Ask A Boston Expert: Tips For College Style Essentials

August 27, 2013 6:00 AM

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Looking for college style essentials? Look toward one of the best colleges of style and fashion in the Boston area. Massachusetts has so many unique individuals. Stay ahead of the fashion curve by keeping true to your own sense of style. College students are almost ready to begin the fall 2013 session. Here are few tips to help start the year from one of Boston’s very own fashion and design college instructors.

(Photo from MassArt)

(Photo from MassArt)

James Mason, Assistant Director
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
621 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 879-7000

James specializes in fashion illustration as well as designs for private clientele. He is a Paris Fashion Institute alumnus showing his work in various exhibits at The Massachusetts College of Art and Design. James taps into a vibrant imagination coupled with a wealth of knowledge in the field of fashion design.

Credit cards. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Credit cards. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Tip 1: Budget

“Be practical, you really have to have a budget to work with,” James Mason stated as a matter of fact. “Whether it’s a by-the-year budget or by-the-semester budget, make sure when you’re out shopping with friends, you do not over extend yourself. Sticking to a budget is the way to go. Taking a look at the high-end fashion and bringing it down to the level of what’s in your pocket is the goal.”

Stay away from credit cards. Students everywhere are on such a strict budget. There is no need to have your wardrobe, which is bound to change as each year passes, become a debt that may be impossible to keep up with. Boston has many wonderful out-of-the-way, secondhand jewels to take home and make your own.

Tip 2: Explore And Experiment

“Expose yourself to what’s out there!” James confided that many students are afraid to do more than window shop. Most designer fashions are out of reach for a student’s price range, but that doesn’t mean exploring texture and combinations are also out of reach. The MassArt college is only a few blocks away from Boston’s famed Newbury Street. “Don’t be afraid to go into any of the high-end stores to touch the fabrics or see the colors. It’s a great idea,” James suggested.

“Experimenting also goes along with hair and the look of the eyes. Fashion is more than just clothing,” Mason wanted to remind students.

Looking through Harper, Vogue and Elle and taking a peek at will help get the motivation started. Finding look-alikes and jewels that compare to high-end clothing and accessories is just plain fun. When exploring, try canvasing the South End. It’s one outing with friends that could become a habit to look forward to at the beginning of each session.

Tip 3: Individuality

“What kind of person are you? Think about this but don’t hold yourself inside a box. Be yourself, this is the time to enjoy being unique. You may find you’re not destined to be this way all of your lives. You are allowed to change yourself,” says Mason.

College is a time to learn not only what is in the required texts but also to define who you are. “In general, you’re not building a wardrobe, it’s more of season-to-season process and just adding pieces to what you already wear. Have fun” suggests Mason.

Related: Boston’s Best Local Boutiques For Back To School Clothes Shopping

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Photo Credit:

Tip 4: Everything Old Is New Again

“Don’t dismiss clothing you have never worn before. Secondhand shops and boutiques are the places to really hunt for treasures. Retro is always in,” according to Mason.

Whether in search of your favorite color, type of material such as satin or cotton, or whether a new style of hat reaches out seeming to call your name, try it out. Using thrift and secondhand clothing stores make trial and error possible. What is new to you may be something already made and worn well by someone else. Mix and match or drape or buckle. It makes no difference. It all depends on the day and comfort.

Tip 5: Keep Fashion Fun

“Fashion is a business. You’re not in the business yet, so have fun,” James tell future fashion students. “Embrace your individuality and feel good with what you wear.”

And remember it’s not just about clothing. You may notice after this fall semester that the beginning had nothing to do with what you were wearing at the end. “It’s an extension of your personality, it shows the world who you are today,” James continued.

Related: Ask A Boston Expert: Essentials When Dorm Shopping

Freelance Writer Corinne Costantino brings the “Best of Boston” to New England. Her work can be found on