Easy Ways To Boost Your Campus Style

Ah yes, it’s nearly that time again. With summer quickly coming to a close, young style-minded gentleman everywhere are going to either be starting, or returning to university.

It’s an experience filled with equal parts excitement and uncertainty. But as much as your parents would like you to think that university life is about getting your head down, destroying your reading list and acing exams, there is actually another element to setting out on your own – no, not partying and drinking – how you dress and present yourself.

Yes, believe it or not, the way you dress during this period of your life is important. Not only is dressing with style and panache a great way to get members of the opposite sex to notice you, but it’s also perfect for garnering attention from other important people that will help shape your future, like your professors and prospective employers.

It’s also a well known fact that dressing like an adult will encourage you to act like an adult – as in, finally taking responsibility for your actions and getting your life in order. Ultimately, dressing in a more mature way will help reinforce and cement this new stage of your life.

But what if you’re new to the style game? What if all you’ve ever known is distressed denim, hoodies, sweatpants and graphic tees? Well, never fear, that’s where FashionBeans comes in. Reinventing your style for university isn’t that difficult – in fact, it can be done in a few simple steps that even the most inexperienced of us can follow, understand and execute.

Let us show you how…

Fit Is King

The way your clothes fit is paramount when it comes to upgrading your style, whether you’re eighteen years old or forty.

Ensuring your clothing fits you perfectly is what will take even the most simple look from all right to great. It’s also the difference between being seen as a well-dressed male or just another student wandering around campus. Trust us, it’s that important.

There are plenty of articles on FashionBeans dedicated to the way clothes should fit, but we would suggest you start with our fashion basics series, specifically the casual and formal round-ups.

Just remember that the chances of something fitting you perfectly off the rack are slim to none, so when you’re settled in, find a place near your campus that can do minor, low cost alterations for you and get your clothes tailored when appropriate (think special occasion pieces like trousers or blazers).

Upgrade Rather Than Reinvent

With a few choice upgrades to what you’re already comfortable wearing, you’ll be seen as a more stylish individual in no time. This method will save you time and the pain of having to overhaul your entire wardrobe in some new reinvention of yourself.

For example, t-shirts should be upgraded to polo shirts. Relaxed distressed jeans should be upgraded to slim, dark denim. Sweatshirts should be upgraded to crew neck jumpers and cardigans. Slouchy chinos can be traded for fitted alternatives or even trousers in tweed, wool-blends and corduroy. Knackered Converse should be upgraded to minimal leather trainers or, better yet, loafers, desert boots and suede Derbies.

Try to think of this as more of an improvement on what you’ve already got, rather than stepping completely out of your comfort zone.

  • Gap Clean Chambray ShirtGap Clean Chambray Shirt
  • Asos Oxford Shirt In Long Sleeve With Penny CollarAsos Oxford Shirt In Long Sleeve With Penny Collar
  • He By Mango Button-down Collar Polo ShirtHe By Mango Button-down Collar Polo Shirt
  • He By Mango Silk Wool-blend CardiganHe By Mango Silk Wool-blend Cardigan
  • He By Mango Straight-fit Dark Bob JeansHe By Mango Straight-fit Dark Bob Jeans
  • He By Mango Garment-dyed Twill ChinosHe By Mango Garment-dyed Twill Chinos
  • Uniqlo Men Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo ShirtUniqlo Men Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo Shirt
  • Gap Lambswool Cable Knit SweaterGap Lambswool Cable Knit Sweater
  • Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck SweaterUniqlo Men Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Sweater
  • Next Shawl CardiNext Shawl Cardi
  • Uniqlo Men Slim Fit Straight Jeans SelvedgeUniqlo Men Slim Fit Straight Jeans Selvedge
  • Uniqlo Men Wool Blended Slim Fit Flat Front TrousersUniqlo Men Wool Blended Slim Fit Flat Front Trousers
  • H By Hudson Harland Boots In TanH By Hudson Harland Boots In Tan
  • Reiss Jack Purcell Leather Jack Purcell Trainers WhiteReiss Jack Purcell Leather Jack Purcell Trainers White
  • He By Mango Distressed Leather Desert BootsHe By Mango Distressed Leather Desert Boots
Always Be A Notch Above The Crowd

One way to guarantee that you are noticed on campus is to always dress just one notch above everyone else. Truly stylish men always want to be seen as the best-dressed in any room, which is why many contemporary icons consider blazers and sports coats as part of their everyday wear.

Yet this doesn’t mean you should be dressing down a suit for lectures or sporting a shirt and tie on a night out. As sweatpants and slouchy tees are seemingly the go-to uniform for 75 per cent of any student population, something as simple as a button-down Oxford shirt, slim-fit jeans and loafers combination will help mark you out as someone that takes pride in his appearance and personal style.

Likewise, when everyone else is wearing their best jeans and checked shirt for a night out, stay a notch above by throwing on an unstructured blazer over a simple knitted polo. It’s only a small upgrade, yet it will subtly set you apart from the crowd without coming across as pretentious or over the top.

