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From Runway to Class: Getting Dressed for Uni in Beirut

Where I come from, an acceptable outfit to wear to class is what you wore to bed. That is, unless you sleep in the nude. Pajama pants, sweats, giant sweaters, and just about any form of ridiculously comfortable yet hideously ugly attire isn’t just okay—it’s expected.

It might sound gross to many of you, but when you really think about it, it’s the most practical course of action. Anyone and everyone who’s been to university knows what it’s all about: partying, studying, and more partying. Sleep isn’t often factored into the equation, so waking up for an 8:00 AM class can (and will) drive you to the brink of insanity. Taking out the whole “what should I wear?” madness from your morning routine can give you a few extra precious moments of sleep, which many university students would gladly give up fashion for.

After all, three cups of coffee in the morning can only go so far.

Lebanon, I’ve learned, plays by a different set of rules. Not only is showing up in your slippers not okay, it’s a catastrophe. A legitimate, completely shocking, bone fide catastrophe. Crocs, sweatpants, and baggy t-shirts are out. Heels, neon pants, and sequins are in. The only oversized sweater acceptable is one with your university logo or clichéd “I <3 ” stamped across it. Social standards now dictate that at least 80% of your morning routine be spent carefully painting on a face Lada Gaga’s stylist would be proud of. It’s almost become an expectation.

But don’t let that stop you.

My friends, wear your sweaters and your stretchy jeans. Don your oversized t-shirts with pride, and strap on those hideous but incredibly comfortable velcro sneakers that give you just the right momentum on your daily sprint to class.

A word to the wise: No one cares how you look at 8:00 AM. They’re too busy thinking about how comfortable their bed is.

Wearing stilettos to university is a bad idea, especially when you know you’re going to be running all the way to upper campus to make your next class in time. Comfort is key if you plan on coming out of university sane.

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By all means, feel free to disagree. Yes, you look good, but when your feet are blistery from the straps of your Marc Jacobs, and your bare thighs chaffed from the cold, uncomfortable classroom chairs, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Kanzi Kamel
Article written by

Kanzi is an American-Egyptian writer, baker and adventurer living in Beirut. Amongst other things, her life goals are to write a novel, find the lost city of Atlantis and teach Beirut the importance of cheesecake. She currently works as an Editor and Project Coordinator at Keeward.