Wardrobe Essentials For Your First Year of College

So, college! You made it this far, and you’re about to embark on a whole new journey.

Okay, okay, I might sound like your parents right now. However, it’s true. College is a whole new chapter in your life where you will experience new things, meet a slew of new people, and face a whole new level of frugalness you didn’t know even existed in the first place.

Yes, you will be poor, and you will have to manage your budget carefully. Being fashionable throughout college sounds like an impossible feat, but if you spend your money wisely, you’ll probably become the most fashionable gal on campus!

The trick to pulling this off is to make sure every accessory or article of clothing you own is functional (not seasonal) and will not go out of style anytime in the next 4 years. In other words, keep it basic yet tasteful. Also, choose wisely! You don’t need that cute frilly summer dress as much as you need a winter coat.

To help you with this, I have a list of totally must-have wardrobe essentials for your first year of college. These clothes and accessories will take you through all 4 years of college while helping you look classy and adult-like (as opposed to the juvenile wardrobe you probably still have from your high school days).

Photo/credit: elfsacks.com
Photo/credit: elfsacks.com

A few nice pairs of jeans

Without jeans, you don’t have many options. Jeans are the absolute basic essentials of any girl’s wardrobe. You want to invest in a few great-quality pairs of jeans that will last you throughout college.

A pair of high heels

When you’re not studying, you should be having fun. That’s what college is all about, after all! Nothing screams “fun” more than a pair of high heels does! Whether you’re going to a fancy gathering or going out with your ladies, a pair of high heels is a must. You should invest in a black or dark brown pair.

A pair of dress pants

You never know when you’ll land a job interview or get invited to a special event on campus. You should own at least one pair of dress paints, perhaps black or dark gray ones.

Super comfy sweats

You haven’t experienced college unless you’ve donned comfortable sweats around your dorm. Grab some comfy shirts and sweatpants before heading off to college!

A hoodie

Bonus points if that hoodie is emblazoned with the name of your college on the front! A hoodie is the perfect thing to slip on when you’re cold or not feeling well.

A huge fashionable purse

With college comes many parties, weekend getaways, sleepovers, and, ahem, the need to smuggle stuff around. What better accessory to use than a huge purse that can fit your makeup, hairbrush, emergency lady products, an extra pair of shoes, a bottle of wine, and an evening cocktail dress?

Versatile pieces of jewelry

Stock up on some fashionable necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets that will go with pretty much any outfit. You can never go wrong with silver jewelry.

Don’t waste your money on…

Trendy articles of clothing and accessories. Know those statement sunglasses? Chevron scarves? Mustache t-shirts, hats, shorts, rings, bracelets, necklaces….? These things, along with anything else that’s trendy right now, will be so out of style in 4 years.

Expensive pieces of jewelry. Since this is your first year, it’s likely that you’re living in the dorms. You do not want to leave expensive pieces of jewelry lying around your dorm room.

Super expensive shoes. Your dorm room is the last place you should ever store your $300 Jimmy Choos. College is not the place for expensive clothes, shoes, or jewelry.

Costumes. Whether you need a costume for Halloween or a themed party, don’t splurge on one. You’ll shove it in the back of your closet and never, ever wear it again. Instead, visit the thrift store or get creative with the clothes and accessories you already have!

Is there an article of clothing or an accessory I haven’t mentioned that you think is a must-have wardrobe item to take to college? If so, sound off in the comments below!

This is an article by Anita, writer for Higher Click, writing on behalf of Macy’s.                              She is also a blogger on Anita’s life with the cats, a fashion enthusiast and a plane geek.




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32 thoughts on “Wardrobe Essentials For Your First Year of College

  1. Great wardrobe picks! I’m generally a “dress” person so I would have mine with different colored dresses, but, we wore uniforms back in college so we got to save a lot on clothing! ^_^

  2. definitely agree with you!! a pair of cardigans + blazers are essentials especially for guys since it can give you that professional look without getting too formal.. 🙂

  3. These are fabulous tips and advices and I agree on them! I went to a college that did not need any uniform and I made sure to have the basic wardrobe 😀

  4. Great tips! I was among the lucky ones to have gone to school where a dress code is never implemented so we could go wearing flip flops, shorts, and tanks haha am not kikay 😛 but your choices are great especially because most schools do impose a dress code.

  5. Whoa! I never had these “essential” stuffs when I was in college.. We had our school uniform. For me it’s better than having no uniforms at all! Mas magastos ang wala! 🙂

  6. This is really a good list of must haves. I remember when I was in college, I only had one pair of jeans. The school I went to had the uniform policy.

  7. The clothing collection you have suggested is awesome! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the benefit of wearing any of them because I took up nursing. I used to wear all things white and wonderful. LOL! But your suggestions would have made my fashion sense awesome in college!

  8. Coool! Love it. Pashioooon! What can I say you really got it figured on how to be part of the in group in college.

  9. I have always been a casual and laid back person when it comes to dressing, since I was in college where we did not have to wear a uniform or wear business attire.

    -Wanderer Juan

  10. Great thing I don’t have a problem in college wearing civilian clothes. We only wear like that every Wednesday(Wash Day).

  11. Good to wear for those enrolled at ‘no school uniform; schools. Good suggestions except for ‘Versatile pieces of jewelry’. Seems not appropriate to have, kasi daming snatchers dito sa Pinas.

  12. I remember wearing almost the same clothes in college. The key is to buy basic clothing and wrap yourself with a jacket so people won’t notice.

  13. This reminds me how I look back in college… a plain t-shirt and jeans paired with plain flat shoes is really fine with me back then.


  14. I remember my daughter entering college in 2008 – she really have to start from a zero wardrobe. that’s actually the hard part when the university runs on a free dress code. with no uniforms, everyday clothing can be quite a burden esp when she does have just few pieces. I always tell her to buy pieces that can be mix and match. That solved the dilemma.

  15. makes me wish technology and communication was this advanced when I went to college for the first time 🙂 great tips from fashion experts like you would have made me more confident 🙂

  16. Love, love, love this post of yours sis! It’s very apt and timely for my daughter who will soon enter college next school year back in the Philippines. As a fashionable mom, I don’t want my daughter to look like a drag so as early as now, I’m building up her wardrobe essentials that she will take home. I’m already teaching her tips and tricks of mixing and matching and having basic tops and bottoms to pair with everything else. Great post!!! 🙂

  17. I love your clothes choices. It brought me so much memories
    about my college days, tight budget and barely a handful of clothes to wear.


  18. A great way to continue to be more fashionable and even more free to choose your own wardrobe to show who you really are.

  19. nice choices of clothes, I could recommend this to my niece who is up to trends lol how I wish I can afford to buy clothes when I was in college.


  20. wish i could turn back time and be fashionable with all the other kolehiyala. 😉

    this brought me back to my college “poor” days where me and my brother would eat pancit canton and egg for breakfast, lunch or dinner when we run out of pocket money. haha!


  21. the lists make sense and especially that “what nots”, thankfully, I did not have to worry much about fashion when I was in college because that was the last of the concern of geeky majors 🙂

  22. A good wardrobe builder consists of mostly basics such as neutrals is imperative when you’re just entering college and you need to have enough of pieces to go around. Mixing and matching is key I think. 🙂


  23. I would love to wear one of those during my college days but (un)fortunately we had uniforms then. It was fine with me since finance were tight that time.

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