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Wardrobe Essentials for College Girls


I received the following email recently:

“Hey i love your site and find it really helpful. I’m a senior in high school and will be in college next fall. I want to start with a fresh wardrobe. Do you have any suggestions on what is needed in every college fashionista’s wardrobe?”

College Wardrobe Must-Haves
Photo by TeeRish

This is a question I get a lot and I’m pretty sure most girls have trouble with this. When you’re in college, you’re really just starting to develop a wardrobe, a closet full of clothes that will last you not only your 4 years of university, but on into “the real world.”

You want to keep up with trends, but at the same time, you want clothes that won’t be unwearable next season. I hear you.

Here is what I believe to be the definitive guide to what every college girl should have in her wardrobe. No, I’m not going to tell you to buy diamond studs or a trench coat, firstly because we’ve all heard those before, and secondly because college girls just don’t dress that way in real life. I’m gonna tell you about what you’re actually going to want to be wearing for your four years of college life.

Absolute Must’s

4-5 Pairs of Jeans That Fit Well
Jeans (not sweatpants!) are the basics of a college girl’s closet. Find a brand of denim that fits you well, and then stock up on different basic washes and styles. Rotate these through the week (no one will notice if you wear the same pair twice in one week, I promise.)

One of these pairs can be a trendy style, like skinny jeans or wide leg jeans. Just don’t buy all trendy denim, because you’ll have to buy new jeans next season or risk looking really out of date.

Brands to check out: American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap

A Classic Dress

Banana Republic Classic Dress
Dress by Banana Republic

This is my favorite because it’s pretty much an entire outfit in one easy piece. A lot of fashion experts say that you need a “little black dress”, and of course I agree that black dresses are chic and classic. However, I think if a dress fits you well and isn’t trashy looking, it doesn’t need to be black.

Let’s face it: most college girls aren’t going to cocktail parties that require LBD’s. If you are, by all means, buy a little black dress. If you’re the typical college girl, just get a dress that fits you well in a color that flatters your skin tone.

4-6 Basic Tank Tops

A&F Tank Top
Tank Top by A&F

Get a few tank tops of varying lengths in different basic colors like black, white, grey and navy blue. These can be worn alone in summer or layered under cardigans, jackets and long-sleeved tops in winter.

Also, look for tanks that are 100% cotton to avoid the weird clinging that some blend fabrics can cause. No one wants to see the outline of your bra under your tank top!

Brands I like: H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap Body.

1-3 Chic Cardigans

Hot Pink Cardigan from Nordstrom
Ribbed Cardigan by Tildon

You don’t have to go 100% cashmere, although that’s certainly nice and everything. Most college girls don’t have the time or money to get things dry cleaned regularly so don’t think that cashmere is a must!

Pick up some basic cotton cardigans at H&M, J Crew or GAP and layer them over your tank tops for a look that’s chic and trendy at the same time. Get one basic black and at least one in a color like purple, hot pink or chocolate brown.

Great Bras & Panties
These will take you SO far. Underwear is the foundation of your look. If you don’t have a bra that fits well, the rest of your outfit is not going to look right. Same goes for panties.

Spend the time and the money shopping for good well-fitting bras and panties that don’t pinch, bulge or show under your clothes.

Brands I like: Victoria’s Secret bras and Hanky Panky thongs.

A Bag That Holds Everything

Nine West Shopper
Bag By Nine West

You want a bag that’s good quality (canvas, leather, or strong fake-leather are good bets), goes with most of your wardrobe, and still looks chic. The right bag can also go from day to night, so look for classic details like metal accents.

Also, bonus points if you can find a bag that has lots of pockets and zippered compartments to keep you organized!

Brands I love: Marc by Marc Jacobs, Nine West, Coach

1-2 Dressy Tops
Look for satin, lace, bright colors and cute prints. Wear a dressy top under a fall/spring jacket or by itself with jeans and heels to a party. Don’t go see-through, uber low-cut or too-tight.

1 Pair Nice Dress Pants
Get a well-fitting trouser in black or dark grey with a wide leg to wear on job interviews and recruiting sessions. Your dress pants should be long enough to wear with heels, but not so long that they drag on the ground.

1 White Button-Down Shirt

Banana Republic White Button-Down Shirt
Shirt by Banana Republic

Again, this is most likely going to be used for job interviews and/or internships.

Look for a button-down with a little stretch and a cut that’s flattering to your body shape. You don’t want one that’s too tight of course, but you also don’t want to look like a box.

Spending a little more money here will be well worth it because you can wear this shirt to work when you get a big girl job later.

Brands to consider: Banana Republic, Gap

1 Well-Cut Spring/Fall Jacket
This can be as casual or as formal as you like. It just needs to match most of your clothes and has to fit well!

The cut is everything with jackets so spend as long as it takes shopping around for the right jacket. Don’t settle for something that doesn’t fit just right.

1 or 2 Winter Coats
Those of you who live in Cali don’t need these, obviously (unless you like to ski). For those of us in areas that actually have winters, warm winter coats are a must. I like classic wool pea coats and cute faux-fur trimmed parkas by brands like J Crew and Juicy Couture.

1-2 Pairs Casual Flats

Red Ballet Flats by Rocket Dog
Flats by Rocket Dog

Essential for spring and fall, ballet flats add Kate Moss chicness to any outfit and are usually fairly inexpensive as well! Get one pair in a basic color like black or brown, and one pair in a bright color like Kelly green, red or yellow.

Other cute trends to try with your flats: metal embellishment (think Tory Burch), patent leather, and patterns. The choice is yours!

1 Pair Good Winter Shoes/Boots

Juicy Couture Snow Boots
Boots by Juicy Couture

If you’re living in an area that has a real “winter” season, you need some serious winter footwear if you’re gonna be walking anywhere (and I assume you will be.)

Unfortunately, you might have to sacrifice style for function a little in this category, but it’s better than slipping and falling in the snow or having really cold feet all day!

Or you could just buy a pair of adorable snow boots like those to the right by Juicy Couture. In that case, you wouldn’t have to sacrifice anything.

1 Pair Black Pumps
These are to wear with your dress pants and white shirt for job interviews and professional occasions. Spend a little extra money and get good-quality shoes because if you take care of them, they will last you forever!


VS Love Pink Sweat PantsSweats by VS Pink

For hanging around the dorm or apartment, get some cute sweats! Note that these are for hanging and lounging only and are NOT to be worn to class, except if you’ve been up all night studying for a final and plan to go back to sleep after you take it.

Even for a final, think hard about wearing sweats in public. The only other exception is if you’re working out, but I’m sure you know that.

I like sweats by Victoria’s Secret PINK, and So Low’s foldover pants are a very popular college choice.

Nice To Have

At Least 1 Pair of Super-Flattering Special Jeans
Splurge a little on this item. The right pair of flattering jeans will take you SO far.

You should look for a clean, dark wash jean with a straight or bootcut leg that is long enough to be worn with heels but not so long that it drags on the ground. Spend the time and try on as many pairs as it takes to find the perfect ones.

I like Seven for All Mankind, J.Brand, and Paige Premium Denim.

1 or More Pairs of Sexy Heels
For wearing to parties with your super-flattering jeans, get at least one pair of really cute and fun high heels. I like shoes in a bright color or a patent leather with a heel height of 3-4 inches, but get whatever speaks to you!

These can be as outrageous or simple as you want – express your style, these are your party shoes!

1-3 Summer Skirts
These are a must for me, but not essential to everyone’s wardrobe. I like knee-length solid colored and floral printed skirts, because they are so easy to pair with flip flops, pretty jewelry and a simple tank top in the warmer months.

Of course these are nonessential, but so much fun. Sandals are a great way to add color to your wardrobe without spending lots of money. My favorite brand is Havaianas – they are so comfortable and look brand new forever.

Black Opaque Tights
Tights were huge this winter and will continue to be popular into next winter. Black opaque tights are inexpensive and so basic to a wardrobe. They look so chic with heels, flats and most dresses.

For walking around in your apartment or dorm. I like really ridiculous, fun slippers – bright colors, fluffy textures or duck prints, for example. They’re slippers – you’re only going to wear them indoors.. go as crazy as you want.

Rain Boots
Cute rain boots are nice to have but not essential. (I still haven’t found my perfect pair yet!)

A Cozy Hoodie
This is another nice-to-have college staple. Hoodies with your college’s logo are great for lounging, studying and being comfortable, but don’t fall into the trap of wearing them everywhere! Use with caution.

These body-shapers are great for anytime you’re wearing tight-fitting clothing and want to smooth everything out. Say goodbye to “fat days” forever. Even Jessica Alba swears by them so you know they must work!

Cozy Bathrobe
So nice to have when you’re walking to and from the bathroom in winter or just hanging around your room. Get one in a bright color and supersoft fabric for the ultimate in adorable luxury.

So there you have it, the top items that should be in every college girl’s closet. Of course, these are just my opinions and you might have your own ideas about this too. Let me know if you agree with me, or if you think something is missing by leaving a comment or sending an email!

What are your closet essentials? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on on March 3, 2008 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , ,

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304 Responses to “Wardrobe Essentials for College Girls”

  1. 1
    March 3rd, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Wow thank you so much for your advise its really helped! Please post other places to buy cute clothes!! I love the tildon cardigan!

  2. 2
    March 4th, 2008 at 12:51 am

    A good pair of cute sneakers. I don’t mean superhigh quality workout shoes, I mean just cute little sneaks that you can haul ass to class while wearing, while still looking good. I totally love the little Champion retro-style sneakers from Payless.

  3. 3
    March 4th, 2008 at 1:43 am

    I totally agree with this post, I own the majority of whats featured in here! I would also suggest stocking up on cute thermals for the winter and tons of cute flip flops from Abercrombie or Old Navy, they’re good shower shoes and you can match them with your wardrobe!

  4. 4
    March 4th, 2008 at 7:52 am

    This is a great post and am planning my wardroe around this as I type! I found a cool website that offers you some great style advice specific to you called and is a onlne personal stylist service. There’s a great free trial where you cn get a taster or for only $30 you can buy a 30 page styls guide specific to you – it’s weirdly accurate!

  5. 5
    March 4th, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Abby Daniel – No problem! I will see what I can do. And I know, I love that cardigan too!

    Cadi – Ah, I forgot sneakers, although I just usually just wear ballet flats in the fall. I only have 2 pairs of sneakers I think – some cute converse ones and a pair for working out. But I might have to check out those Payless ones..

    Amber – Ooh, good idea on the thermals. Those are definitely nice to have in winter. And yesss, flip flops. I like Havaianas, but A&F and Old Navy do make cute ones too.

  6. 6
    March 4th, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Oh how I love my ballet flats, but alas, I run like a newborn giraffe on ice in them. Since I’m almost constantly late, that’s a problem!

    The Payless ones are fab because they’re cheap, but still cute. Not the most supportive footwear on earth, but that’s what insoles are for.

