I Tried to Put Together an Outfit With NYU Bookstore Gear

There are some hidden gems in the men’s section.


Min Ji Kim

Valerie Stepanova, CAS junior, tries on clothes at the NYU bookstore. Her goal is to create an entire outfit (minus the shoes) that is stylish, unobnoxious, and decently priced. (Staff Photo by Min Ji Kim)

By Valerie Stepanova, Contributing Writer

Valerie tries on her first outfit, a gray shirt dress with long white socks. (Staff Photo by Min Ji Kim)

Like any other college, NYU’s bookstore sells plenty of clothing that proudly professes in purple your association with the school to any passerby. And for a school not known for its athletic prowess, the store seems quite saturated with athletic apparel. As I explored the racks, I began to wonder if I could put together an entire outfit head-to-toe that was more stylish than sporty.

I bypassed the athletic gear and sweatpants proudly displayed at the front of the store and made my way to the less conspicuous sections. The first thing that caught my eye was a cute, white Sherpa jacket ($64). I had actually been looking for that particular jacket for a few months. I decided that it would be my top and determined that jeans would pair nicely with it.  

After a quick skim through the racks, however, I realized that there was no denim to be found. The only possible bottoms for any outfit I could formulate were athletic shorts, sweatpants or leggings. Tragic. I reluctantly placed the Sherpa jacket back on the rack and proceeded to dive deeper into the shopping area.

Valerie’s second outfit is a simple long-sleeved shirt dress. (Staff Photo by Min Ji Kim)

The minutes slipped away as I looked at hundreds of pieces of clothing. From T-shirts to yoga pants in all possible shades of grey and violet, I saw them all. Finally, I spied a violet sweater that looked like it had potential. I’m sad to say that my excitement quickly died — the very second I touched the garment, I could tell the connection between us just wasn’t there. The yarn felt coarse and somewhat prickly, and the jumper didn’t have much of a shape. I glanced down at the price tag — it was on sale for a pricey $89.99. Even that was a significant markdown from the original price of $120. No thanks, NYU, I’ll pass.

I realized that finding a stylish bottom half of my outfit at the NYU bookstore simply wasn’t possible. To make my life a little bit easier, I resolved to strategically shop for dresses — with little success. A sweatshirt dress ($27.99, originally $56) seemed like a feasible option and a great deal. But after a moment or two of contemplation, I reasoned that the garment looked a bit too much like something I would wear at home rather than out in the world.

Dismayed and lightly embittered, I marched on toward the men’s section of the store to see if there was something there that could strike my fancy. This is when my luck turned. I found an oversized men’s dress shirt with black stripes ($74), with a small, subtle NYU logo on the left side of the chest and turned it into a shirt dress with an NYU-embossed black leather belt ($40). I accessorized with a pair of black-and-violet calf socks ($12). Finally, I felt ready to conquer the New York City streets with my stylish NYU swag.

Valerie’s final outfit is a striped chic blouse paired with a black belt and black socks. (Staff Photo by Min Ji Kim)
The CAS junior goes for a purple flannel with ‘NYU’ embroidered on the chest. She pairs it with a simple black belt and the same white socks from the first outfit. (Staff Photo by Min Ji Kim)


Jokes aside, putting together an outfit that wasn’t athleisure or wouldn’t come off as obnoxious proved to be quite a challenge. While it can be a great place if you’re hunting for some workout gear or loungewear, there’s a great chance you will find it difficult to put together a stylish, presentable outfit that you can wear to a nice dinner party.

Athleisure and streetwear might be all the rage right now, but I would appreciate seeing some more class and work-friendly clothing next time I come in, especially in a store that caters to the fashionable and ever-trendy NYU student body. In the meantime, I’ll settle for my men’s shirt-turned-dress.

Email Valerie Stepanova at [email protected]