From Drab to Fab: 7 Must-Have Items in Every College Student’s Wardrobe

Are you always late for class because you can never figure out what to wear? Save yourself some precious minutes with these 7 items every college student needs to have.

Updated 21 Apr 2020

7 Must-Have Items in Every College Student’s Wardrobe - Feature-Image

It’s not surprising to find many famous individuals in the world, such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Christopher Nolan, dressing similarly every day. This is to reduce the number of decisions they have to make in the morning, allowing them to spend more time on the real work instead.

However, unlike these millionaires, you don’t have to have the same look each day. Here are some fundamental (but affordable!) items you need to have in your wardrobe that can be easily mixed and matched for a different look each day!

#1. Comfortable, plain-coloured tees

Must-Have Items in Every College Student’s Wardrobe - 1- Comfortable plain coloured T-Shirts

Plain coloured t-shirts are a staple for any college student who wants a quick and fuss-free way to get ready for class. You can easily pair them with jeans or pants for those lazy days when you don’t want to spend too much time thinking about what to wear.

For example, whether you’re a male or female, you could pair a white cotton t-shirt and dark blue jeans with sneakers for a simple yet well put together look that will never go out of style.

For female students, you could also use accessories (e.g. a long necklace, hoop earrings, etc.) to add impact to an otherwise simple look.

#2. Formal wear

Must-Have Items in Every College Student’s Wardrobe - 2 - Formal wear

Formal wear is essential for days where you have a presentation or an interview to attend.

So if you’re a male, ensure that you have a suit, a crisp collared shirt, a tie (solid coloured or one that is not overly patterned) and black or dark brown formal shoes to look presentable. If you’re a female student, opt for a pantsuit or skirt suit and choose colours such as black, navy or deep grey.

If you have a limited amount of money to spend on these items, buy them from departmental stores such as AEON where you are sure to find some formal wear that fits your budget. Alternatively, buy second-hand clothes from stores or platforms such as Carousell. You’d be surprised to find some branded wear goods that are in excellent condition going for affordable prices!


Ensure that your formal wear fits you well (i.e. no oversized blazers or baggy slacks!) or it can make you look sloppy.

#3. Jeans

Must-Have Items in Every College Student’s Wardrobe - 3 - Jeans

Always invest in a good pair of jeans — they are everlasting and will never go out of style.

A pair of dark blue or black denim jeans would suffice, especially if you do not plan to attract the wrong attention with white wash torn jeans. To boot, jeans are incredibly versatile and can help you achieve a smart casual look for events where you want to look smart but not overly formal!

Just pair your jeans with a polo tee and a blazer, and you’re good to go. However, avoid wearing ripped jeans if you’re attending events!

#4. Hoodies, jackets and cardigans

Must-Have Items in Every College Student’s Wardrobe - 4 - Hoodie jackets cardigans

As college students, you can probably attest to the winter-like temperatures in your lecture halls and theatres.

Hence, to avoid freezing in class, always carry a hoodie, jacket or cardigan with you.

Apart from keeping you warm and toasty in class, they can also serve as a fashion statement and showcase your sense of style.

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#5. Footwear

Must-Have Items in Every College Student’s Wardrobe - 5 - Footwear

It is said that your style is defined from the bottom up. Hence, wearing the right pair of shoes can be the defining factor of your entire look.

However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll need to own every pair of shoes available. Keep the essentials with you, such as comfortable sneakers and loafers for both males and females, and easy-to-match sandals for the girls (e.g. those in black, brown or nude).

Invest in quality footwear so you don’t have to worry about what to wear for a long time. This means skipping those flimsy ballet flats that can be easily folded in half! While they may be cheap and nice to look at, they often provide little to no support for your feet.

#6. Comfortable pants

Must-Have Items in Every College Student’s Wardrobe - 6 - Comfortable pants

Apart from jeans, it’s also important to have different types of comfortable pants for your daily wear that are suited for our warm and humid weather.

Items such as khaki pants, or those made from materials such as cotton or polyester are useful and comfortable when going to class. For a classy look, you could go for bootleg-cut pants (for the females) and pair it with a slightly heeled shoe.

#7. Dresses

Must-Have Items in Every College Student’s Wardrobe - 7 - Dress

If you’re a girl, dresses are possibly the easiest and quickest item to style.

A basic black dress is always a must-have in every woman’s wardrobe due to its versatility. You can easily go from casual to chic by styling it with a cosy cardigan and some sneakers in the day and swapping it for heels and adding a bold statement necklace at night.

Sundresses are also a great addition to your closet. Pair a simple sundress with a monotone cardigan or a denim jacket together some flats, and you are good to go!

As you can see, you don’t need to be a millionaire to look like a million bucks — all you need are some basics pieces of clothing to look good and get ready for class with minimal fuss. This way, you can have that crucial extra minutes of sleep and have more time for other important tasks, like breakfast!

Need more tips to beat the morning rush? Learn how you can get ready for class in under 11 minutes here!

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    Josephine Serena

    Josephine Serena

    Media studies and journalism graduate. Buy me coffee and I'll spill the beans. Also really tall.