It’s no secret that most MIT students don’t give a great deal of thought to how they look. So you used to curl your hair every morning in high school? You think better in a blazer? Forget how you used to look in high school, because odds are, you’ll look a lot worse soon. Depressing, sure, but thankfully there will be days when you’ll feel like an ordinary, non-stressed human and will stop wishing that public nudity were a social norm. Shop now and you’ll be prepared for those bright days when you actually care about what you’re wearing.
To look like (and spend) a million bucks
If you’re one of those kids for whom money is not a problem, show that you’re comfortable navigating Boston and go beyond Newbury Street for your store choices. Try on denim from labels like Earnest Sewn and 575 at Jean Therapy in Kenmore Square or other premium brands at in-jean-ius, in the North End. While you’re in the neighborhood, pick up a fancy frock at Twilight. Men who want something other than the Brooks Brothers look, but don’t want to look like they tried too hard, should go to Uniform.
What can you do if dresses make you gag and button-down shirts make you shudder? Try a T-shirt from Johnny Cupcakes and show off your rebellious fashion sense. Stil is a cool little store packed with edgy designs and European inspiration. Of course, you could go to a consignment store and find relics from other eras, but if you’re worried that will prevent you from unloading your wallet quickly enough, check out Matsu. The earthy designs in this boutique will ensure that you don’t look like anyone else on campus, though your purchases could set you back several hundred dollars.
Once it gets cold, you’ll need more layers. Check out Rugby Ralph Lauren for sweaters and other warm fashions. If autumn weather doesn’t bring out the prep in you, browse Urban Outfitters, where you just might find a decent deal for a more bohemian cardigan or jacket. Find the latest boots or any other shoes at Moxie. Though in-season footwear is not a bargain find, you might be able to pick up an inexpensive pair of sandals or open-toed shoes now.
To fake looking like a million bucks
Even if you can afford to blow hundreds of dollars at a time, it just feels better to find something at low prices. If you need something impressive for your first college formal, take a trip to the Filene’s Basement in Downtown Crossing, where the semi-formal gown selection is much more impressive than at the Boylston St. location. Men will find Perry Ellis dress shirts for much less here, too. While you’re in the area, hop across the street to the DSW (Discount Shoe Warehouse) and find heels, dress shoes, and tennis shoes for 20–80 percent less.
Get basics like T-shirts, tank tops, and casual dresses at H&M. You can find wallets, purses, and headbands here too. If you have a flashy idea of what jewelry should be, go to So Good to get your fill of rhinestone accessories. And speaking of flashy, Tello’s is overflowing with cheap women’s clubbing apparel. Pop into Filene’s Basement to check for sales on outerwear or go to Old Navy in the CambridgeSide Galleria for sweaters.
To show your creative side
Those of you who hate to look like everyone else should start thinking about how to set yourself apart. Make your own necklaces, rings, or earrings at Beadworks. A couple pounds of clothing from Garment District plus some imagination will help you turn what used to be a Halloween costume into your everyday wear. Wrap a silk scarf from Filene’s Basement around your neck and find a skirt with a bright print at Nomad. See? You’re so much more artistic than the rest of us.
To spend the weekend studying
Sadly, this is what you’ll be doing most weekends. There’s no reason you can’t look good doing it, but comfort is key. Go back to Old Navy to pick up cheap! cheap! flip-flops and remember to stock up on colorful tees from this Friday’s Activities Midway event. If you have no school pride and prefer non-MIT clothing, go to American Apparel for famously soft shirts you’ll wear during long nights lounging over your 18.01 pset.
Where to Find Clothes
American Apparel — 138 Newbury St., Boston or 47 Brattle St., Cambridge
Beadworks 23 Church St., Cambridge or 167 Newbury St., Boston
DSW — 385 Washington St., Boston
Filene’s Basement — 426 Washington St. or 497 Boylston St., Boston
Garment District — 200 Broadway, Cambridge
H&M — Locations around Boston area
in-jean-ius — 441 Hanover St., Boston
Jean Therapy — 524 Commonwealth Ave., Boston
Johnny Cupcakes — 279 Newbury St., Boston
Matsu — 259 Newbury St., Boston
Moxie — 51 Charles St., Boston
Old Navy — 100 Cambridgeside Pl., Cambridge
Nomad — 1741 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Rugby — 342 Newbury St., Boston
So Good — 349 Newbury St., Boston
Stil — 170 Newbury St., Boston
Tello’s — 449 Washington St., Boston or 600 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Twilight — 12 Fleet St., Boston
Uniform — 511 Tremont St., Boston
Urban Outfitters — 361 Newbury St. or 1 Faneuil Hall Sq., Boston