    Another suggestion for good-to-have items…good scarves. They’re awesome. I wear one almost daily. You can wrap them any way you please, they help as good transition pieces (you can wear a lighter one with a T-shirt to add a little extra warmth), and with the wider ones, they double as wraps. Love!

  7. 7
    March 4th, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    I alwas read your site and I love it. This post is really great as a shopping list for clothes. Thank you so much

  8. 8
    March 5th, 2008 at 12:04 am

    these are great suggestions!
    One i have that is fashion related but not clothes is a cute umbrella! its something you will use suprisingly more than you’d expect and it’s nice to have something beyond basic black..
    why not have an umbrella as stylish as you are!


  9. 9
    March 5th, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Cadi – Haha! I just pictured a baby giraffe trying to run, that’s a really great mental image. And yes, scarves! I forgot that one, even though I just posted about cute scarves the other day…

    Alyssa – Thanks! I’m happy this post helped :)

    Lauren – I like the idea of a cute umbrella but the problem is I ALWAYS lose umbrellas. Every time I’ve had one I liked, I left it at a party, in a classroom, or put it down somewhere stupid and forgot about it. I can’t be trusted with a cute umbrella!

  10. 10
    March 5th, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Cute blog! I’m going to recommend it to my son’s girlfriend who is off to college in the fall. Love your suggestions!

  11. 11
    March 5th, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    *raises hand* I lose things ALL the time. Totally found something that works. Carabiners. (Google ‘em, you’ll see what I mean). I seriously put them on everything that has a loop on it (keys, camera strap, UMBRELLA). It’s great because once you’re done using whatever it is, you clip it to the handle of your purse, backpack, belt loop, whatever. It works perfectly for umbrellas, because it can stay out to dry, so you’re not soaking your stuff, but you still have it stuck to you so that you can’t leave it behind!

  12. 12
    March 9th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Chic Girl – Thanks so much!

    Cadi – Carabiners? Okay, added to my “must-google” list. I definitely need those because I’m always losing stuff! Thanks for the suggestion!

  13. 13
    March 9th, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    This post is so on point! I couldn’t agree more about what you suggested for the college girl — I have all those things in my wardrobe for the past fall and spring semesters.

  14. 14
    March 14th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Liah – That’s great, glad you liked it! :)

  15. 15
    March 15th, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Long time visitor, first time commenter.

    Best. Post. Ever. :)

    It’s so true that most basics lists and such that you read online are not geared towards the average collge student, in terms of both lifestyle and finances. Thanks for the very practical entry.

  16. 16
    March 16th, 2008 at 4:49 am

    I know so many people are absolutely going to disagree with my suggestion, but I highly suggest a pair of UGG boots. So many people around campus wear them (at least here in Arizona). They are super comfy and can be worn with jeans, sweats, and skirts (although I hate the way that looks).

  17. 17
    March 16th, 2008 at 9:47 am

    This is a great list. So many times I’ve seen “essential” lists that are way overstocked with unneccessary items. This is realistic, and edited to perfection!

  18. 18
    March 16th, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Amy – So happy you found the article useful! It’s true -every list of “essentials” I’ve seen online has always been totally unrealistic! We can’t all be walking around every day in “classic trenches”, little black dresses and diamond studs, come on now!

    Brittany – That’s true, I would definitely put uggs in the winter shoes/boots category if they’re your thing. I personally don’t have any but if you love them and that’s your style, they are a really popular and practical choice.

    Choo Choo – Haha, you’re so right. I can’t help but laugh when I read some of those “essential” lists. I don’t know who they were written for sometimes but it definitely wasn’t for a college girl! I’m happy you liked this list and thanks for the nice comments :)

  19. 19
    March 21st, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Wow, this article is so so so useful! Thanks for writing such a great great guide!
    I also got happier cuz i have almost all of those items on my wardrobe and i use them a lot going on college classes, so it showed me i was right on my choices hehe.
    thanks again and congrats for this great great magnifiqué article and website, im in love with it!

  20. 20
    March 21st, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Lala – I’m so happy you liked the article! Thanks so much for the sweet comment :)

  21. 21
    March 24th, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Not that most college girls have the time and space to hand-wash stuff, roll it in a towel to get the excess water out of it, and then lay it out flat to dry… but regardless of what the label may say, hand-washing (preferably in something like Eucalan, or Woolite with a small amount of hair conditioner in the final rinse) is way, way, way better for cashmere and other animal fibers (wool, alpaca, etc) than dry-cleaning.

    Washing won’t break down the fibers, but the dry-cleaning chemicals might, so your cashmere will last longer if you hand-wash it!

    Also — I have Uggs that I love, but they don’t have suede below the ankle, just smooth leather, the Brooks style. They don’t look “like Uggs” when I wear boot-cut jeans over them, because only the smooth leather part shows, they’re very durable if you take care of them, and I don’t think I’d be able to survive Ohio winters without them. (It’s my theory that the Uggs that fashion people object to are the all-suede ones, especially in light colors that show dirt easily, and worn with inappropriate outfits. They won’t go with that one nice not-necessarily-black dress, yo.)

    I would add to this list: several long-sleeve tees in different colors. You can layer them under the cardigans and over the tanks on really cold days, you can wear them with your loungewear, etc. They’re versatile and useful.

    I’d also suggest that the spring/fall jacket be water-resistant. ;) (April showers, etc!)

  22. 22
    March 26th, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    M.E. – That’s good to know! With the few cashmere items I have, I just try not to wear them too often, or at least not spill things on them. I get them dry cleaned if there’s a spot or anything, but for the most part I just keep them really clean. Now that I know I can hand-wash, that will definitely be a time-saver.

  23. 23
    March 30th, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    This is such an awesome idea for a blog! There is good for girls getting ready to go to college and are worried about what college girls wear so they will fit in. It is so true that college is a time to start developing your wardrobe. This is true especially when you are a junior and senior like me and are going on interviews for internships and jobs. Once you get the basics down, you can start finding whats good for you.

  24. 24
    April 3rd, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    “Go either very cheap or very expensive. It’s the middle ground that is fashion nowhere.”Karl Lagerfield.

    I completely agree! I’m purging my closet right now and trying to closely fit with this list–i’m not in college, but it’s still hellpful, right? Yeah, it is. :-). Most of the stuff i’m donating/tossing are items that are middle priced.

    Thank you so much for this (realistic) guide!

  25. 25
    April 12th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    this is a great list this is my shopping guide for summer. I your looking for cute rain boots you can get a pair at Victorias Secret they have two really cute pairs.

  26. 26
    April 14th, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I would have to say multiple cosy hoodies iare my closet essentials! I live in England and its cold pretty much all the time so i kind of have to live in them, because those nice litle sweaters you see, which are adorable and smart looking, are always sooooooooooooooo thin! I commute at 7.15am in the morning so im all about keeping warm!

  27. 27
    April 14th, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Shar – Totally true. And doesn’t it feel sooo good to toss stuff you never wear? It’s like a burden lifted off your shoulders!

    Sandra – Oh good! And I will def. have to check those out, I’m still searching for the perfect pair…

    Melanie – Ah, hoodies are definitely a winter staple. In fact, my room is freezing so I’m wearing one right now!

  28. 28
    April 28th, 2008 at 12:51 am

    I like this list a lot…everything is so true. Only thing I don’t agree with is the not wearing sweats to class thing. Maybe it’s because I go to a huge school spread over 5 different campuses in two different towns and we all have to take our campus buses to get to class (seriously if there’s traffic it could take 45mins to get to your next class) and for such instances I need to be comfy so I can whip out a textbook and highlighter and get to studying/or start writing a paper or w/e…sweats are essential. I mean what if it’s snowing or raining or you just happen to feel like crap. And this is all coming from someone who lovessssss fashion….but some days nothing can beat a great, comfy pair of sweats.

    Ok…my rant is over now. Again, great list!

  29. 29
    April 28th, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Reni – Hmm, I guess if it works for you then it’s cool. I’m just not a fan – jeans aren’t uncomfortable, and they look so much better. Wearing sweats out of the house once in a while might be okay (I’ve worn sweats to a final once or twice), but I don’t think they’re appropriate for classes on the regular.

  30. 30
    May 12th, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Ah i love this. I basically love all of your site. Its amazing because its really practical. I’m only a freshman in high school but I pretty much think that all of these are wardrobe staples and you should have them in high school, and by the time you’re in college you should definitely have all of these. Thanks so much!

  31. 31
    May 19th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    i put this post on my site, hope you don’t mind (it’s credited to you of course) :) under my interesting reads

  32. 32
    May 21st, 2008 at 7:57 am

    this is quite helpful too…

    definitely get some cute t-shirts with little pictures on them :), they will make an outfit look cute and happy!!

  33. 33
    May 22nd, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    this site was just what i was looking for im starting college this fall and i won’t be able to carry my whole closet with me all i need are the basics awesomeness!!!!!!

  34. 34
    May 22nd, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    This is amazing – I didn’t think it was possible to really summarize all this in a nutshell! Job well done…I only wish I had read this myself before entering college last fall! hahaha oh well it’s not too late to change up some stuff!

    I actually had a question…I’ve decided to go “bolder” on my usual look. Wear things that stand out, and make a statement. Any suggestions? My style of preference would def. have to be the surfer/preppy/laid back type. haha thanks!

  35. 35
    May 29th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I have one thing to add to the list- i find myself needing a lot of more casual acessories- my favorite go-to are a pair of fabulous earrings that i bought from premium pearl- they are so great to throw on and so classic!

  36. 36
    June 5th, 2008 at 11:22 am

    That was definitely the most inclusive, non ridiculous fashion post I’ve ever read. You nailed it! I have just finished my first year of college and I wish I would have known these things before I left last fall! Thanks so much! I already have a list for all my summer shopping of basics I need.

  37. 37
    June 14th, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Thanks so much for this list. I have to go shopping in a couple days, and honestly I was lost!!
    One essential thing I am adding to my personal list is shorts.
    Since Im going to study in a tropical country, shorts are a must. And, when its too hot/rainy for jeans, I usually wear 3/4s. They are definitely casual, but formal enough for classes. 3/4s go with all sorts of tops. And, they are super comfy : )
    But really, your essentials list did its job.
    I now have a shopping list ready, and I am no longer frustrated and totally confused.

  38. 38
    June 21st, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Hunter rainboots are GREAT! They come in a million colors and you can buy fleece inserts for them to make them warmer for the winter. Only downside is they are pretty expensive (about $100), but they’re totally worth it.

  39. 39
    June 29th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Wow I can’t thank you enough for this list. I am most definitely printing out this article when I go shopping. Your suggestions were both sensible and fashion forward. Many people forget that college freshmen are not all rich girls made of money. So I thank you so SO much!

  40. 40
    July 3rd, 2008 at 4:48 am

    I don’t usually post comments on sites like I am, however I was thrilled to see this list of essentials that you put up! Thank you so much! I’m going to be a senior in high school next year and this list wiil be very helpful for me in my quest for college clothes etc. Great tips, exactly what I needed :)

  41. 41
    July 8th, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Wow! I am very impressed with this article and website in general.

