Sorority 101: Your Pretty Playbook (What to Wear When Rushing)


Throughout the month of August, will be offering tips, tricks (and the REAL 411) about what you can expect when rushing a sorority. Each of the articles you see here are written by actual current and former sorority sisters, so the information provided is from an insider's perspective.


By Kristy Shaulis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Rush is vastly different depending on what school you go to, where you attend, and how large of a Greek system exists on your campus. While there is no universal fast and hard rule as to what you should wear, here are some general guidelines on how to look your prettiest without giving off the wrong impression.

1.    You’re rushing a sorority

I know what you’re thinking.  “Duh. That’s why I’m reading this article.” But honestly, I can’t emphasize this enough – you’re not going to a frat party, or a club, or even looking to snag a hot guy.  There’s no need to show off a ton of cleavage or wear a short skirt that makes your butt look amazing.  Just remember, you’re trying to impress girls with style – not the male ego. Think pretty, NOT sexy. Also, the little details DO count. Guys don’t care about manis, pedis, or if you bothered to get your eyebrows waxed this week. But we of the opposite sex do notice those sorts of things, so make sure you're  primped, plucked, and presentable before you sign up.

2.    Yes, there are levels of fashion formality to follow

Again, this changes depending on which school you go to, but typically rush starts out more casual and gets more formal as the events progress. When I rushed (and this seems fairly standard for the most part), there was an event where jeans or shorts were worn and t-shirts were provided. The first invite is typically slightly less formal, so opt for a nice skirt and sandals. Second invites usually require a casual sundresses, while the third invite is typically the most dressy (a cocktail-type number might be required).
3.    Trust us, money isn’t everything

If you’re in love with your oh-so-expensive True Religion jeans and feel the need to wear them for rush, go for it. If you feel more confident and comfortable in your favorite pair of Levi 501’s, that’s totally fine too. Choose what you think best represents your style and personality – not the most expensive item in your wardrobe. This obviously doesn’t mean that you can just show up wearing an old pair of sweats and a t-shirt (again, these are girls, and frankly, we live in a world where style and fashion do matter), but, overall, if you really get along and connect with a house, it shouldn't matter if you’re sporting Bebe or Betsy Johnson.
4.    Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

The members who are rushing you (i.e. the active sisters of the sorority chapter who you’ll be meeting and chatting with) see a ton (like HUNDREDS) of girls each day. Outfits start to blend together, and in a time when retail stores are everywhere, not everyone can have an original ensemble. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to accessorize with pieces to highlight your unique look and show off your personality and style. Plus, if someone ends up wearing the same dress or fancy top, you’ll still be able to rock your outfit without feeling one ounce of insecurity. Warning: Don’t plan on accessorizing with purses or clutches. These are typically left outside during rush and some schools even provide everyone with one large identical tote bag to decrease the possibility of someone’s expensive purse getting jacked by a frat boy (true story- it’s happened).  

5.    Choose clothes that make YOU look and feel good

So much of what goes into being chic isn’t about having the “right” pair of jeans or even  the cutest dress – it's about wearing something that makes you look your best. Don’t try to squeeze into a size 2 skirt if a size 4 or 6 actually fits you better. Just pick out something that makes you feel good about yourself. That alone should make other people want to know where you got all that confidence (and style!).

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