And while we are on the subject of nights out, we know they can get messy, which is why our guide to dressing in a stylish yet practical way when hitting the town is a must-read.

Daytime Outfit Inspiration

Below you will find some casual/day time outfit inspiration. There is nothing too advanced here – most looks simply combine shirts/tees with chinos/jeans and a knit/jacket – yet make a note of how each item fits and how the balance of smart and casual is just right for lectures or meetings with your professors:

Men's University Style - Casual/Day Wear Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

burton aw14allsaints ss13saturdays surf nyc holiday 2014avva aw14banana republic pre aw14ti for men ss14house of fraser aw12ccc 2014new look aw14river island holloway road aw14french connection aw14banana republic pre aw14
Evening Outfit Inspiration

Again, dressing in a stylish way for a night out needn’t be difficult. A slim pair of jeans/chinos matched with a well-cut shirt and jacket (whether it be a leather, blazer or luxe bomber) is all you will ever need to look your best.

That said, footwear makes or break any look, so ensure you store your shoes properly and clean/polish them regularly:

Men's University Style - Night Out/Evening Wear Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

selected denim ss14he by mango spring 2013falconeri ss14unknownburton ss14selected homme ss14he by mango aw12office shoes aw14aqua by aqua 2013avva aw14reiss aw13massimo dutti december 2013
Focus On The Essentials

Realistically, you’re not going to be needing too many fancy pieces such as bow ties, three-piece suits and tux jackets at university. Similarly, you shouldn’t be focusing too much on trend-led garments like floral ties, camo chinos or pink blazers.

Sure, it might be nice to have a few statement pieces but what you really want to prioritise are simple, classic and versatile items that you know will go with everything else you own.

Not only does this approach save you money in the long term, it makes getting dressed for a morning class on a hangover easy and also helps anchor the few trend pieces you do decide to invest in.

If you’re unsure on what these essentials are, read our two-part guide to reinventing your wardrobe.

Basics Lookbook Inspiration

As you can see below, it’s easy to create stylish everyday outfits using wardrobe basics like tees, chinos, Oxford shirts, knitwear and dark denim:

Men's University Style - Basic Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

7 FOR ALL MANKIND ss12j crew style guide 2014reiss 2012banana republic pre aw14he by mango september 2012selected denim ss14country road 2014jaeger ss14selected homme ss14selected denim aw13farah ss14j crew aw13
Think Outside The Box

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t dress with style because you’re on a student budget. There are plenty of brands offering true value for money these days, while high street retailers like Uniqlo and HE By Mango produce quality pieces at extremely affordable price points.

Not only that, FashionBeans has it’s very own discount code section, where you can regularly find exclusive money off vouchers for all your favourite stores.

Personally, I often find absolute bargains in charity/vintage shops and am a regular hoarder of eBay steals – and I haven’t been a student for five years now!

If anything, you can find higher quality clothing for the same price as fast fashion stores and if you’re unhappy with your purchase, you can always re-sell them on to the next person. What have you got to lose?

  • Tommy Hilfiger Red & Navy Bold Check ShirtTommy Hilfiger Red & Navy Bold Check Shirt
  • Levis 501 Dark Blue Denim JeansLevis 501 Dark Blue Denim Jeans W35
  • Harris Tweed Blue & Grey Checked Suit JacketHarris Tweed Blue & Grey Checked Suit Jacket
  • 70s Dark Brown Plain Leather Jacket70s Dark Brown Plain Leather Jacket
  • Levis Dark Blue Denim JacketLevis Dark Blue Denim Jacket
  • Armani Exchange Olive Green TrousersArmani Exchange Olive Green Trousers
  • Herschel Supply Co. Survey Backpack NavyHerschel Supply Co. Survey Backpack Navy Blue
  • All Saints Leather Jacket Black/brownAll Saints Leather Jacket M Black/brown- Worn Only A Couple Of Times!
  • Nudie Tape Ted Denim JeansNudie Tape Ted Denim Jeans 34 Waist Slim Fit
  • Levis Vintage Denim JacketLevis Vintage Denim Jacket
  • Ben Sherman Harrington BomberBen Sherman Harrington Bomber
  • Clarks Originals Desert BootClarks Originals Desert Boot
Remember, It’s Not A Race

Seriously, it isn’t. You’ve got a few years ahead of you before you graduate and plenty of student loan instalments in-between.

Just because you don’t have the perfect student wardrobe straight away, it doesn’t mean you won’t eventually. And trust us when we say that even when you think it’s perfect, it won’t stay that way for long.

Having a style-orientated wardrobe means constantly working on it, re-evaluating your personal style and creating a state of refinement season after season.

Once you’re hooked, you’re hooked for life. So expect to be developing your wardrobe for the next thirty years, not just three.

Final Word

There you have it, some simple guidelines that you can begin to implement before striking out on your own this month.

But bear in mind that maintaining your clothes is just as important as wearing and buying them – so don’t forget to store, wash and iron them properly. Maybe get some tips off mum before you head away.

But as always, we want to hear from you guys. Make sure you leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section below…