University (or college, for our readers across the pond) is where many men are made. It’s a place for broadening your horizons, acquiring skills, making friends and making some really stupid mistakes – but, you know, it’s all in the name of learning. Consider this your first lesson: don’t skimp on style. Sure, you’re cash-strapped, but that’s no excuse to take your fashion cue from an environmental activist in hiding. These are the bang-for-your-buck buys to make you king on campus.
A Books-Proof Backpack
Wafer-thin laptops and tablets might’ve revolutionised education, but – no matter your chosen path – a few tomes are still textbook. Get smart, and save your back, by investing in a backpack that can take a beating. Polyester, leather and waxed canvas styles come top of the class for durability, while block-colour styles like black, navy, shades of grey and olive green work best with everything else in your wardrobe. Finally, if you’re tempted to lug cans in it, don’t.
Jeans That’ll Last You Your Degree
For some students – especially those with the good sense to elect for a ‘real’ degree – your university years are the only time you can wear jeans everywhere, all the time, without raising your boss’ eyebrows. So take advantage, and invest in some denim you can live in. A pair of quality jeans in a colour like deep indigo, black or grey will not only see you through lectures, but nights-out and all-nighters too. Opt for raw denim – which develops a patina based on how you wear it – and you’ll even have a memento of your student years. Like that time you went arse over tit after a game of King’s Cup.
A Hoodie You Can Wear Off Campus
Universities are like tribes: you need to wear something that not only makes you proud to be a part of it all, but also lets your enemy know who you are, and where you come from. Something that marks you apart. In this case though, it’s not all-over body paint, or a brass neck coil – it’s a hoodie. Don’t get us wrong: if we shelled out to go to Oxford, we’d want a hoodie that said the same, too. But university hoodies (or any novelty hoodie for that matter) won’t pass muster in a wardrobe that’s built for style. Buy one, sure, but maybe save it for the Sunday morning jog. Or keep it to gaze nostalgically at 10, 15 years from now. Whatever you do, don’t wear it. Instead, pick up a hoodie that does what hoodies do best: layer. A subtler style – like a long-sleeved zip-up in a low-key colour – can be thrown over a printed tee as easily as a flannel shirt, or slid underneath a bomber jacket or overcoat for extra warmth at one of the many, many student protests you’ll inevitably find yourself marching in.
If a man’s shoes say a lot about him, don’t let yours say ‘down and out’. Despite tuition fees slashing your spending power, there are still affordable options that’ll help you swerve the title of campus scruff. Look for low-key, well-soled sneakers – the kind that pair as easily with a suit as a tracksuit. Granted, tailoring isn’t exactly a cornerstone of the average undergraduate’s wardrobe, but a versatile pair of trainers ensures you’re not caught out on occasions that call for something smarter. And don’t forget a solid grounding: trainers with vulcanised and cupsoles give the support you need for traipsing miles between lectures, or walking home from wherever you’ve woken up the next day.