Dakota Fanning Is Picking Clothes for College

09/21/2011 at 06:00 PM ET

Dakota Fanning Oh Lola
Courtesy Coty

Dakota Fanning just celebrated her move from Los Angeles to New York at her first Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, but the star is busy tackling an even bigger milestone now: starting her freshman year at NYU.

“Going to college is a bit different than going back to high school,” the new student told PEOPLE recently at a Marc Jacobs bash. “You can kind of wear whatever you want, and I had a uniform in high school.”

But don’t think you’ll catch Dakota, who’s living in a Manhattan apartment instead of the dorms, taking on sloppy student style. “If you ever catch me in sweatpants in class, that’s not good,” joked the star. “I’ve tried not to dress like that.”

However, the former Angeleno did come prepared for the East Coast temperature changes — sans sweatpants. “I knew to bring a lot of coats, and my Hunter rain boots,” she shared. Still, Fanning admitted that shopping for school is intimidating. For instance, “What pencil case do you buy for college?” she asked.

Fanning might have a little help in the wardrobe department courtesy of her pal Marc Jacobs. The actress — a muse for his line (as is her sister) — serves as the face of his latest fragrance, Oh, Lola! “It’s been such an honor to work with someone who you admire and actually love wearing their clothes and love their brand,” she said. “I think Marc is such a genius and so creative, and I think he proves time and time again that he can do anything. To be involved in anything he touches is a pleasure.”

Though the Oh, Lola! campaign stirred a bit of controversy thanks to its provocative imagery, Fanning said she had a blast during the photo shoot. “It was amazing,” she told reporters at a recent Oh, Lola! event in N.Y.C. “Getting to work with Juergen [Teller] again, it’s always so much fun.”

And she definitely had faith in her crew — and the designer. Fanning showed up to set without having seen the bottle, and unaware of the scent’s smell. “I got there … and it was exactly what I love, and it’s pink — which is my favorite color,” she shared. “So it couldn’t have been more perfect for me.”

–Kate Hogan and Catherine Kast

SHOP STARS’ SIGNATURE SCENTS

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Timber on

It’s not really her fault. I’ve lived in L.A. for almost 10 years (but I’m from the east coast originally) and trust me sweatpants are forbidden out here. People will look at you like you’ve murdered their mother.

Rita on

Hey Vela she was joking about the pencil case.

Ari on

I’m in high school and I refuse to wear sweats, I never have and don’t plan on it. It’s not that she thinks she’s better than people, either do I, I just think there’s a time and a place.

Carli on

Ditto Andrea!

Rave on

Lol, college sweats are not the norm at my college, which is pretty much on the same level as NYU. In the Manhattan area, fashion is actually taken seriously in college. I don’t think she comes off as a brat. I think she comes off as excited. And that’s normal.

lou on

Good to hear, Dakota. So tired of seeing my peers at Kent State looking like they literally just rolled out of bed. There is nothing SNOBBISH about trying to look your best!

Ashley on

I don’t think she ment for it to come across like it did. She’s not saying there’s anything wrong with sweats. There’s not. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to dress pretty. Everyone has their own style. Girls who wear sweats think she’s being a brat. Girls who wear dressy clothes every day would think sweats are lazy. No one is ever happy, or can just let people be themselves. If I had her money who knows what in the heck I would wear. Who cares anyway? I wish her the best!

Mel_M on

I saw a pic the other day where she was wearing jeans and rain boots–headed for class. Nice, but hardly the togs of fashionista lore. Everyone has certain ideas about dress; let Dakota have hers. Anyway, I think she’s always loved her outfits, even as a small child. If she stars in “Effie,” I expect she’ll be thrilled getting to wear lots of 19th century clothes and luxurious gowns. Really, a story about what Dakota is wearing isn’t all that important anyway. Why not ask her about something really serious, like her course of study and how she sees its relation to her career? For some of us, that’s a very interesting question.

Dakota’s life is not, by a long shot, anything close to ordinary. With her extraordinary life and heavy filming schedule, Dakota simply couldn’t live in a dorm: it would be way too confining. With a 2 bedroom apt, her mom and Elle can easily visit, and it’ll give Elle a home base for her own NY activities. With a spacious apt, Dakota can also receive visits from her many movie friends and associates. As for the expense, she’s spent a decade earning her money, so, IMO, it’s fine to spend some of it on a really nice functional apt. Also, a private place of her own gets her away from the distractions that abound when living among college students: someone is always knocking at the door inviting you to some escape activity; that’s how it was for me anyway, and I doubt things have changed all that much.

I don’t see her as “spoiled” in the slightest; she’s a super charming young lady. As for “humble,” in the last year or more, she’s been, IMO, way too humble at times, and it’s been a concern, although I’ve cut her lots of slack because of her age. She has the talent, and I hope she gets her confidence back soon.

Oh yes, I agree with the comment by Natalie above: I too am glad that Dakota is going to college. With a well designed course of study, I’d expect that it could add depth to her performances. I’m reminded of Natalie Portman who studied psychology, and I can’t help but think that it aided her exquisite performance in Black Swan, an Academy Award winning performance. It’s thrilling just to watch Natalie’s Black Swan performance qua performance.

I see Dakota blossoming, and I think it’s great! The best is still ahead of her. Good goin’ Dakota!

Sash on

Going to college. Good for her.

yikes on

Both of my sons recently graduated from NYU. Pretty much no one wears sweatpants to class. They may however not take a shower! LOL. And no one thinks of the stars that attend as anything special. Probably, 50% of the student population are rich and maybe famous. And a lot of rich students have their own apartments – which is great for the ones that don’t because they can party without NYU security breathing down their backs. My sons were friends with a lot of “stars” even though they were there on scholarship – it’s not about who has money – more about who has potential.

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