Dress to Impress: College Life

Introduction- The purpose of this post is to give you a few pointers on how to upgrade your wardrobe in order to elevate and broaden your style. College is just the beginning of your adult life. You’re probably thinking “Why should I change my style now?”. Some of your peers will wear their pajamas to class so why not follow the crowd? There are multiple reasons why not, which I will touch on in a bit. You aren’t in high school anymore. It’s time to act your age and dress your age. Your 20’s are arguably the prime of your life. It’s your choice to decide if you want to spend them dressed like you’re still in high school, or if you want to upgrade your style and take it to the next level.

Dressing well contributes to your frame of mind and increases confidence. When you dress sharp, you think sharp. When you feel like you’re looking your best, you’ll want to do your best. You’ll feel like you’re in the zone, more confident, and ready to tackle the day’s tasks. If you take college serious, you’ll dress serious and it will reflect in your work. You wouldn’t show up to a football game in a tie and dress pants, so don’t show up to class in your pjs.

Your peers, professors, and potential employers will show more interest in you if you are dressed well. Appearance is key in every interaction with another person. You will be judged on your appearance no matter what situation you’re in. Talking to that cute girl in your finance class, landing a job you’ve always wanted, and being respected by your peers starts with what you decide to put on in the morning.

Experiment-Sometimes a trial-and-error approach works best when attempting to figure out what looks best on you. College is about learning who you are as a person. This includes learning about your style too. Experimenting with the latest fashion trends can only be beneficial to you. Everyone has a style, it’s just a matter of finding what yours is. Remember to keep an open mind to trying new things. College is the one point in your life that you can go out on a limb in order to figure out what style is right for you, without looking like a total fool.

No logos-Brands like American Eagle, Abercombie & Fitch, Nike, and Aeropostale can still be worn, but make sure the clothing doesn’t have overly excessive logos. You’ve graduated and so has your wardrobe. Your clothing shouldn’t advertise any specific brand accept the “Insert Your Name Here” Brand. You want to make a name for yourself because you have impeccable sense of style. Plain tees, polos, and button-downs are in and t-shirts with bugs bunny on them are out.

Invest in the basics-“Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.”-Paul Samuelson

Investing in a new wardrobe takes time! When reconstructing your style it’s best to start with the basics. Unless you were born rich, you most likely won’t have the bankroll to go spend a few thousand at the mall like it’s nothing. Key pieces like a tailored blazer, jeans, and button-down shirts that fit you properly are all safe investments for years to come. They will become your everyday go-to tools for sartorial success.


“I’m cleanin out my closet”-Eminem said it best. If you truly want to upgrade your style and continue to make a fashion statement everywhere you go, this is where you begin. It’s time to let go of the sweater grandma sewed you 8 years ago and clean out your closet. Anything that’s two sizes too big, stained, or just looks really cheap should be on its way out, never to be seen again.

T-shirt to Polo-Before you throw on that white tee ask yourself if a polo would look better. It isn’t essential that you have a name brand polo like Ralph Lauren in your closet. Old Navy polos will do fine if your funds are short. The tighter fit and collared necks are always dressier than t-shirts and will make you look older and more serious. If you do decide to wear a polo, DO NOT pop the collar. There is nothing cool or trendy about popping your collar. It just makes you look ridiculous.

Sweatshirt to Sweater-Sweatshirts are comfortable and can remain in your wardrobe for certain occasions, but nothing looks more upscale during the fall than a sweater. A good majority of your classmates will wear sweatshirts all year-long, but are you a lemming or a leader? Replacing the sweatshirt with a sweater will make you stand out. A plain V-neck sweater is lightweight, and can be worn with only an undershirt. Cardigans are another type of sweater you’ll want in your arsenal of clothing. A button or zipped front, cardigans come in a wide variety. Feel free to wear a collared button shirt or t-shirt underneath. The final sweater you may want to wear is the turtleneck. A dark-colored, close-fitting turtleneck sweater is manly, versatile, and comfortable.

Jeans and Pants-Having a few pairs of jeans and pants in your closet is essential to developing a stylish wardrobe. Straight or relaxed fit jeans are always a good choice when you’re looking to impress someone without drawing too much attention to yourself. You’ll also want them to be dark and clean denim rather than light and distressed jeans. Light colored jeans with holes are fine if you’re looking to express your personal style, but if you are in a business setting or looking to give off a masculine and classic look you’ll want to go with the dark denim because it looks more professional and conservative. Pants are also a key component to reach fashion success. A few nice pairs of Dockers that go for about $40 are fine. These can be worn with sneakers, dress shoes, blazers, t-shirts, and pretty much anything else to give off the look you want.

Sneakers and Shoes-Jordans may have been the hottest footwear in high school, but I can assure you that there are much more affordable alternatives that will provide the same effect now that you’re in college. Nikes and Converses are cheaper than Jordans and just as fashionable. Converses go well with jeans/pants, blazers/t-shirts, and anything else while Nikes and other athletic sneakers go better with jeans and t-shirts and sweatshirts. Boat shoes should be your go to shoe during the summer and spring months. They are extremely affordable and give off a classy look to compliment whatever you decide to wear with them. Boots should only be used during the winter. Lace-ups and Oxfords are dressier shoes that you should add to your collection because they’ll take your footwear to the next level and can be worn with anything.

Accessorize-Remember that accessories can make or break your outfit. Watches are probably the most important accessory you can get your hands on. A nice watch can really compliment an outfit and make people notice you. Make sure you don’t spend a ton of money on a cheap or gaudy looking watch. Something simple yet elegant will get the job done. Jewelry can also be worn as an accessory but I suggest you keep it to a minimum with a chain or a ring and don’t have brass knuckles across your fingers.

Groom yourself-As important as it seems, this can be the most overlooked part about a person’s style. You may look like a GQ model with the clothes you’re wearing, but no one wants to look at someone who doesn’t take care of their skin, hair, and smell. It is important to shave and take care of your hair, along with your skin. Take a trip to the barber and figure out what hairstyle looks best. You’ll also want to spend some money on a few colognes to make yourself smell more attractive. Too much cologne can be bad, but a spray here and there can only help you out.


Conclusion-Developing a better sense of style and fashion takes time. Most college students won’t have the bankroll to completely revamp their closet and instantly come into class looking like a model. Just remember to keep an open mind and to try out new things to find what works best for you. Everyone looks good in certain colors or clothing; it’s just a matter of figuring it out. Spend a little bit of money here and there and before you know it you’ll be the center of attention. You’ll look better and feel better about yourself.


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