her co-ed years and got her to select a few campus fashion must-haves.
SHOPBOP: What is your college alma mater?
GINA KELLY: Boston University
SB: What was your college uniform? How would you update it for now?
GK: I went to college in the early ’90s, so grunge was just starting to get popular. I wore a lot of black leggings under cutoff denim shorts, Doc Martens, holey T-shirts, and choker necklaces. I’m not sure I could pull off any of these pieces now, but I think I could rock one of my old distressed tees with a leather pencil skirt and sexy heels.
SB: Based on the latest fall trends, what is the one thing every student needs for back to school?
GK: An army jacket. There are so many variations that make them feel fashion-y and cool—leather sleeves, camo prints, fun studs. You can dress it up or down so easily too. I think having a versatile piece like this is key since college girls go from one activity to the next and don’t have a ton of closet space in those dorms!
Top: Seventeen magazine fashion director Gina Kelly. Above: Gina Kelly's college picks. R13 jeans, Meredith Wendell backpack, Rebecca Taylor sweater, Marc by Marc Jacobs flats, LAVEER jacket, See by Chloe wedges.
SB: What’s your favorite college memory?
GK: Definitely going to shows. I love, love, love music and took advantage of being in a city, so I saw lots of bands I could never see in my small town. I got to see Morrissey, Depeche Mode, The Replacements, The Pixies, and Fugazi, to name a few. That all sounds like a John Hughes movie soundtrack!
SB: Name the song that makes you most nostalgic for your college years.
GK: “Just Like Heaven” by the Cure. Oh man, I still love that song.
SB: What are your top five dorm must-haves?
GK: A cozy and cute zip-up hoodie to grab when you have to go outside in the middle of the night when someone pulls the fire alarm; soft, pretty sheets; personal pictures that make you happy; a “skinny” full-length mirror since the ones provided in dorm rooms were awful; and don’t forget shower sandals!
SB: What was your first big purchase after college when you started your “adult” job?
GK: Ironically, my first job was at Seventeen, but on the advertising side. I thought I had to look “serious business,” so I bought a grey power suit. It was so awful and ’80s. I think I wore it once and then figured out none of the assistants wore suits.