Back to School Basics: Six Picks for Upcoming Seniors

Back to School Basics: Six Picks for Upcoming Seniors

By Gabi Meyers | Last Updated: Jun 23 2022 | 5 min read

Back to school, back to cool, amirite?

Heading back for your senior year means the last time to make first impressions on campus (except for all you super seniors of course! big ups to all the Van Wilders out there..), so let’s make ’em good, guys.

Most likely your style has changed since freshman year, and hopefully it’s been for the better. While you’re probably started pruning your wardrobe since freshman year, it’s time to complete the transition from boy to employable young man. To round out your final year of freedom from the man, below is a list of key pieces to add to your wardrobe for easy transitioning into the real world, a.k.a “Here are the looks to wear in your new Facebook pics to replace the sloppy ones you need to hide from future employers.” You can thank me later.

Here’s what you need to nab that “best dressed” superlative your senior year:

1. Sturdy Leather Belt

back to school basics

Everlane, $45; Allen Edmonds, $88

I cannot express to you how immature I find those sliding canvas belts. They are fine every once in a while, with a casual outfit, but they cannot be your everyday belt. It makes me like, “WHY DON’T YOU HAVE NOTCHES IN YOUR BELT?!”

There’s literally a saying about adding a notch in your belt, so if you don’t have any then you’ve learned…nothing?

Ideally you should have a thin, black leather belt for business and formal clothes and a wider brown/cognac/tan belt for casual wear. As a personal preference, I like silver buckles with black belts and silver or gold with brown belts.

2. Attractive Lounge Pants

back to school basics

Le Coq Sportif, $60 J.Crew, $60Crooks & Castles, $88

You invited this hot chick over to your place to watch a movie. She’s coming over at 11 and you’re staying in for the night. What are you wearing? You can’t wear jeans, because no one in their right mind “lounges” in jeans. Your high school varsity tennis sweats? No, those are your gym sweats.  You’re looking for the guy equivalent to yoga pants here.

What I’m trying to say is you need some really sleek sweatpants, for looking good when you’re supposed to be looking “off duty“. These sweatpants don’t go outside – they are exclusively indoor sweatpants – so they don’t get all raggedy from weather, dragging on the ground, etc. This keeps them looking *fresh* for the ladies. 

3. A Signature Cologne

back to school basics

 Portland General Store, $98; Acqua Di Parma, $94

By senior year you’ve graduated from the scented deodorant + bodyspray combo that originated in the sixth grade. In fact, you should have some semblance of “who you are” and be able to capture that “essence” in an essence. Spend a good 45 minutes in the perfume cologne section of your local department store and find something that a) you like b) your accompanying lady friend likes and c) you can see (smell?) being adapted to all situations. If you feel wildly lost when it comes to scent shopping, I encourage you to check out SG’s articles on signature scents and year round colognes, because I literally just pick up whatever has a cool bottle and doesn’t give me an asthma attack.

4. A “Perfect” Button Up Shirt

back to school basics

Spectre& Co., $45; Hucklebury, $120; Proper Cloth, $145

Get it in white, and get it in light blue, too, if you can. A made-to-measure or custom shirt will be your best wingman at the bar, on a date, in class, at formal, and at the job fair. And if you’re afraid of people recognizing that you wore that shirt two days ago for your presentation and yesterday at your frat party, don’t be. No one noticed, because all they were looking at is how well your shirt fit and how desperately they wanted to know where they can get one of their own. And if they do ask, you get to tell them, “It’s an investment piece.” For more information on the process on creating the shirts from the brands noted above, be sure to check out SG’s brother’s article on online shirtmakers, here.

5. Business Clothes for Job Fairs

back to school basics

Sportcoat – J.Crew, $218; Suit – ASOS, $152; Pants – Calvin Klein, $45

Khakis can only get you so far. If you can get yourself a well-fitting suit to pair with your #4, then the only thing that can keep you from being golden at the next job fair is a weak resume and a weaker handshake. First impressions matter more than we like to think, and if you can wow potential employers with your look, they’ll be that much more inclined to be wowed by your stellar interview answers.

If you’re not going into a suits-required job setting, then you can go for khakis or business pants, but make them stand out! Choose a color like olive or a pattern like houndstooth. Fifty percent of people are visual learners; They are more likely to remember you by that really cool tie than by the listed skills on your resume (which, ps, are all know Microsoft Office? so does everyone else). Check out these articles on career fair clothes and interview wear for more tips and tricks.

6. Cool Apartment Decor

I’m not going to tiptoe around it: you well-dressed playas are surely bringing home some ladies. Whether it’s for a group project (collective groan) or, ahem, extracurricular, you should always have a neat-looking place. A great way to determine if your apartment is decent is to ask if yourself, If my mom walked in right now, would she be pleasantly surprised? If the answer is yes then you’re doing something right. As long as your mom is not a hoarder.

All it takes to impress a college girl is not using milk crates for everything. You have a set of drawers for your underwear? Great! Your coffee table required instructions to assemble? Fabulous! If your apartment came furnished like mine did, then just a few touches of non-debauch decor would be nice: some books on display, posters that don’t have naked girls on them, maybe a sleek,  minimal iHome. Not sure where to start? There’s a Pinterest board to combat mancaving.

Now go out there and have the best year ever, you senior stud muffins! 

Tell Us:

How did your style change from freshman to senior year?

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Gabi Meyers went from Team SG's first-ever intern to a trusted fashion editor and stylist. She currently lives in Chicago with a very cute dog.