    I’m starting my freshman year of college in the fall and just came across your site after googling “college dorm shopping.” College shopping is daunting to me right now, but I think your articles are really going to be a big help.

    You have great suggestions. Your style is definitely reflected in your articles. I appreciate all of your correct grammar and sentence structures. (Have you ever gotten that left as a comment? haha) I’m a perfectionist and love all of the items you identified. This site is definitely in my favorites now.

    Anyway, thank you! :) Keep it up!

  42. 42
    July 13th, 2008 at 1:01 am

    Also, get good quality shoes that will last you throughout college!!!! layering a tank top under a t-shirt is great as well!!

  43. 43
    July 16th, 2008 at 3:43 am

    Thank you SO much for this post, I have been looking for a list like this for quite a while now!
    I also like having some graphic tees and soffe shorts (maybe or maybe not together) in my wardrobe. Graphic tees can give an outfit a whole different vibe, and soffe shorts are good for anything from sleeping to working out to going out on a warmer day… just my two cents though :]
    Thanks again!

  44. 44
    July 21st, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    GREAT list.

    I start college in September and I’m so glad I found your list.

    Although I’m from Jamaica it’s still practical for me, with a few tweaks of course.

    Love the list, thanks for making it!

  45. 45
    August 4th, 2008 at 7:36 am

    The post has alot of sense. I hope more women will appreciate it more than I do.

  46. 46
    August 6th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    love this site. I just discovered it today. I really need to print this and take it with me when I go school shopping. Thanks! Does anyone know where to find cute (designer) school supplies?

  47. 47
    August 6th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    i’m starting college in a few weeks and this list was so great something my parents wallet appreciated too, hehe i totally agree about the jeans and sweats thing unless it’s must i’m living with my parents during college and my dad is really old fashioned and would freak if i wore pajama pants or sweats to a class, GREAT JOB!! i have everything on the list well except spanx although my mom has some and i’ve heard great things about them but THANKS SO MUCH!!

  48. 48
    August 7th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    I love this list. I was wondering if you think I could get most of the essentials for $300.00 I have some jeans but thats about it. Before now I have only worn jeans and t-shirts, but I really want to change my style for college. Thanks for the great advice!

  49. 49
    August 8th, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    This website is great! I was looking for some ideas on what clothes to purchase for the fall semester and you list has helped me A LOT!

  50. 50
    August 9th, 2008 at 1:00 am

    I just reread this post after a while today, and I have to say, you’ve hit the nail on the head with all of these suggestions.

    I found myself feeling like much of my clothing seemed juvenile, especially tees, so I would recommend you buy more shirts that straddle the line between casual and dressy. They can go both ways and are SO nice for a quick morning outfit.

    Another thing that I just got this winter, (clearly this is for if you are in a COLDDD campus), is a floor length puffy coat. It’s not going to be pretty, but you’re going to love it. It feels like taking your comforter to class. It’s fabulous.

    This is essentially my wardrobe…plus or minus 10 pairs of flats, but hey, they layer well with tights.

  51. 51
    August 13th, 2008 at 10:20 am

    You should also stock up on some cute jewelry for college, check out J Weber Jewelry- they’ve got some great stuff!

  52. 52
    August 18th, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    What colors besides orchid, black opaque, and brown-black tights can i wear going back to college, so that i look older than tweeny or teenagey? I am very petite (4′ 11″), so i have trouble a lot, almost no matter how grown-up i try to dress. I also would like to know about: denim mini skirts (not too short), solid vs. patterned pencil skirts, jewelry that looks old enough but still like me. My favorite colors are reds, robin’s egg blue (sort of teal-ish blue), red-orange, soft yellows, raspberry red, and white. Also, are black or smokey gray pencil skirts in style this year (i don’t have any pencil skirts in those colors but i’d like one or two, If they’re trendy now)? I love your site so far!

  53. 53
    August 18th, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I forgot to mention that i also really love dark greens and almost any purple. Are they ok to wear in jewelry, shoes, purses, and clothes? I’d love to wear purples on anything but pants or jeans (but dark greens on everything, i think).

  54. 54
    August 20th, 2008 at 3:13 am

    Hey! I just found this site and it is AMAZING! Anyway, I kind of had a question for anyone reading…

    I wear a size 10 shoe and it is EXTREMELY hard to find cute shoes in my size that look good! The flats make my feet look like clown feet, and I’m pretty tall (5’8″), so if I wear heels, I tower over people! Not to mention, they’re uncomfortable to wear everyday. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?! Thanks! :)

  55. 55
    August 21st, 2008 at 5:43 am


    I knew a girl in my class that had this same issue with her shoe size. She overcame it by wearing a lot of low heeled shoes with straps or open toes and always having a perfect pedicure.

    Also, the detailing on a shoe can help to define your foot better. Wearing a pair of simple ballet flats vs. ballet flats that flash a little toe and have some detailing with will be very different.

    Barefoot Tess has some cute (albeit a bit expensive) shoes made specifically for larger sizes, and most retailers have online sites that offer a greater variety of sizes.

    Hopefully that helps some!

  56. 56
    August 28th, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Ciera i wear a size 12 1/2 shoe and i am 5’11 i am about to go off to school as a sophmore and i can normally find cute flats and heels at in my size, but i cant ever find them in the store but i know online goes up to a 13 women. I genenerally stick with flats, but that is because my campus is small so everyone walks everywhere so i were to walk from my dorm to food it would be a good quarter mile so i wouldnt want heels, but dont be afraid to be the tall one! its fun:) hope that helps :)

  57. 57
    August 29th, 2008 at 3:18 pm


    Wow! As a not-so-fashion-oriented-college-sophomore, your article has really helped me with choosing what to look for in stores… to build my wardrobe like a pro. I enjoy wearing feminine clothing, and sweaty workout clothes, too, but before I came across this article I was afraid to branch out with style even a little bit. I would wear the “safe” outfits that my mom helped me put together back in high school and not use my creative juices when dressing every day. So, long story short, thank you for your advice!


  58. 58
    August 31st, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    hey! thank you so much for your help. I am going to begin my first year at junior college, and now with this site I know what to have in the wardrobe and not have a problem in the morning of what to wear. Thanks a lot for your help. Btw if you have a newsletter could you tell me pls so I can sign up, because this site is very cool and helpful,Thanks for everything

  59. 59
    September 7th, 2008 at 3:32 am

    I think this blog is fabulous. I think that this could be the beginning to “the College Woman’s Bible… of Fashionable Essentials.” I can’t wait to update my college wardrobe for this fall!

    A couple things that I would add to the essentials list would be a pair of embellished sandals (i.e. ‘flip-flops’ if you will) and simple accessories. Whether it be a thin chain necklace with a simple charm, a few beaded bracelets, or a watch that ‘goes with every outfit,’ accessories really help tie together ANY outfit and set your fashion identity apart from your peers.

    I LOVE this article, and am excited to pass it along to my friends at school. Thanks a bunch!

  60. 60
    September 9th, 2008 at 6:06 am

    For me, a college girl should not be so over-dressed up.

    So that “Classic Dress section” of the post is good enough.

  61. 61
    September 11th, 2008 at 12:09 am

    I love this article, I saw this just in time for my shopping trip on friday!
    i sometimes order clothes from this website, its cute and affordable :]

  62. 62
    October 27th, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    I completely agree with this list!

    Baggy sweatpants are never OK in public…unless you REALLY don’t care if you look sloppy/frumpy.

    However, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing jeans or a dress/ skirt to class ALL the time and you want to be a little more “comfy” feeling, I suggest looking up:

    Lululemon Athletica (

    Their sweats/yoga pants are totally comfortable and absolutely do not look sloppy or frumpy…they make your butt look amazing and you can take them straight from lounging around the house to class – just top them with a cute hoodie (not a big baggy one!) or a tanktop & cardigan… or a cute Tshirt!

    I can;t live without my lululemons.. honestly.. they are aaaaamaaaazing! Every girl needs at least one pair.

  63. 63
    December 7th, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    We can’t afford cashmere, but we can afford brands like Coach, Juicy Couture, and Marc Jacobs? How does that make even sense? You were doing fine with the H&M and Gap, but come on. Those Juicy Couture boots cost almost as much at my text books did this semester.

  64. 64
    December 9th, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Sarah – The boots were just an example of a cute pair of snow boots, not something you have to buy or else. I’m not telling you what you can or can’t afford. If you want to find some more budget-friendly snow boots, I actually just wrote an article about that: . Again, those boots were just an example. Calm down.

  65. 65
    December 11th, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    i love original wellie rainboots you can find them at and jcrew or any other shoe website. they have tons of styles and colors!

  66. 66
    December 14th, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Man, I wish I had read this last year. :) I’ve managed to get my wardrobe up to pretty much everything on the list though. Something I would suggest is to spend the most money on your jeans, the right fit and cut are everything. If you get a good pair they will last you YEARS. Find cute shoes on sale at places like TJ Maxx or Ross, they might be last season or even three seasons ago but they’re still cute and very cheap. I would say spend less on tops unless it’s a classic type of top because those trends come and go. Old Navy has some great cheap classic type tops though, and they come in lots of colors. Target’s clothes are also great because they are very fashion forward but easy on the wallet. Also, every college girl needs plenty of storage! It is the most important thing I learned living in the dorms. Those spaces are small and you will want to keep everything organized!!

  67. 67
    December 17th, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you so much! That was very helpful.
    It was nice to find out that I only have a few things I need to make my essential wardrobe complete! :D

  68. 68
    December 17th, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Would it be possible for you to either make an entry, or just respond here, to a question I have?
    Where are some stores that I can find INEXPENSIVE winter coats (such as pea coats) and also spring/fall jackets?

    Thanks bunches.

  69. 69
    December 19th, 2008 at 3:05 am

    Wow. This list is three times the clothes I have. Aren’t these essentials to every woman’s closet? And how do you keep all of these clothes organized?

  70. 70
    December 19th, 2008 at 7:43 pm, here are a few places where you can find cute, affordable coats:
    old navy
    forever21 (check their fabulous finds)
    american eagle

  71. 71
    December 20th, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Okay. Thank you, Heather. :D

  72. 72
    December 20th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    A pair of cute, yet simple flannel pajamas. Seriously. Dorms get coldddd!

  73. 73
    January 1st, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I agree that sweatpants shouldn’t be worn to class. I would like to have a few more pants to wear than just jeans in different washes. What are some other type of pants you can wear to class that aren’t sweat pants but aren’t your usual blue wash jeans?

    Also, what should my price ranges be for the 4-5 jeans and my pair of splurge jeans?

  74. 74
    January 1st, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Also, the opaque tights… I like the idea but I have no clue how to wear them! Do you have a post on how to wear them or can you put one up? I have a feeling they are going to be around for a while and I like the look, but I don’t know what to wear them with! What kind of shirt? What length? Layered with what? What kind of shoes go with them? etc.

