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Reader Question

College Guy Style: Three Outfit Wardrobe Upgrade

College Guy Style Guide

Today, Gabi tackles a co-ed’s style question…

Reader Nick asks,

I’m in college and I’d like to greatly upgrade my wardrobe to improve how I dress around campus and out at the bars. Are there three outfits you can recommend that I can buy that will help me right away???

If only all guys were like you, Nick. Thank you for asking. Really. Per your request, I’ve created 3 looks to wear when you’re out and about, out of your dorm room:

1.  a casual cool look for class

2.  the classic guy’s guy look for going out

3.  a clean cut look for a date

Good news is you probably already have most of this stuff in your wardrobe, it’s just that maybe you don’t know how to style it. I highlighted the items I think you are least likely to own, so you can add them to your wardrobe ASAP. If you DO own them I applaud you and but if you don’t YOU TOTALLY SHOULD. 

1. You start your day in class, and here’s what I recommend you wear.

Pants: Obey, $68
Flannel: Gap, $50
Henley: H&M,$20
Sneakers: Vans, $45
Belt: Topman, $24
Backpack: Herschel Supply, $55

Any effort beyond sweatpants is appreciated, but if you go the extra mile I’ll go out of my way to sit next to you. Classrooms can be pretty chilly, so feel free to layer with a henley and a flannel; kangaroo pocket hoodies are not attractive. Casual sneakers can be worn (practically) everywhere except the gym, where you have to wear actual running sneakers. You should only wear running sneakers when you are actually trying to sweat, not just sweating. Anything that requires a belt – such as jeans – is great, but these pants are way more fun, and the first thing you need to add to your wardrobe:

Essential College Wardrobe Item #1 COLORED PANTS

Even if you’re not super confident or outgoing you can wear these. I’m even willing to say ESPECIALLY if you’re shy you should wear these, because then you don’t have to go out of your way to introduce yourself.

Girls will come to you.

The brightness of color is your call; Feel free to go with a bright mustard yellow or this muted burgundy. Now, you may be intimidated by what to wear with some color pants, but it’s actually pretty simple. The short and simple answer is a neutral. Black, white, grey, brown and oatmeal go with everything, end of story. The slightly longer and slightly more impressive answer is any color. Yes, that answer appears just as long as the first one but that’s because there are a bunch of weird secret rules that vary from person to person so they’re really more like guidelines and it’s really just about experimenting. Like college.


2. If you wear this out on guy’s night you aren’t going to need a wingman.


Jeans: H&M, $20
Shirt: H&M, $6
Jacket: ASOS, $70
Shoes: Clarks, $145
Belt: Urban Outfitters, $12

Jeans are an obvious choice, and the right one. Just make sure they are straight-leg, dark denim (as if it hasn’t been drilled into your head enough). A plain tee can be one of the most attractive things a guy can wear, as long as it fits right. Throw a little something over, such as this next item you should own:

Essential College Wardrobe Item #2 Bomber

This is such a shamelessly classic America jacket I just find myself falling in love with it and any boys wearing it. Yesterday I watched The Dreamers starring Michael Pitt (No relation to Brad), and there’s a scene where he wears one of these (in this color) and he became my new celebrity crush. It looks great with just a tee, but it can be dressed up with a collared shirt. It reminds me of a high school letter man jacket, but stripped down without the semantics for the bad boys who didn’t play sports. And as we all know, all girls love a bad boy.

Finish the look with some casual shoes, like simple sneakers or these:

Essential College Wardrobe Item #3 Wallabees

When I first saw these online I thought nothing of them. It wasn’t until I was walking to class and wiping the sleepies out of my eyes that I looked down and saw a boy wearing these and decided I really really like them. They are like the perfect alternative to those moccasins that everyone seems to wear in college that really should be reserved for walking from your dorm to the bathroom because they have absolutely no sole or soul amiright? This kind has both a chunky sole and a sexy foreign soul from across the pond.


3. This outfit can be worn on a date but it can also get you a date.

Pants: Gap, $35
Shirt: Hawkings McGill, $49
Sweater: H&M, $35
Shoes: Clarks, $120
Belt: Martin Dingman, $50

Girls put effort into their regular, everyday outfits, but they put in A LOT of effort for date night. They won’t express it – and maybe not even until you’ve already been dating them a while – but they want you to, too! Shave, use some aftershave, iron your shirt, tuck it in, wear a belt! And wear some fun textures. These pants are moleskin, and I don’t know what the feels like, so you can totally be like “hey, feel my pants, they’re moleskin!” and I won’t have a second thought about it. Wear a cashmere or neppy sweater and I’ll be more inclined to put your arm around me than you are. You can even wear the sweater solo, but if you want to step it up a notch (which, YES, you do) pair it with an OCBD.

Essential College Wardrobe Item #4 OCBD

ABBREVS 4 LYFE! An Oxford cloth button-down is perfect for all occasions, including date night. I don’t want to see you in a business shirt: this isn’t business, this is intimate. OCBDs can be both, and everything else, so use it to your advantage. And get them in every color. You won’t regret it; Trust me.

Essential College Wardrobe Item #6 Chukkas / Desert Boots

Now, if you’ve been on this site long enough you’ve seen Megan’s love for these shoes, which is so immense it accurately shows the love all women have for these shoes, including those who have never heard of them. I’m seeing them pop up now more often than freshman year, and it’s a good thing. Hop on this bandwagon now before all your friends do, but then invite them as soon as they notice yours. Their ladies will thank you.

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