Another year of school has officially begun. Whether you’re a freshman looking to make a good first impression or a graduate student interested in upgrading your style, this is the best time of year to give your wardrobe a refresh.
You can replace decade-old graphic tees and ripped-up jeans with golf polos, collared shirts, and entire outfits that help you feel like the best-dressed guy on campus.
The following styles are a good framework for rebuilding your wardrobe with essentials every guy should have, from first-year students to Ph.D. candidates. The best part is that many outfits share the same staples, meaning you can build a versatile closet with only a few classic pieces.
Here are some must-have styles for the upcoming semester and a few ideas for each so you can take on the year with confidence.
Your style makes an impression. A dressed-up outfit that’s professional while still being laid back (think business casual) can become the centerpiece of your entire rotation. You’ll wear it to class, internships, campus events, and practically anywhere else you want to make a good impression.
A Golf Polo, Pullover, and Joggers
Start with an outfit that’s equal parts comfortable, versatile, and stylish. golf polos are one of the best additions you can make to your wardrobe. They’re easy to style, and the best ones are made with breathable fabric that keeps you cool and sweat-free on and off the course.
Then, add in a pullover. This gives you layering options so you can rock this outfit well into the fall semester and even over winter break. Finally, a pair of joggers designed with belt loops strikes the perfect balance between casual and professional.
Remember, for these dressed-up looks, stick to neutral colors so they help you effortlessly transition from one situation to another.
A Long-Sleeve Dress Shirt and Chinos
If you want to lean a little more towards the dressed-up side of business casual—MBAs and accounting majors, listen up—there are a few variations you can make.
First, a long-sleeve collared shirt isn’t just for special occasions. It shows the world that you want to look your best and have a sense of style. Plus, the best button-up shirts have just enough stretch and comfort to keep you feeling fresh all day. They feel like your favorite athletic wear but look professional.
Round things out with a pair of chinos to create an upscale look that’s sure to have you feeling confident in any situation on campus, from test day to networking opportunities.
If you want some color with this look, leave one of the two pieces neutral and choose a color that pops for the other. Olive green chinos with a white shirt or a solid pink button-up with gray pants are great combinations.
Now you need styles for those 8 a.m. math classes where you still want to look and feel your best but prefer something more low-key. These casual looks are just as versatile as the last category, just slightly more toned down.
A Short Sleeve Button-Up and Shorts
If you go to school in a warm climate, this is the perfect way to keep the casual vibes going and still impress with your outfit.
Start with a no tuck short sleeve dress shirt. And don’t be afraid to have fun with the design and color here. Floral and geometric patterns in bright colors like baby blue, salmon, or light green are perfect for showing off your personality.
Then, on the bottom, a simple pair of shorts will finish off the look. Since you’re utilizing color and patterns on top, stick to solid neutral colors like khaki, navy, gray, or black for your shorts.
A T-shirt and 5-Pocket Pants
Another staple of any casual wardrobe is the t-shirt and pants combo.
Choose a t-shirt that’s lightweight and breathable. Look for a style you can wear anywhere and everywhere. A classic choice is a plain-colored and straightforward shirt. Graphics and big logos can distract from your style.
Now for the pants. A pair of slim-fit 5-pocket pants is the perfect complement to your t-shirt. It creates the casual and laid-back outfit your wardrobe has been missing. Find a pair that’s wrinkle-resistant so you look fresh and clean all day long.
From the rec center to campus activities and even the local golf course, there are plenty of ways you’ll get out and be active this semester. And you want to keep up your reputation as the best-dressed guy on campus while you’re out and about.
A Golf Polo and Shorts
If you’re not at the gym but still want active clothes that look great and support your active lifestyle, this combination is perfect.
Golf polos are designed to hold up to the conditions you’d expect to encounter on the course. They’re flexible and moisture-wicking, and the best polos are even made with UPF 50+ fabric. It’s the easiest way to stay comfortable while also looking your best during all your favorite active hobbies.
While you’re at it, why not complete the look with a pair of shorts? They work just as well on the fairway as they do for an evening walk across campus. Make sure your shorts are made with performance fabric built for your active lifestyle. That way, you can keep moving without sacrificing style or comfort.
An Athletic T-Shirt and Pull On Shorts
What if you’re committed to your workout throughout the semester? Is this finally the time when you have to let style take a backseat and wear your old high school t-shirts and shorts with holes in them? Not if you want to be the best dressed on campus.
This look is simple but can be a staple in your wardrobe. An athletic t-shirt in a plain blue or gray colorway paired with some pull on shorts is perfect for everything from an early morning run to a quick trip to the grocery store or even a midnight study session.
Make sure your shorts have an elastic waistband, an adjustable drawcord, and zip-up pockets. Your shirt should guard against odors and wick away moisture.
Finally, the pièce de resistance of your wardrobe is your favorite outfits for special occasions. These are the clothes you’ll wear to Sunday dinners, while presenting your thesis, to the job fair, and, eventually, during your graduation ceremony.
A Blazer, Button-Up, and Dress Pants
It’s hard to beat the classic style of a blazer. And you can never go wrong by combining your blazer with a dress shirt and dress pants.
Start with a blazer that can stand out as the centerpiece of your whole outfit. A navy blue blazer is a great choice. Ensure it’s a trim-fit style with the breathability to stay comfortable through all your layers.
For your shirt, a simple white button-up lets your blazer do the talking and adds a hint of sophistication to the outfit.
Finally, choose some khaki or gray pants that pair well with the navy blue of your blazer. That’s all it takes to complete a look that makes a statement in any room.
An Oxford Collared Shirt and Dress Pants
If you want something with fewer layers that still feels stylish enough for special occasions, an Oxford collared shirt is an excellent choice. An Oxford is strong enough to stand on its own. Yes, you can add a tie or blazer or another layer, but it looks great by itself. You can even choose a colorful Oxford shirt instead of white to shake up your look. Either way, when you pair them with your favorite dress pants, you’ll be looking great for every special occasion.
While you’re taking your wardrobe to the next level this semester, remember to search for styles that show off who you are. Nothing helps you feel more confident than clothes that help you look your best.