  75. 75
    January 3rd, 2009 at 8:06 am

    I think this was a really positive piece. The tips are universal and everyone can take something from this. I know I’m making notes for when I start college again on monday. Fashion is all inclusive, not exclusive, and there are NO rules, just look good, feel comfortable and have the confidence to wear it. Others can judge but its fun to make the choice not to follow trends but make them your own. So when I want sales shopping, I picked what was right for me, and now with this, I know how to accentuate what I like best ( my legs, my boobs and my bum!!! :D)


  76. 76
    January 5th, 2009 at 1:18 am

    well this was very helpful but you know it can get really cold here in calfornia you know we do have a “winter”.especially when it coats are very warm and helpful not to metion stylish.and everybody wears boots in calfornia in our”winters”.it doesnt snow but it gets pretty cold here..!!just sayin.thanks for this.

  77. 77
    January 7th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    This article is so true! I am a college junior and it took me a while to figure out that I needed most of these things in my wardrobe. The one question I have though. Are there any tights that do not leave that awkward like around your waist? I love tights and wear them often but under some of my more form fitting shirts the tights show.

  78. 78
    January 13th, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    I love this website!!!!! i start college on monday and im really excited to apply some of the tips from this site :)
    time for a bit of shopping i think…

  79. 79
    January 22nd, 2009 at 12:57 am

    another “nice to have”- HEADBANDS!! plain ones are quite cheap and pull an outfit together when color coordinated. decorated ones are slightly more expensive but really look awesome. looove headbands :)

  80. 80
    January 27th, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Gee thanks for being a stereotypical stuck up snob I’m pretty sure I can’t conform with any of your tips for various reasons ranging from fluctuating weight (oh right I must be fat so officially a social leper anyway), lack of funds (I’m disabled and can’t work..this is true not a snide remark) as a result of said disability all shoes mentioned are immediately impossible dure to different sized feet leg length discepency and balance issues. Again though as your post suggests anyone who is not a carbon copy cutout of everyone else varying only in the colour of their shoes and sweaters is doomed to failure individuality obviously cannot be allowed and yet I have worn the same pair of pants to class basically every day this semester and still haven’t lost any friends and have in fact managed to strike up a few new aquaintances.

  81. 81
    January 28th, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    i’m a freshman in high school.. but i don’t even think that matters, i love this. i would have to add sperrys though. the girl above me just needs to chill out.. she’s not saying that everyone should dress the same.

  82. 82
    January 31st, 2009 at 9:44 am

    trickie i dont think these posts arement to be stareotypical…they are just ment to be helpful…they are not telling u what kind of person u need to be….there is nothing wrong with taking in ideas (thats not conforming) and cater them to ur body….obviously not everybody that reads this looks the same and has the same attitude and body shape…the point is to take the tips and tweek them to fit you

  83. 83
    February 9th, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Definitely agree w/ nagham on this one. Almost all of the essentials truly are essentials. Body type or personal fashion style doesn’t really matter. I’ve gone through different weights and even different styles (from preppy to skater to goth and back), and I have always owned jeans, cardigans, tank tops, and of course, underwear. I owned them when I was thin and I own them now. I am currently about 20 pounds overweight, and I have almost all of the things on this list. Although I plan to lose, not gain weight, I know that I would continue to buy these things even if I was 200 pounds overweight.

    I’m also definitely NOT rich. Most college students (read: 99%) aren’t. But places like Target, Forever 21, Hot Topic, and even Walmart manage to sell cute inexpensive things.

    I am with you, Trickle, though, with the disability thing. Due to several neurological problems (some mixed up wires up there, I guess) it’s really not comfortable for me to wear anything other than flip flops or sandals. It snowed today, and there I was in a pair of Old Navy flip flops.

    So yeah, fashion can be harder when you don’t have the perfect body or the ability to wear trendy shoes or loads of cash to drop on name brand designers. But it’s not impossible. (So quit your whinin’!)

  84. 84
    February 12th, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with wearing sweats to class!!! I rock VS pink sweat combos almost everyday and I look damn good doin it. Just because they’re called sweats doesn’t mean they are baggy, cheap, or that I am lazy. It takes me just as long to pick out my comfy outfits as it does to put together a jeans/peacoat ensemble.

    I understand this isn’t something everyone would be comfortable doing, but it’s messed up to say you should think long and hard about EVER wearing sweats in public. Really?! Unless you are in a sorority that doesn’t allow sweats to class then there is no sane reason not to wear some! be comfortable and be comfortable WITH YOURSELF!!

  85. 85
    February 15th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    These are a good idea if you want to look like every other girl on your campus. Experiment! Try something different and unique!

  86. 86
    February 16th, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Nice suggestions. Just to let you know, I live in California and I have 3 feet of snow right outside my door. So, we have “real” winters here. It’s not like the movies.

  87. 87
    February 18th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I go to a private high school where we are not allowed to wear blue denim, or sweats. Every girl supplements this by wearing simple yet cute dresses, colored denim, navy and tan khaki’s, and of course lulu lemons. I saw someone mentioned them, and they are GREAT. Check them out!
    Believe me, when those pants are paired with a cute t or cardigan, we look good, but not too preppy.

  88. 88
    March 1st, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Great job on this list! I will definetly use this as a guide when planning my college wardrobe. I love your website.

  89. 89
    March 10th, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Thought I’d just tell you that I linked you on my newest post; I wrote about my personal wardrobe essentials! Some suggestions/comments would be great :)

    Thanks, and I absolutely love your CF blog!

    Cheers x

  90. 90
    March 17th, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I’ve been considering Spax for a while. Could you do an article on spanx and how it works and which shapes you would reccomend or which shape is the most versatile must have. That would be great. LOVE the blog :)

  91. 91
    March 31st, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! It was so helpful…I am in my last year of high school (in England) and soon to go off to university so I found it at the perfect time. =D I am so glad to have found your blog, it looks like a great site from what I have seen so far.
    I plan to print out this article and take it with me for when I am shopping for clothes for university and basics etc! Totally agree about the well-fitting underwear, and the summer skirts are a must for me too. Although we don’t have much of a summer around here!
    Thanks again :)

  92. 92
    April 5th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    this is good for younger girls as well maybe high school age, because it gives us an idea of what we really need to wear that is comfortable (not necessarily the heels).

  93. 93
    April 7th, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Yeah, 4-5 pairs of jeans sounds about right…I mean, in a perfect world, you’d have a whole trunk full, but 4-5 is enough to survive with! And I agree about avoiding stuff that is too trendy. Regular jeans aren’t going out of style any time soon!

  94. 94
    April 16th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    In relation to cardigans, it helps to avoid buying any that have acrylic in them- it’s prone to bobbling!

  95. 95
    June 2nd, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    This article is spot on with everything you need for college! I’m a senior in college and I’m always looking for classic pieces like these to wear to class. I also have a lot of great buys on my site at Beauty and the Budget!

  96. 96
    June 8th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    omgosh i love it ! i have basically all of those things, but i live in england and you know what, it is SO HARD to find a good pair of jeans! all you get is high street fashion, so like topshop etc, and all they stock is what ever is in at the moment, no classic styles tehre! apart from gap, but gap jeans dont tend to fit me so well. also, you can get abercrombie (all the way in london..) but the exchange rate means your paying almost twice the dollar pricef or them! its very sad haha, but american eagle do GREAT jeans, i am getting my aunt to bring a load over, hopefully that will help me next year ! sorrry that this turned into such a ridiculously long post… love your website though, and iwish fashion in england was more like htis ! i love the casual look :)

  97. 97
    June 8th, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    i totally agree with your list, but you definitely forgot yoga pants and t shirts! not those ratty tshirts you got from powder puff but something like the v neck american apparel tees. so versatile. and yoga pants are definitely a better alternative to sweatpants – they just look nicer

  98. 98
    June 9th, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Good list. Problem: Would like to find a place to buy matching sweats (yoga pants and hoodies) in a selection of colors for under $100.00 a set. As it is now, have to find yoga pants and then go on a separate hoodie quest to match the foldover colors on the yoga pants.
    Any suggestions? Plain sweat suits tend to bag– liking the yoga pants. And not willing to spend for Juicy, etc.
    Thanks.PS- : buy a travel jewlery container and the right kind of luggage can work for you besides moving in.

  99. 99
    June 23rd, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    so i love your site and was browsing online for similar ones and i found THIS. i was reading a post on this blog and recognized the text as being the exact same as on this particular article. is it plagerism? are you aware that this site exists? maybe its your old one or something?

  100. 100
    June 23rd, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Kels – Thanks for reminding me of that! I’d seen that website before but hadn’t gotten around to sending them a copyright infringement notice. I filed a DMCA notice with Google and hopefully they’ll take care of it! Thanks for letting me know :)

  101. 101
    June 30th, 2009 at 2:17 am

    Thanks so much for this article! I’m starting college in North Carolina in the fall, all the way across the country from my family in Phoenix. As if out of state tuition wasn’t enough, now I have to deal with paying for all my own essentials on a tight budget.

    But this article really bailed me out (I hadn’t even thought of snow boots!). Now I’m sure to have a cute, flexible wardrobe that fits my lifestyle… and my budget. (:

    Thanks again for all the great ideas.

  102. 102
    June 30th, 2009 at 11:19 am

    This Article is Great and I think it is definitely welcome by most of the College Girls

  103. 103
    July 3rd, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Loongg time vistor, first comment…

    I know this was published forever ago, but I found it about halfway through my Junior year of high school (so like, January 2008) and have since then been gradually putting together a wardrobe for when I start college on August 31, 2009, so in like 2 monthes. I was just looking at it again to see if I hadn’t thought of anything, and wanted to thank you for the sheer awesomeness of this post and of this whole website! Oh, and Zephyr is a MUCH cooler name =D Anyway, it would be really awesome if there was an updated version or this, for someone that didn’t want to read over 100 comments, like with sneakers and stuff, but I guess you did articles on all of that anyway. Alright Thanks! Great job!!

  104. 104
    July 4th, 2009 at 4:13 am

    going into my 3rd year of college, i agree with this list!!

  105. 105
    July 5th, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Every college girl should invest in a cute pair of nighties, you never know when a the emergency assembly siren will be rung…

  106. 106
    July 10th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Great article, I’ll pass this along to my girls.

  107. 107
    July 12th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I won’t be starting college for a few years casue I’m still at high school in scotland but I still thought this post was amazing,I want to just throw all my stuff out and just buy everything on this list.I won’t though (:thanks for another amazing post.

  108. 108
    July 14th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    This is a great list; it’s not too spartan and doesn’t include all those extra things like trenchcoats and ‘one pair of sturdy brown shoes’ that you get on lists clearly written by prudish parents!! The clothes suggested here are practical and cute because they’re decent, simple and adaptable to any budget, body shape and personal style. You can easily interpret these staples to make your college/university wardrobe your own – although I agree with the previous post lamenting the lack of decent jeans in England! The high street only stocks the latest transient ‘fashion’ styles, no classic, good quality jeans. You really do have to travel to get the decent ones, and they’re all super expensive! In fact you’d be realy hard-pushed to find non-skinny jeans in most of the shops in my town. It’s all the teenage fashionistas want, so it’s all they stock.

