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Complete Winter Sorority Recruitment Outfit Guide

This post has been a highly requested one this fall. I went through winter sorority recruitment last year and I have been getting so many questions about what to wear during the rounds. Recruitment is different at every school, but for the most part it's always a weather-related disaster when it comes to planning outfits. Southern schools typically recruit in the fall when it's way too hot outside, and midwest/east coast schools recruit in the winter when it's snowing and freezing cold. Who thought that was a good idea? Between standing outside houses in freezing temperatures and sitting in a stuffy house or classroom, there is definitely an art to layering for winter recruitment. Here are my tips, suggestions, and ideas (warning! this post is a long one!):

I just want to preface this post by saying that I really didn't plan my outfits before recruitment (besides Pref, that was planned!) and every single morning when I had to get dressed was a nightmare. I didn't know what I wanted to wear and I was so stressed out about it and thought my outfits were terrible. It's definitely important to plan ahead your outfits and actually try them on! I know I'm a "fashion blogger" but in real life I don't think I'm all that fashionable, and I thought my outfits were so average for every round. In the long run though, it really doesn't matter. As long as you wear something cute, the girls you're talking to will be more focused on your conversation (what counts!!) than your outfit. It's only when you wear something bad (like too much cleavage/too short/ too tight, etc.) or something too fabulous ;) that your outfit will be remembered.

Okay... rant over. Let's get into it! I tried to do this based off what I saw other girls wearing when I went through recruitment. Wisconsin does recruitment in the fall so I had to think back to my Lehigh days for this :) 
Preparing Your Outfits

Before recruitment there is usually an information session that tells you the dress code for each round and gives a general suggestion of what to wear. At Lehigh we went to each house for the parties instead of going to different academic buildings, but either way you're bound to stand in the cold at some point and I think it's important to wear a cute coat to complement your outfit.

I didn't intend for all of the outfits to turn out so neutral, I just don't personally wear a ton of color and it's hard for me to think of outfits that include a ton of colorful pieces. Either way, I hope you get the idea of what I was going for! I also hope you notice that I used a few pieces like shoes and pants more than once throughout the guide. I did that purposely to highlight that no one has an unlimited wardrobe and it's so realistic to want to wear some of your favorite pieces more than once during recruitment! You don't need to buy 100% brand new outfits just for one week of rush, so don't stress too much!!

When it comes to accessories, it's usually smart to wear one piece that makes a statement simply because it's an easy talking point/conversation starter. For example, just wearing a cute pair of earrings can give the girl you're talking with an excuse to compliment you and start the conversation that way. I just wore my everyday jewelry (earrings, necklace, ring, and charm bracelet) to every round because I'm comfortable with and used to it. Plus, I literally can't talk to people when I'm nervous if I'm not holding onto my necklace.... a weird habit, I know. 

One major thing to keep in mind though when think of accessories: remember that you can not talk about brands during recruitment! So, you can totally wear your new Tory Burch logo earrings, but maybe don't make them a conversation point (which I'm sure no one would do that anyways!) The four B's we learned during orientation are boys, brands, booze, and Bush (aka politics). The four B's, obviously, are the four categories to stay away from during rush conversations.
First Rounds

During first rounds, the dress code is usually pretty casual and you might even be given a t-shirt that will make outfit decisions easier. This first round is brief and you'll be going to all of the chapters on your campus, so the girls will be seeing a lot of PNM's (Potential New Members). We were told to dress like you're going to class, on a day that you don't look homeless and actually try to look cute, of course (... lol, does that ever happen though?).

Left: studded sweater // busted black jeans // short boots (lately I have been so into the all black look... kind of different for me!)
Middle: coat // velvet tuxedo pants (these are so cute; I know they look bad above!) // sneaks

It's best to wear your favorite pair of comfortable shoes and pants (totally okay to wear jeans!! I did!) with a cute top or sweater if you aren't given a shirt (we weren't). Try not to choose anything too warm because even though it's cold outside, a room full of talking girls can get really hot!
Second Rounds (Philanthropy, Sisterhood, etc.)

During second or third rounds you will be going back to a few less houses and hearing a presentation on philanthropy, sisterhood, or something like that (depends on the school or maybe even the chapter) during your conversation with the girls. The dress code is somewhat fancier but not totally formal. I wore a skirt and booties, and other girls wore casual dresses, skirts, or nicer pants. We were told to dress like you're having afternoon tea or brunch with grandparents.

One key thing to remember is that at some houses you might have to sit on the floor. It's different at every school and every chapter, but I would rather be safe than sorry and don't wear anything that you won't be able to sit on a floor in!
Third Rounds (House Tours, Sisterhood, etc.)

Our third round was a house tour at some houses, and a sisterhood presentation (think of the typical sorority "recruitment video") at others. We did our philanthropy during second rounds, so this one was next! The attire is just a little fancier again, and some schools even call it business casual. I personally wouldn't wear a blazer and nice pants and go a totally business casual route to a sorority event, so that's why I chose these outfits as appropriate alternatives:

For the most part, some outfits here could be interchangeable with second rounds. I love the outfit on the left above, and it would definitely work for second rounds too. 
Preference Round

For preference round the attire is like a cocktail party. You will attend between one and three houses (at Lehigh it was up to two) and it's more of a ceremony than just sitting and talking with girls like on the other days. For this round you should definitely wear a dress and heels. In this outfit post I shared what I wore to preference round, and I liked that I wore dark green because most girls wore black. I felt like I stood out but not in a bad way because I was still wearing a dark color!

Shoes: short block heel // black lace-up // blush suede (comes in 17 colors) // nude ruffle (under $30)

I really tried to select dresses that I felt are perfect for preference round specifically. Nothing too short, too revealing, or too risky at all. Plus, they're all under $200, and half under $100! Same goes for shoes... none are higher than 3.5 or 4 inches.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful! Sorry it was so long! If anyone going through recruitment this coming semester (or anytime in the future!) has any sorority related post requests, I'd love to hear your ideas!


  1. Hi Frannie! I was wondering what outfit is the most similar to something you would wear for informal recruitment (Spring Rush here at Madison)? Thanks!

    1. Hey! From what I know about informal rush it's usually in a coffee date or lunch date setting, so I'd say any of the above outfits for Round 1 would be perfect!!



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