Ask A Minnesota Expert: Tips For College Style Essentials

August 27, 2013 7:00 AM

(credit: Primp)

(credit: Primp)

Heading to college is not an excuse to roll into class in pajamas or sweats you’ve been wearing for a good portion of the week. College is your gateway into the adult world and you should at least consider dressing the part. But as any former grad knows, college nights are long and budgets are tight. How do you transition from school days to nights out with simple pieces that are stylish yet affordable? What are the must-have essentials of the fall season that will take you from the lecture hall, to your part-time job and to the homecoming game without having to over think or overspend? Set the tone for the new school year by following these tips from Minnesota style mavens Michele Gudmunson and Wesley Uthus, co-owners of Primp.

Primp – Michele Gudmunson and Wesley Uthus
618 Selby Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 414-0091

Primp, the cheap-chic boutique with three locations in the Twin Cities, was born from the idea that fashion does not need to cost a fortune. This style-savvy store has quickly become a staple for many Minnesota women, including college students looking to stock up on essentials and fun trends. Shoppers at Primp will find clothing such as skirts, tops, jeans and dresses, along with accessories like belts and jewelry. Plus, with all items in the store under $100, college students will find the perfect price point for back-to-school style. Here are their top five must-haves for the fashion-forward college kid.

Denim button-up tops

“We have really come to embrace the denim button-up top trend,” says Michele. “We love pairing it with another button-up top underneath. Fall is all about layering. Don’t be afraid to wear button-up shirts under low-gauge cardigans and mix in a heavy statement necklace.” For a completely different look, try the denim top under a blazer when heading to your internship or pair it with colorful cords for class.


Vests make the perfect transition piece and are an inexpensive way to extend your summer wardrobe into the fall. Wesley suggests to “Wear it with a casual cotton tee and printed scarf. Or pair it with your favorite little black dress and pumps to kick it up a notch. One of our favorite ways to layer a vest when it starts to get cold is with a basic button-up cardigan. We suggest incorporating a pop of color with a more neutral vest, say burgundy or mustard. Paired with a longer tunic and leggings, it will become one of your fall favorites!” College guys can get in on this trend as well – vests look great with jeans on men.

A Henry + Martin infinity scarf

Wesley raves about the necessity of a Henry + Martin infinity scarf in a college student’s wardrobe, saying, “This is a must. These thick scarves can be worn a multitude of ways and perfectly transition from hot fall days to cool nights.” The infinity scarves are easy to wear and don’t take up a lot of room if you need to store one in your bag while at class. They also come in a variety of patterns and colors to complete any look whether it’s a casual school sporting event or glammed-up night out with friends. The Henry + Martin scarves are affordable as well, going for only $22 at Primp boutiques.

Related: Best Local Boutiques For Back To School Clothes Shopping In Minnesota

Dark denim skinny jeans

While skinny jeans continue to stay in style this season, find a denim pair in a dark wash for instant comfort and sophistication in the fall and winter months. This style staple works well from late summer throughout the colder weather of the school year because skinny jeans look great with sandals, flats, heels or boots. Primp carries dark denim skinny jeans in a variety of price points that stay within tight college budgets. Michele says, “Every woman needs a pair of jeans that fit her just right and don’t cost a fortune. Luckily, we have a wide variety at Primp that range from $28-$68.”

Camel boots

“With navy and plum being two must-have colors this fall, we couldn’t think of a better, more chic boot to pair with them than camel,” says Wesley. Primp carries various versions of the camel boot, with prices ranging from $38-$62. Michele notes, “Whether they are side-buckle booties or over-the-knee, this is a staple for fall.” With options as affordable as this, college-bound gals should pick up both.

Related: Ask A Minnesota Expert: Essentials When Dorm Shopping

Cortney Mohnk is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. She is also a public relations and event planning professional. Her most important job is mother to her young daughter, who is her partner-in-crime when checking out the family entertainment scene in the Twin Cities. Her work can be found on

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