    Most of the girls at my school (independant high school for girls – the lower years are full of Jack Wills and A&F clones with an overdose of pashminas and ‘jeggings’) could learn a lot about simple classic style and making an impact from this list. Somebody should tell them that it’s class, not the front page of LOOK magazine, that turns heads. Love this site! :-)

  109. 109
    August 12th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    LOVE the post. Could you talk more about the Classic Dress that you mentioned as a necessity. I looked in your archives but only found articles on seasonal fun dresses. Could you do a post on investment/classic dresses like the one you imagined would be in every girls wardrobe in this article? I’m not sure what to look for.

  110. 110
    August 13th, 2009 at 2:55 am

    This is so informative and I am about to be a senior at UT. I think I have all that you put on the list and not much more. Well I do practically live in my nike shorts and t shirts though cause they are comfy and I work out between classes. I think the only thing I would add to the list is not actually a piece of clothing but I found the a really soft and absorbant towel has come on great use. Oh also great walking shoes that won’t destroy your feet.

  111. 111
    August 20th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    WOW!! I LOVEEEEEEE this website!! It really helped me, specially the page where it tells you what to wear to a college class. I will have no problem shopping this fall, I’m still gonna look good and I don’t care what people will say :)

  112. 112
    August 24th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    perfect!! just what i needed as i’m packing for school. one thing that i swear by as my go-to-class outfit are leggins. pairing these with a long shirt, short casual dress, or readjusted oversized t-shirt looks chic enough to maintain my fashion style but is also easy and casual enough to wear everyday. so many possibilities!!!

  113. 113
    September 1st, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    This is a great list of stuff. These are all things I wear on a regular basis and would tell new college students to bring. Excellent job.

  114. 114
    September 2nd, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Oh, as for rain boots… I got an awesome Coach pair on sale. (still expensive, but not as horrible as full price) They’re uber-cute. Try Urban Outfitters or Delia’s, too. They have some good deals.

  115. 115
    September 6th, 2009 at 8:23 am

    This is a thoughtful, well-written article. Although I am well-past the college scene, I would have appreciated a similar piece for when I was heading off to college. Mad props to you!

  116. 116
    September 6th, 2009 at 8:26 am

    A word re: Spanx: They’re not just for fat girls. :) I’ve seen PLENTY of skinny girls with lumps and bumps, and who really needed some smoothing down. So, FYI: Just because one is skinny, doesn’t mean everything lays the way it should.

  117. 117
    September 12th, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Thanx alot…this info. was very useful……pls also lemme know…wad should a petite girl wear…..which is in fashion…i wanna be trendy….wanna have a makeover…..

  118. 118
    September 22nd, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    I truly love this I have this page bookmark because I really enjoy reading these pages espacially because there so entertaning.Thank so much for posting this this was really helpful. -xoxo Vianna

  119. 119
    September 23rd, 2009 at 8:17 am

    hi there
    thanx a ton for your amazing advice on wardrobe…i have been wastin my money since childhood on clothes bu counldt understand wat i wanted…thanx alot for this>>>..

  120. 120
    October 1st, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I think that you guys all need a better fashion sense. Who just sticks to jeans and tank tops and cardigans. Are you kidding me. This is a fashion site. Girls mix and match everything in your wardrobe. Get that nice Forever 21 or express top and put it with a nice pair of dark wash jeans and look classy without even trying. Tank tops and cardigans are for girls who don’t care. That is my rainy day outfit. Ha, give you better advice if you want to get these girls noticed.

  121. 121
    October 22nd, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    ur this site awesome n had guide me n gives me many useful information.. luvly site….

  122. 122
    October 24th, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Thank you for the tips! They are awsome.
    -The Trendy Fashionista

  123. 123
    November 3rd, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Rain boots are absolutely ESSENTIAL if you are attending an older college with uneven brick pathways, because, trust me, those slight warps and dents down all the paths FILL with giant POOLS of water when it rains, and then you’re stuck fording a river in your jeans and flats and getting soaked to the knee if you’re not wearing boots.

  124. 124
    November 13th, 2009 at 8:31 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this site! I’m a senior in college and I’ve just entered my “pre-professional” track as a student teacher. After reading this site, my students think I’m a pretty cool gal.

    I love getting my jeans at The Buckle. They have sizes that go waist by inseam … perfect for my awkward 31.5 inch inseam! :)

  125. 125
    December 6th, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I am thankful for your great list… but I think it is limited to those going to college near their homes. I am going 8 hours from my home and I will not be able to come home as often to add or exchange clothes with my closet. Should I double the amount of clothes you listed?

  126. 126
    December 6th, 2009 at 10:49 am

    To Monica:

    Just do laundry! :)

  127. 127
    December 6th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I love this post! Especially since I’m a high school senior with a uniform. Hence, my wardrobe does not consist of much :(
    I’ve always had trouble finding the right jeans or dress pants, because I’m so small.
    Most size 0s are too big for me

    The same applies to shoes.
    I’m just below a size 5

    Enough complaining…I’m going to do some shopping :)

    I visit this site everyday. They’re always so much great advice.

  128. 128
    December 13th, 2009 at 12:53 am

    I love this! I think this is completely true! I am just a freshman in high school, but I think I have everything on that list, and alot of the people at my school dress that way to (mostly upper-classman, however). Some great additions, in my opinion is flip flops, if your in a dorm, they make great shower shoes. Accesories, simple necklaces, big earings, hats, scarves, gloves, bracelets, rings, they can completely change a simple outfit.

    Also, while you have that one great sturdy bag, which is a must, you might want a cute clutch too, for when you dont want to carry a bulky bag.

    And one last thing, well is doesn’t exactly fit into the clothing category. Maybe some febreze, to freshan up your clothes. I don’t wash my clothes after every time I wear them, unless I get something on them. Because, one I do’t have time for that. And two, it wears them out faster and I want my clothes to last.

    Again, I loved the post :))

  129. 129
    December 24th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Just to give you an option on rain boots, I just got a pair from Zappos that are AMAZING! They look amazing and they do the job. They are Kamik and are made in Canada. I got the Ellie style in black, but if I had the money to splurge more, I’d get the red ones. Sooooo awsome. And they aren’t all bulky and heavy so they give your feet and legs a feminie look still.

  130. 130
    December 29th, 2009 at 3:43 am

    this is my fav post
    i keep looking at when i go shopping now
    i headed 4 australia net yr feb
    got to gt myself ready

  131. 131
    January 7th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Sperry topsider carries a lot of great quality really cute rain boots. They all come lined in a very soft felt like material, and they even have a version that looks like flats. Their only downside is that they only come in whole sizes.

  132. 132
    January 16th, 2010 at 6:40 am

    I’m off to college in march.
    and I didn’t know where to start first.
    but now I know. thanks to you!
    thank you so much~^^
    this is so helpful!

  133. 133
    January 19th, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Hey. This is awesome. I’m still a junior at high school, but this is great for my wardrobe even now. I absolutely love this article. It’s the most helpful one anywhere. Thanks so much for writing it!!! I think you should add a pair of sneakers from payless. Also some long sleeved tees. They’re great for layering. I’m in CA, but it’s getting pretty cold. I’m wearing them, and most people around here are, too. Something in bright colors ’cause it’s so dreary with the rains. Thanks again for the awesome article!!!! Love it SOOOOOOOOOOO much!!!!!!!!!!!

  134. 134
    February 1st, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Nice list!!! It is on my favourite list!

  135. 135
    February 15th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    i can’t believe you’re recommending spanx for 17/18 year old young women… maybe a better thing to have for college is a sense of loving your body and confidence in who you are.. but i guess you cant buy that.

  136. 136
    March 3rd, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Oh my god Ashley be reasonable. I bet all of these girls including the author love their bodies…but whats wrong with looking and feeling the best that you can? I love my body but i also love smooth lines. So dont wear them if you dont want to but dont patronize…it has nothing to do with insecurity its just fashion!

  137. 137
    March 27th, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Looks like a good list of apparel for any college student. I love the winter boots

  138. 138
    March 28th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    this really helped me !!
    it’s my second year in college & i still , like , find it difficult to make a list for college wardrobe when i’m shopping ……….. thanks a lot !! =)

  139. 139
    March 31st, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Any tips for the girls who work for tips? haha…possible pun intended…anyways, any style tips for waitresses, like in college. Cute accessories, etc.? I work in a 50’s themed restraunt so my signature is a pink ribbon in my hair.

  140. 140
    April 2nd, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    a white babydoll / loose tank type top is always awsome and easy.
    pair with cute accsories, cardie and denim for easy pretty!

  141. 141
    April 20th, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I’m an incoming 3rd year student, and I’ve just seriously worked on my wardrobe during my second year. up to now. haha

    adjusting from a uniform clad highschool to a no-uniform-at-all university was really tough, along with the socializing. lol

    anyway, the tank top tips were awesome. :D

    thank you so much for posting, it seems i still have halfway to go. though it is good to know that i am on the right road. :D

    keep it up

  142. 142
    April 25th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    hi College Fashion!

    i have been a firm follower since i discovered this awesome fashion blog :)

    as a girl, wearing heels is a must and i have been having a hard time getting a pair that actually does not kill my legs..seriously..
    so sometimes, i think that girls might prefer not to wear heels bcos they havent found a comfy pair like!

    it will be cool to have some tips on how to choose a pair of heels since nearly every girl wears it.

  143. 143
    May 9th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I would say a couple cute graphic tees. Old Navy, AE, H&M… they all have cute shirts that look great under cardigans or blazers. Plus, it’s a great way to look trendy without blowing a budget.

  144. 144
    May 18th, 2010 at 4:11 am

    I absolutely love this article! A friend of mine is in fashion merchandising for Gucci & actually recommended THIS article rather than her own company for all my college wear (of course she did score me two really great scarves that go so well with a tank & jeans & a bag for free). I have only one arguement to it. The one about never wearing sweatpants to class. I think (as do many I go to school with) NEVER wear torn or unfashionable sweatpants to class. & definitely NOT Monday through Thursday to regular classes. My first year while doing mostly pre-requisite courses me & some friends made a habbit of having “Victoria’s Secret PINK Friday”. All of us would wear the PINK line on Friday with a fab pair of sandals or shoes to make it stand out a bit. So many people started calling us the “PINK ladies” and always complimented us. It became what we were known for & was really fun going shopping together on Thursdays after class or trading off from each other’s closets. I’m in my last year now with a lot of in-class labs for Nursing that require you to be able to move around easily & quickly. Wearing PINK has become a staple for these too. I think if you are going for something where you need comfortable yet fashionable clothing VS PINK (with some Abercrombie thrown in here & there) is the best way to go. Plus it is so easy to match their items it’s nearly effortless & completely stress free!

