Surviving Fall Semester: The IU Edition

Disclaimer: This list applies almost exclusively to girls--sorry boys. I'm not good with your fashion!

For those of you who are Indiana natives, none of this will be new. But for our new out of state students, you're in for a surprise: Fall semester is comprised of three types of weather: blistering hot and rainforest-humid, chilly, and freezing cold. This could call for a drastically different wardrobe for some. In addition to the climate to adjust to, you also have the internal debate of "What do I need for class?". Well, I'm here to help you figure all of that out!

What to Wear::

This changes from month to month. And now that you're walking to class in different buildings instead of being enclosed in one or two buildings for your classes, you're going to have to adjust your wardrobe.

August and Early September:

  • This school year is going to start out blistering hot. You've been warned. We've seen 100 degree weather her almost every week. You'll be walking a lot more than you're used to, so I recommend loose fitting shorts, like Nike Running Shorts or as they're often called, Norts. They're loose and comfortable and they have built in spankies so that the loose fitting legs don't show anything. These are pretty much every where you look on campus due to their super extensive color options and their comfy fit!
  • Pairing Norts with a loose fitting shirt or a frat tank adds an extra level of comfort for the first few weeks of class. Don't forget to bring a sweatshirt with you! Some of the buildings are FREEZING when the air conditioning is on!
  • Running shoes, Sperrys or flip flops are always great, comfy options for classes! They're all great for walking distances. 
  • When it rains, however, you're going to need Rain boots! Nothing on this planet is worse than sopping wet feet and legs. Seriously. It is AWFUL! And nothing ruins a good pair of Sperrys faster than the huge lakes that are the puddles at IU. Lots of places on campus turn into mini-lakes. The nicer the rain boots, the better. I've blown through five pair, up until I bought my Hunters. Those seem to be far stronger and they are definitely more comfortable than my Target boots and my Chooka boots ever were.

Late September and October:

  • Fall is amazing in Bloomington. The temperature is temporarily perfect and campus is stunning! With the cooler weather, comes warmer clothing. My fall pant selection is limited to leggings and jeggings. They're comfy and flexible, stylish, and they tuck into boots like a dream. As a rule of thumb, I never wear less than two pair of leggings (layered) at a time. No one wants to see any me. So if you decide to attempt this trend, be sure that you're covered properly!

  • Riding boots are probably my favorite fall accessory. I'm literally obsessed with them. I've pinned hundreds of different pair of them on Pinterest. Riding boots work well with both skinnies and jeggings and are great paired with a pair of tall sweater socks! The ever popular Uggs are a great pick for especially cool days. As a rule of thumb, I never wear my Uggs unless the daily high is below 45 degrees. Any warmer than that and not only do your feet sweat, but you look silly too. When I lived in a dorm, I didn't bring my Uggs to Bloomington until Thanksgiving.

  • Make sure you're prepared for the biting winds that fall brings with it. Sweaters are a great option for when you want to look nicer for a day. Large, over-sized sweaters are popular now and are sure to keep the wind at bay. Another great option is a light coat, like a North Face or Patagonia. They're fleece and great for the transitional temperatures. Whatever you choose, be sure to be warm and comfortable! Nothing can start a day off wrong like being freezing on your walk to class.

November and December:

  • Bloomington can be bitter cold. The winds are totally unforgiving and snow (with last year as the exception) is near-constant. Be sure you have rain boot liners!!! Combined with socks, these give your feet the ability to be simultaneously warm AND dry! These are an absolute necessity for cold rain and snow!

  • I again recommend leggings and jeggings for your legs, this time because it's easy to layer them for warmth. I've warn up to four pair at a time before in an attempt to stay warm against 30 mph icy winds.

  • Gloves are a definite go-to as well. I call my parents every morning on my walk to class to let them know I'm okay and keep them involved. When I have my phone to my ear, my hands freeze without gloves. Be sure to find a scarf you like as well. I'm a huge fan of the soft cashmere of a Burberry scarf, but you definitely don't need to spend that much money to be warm. Go for a fabric like cashmere or thick cotton to avoid the fabric irritating your already dry (from the cold) skin. I also recommend earmuffs or a thick headband. Don't underestimate the cold!

Half of the Fall 2012 Pledge Class for Theta Phi Alpha

In Your Bag: 

Now that you know what you need to wear, here is a suggestion of what you'll need for class/ daily life at IU!

  • A backpack or tote (I use totes everyday except when I need to take my laptop to class)
  • A notebook for each class (I like 5-Star Flex binders because they have pockets and I can refill them instead of buying a new notebook)
  • Pens AND Pencils (I like Sharpie Pens and Papermate pencils)
  • Note cards
  • Highlighters
  • A small cosmetic case to put in your backpack or tote so that pens, chapstick, pain killers or whatever else aren't rolling around in the bottom.
  • An agenda (I LOVE my Lilly Pulitzer agenda. I also loved my Vera Bradley agenda!)
  • Colored pens if you like to color code notes
  • A laptop
  • Chapstick (I like Mabeline Baby Lips)
  • A travel-sized tube of hand lotion
  • A small mirror
  • Extra hair ties and bobby pins
  • Binder Clips
  • Paper clips and a stapler
  • Ibuprofen
  • A Starbucks card ;)

Hopefully these tips and this list help you survive your first semester at IU. Indiana weather can be crazy and starting college leaves a lot of questions as far as what you need! I hope you're as excited to begin your first fall semester as I am to begin my final fall semester!!

See you on August 15th!

  Theta Phis working with Lambda Chi Alpha for their philanthropy!

About The Author
Brittany TempestMusic Journalism Major, Theta Phi Alpha, IUDM DGR, Marching Hundred

I am an Indiana University senior pursuing a BA in Music Journalism through the Individualized Major Program.

I am active in Theta Phi Alpha, Marching Hundred and Big Red Basketball Band. I am also a Dancer Group Represetative for IUDM this year! I aspire to one day write for a music magazine (Rolling Stone's Anthony DeCurtis, give me a call!) and live happily with a family.

I am a marketing intern for Pizza X, so if you see the van on campus, look for me! I also write for The Odyssey, Her Campus, and Uversity Life!

I am addicted to Dr. Pepper and Red Bull (I have been known to buy Polar Pops and mix the two sometimes) and I am trying to learn to eat healthier, but I'm pretty rotten at it.

I enjoy writing about lessons I have learned the hard way. If you like what I writes, follow me on Twitter and Pinterest!