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Essential clothes for college: what to pack and buy

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As tempting as it may be to take your entire wardrobe with you to college, it’s not a very practical idea. So we’ve put together a packing list to get you on the right track.

Overall, we suggest that you prioritize all of your fall and winter clothing over summer items as we head into fall as you check off items on the list. And if you need or want a few new items before the start of the quarter, we’ve got you covered with some of our top picks for solid wardrobe essentials.

We recommend that you go for high quality wardrobe basics over budget trendy pieces. We’re not saying never invest in a trend, but just evaluate your purchase before committing to something that you once wear and then forget altogether.

Recommended reading: The essentials of laundry that every freshness needs

Essential clothes you need for college

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you call home during college, here are the top things that should be on your packing list:

  1. jeans
  2. T-shirts
  3. Beautiful tops
  4. Shirts
  5. Sweaters
  6. Dress pants
  7. Dresses
  8. Trainers
  9. Heels
  10. Relaxation clothing
  11. Slippers
  12. Athletic wear
  13. Raincoat

Don’t forget your essential university basics

Daily basics to remember:

  1. Socks
  2. Underwear
  3. Arm
  4. Tights

With these items in mind, we’re going to dive into some of our favorite essentials that are perfect for college students.

blue jean

Blue Demin pieces are essential college clothing.

Photo: Urban outfitters

Women’s jeans and men’s jacket Urban Outfitters

Not only will blue denim never go out of style, but wearing it is a great way to add a pop of color to a dull look.

This pair of women’s jeans features a slim fit and a high waist to help create a flattering shape when you wear them. The men’s jacket comes in darker denim, perfect for fall weather.

Women’s jeans – on sale now for just £ 20

Men’s jacket – on sale now for just £ 24

Versatile T-shirts


Gap t-shirts are college essentials.
Photo: GAP

Gap t-shirts

A t-shirt that goes with everything is a wardrobe staple. Both are made from 100% cotton and are durable garments.

The women’s t-shirt is slightly cropped and available in a range of neutral and bright tones. You can purchase the men’s t-shirt in black or white, as well as the navy blue pictured above.

Shop the women’s t-shirt from just £ 4.99

Shop the men’s t-shirt for just £ 9.95

Crop tops


This H&M open-back cropped top is a college essential.
Photo: H&M

H&M Open Back Cropped Top

A nice crop top can go with jeans, pants or a pretty skirt. This one can be dressed up with glam gold jewelry or worn with high waisted jeans for a cute daytime look. It is also open in the back and can be tied with tight ties placed at the back of the top.

Buy now for £ 12.99

Sweatshirts


New Look sweatshirts are an essential piece of clothing for college.
Photo: New look

New Look Sweatshirts

Heading into the fall term without something to keep you warm wouldn’t make much sense. These New Look sweatshirts are warm, cozy and comfortable. They’re great to throw over your head when you’re rushing to class and don’t really need a jacket.

Women’s sweatshirt only £ 19.99

Men’s sweatshirt only £ 22.99

Elegant shirt


This Superdry Lumberjack shirt is a college essential.
Photo: Superdry

Superdry Lumberjack Shirt

Having a stylish shirt in your wardrobe can come in handy in unexpected situations. You might need something cool to go to a semi-formal night out, on a date, or just to feel good for a day! The green and black checks on this shirt are a great way to add understated patterns to your cuts. In addition, organic cotton is pleasant on the skin.

Grab yours now for £ 44.99

Dress pants


ASOS DESIGN's pants for women and men are essential clothing for college.
Photo: Asos

ASOS DESIGN Women’s and men’s pants

Like a stylish shirt, stylish pants can come in handy for things like job interviews or any event that might call for something a little more formal than jeans.

The pants for women have a high waist slim fit while the men are super skinny, especially around the legs.

Women’s pants available for £ 20

Men’s pants available for £ 25

Little black dress


This black boohoo mini dress is a college essential.
Photo: boohoo

boohoo black mini dress

An LBD is always in fashion. It’s a wardrobe staple that you can pop out for a last-minute nightclub or have a drink with friends. This one from boohoo has cute bow details along the bust and a gathered skirt for an ultra flattering fit.

On sale for just £ 12 at boohoo

Trainers


White Reebok sneakers are a college essential.
Photo: Reebok

White Reebok sneakers

Investing in a stylish, high-quality pair of sneakers before the start of the school year is a great idea. You can wear them to conferences, while exploring your new campus, and most college clubs will allow you to wear sneakers at night as well.

This pair of Reebok is timeless. They’re comfy, easy to put on and dress up, and will last you for years of late-night library sessions and hours on the dance floor.

Buy now for £ 65 from Reebok

Heels


This pair of New Look Cream Block Heels is a college essential.
Photo: New look

Cream block heels New Look

While you won’t get overwhelmed by chic college occasions, there are some weird formal parties and chic club nights where a pair of heels is needed.

This cream pair goes with just about any outfit. Plus, the loose fit and four-inch heel mean your feet shouldn’t kill you at the end of a long night out.

Only £ 19.99 at New Look

Relaxation clothing


Boohoo loungewear sets are college essentials.
Photo: boohoo

boohoo loungewear sets

We’ve said it before by covering the plain supplies you need and we’ll say it again, loungewear is a must. A comfy ensemble is a must-have for those chilly Sundays when all you can think of is how hungover you are, or when embarking on a new streak with roommates. These boohoo sets are very trendy; we love the oatmeal color on the ladies set and the panels on the men.

Shop for women’s loungewear for £ 24

Shop for men’s loungewear for £ 28

Sliders


Slides are essential clothing for college.
Photo: Schuh

Schuh sliders for women and Champion sliders for men

Having a pair of slippers or slippers ready for the colder months is a good idea as you probably won’t feel like walking barefoot on the cold kitchen floor early in the morning. These sliders are easy to put on and take off, are affordable, and will keep your feet clean as you walk through your residences.

Women’s slides just £ 20

Men’s slides at just £ 14

Athletic wear


Sportswear is essential clothing for college.
Photo: Nike

Nike t-shirt and leggings

College is often full of late night drinking and too much junk food. So even if you are not the athletic type, we recommend that you balance all the alcohol and pizza with some exercise. Although Nike does not sell the cheapest sportswear, it is among the most durable. The leggings are stretchy but thick while the men’s t-shirt is comfortable thanks to the 75% organic cotton that makes up the fabric.

Leggings on sale now for £ 38.47

T-shirt available for £ 49.95

Rain jackets


A rain jacket is an essential piece of clothing for college.
Photo: Asos

ASOS DESIGN and Brave Soul rain jackets

Going to college in the UK? You will need to add a rain jacket to your list of essentials. Preferably with a hood!

Both of these jacket options will provide much-needed shelter on rainy days and protect you from any annoying wind. They also have zippers and pockets.

Ladies stay dry for £ 18

Men stay dry for £ 20

Treat yourself to something yellow


Bring a yellow garment to college.
Photo: H&M

H&M yellow cardigan and sweater

Why yellow you might be wondering? Well, wearing yellow is considered a way to make yourself happier. And while college is full of good times, there will definitely be days when you miss home or just feel a little down.

This yellow cardigan is perfect for wrapping up while the hoodie will keep you warm and comfy when you need it most.

Buy the cardigan now for £ 17.99

Buy the hoodie now for £ 29.99


Prices updated on 07/09/2021. We are not responsible for price changes mentioned above.


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