  145. 145
    May 18th, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Oh, & Suzie Q, I’m not trying to be a jerk but do you realize that in the same post you critisize these girls’ fashion sense yet cited “Forever 21″ when speaking of fashion forward? Not that Forever 21 clothes aren’t cute, many are but, most would agree they don’t define you as a trend setter & just don’t hold up the way clothes from H&M, AE, GAP, or True Religion do. I have Cardigans from H&M that are 5 years old & look bran new & are still getting raves from people. I have Jeans from AE & True Religion that have withstood all kinds of hell & high water, still perfect. & Gap has so many looks that are stylish & professional for girls who like the natural look to those who enjoy looking “preppy” if you will. This is a very informative list that does fit for MOST college students. If you do your own thing, then power to you for believing in that. Although that doesn’t give anyone the right to tell an entire site full of women in agreeance that they are all wrong. It’s not always easy for incomming college students to be Victoria Beckham fashionistas. It’s expensive an impractical. These suggestions are timeless & work for most on a budget. Style in college is about taking timeless classics & adding your own personal touches to make it unique so you don’t just “blend in”, not about spending a fortune. If you make smart decisions in college that enable you to focus on saving money & having multiple go to items so that your attention is mostly on your studies and not 3 hours getting dressed, the degree you earn will pay off in a big way. Then it’s time to REALLY go shopping!

    Also, in the search for comfy shoes, Nike Shox are AMAZING for everyday wear. Adidas diPRENE runing shoes are great for working out. Very comfy. They have a sort of mesh on the outside so they breathe easy to keep your feet cooler & they also shape right around your feet. (Dick’s Sporting Goods sells them)

    Another thing that has gotten quite a few comments this season is this navy blue long sleeve burnout tee. I’ve worn it both with white dressy jeans from and shorts from AE. Both times with this (fake) Prada minibag and A&F flip flops in the same shade of dark brown. Several people have stated I look like I should be modeling for Nautica. It’s a really cool effortless yet dressy look!

  146. 146
    May 18th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Hey! So I google searched “clothing that every college girl should have,” and this showed up. Seriously, this is going to be a life saver for me this summer as I prepare to go to college in the fall!! After having worn a uniform to school for 7 years, I recently realized that I own practically no practical, essential clothes! So my mom and I decided to update my wardrobe this summer, looking for the sales of course! (I’m lucky I can afford college as it is!) I know this post is kinda old, but thank you so so much!

  147. 147
    May 23rd, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you for these ideas. I’m starting College in a few months and I needed ideas.
    Again…thanks! :)

  148. 148
    June 4th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    love it alot

  149. 149
    June 4th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Hey this is nice n helpful for those don’t hve idea what to wear. But i think there should be latest trend of garments so it will be more helpful for everyone who visit this site.Because many of us don’t know about latest trend so it will be a guideline for them.
    I hope u will think on my suggestion.

  150. 150
    June 7th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    THANK YOU for this article. I’ve been in catholic school since Kindergarten and had no idea how to dress myself in something that didn’t include a plaid skirt. These are great suggestions am I’m totally using them when I go back-to-school shopping. thanks again!

  151. 151
    June 12th, 2010 at 6:53 am

    This is a great site for all those who are going crazy thinking about what to do at college!!
    Truly a fabulous site!!
    Keep it up!

  152. 152
    June 15th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I this this kind of dress looks good –

  153. 153
    June 17th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    This is a WONDERFUL list. Would have been so helpful the first time I packed up for college. Nowadays i’m much better about packing the bare essentials. A few things I would add:

    1) A super cute, super soft scarf–adorable accessory and as someone who goes to school where winters are WAY too long, they can add a lot of extra warmth.
    2) One our two ensembles for hitting the gym–beware the freshman 15!

    Also, THANK YOU for knocking the sweats to class thing. I always think girls look so sloppy when they wear sweats all day. ESPECIALLY in afternoon classes. You’ve had 5 hours to get ready–put some effort in! I don’t even run to the cafe in my sweats.

    This blog is wonderful, btw :)

  154. 154
    June 20th, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Great article! Im a British uni student (English Lit major), just finished my second year and I can highly reccommend getting a decent backpack for college/uni. Trust me, your back and shoulders will thank you! You can get all sorts of attractive yet practical packs nowadays. last year at uni I hardly saw any backpacks, especially on girls, but this year so many people on campus have been wearing them.

    Oh, and I second the plain long sleeve tee suggestion. They’re great either on their own or layered under tanks/camis. I have about 15 in loads of colours and they go with everything :-) stretch cotton with a long body and sleeves (Usually H+M or Primark being in the UK) is my personal preference. washes really well and doesn’t need ironing either :-)

  155. 155
    June 21st, 2010 at 3:26 am

    The cozy hoodie is great. Love wearing with demin skirt.

  156. 156
    June 25th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I thorougly support wearing sweatpants going to class haha.

  157. 157
    July 12th, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    you absolutely right, some people may would try to make you feel bad cos you all glamded up and looking stunning. it definitely isnt my fault that they chose to come to class looking drag and boring. isay i;m gonna show them what i’m made of and what i can do with what i have while getting the best of the greater grades and a sky high confidence. College here i come!!! thank you for this wonderful website-wish i had known bowt it way before.

  158. 158
    July 14th, 2010 at 12:45 am


  159. 159
    July 15th, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Weird question…haha. Why is it so important to have good underwear? Like, I understand good bras, but why underwear? My mom only pays for me to get cotton hanes ones at target. :) haha

  160. 160
    July 19th, 2010 at 2:11 am

    I love this article… I keep re-reading it whenever I need to update my wardrobe…

    Its sound really stupid but good underwear is a must to avoid visible panty lines with some clothing, or at least that’s why I have seamless undies. I’ve also been told to only wear cotton undies because they breath (one of my mothers many comments). I guess its just a personal thing thought. I’m a little OCD so I like my Bra’s and undies to match, but thats just me. :D

  161. 161
    July 24th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Okay, obviously, you’ve never been to the majority of California. We do to have winters! More than once, we’ve gotten 4 feet of snow overnight at my parents’ house.
    As much as I like this article (the advice is great!), I am just irked by your lack of knowledge about a truly diverse state.

  162. 162
    July 30th, 2010 at 1:47 am

    I am definitely printing this because I’m buying clothing for the fall. Freshmen year!!! I got black opaque tights and a light trenchcoat (black and white). Very chic.

  163. 163
    July 30th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I haven’t had time to read all of the comments, but I thought I’d post that almost everyone actually DOES wear sweatpants (or black yoga pants) to class every day. It’s very common at my school. I’ll be a senior in the fall and I’ve seen it all three years.

    The list is great, by the way! I don’t meant complain.

  164. 164
    August 1st, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    This list is amazing!!! I have most of what is on here, but some things I totally forgot about! Thanks so much!!! Off to shop now…

  165. 165
    August 1st, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I just finished my first year in college and I gotta say, you nailed it!

  166. 166
    August 5th, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    I’m way beyond college age but I just want to say: you can hand or machine wash ( delicate cycle, cold water, lingerie bag, no machine drying) CASHEMERE! In fact if you check the J. Crew website they have cashmere wash (which I don’t use) but they explain that dry-cleaning make cashmere rough and flat. When I machine wash, they emerge soft and fluffy. I lay flat to dry but don’t even need to block or stretch it to keep the shape. Buy cashmere at a thrift store and try it out.

  167. 167
    August 13th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Hello!!??? I LIVE in California and that DOESNT mean that every single day here is warm! Not everybody lives in LA, or that So Cal area. And, heck, it gets cold there too, I would know.

    I live in the Bay Area, and especially in San Francisco it can get freeezing! It even snows in the mountains sometimes! “States that actually have winters” well, we have winters. Sometimes even worse than others.

    It’s just that that California thing is a HUGE stereotype. Thats all. Otherwise, I liked the article :) Also, for bras and underwear, go to Nordstrom they have great service there.

  168. 168
    August 14th, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Fashion is all inclusive, not exclusive, and there are NO rules, just look good, feel comfortable and have the confidence to wear it. Others can judge but its fun to make the choice not to follow trends but make them your own. So when i go for shopping i don’t check what is in or out but just check what suits me or otherwise and what look will make me different than the previous day simple and this is what a college goers will look and should look for.

  169. 169
    August 22nd, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    During my google surfing on college essentials, I came across this website and LOVE it…the articles are always so helpful, especially this one.
    One of my personal clothing staples is a little denim skirt; it’s like a creative way to not wear jeans and still have that denim that works with anything. I pair anything from flats, cute heels, graphic tees, blouses, blazers or a leather jacket with it. You look a little more dressed up, but still good for every day. Perfect for on campus.

  170. 170
    August 24th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Two years later and i still find this article to be so helpful! I just want to ask…don’t we need fall boots? And for places like Canada with really cold falls and winters, are trench coats acceptable for college students or do they look to matured

  171. 171
    August 31st, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Trench coats are definietely ok for college! Where I am, lots of kids wore them in high school, too. Being young doesn’t mean you have to be a slob and leave the house in sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt everyday.

  172. 172
    September 6th, 2010 at 10:18 am


    I live in Canada too and I own a really nice trench coat which I love to wear on some fall days! Also for rainboots (I know this is two years later but…) I have a pair by the brand Aquitalia-they’re black and shiny and knee high and are insulated on the inside so they’re warm for those really cold fall rainy days that we get. Finally for good winter coats here i’d recommend Mackage-it’s a Montreal brand (sold at Hotl Renfrew) and so nice. They’re pricey but if you’re looking for one nice winter coat that’s warm this would be it!

  173. 173
    September 12th, 2010 at 3:05 am

    i’ll also recommend for basics to have a lycra/spandex blend for it to last longer. lasts longer than 100% cotton

  174. 174
    October 10th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    I have a very casual wardrobe. I have some denim shorts, lots of jeans, lots of tank tops and tees, hoodies, cardigans, and sundresses. I also have a lot of swimsuits and a winter coat for when it gets cold. This post was great help! I have an idea of what I need in my wardrobe.

  175. 175
    October 23rd, 2010 at 9:14 am

    My college essentials are a few pairs of everyday jeans from Charlotte Russe and a few from Old Navy. I love the sweetheart jeans because they are comfortable and fit me perfectly. One or two dresses for going out or when I feel like dressing up, a few sweaters to keep warm from the cold and yes I live in California, but I live in the North Bay so it does get cold. You are wrong about that. You must be talking about the South Bay when it gets hot. What else? Oh, and 4 or 5 pairs of sneakers to walk around in. For sweats I usually buy them from nike and adidas, never Victoria’s Secret because I do not like the words on the butt. I do not want anyone to look at my butt and the sweats are a bit pricey.

  176. 176
    November 13th, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Love this website so helpful for me getting my daughters college gear. So now she considers me the fashion queen.


  177. 177
    November 16th, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Love this post! I would add a pair of moccasins to the list (I wear Minnetonka but I have friends who love the lined UGG ones). They are so comfy and definitely a fall/winter staple.

    A black bandage high-waisted skirt is also a must, its so easy to throw on with a cute top, tucked in or not! Wear it with tights and a cardigan or a tank and you have a look that works for parties year round!

    And as far as rainboots, I have a pair of Hunters that I got for under $50! You can buy second or thirds (boots that are slightly scuffed or maybe the label is a little off-center) and its such a good investment, i wear them year-round with jeans, leggings, sweats, casual skirts and dresses!

  178. 178
    November 23rd, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Any ideas for how to make that wardrobe without jeans? Im only 5′ tall, and can NEVER find pants to fit me; I only have 1 pair of jeans (and theyre supposed to be capris on normal size people). I wish i could wear jeans, but I’ve been looking for years…

  179. 179
    November 27th, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Wow! So much thanks for the info! this is exactly what i needed for the new semester TNX!!

  180. 180
    November 30th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    i would just like to say,as a college student and sorority is completely fine to wear sweats to class. most of the girls i know wear sweats to class regularly,and to be honest some of the outfits ive seen with sweats are 100x better than with jeans. there is absolutely nothing wrong wrong with wearing sweats to class,most people do it.

  181. 181
    December 2nd, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I don’t want to look like every other girl at my school…I prefer individuality when it comes to music, fashion, etc.

    I’ve only shopped at Forever 21 once…there was this cute shirt with Marilyn Monroe on it for $10, so I bought it.

    I grew up relatively poor so I’ve always had to be creative when it comes to clothes. But when I’m able to splurge on something really nice, I do.

    Today I’m wearing a teal blue top with 3/4 sleeves, dark denim jeans with sexy details on the back pockets, and funky leopard print wedges.

    Rhiannon…nice undies are important because they make you feel better, even if no one else sees them. It shows that you care about yourself. I love shopping at Victoria’s Secret. That’s where I buy all my pretty panties.

    I don’t mind sweats with words on the butt…I actually think it’s cute on girls with a nice figure. However, I prefer to wear jeans to class because I think it looks better. But I have nothing against people who wear sweats.

    One piece of advice…turquoise jewelry looks beautiful on almost every girl and it is very classy whether you’re wearing a nice outfit or jeans and a simple shirt.

  182. 182
    December 2nd, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    BTW…I’m graduating in, like, two weeks. I’m a bit bummed out about it. :(

  183. 183
    December 7th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Remember when reading this that these are just the ESSENTIALS. Not a full list.

    Some things you may want to think about is starting with this and then supplimenting it witht things that make you unique. I revamp my wardrobe at the beginning of every semester and I start with what’s on this list, add a few things that are in style for the season, and then add things that I just personally feel pretty in.

    For example:
    I live in Texas and it typically doesn’t get very cold here until the end of November, so in the fall I wear tank tops with cute short sleeve shirts over them or layered tanks, and when it gets colder I wear cardigans or jackets. Another awesome item for class are plaid button-up shirts. I especially like ones with fall colors like gold and bronze or bright colors like turquoise and hot pink. They work great by themselves or over a plain colored tank. Also, accessories are a big deal. As an experiment I wore the same outfit for 3 days with different accessories to see if anyone would notice (don’t wrinkle your nose, I washed the outfit every night) and not even my sorority sisters noticed that I was wearing the same thing.

    I would definately add work out clothes and tennis shoes to this list. Buying a couple new outfits to work out in at the beginning of the semster gets you excited and helps you remember to make it to the gym.

    Also, you can never have too many scarves, clunky necklaces and bright colored bracelets.

  184. 184
    December 7th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    And to Helen-

    I’m only 5’3 so I typically have a hard time finding jeans, but Old Navy is great for people with short legs. In the store they have sizes for long, regular and short and online you can sometimes find styles in extra short

  185. 185
    January 6th, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    It’s quite sad really. Thoes winter booy you published, I had them. Loved them, then, one wrond step, i have a broken boot AND ankel. I miss thoes boots.

  186. 186
    January 24th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    This is a great list. Thanks for putting it together, Zephyr! Though I can think of a few more things, like flip flops, you mentioned all of the items that could be forgotten or are just plain NEEDED. Thanks again for taking time out of your day to put something together to help others. TERRIFIC JOB!

  187. 187
    January 24th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Dear Zephyr,
    One more thing. I am now a sophmore in college but my freshman year, I was quite clueless of the clothes I should bring to college. This list has helped a lot- after all, everybody wants to fit in!!!!

  188. 188
    January 25th, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Great list I agree with this 100% thank you for your fashion knowledge it has helped me with my wardrobe.

  189. 189
    January 26th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I love this list, it is full of essentials to hot and comfortable in college. Thanks for putting forth time and effort to help others. You made a great list and I thank you for that.
    I have just a few things to add:
    ~Cowgirl Boots
    ~Tennis Shoes
    ~Flip Flops

  190. 190
    March 6th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks for taking turns that good written content on your site. I discovered it on the internet. I will check to come back after you post extra aricles.

  191. 191
    March 15th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you so much!!! I’m off to collage in August and I so needed help to prepare. A few of these things I have, but it’s always good to have a list. I was writing it all down so I wouldn’t forget (which I probably would have:). Thanks for the help!!!!! Its one less thing I have to worry about!!!

  192. 192
    March 27th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Wow! This is a great atricle, but I could never imagine the college I go to wearing clothes this nice lol. Please come visit the University of Tennessee in Knoxville! Everyone just wears leggings and tshirts or tshirts with nike running shorts and chacos. Please don’t have a heart attack lol! But it is true, I thought fashion would be different over there, but it is definitely not! But then again, it may be due to the massive campus where you have to run from class to class…

  193. 193
    April 9th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    If you go to the George Washington Uni. fashion changes by the week one moment equestrian enspired boots are in and the next over the knee boots. Also, as to the trench coats, a thigh length light colored trench is a must in a city. When I moved to DC I noticed that as soon as it rained out came the little rain coats, these are chic and professional enough you can wear it to your internship.

  194. 194
    April 16th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I adore this article!! I just finished my last year at university but I would so recommend this for anyone starting out… its also just good to know for even outside of school

  195. 195
    May 14th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I remember reading this article when it first came out, the info in it is still helpful not just for college girls wardrobes but those of us now done with school.

  196. 196
    May 15th, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I thought you should add casual shorts than can be worn in the day and work out clothes to your list.
    But other than that your list has been really helpful. thanks!

  197. 197
    May 18th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I love this list, and wish I had seen it prior to moving into my tiny apartment. However I do have one comment – Even if you count the cardigans as tops, you only have about 12 tops – that’s just not enough for a school year!

    I would have to say that the rule for tops should be 10 – ten tanks (dressy and plain), ten everyday t-shirts (graphic print and plain), ten basic long sleeve (graphic print and plain)… with “cute” tops and a white dress shirt listed separately.

    What do you think? It gives you more variety and a little more room between wash day.

  198. 198
    June 10th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I really like TOMS shoes… they are sooo comfortable. Not really a must have but they are really nice!

  199. 199
    June 12th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    This was absolutely helpful! Thank u so much!

  200. 200
    June 24th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I have referred back to this site numerous times over the years, usually before the school year or at the change of the season. Each time I smile at the suggestions and am so glad I found this list, as it is the most fashion forward and practical list available for college girls. I had such a hard time finding a list of wardrobe essentials that was both practical and affordable. Since finding the list, I have become a daily reader of College Fashion — I love this site! Thank you.

  201. 201
    June 28th, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I love this! I’m in high school, but I’ve been trying to build a good wardrobe for when I go off to college, and this reflects my style perfectly!

  202. 202
    July 4th, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Can you update this for 2011, please? :))

  203. 203
    July 8th, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    i’m sooo in love w/ ur website! this is so helpful for students :-)

  204. 204
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Great list! Though I would make rainboots an essential.

    But, the argument “Jessica Alba swears by them so you know they must work!” Oh, please!

  205. 205
    July 14th, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    A basic black tshirt is always good to have. I can’t begin to tell you how glad i was to have one my freshman year of college.

  206. 206
    July 16th, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I wish I had this going into my freshman year! I wanted to try a new style going into college to start a new me but I didn’t know what to get so I fell back into my own style. But this list is GREAT!! definitely make rainboots an essential and comfy clothes for the gym and a good pair of sneakers thats for sure! But everything else i will be sure to get!

  207. 207
    July 19th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    And of course some nice t-shirts or hoodies with your school logo on them!

  208. 208
    July 19th, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    This is a GREAT list. I’m going to Boston for undergrad in about 6 weeks so I’ve gotta look good, and your list definitely gave me a few tips on where to start! C:

    If I may add something, I feel like one other essential for ALL girls that may need to occasionally look professional [job interviews, etc.] is one pair of either fake/real pearl earrings or hoop earrings. And the hoops must not be bigger in circumference than a quarter, if being worn for professional reasons, according to my mother! That rule of thumb does actually work pretty well in regards to staying classy.

    Thanks again!

  209. 209
    July 21st, 2011 at 3:46 pm


  210. 210
    July 23rd, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Charming Charlie has the perfect rainboot collection! Colorful different designs and comfy!!

  211. 211
    July 25th, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    What I love about this list is that it was written in 2008 and it’s still useful in 2011. So great. The only thing is that this caters to winter clothing, and I live in Texas, so it is always hot at the start of school. In that case, I recommend maybe one or two pairs of jeans and investing more in nicer shorts. They can be cute, comfy and professional; plus, they don’t give you a heat stroke.

  212. 212
    July 28th, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    I love this! I have been going to a school with uniforms for the past 6 years, and i was just complaining to my sister at how i have no idea what to buy to revamp my wardrobe. This list is great and the fact that it works for 2011 even though it was written in 2008 shows that the styles will be going strong for the next 3 years at least. Thanks :)

  213. 213
    July 28th, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    The rain boots are arguably essential if you go to school in Boston since the roads are extremely uneven and create really deep puddle that go up halfway to your shin.

    For winter I’d add two pairs of under armor so you can get away with chic slimming clothing and still remain warm. I mean proper under armor that you’d get a sporting goods store for runners. And get them in basic black. In the early winter I’ve used them as leggings and they keep me super toasty! They can also make your jeans SUPER warm in the winter. Northface is a good brand.

    It may be a bit expensive but it’s worth it.

  214. 214
    August 2nd, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I would have to say you’re missing one piece: CONVERSE! Or Keds. Keds look reallyyy good with summer dresses actually because they are almost like flats in their slim design. Especially the slip on keds!

    Otherwise, great article! Very helpful.

  215. 215
    August 3rd, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I disagree on the rain boots thing. Those are definitely a must if you live anywhere with weather.

  216. 216
    August 13th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Opaque tights:
    I’ve found it’s best to pay a little more for your tights for them to last a little longer I.E Marks and spencer’s Ladder resistant 40 deniers are a fantastic pair but they’ll set you back £6 a pair, but would you sooner pay £6 for one pair to last the whole autumn/winter or pay £3 for 3 pairs of cheap tights that will require you to buy more in a months time?

    But the general idea of this is fantastic- no matter how much fashion changes, this is relevant because girls will always wear jeans and I agree with the converse, you need some converse or general all-round trainers for when you need something a little more comfortable than your flats :)

  217. 217
    August 19th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Love this blog!! definitely helpful. i’m packing for college for next week and was looking for a good list to help.

  218. 218
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    AWESOME list! This is going to be so useful as a checklist when I head back to school next week. Thanks!!

  219. 219
    August 23rd, 2011 at 12:49 am

    this is perfect! saved it as my packing checklist. I leave on Friday. thanks for all your help!

  220. 220
    August 28th, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Hey guys! A note on jeans, I LOVE BONGO. Sometimes they need a belt to keep them up, but they really fit well on me, they aren’t overly tight, and they’re really cute. And bonus, a lot even come with belts. So if you can wear Junior’s clothes, check them out.

  221. 221
    September 10th, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Thats one more post that’s both lifted my spirits and the quality of my wardrobe :)
    Keep up the good work!

  222. 222
    September 16th, 2011 at 6:48 am

    I really need ur advice to wear better outfits…

  223. 223
    December 10th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    California does too have winters… sure, only the higher elevations get snow, but it’s still too cold for me down here!

  224. 224
    December 13th, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Good start, but it’s a little unrealistic to say that people don’t wear sweatpants or never should wear them to class. People honestly don’t care that much about what people wear to class.

  225. 225
    December 16th, 2011 at 6:18 am

    hi…i m 21 years old…but i m not look like college girl ….i m very fat so i just wear selwar…even my face also not look so good…what to do please can u help me..

  226. 226
    December 16th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Dear Pooja-
    I believe selwar is traditional South Asian clothing, which is sooo beautiful. Every culture in the world tends to adopt Western styles except for Indians and Pakistanis- and that is because that clothing is so gorgeous! But if you want to look a bit more like an American college girl, I would suggest you start with clothing with a similar cut to what makes you comfortable. Maybe jeans with a embroidered cotton tunic or a simple T-shirt with a long drapey cardigan over it. If you mix it up with traditional jewelry you could have a very interesting look. Let your hair flow loose too! Big girls are “in” in America, even on TV, so you can take inspiration from others your size as well. Standards of beauty change constantly- its really all about being interesting and projecting a warmth and confidence from accepting yourself that draws people to you.

  227. 227
    December 28th, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    For winter boots, amazon is great. You can find a lot of inexpensive (and cute) boots suitable for snow etc. Also, if you’re vegan, they have several animal friendly boots as well. :)

  228. 228
    February 2nd, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I have just found this blog and I love this list!
    I have 1 pair of bootcut jeans, 2 skinnys, 1 boyfriend and some skinny flares.
    I love skirts I have 4 little short skirts, 1 midlenth, and 2 maxi skirts.
    I am going to get a pineapple tracksuit.

    I would add a maxi dress to this list- everyone should have a floral maxi dress for the summer, I would also add some leggings or jeggings in a plain colour to wear under long t-shirts, Oh and a crop top for the summer, also a hat, scarf and gloves for the winter and a cute stylish hat and scarf for the summer


  229. 229
    February 13th, 2012 at 5:32 am

    good one………..!!!

  230. 230
    February 22nd, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Love the Fashion Advice on this site!!!……..

  231. 231
    March 18th, 2012 at 4:56 am

    this is really interesting. i’ll show this to my friends.

  232. 232
    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Great Article but you missed out one important item:

    1 Boyfriend

  233. 233
    March 24th, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Rainboots and love sleeve tees are essential. No buts. It’s near impossible to walk across a huge campus in the rain without rainboots or at least waterproof sneakers and it gets freezing in the winter and what are you supposed to wear if not long sleeve shirts?

  234. 234
    April 11th, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Hi! I liked a lot the list you’ve made. I started college this year and I spend about 10 minutes deciding what to wear before going to sleep (Just because I’m so indecisive!). Plus, it really prevents me from stressing and arriving late to class.
    I mostly wear jeans and sneakers, added to a cute tank or shirt and a blazer, and when the cold days arrive, I change my Chucks for biker boots or my classic Dr. Martens’ pair. I also throw in a colourful knitted sweater and a parka or a coat.
    I tend to dress really classy to college, but not because of my personal taste, I do think that every girl should have not only one, but many button-down diffrent shirts and one or two blazers (apart from the classic jacket). With a blazer, you can wear both a button-down shirt, a tank or a rock band tee and it will still look nice. Button-down shirts with diffrent cuts, patterns and styles make your outfit pretty much interesting.
    I just discovered this webpage, it will be really useful. Thanks a lot!

  235. 235
    April 25th, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Love And agree with few good jeans hoodies, lounge wear of course.. A couple dressy casual dresses you can play up for night or one you may throw with flip flops and do errands in or grab lunch with a friend.. And fully agree with the tanks and cardigans. But I think we’re forgetting khaki/linen shorts. Dressy ones can be casual or dressed up. I know I have two tan khakis one navy blue one white one black and they go with everything. My fave look for every day is cute tank khaki shorts cute flats and dangly earrings (:

  236. 236
    July 10th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Sooo I know this post is like 4 years old, but I have to say all the stuff on here still is still relevant.

    Personally I have 8 pairs of Norts (Nike tempo shorts) in different colors and wear them with my Sperry Angelfish, sneakers, or Rainbow flip flops along with v-necks and the dozens of frat/sorority tanks I have accumulated since my freshman year. This is pretty much the standard sorority girl’s going-to-class outfit. Even if you’re not in greek life, tons of people just wear Norts to class with a tank top and sneaks, but keep it from looking too gym-y by making sure their hair and makeup is immaculate, throwing on a watch (I have a gold MK), a cute bag (it doesn’t have to be expensive, but at FSU tons of girls have Longchamps or Vineyard Vines totes, or a Lilly Pulitzer tote with their sorority print on it), and a nice pair of sunglasses (think Ray-bans if you can afford it, aviators are in as well as wayfarers). You’ll see these same girls in a sundress and Tory Burch flats or Jack Rogers the next day, so don’t let yourself fall into the habit of never making ANY effort; forgo the norts once in a while, because it feels good sometimes to dress up!

    Wintertime is apparently the time for black legging paired with a colored fleece from Columbia, Patagonia, or The North Face, and Uggs. Not sure how I feel about this trend, but it sure is comfy. I take advantage of the cold weather to do my hair, and if my hair looks good I don’t really want to look frumpy, so I throw on a peacoat, a mid-thigh dress with leggings and knee-high boots.

  237. 237
    July 12th, 2012 at 2:51 am

    So, I love this post.

    It really helped me define my wardrobe this past year, which was great because I had an empty closet from my international move. Now it’s filled to the brim and I can safely check off the majority of what’s listed on here.

    I just need to get a good fall/spring jacket! I want one that’s both warm and not thick at the same time, so I can carry it around when the weather gets crazy and flip-flops between chilly and humid.

    I’m not done yet and will probably keep checking back for now, but this post is gold and will always be relevant to every college girl out there.

  238. 238
    August 12th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    I love that you put not to wear sweat to class. It is crazy to go to class and see all these girls in sweat or better yet pajamas.

  239. 239
    September 8th, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Nicely compiled.. In India usually girls influenced by the Bollywood actresses’s. Their style becomes her wardrobe must have. I must say this article will really help to girls to pick best.

  240. 240
    September 15th, 2012 at 1:56 am

    The pieces that I find most useful are: 1) A shapeless sweater dress. 2) A chambray shirt with some sort of a accent such as lace pockets. 3) A blazer. 4) Classy shorts (that aren’t too short). The chambray shirt can be worn under or over the dress, the dress can be a dress, skirt, or, shirt. These two pieces can be worn together in many different ways. The blazer and shorts enhance these pieces beautifully and add a couple more options.

  241. 241
    November 5th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks SOOO much for posting this article! I just finished purging my closet to donate to victims of Sandy, but I then realized that I needed to update my wardrobe REALLY badly. I’ve built my entire shopping list around these essentials. This is awesome, and keep up the great work :D

  242. 242
    November 11th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    i felt that these things r essential for the upcoming college girls

  243. 243
    November 26th, 2012 at 11:00 am

    This is a great list of essentials not just for college or uni, but for life in general! My friends and I didn’t go to uni we all got jobs when we left school at 16 and now were in our 20’s and married etc we all have wardrobes that look similar to this. Who doesn’t love sweats for chilling out in? Or have sexy heels and a pair of smart shoes? Even my mothers wardrobe looks a bit like this! Of course tastes in cuts and colours change from person to person, but this is a basic wardrobe. You can add your own personality to it. This is a much better post than the standard “7 items you must own” types. Thank you xx

  244. 244
    November 27th, 2012 at 5:39 am

    This ia very helpf! thank you

  245. 245
    March 14th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    omg this is exactly what i need for college
    this is the basic list i might add some to it but thanks for posting this i am going to start college in a few months and is was wondering what to pack :))

  246. 246
    March 14th, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I’m soo happy i saw this post….
    This is really all i needed to know…
    A huge weight’s been lifted off my shoulder. I’m just so happy :D

  247. 247
    June 28th, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    what brand of black leggings do you recommend? ones that are not super thin, cheap to high quality brands.

  248. 248
    July 18th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    What a great list of wardrobe essentials! This can be considered a “Bible” of college fashion in one post. Great stuff! Thanks for sharing.

  249. 249
    August 11th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Hey, just wanted to make a sugestion for all the sweats lovers out there. Faded Glory makes some jeggings that are amazing, but they have belt loops and pockets. so they are comfy enough to sleep in but nice enough to wear to class.They also come in the regular jean washes and bright colors.

  250. 250
    September 6th, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Wow!! I truly love this post I have been trying to revamp my wardrobe slowly and i did not have the slightest clue and where to begin. Best of all i have realized through going through this post I basically have a lot of the items in my closet all ready so I will reenter my closest with a checklist, rather then run to the mall. thanks :D

  251. 251
    January 19th, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    really like the classic stuff

  252. 252
    May 12th, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I think you guys should do a more current version of this–not that this is super out-of-date. I just think could be a really great article if it were updated and more recent.

  253. 253
    June 8th, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Just so you know, the word “firstly” isn’t actually a real word. :) Just wanted you to know!

  254. 254
    June 25th, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I live in my yoga pants at school and hardly ever wear jeans. There is no point getting dressed up all the time for just classes. Anyway I agree with some of it but you do need professional cloths for those guest speakers and important lunches. Also SLIPPERS I use them it the door so much you have no idea.

  255. 255
    September 25th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

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    speckled or plaid background, specialty shops, stores, and the second half, connected a network of trails used by horseback riders and hikers.
    In 17 minutes, tennessee conduct a thorough criminal record.
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  256. 256
    January 22nd, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Hey thanx for helping,will be leaving for college next week!!thanx for helping me with my wardrobe!!

  257. 257
    February 25th, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Great list about college fashion and wardrobe essentials for girls.Its really helpful to all girls.Thank you so much for publishing this blog.

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