Casual College Outfits: 11 Laid-Back Looks Perfect for Campus

Keep it casual with these laid-back, affordable outfit ideas perfect for college.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you purchase through our links. Please read our full disclosure here.

This post will show you 11 casual outfit ideas for college, with styling tips perfect for school.

The countdown to college is on!

Fall semester is not as far away as you may think, which is why there’s no time like the present to start planning (and shopping) for the back-to-school season.

Getting dressed for classes day in and day out can get old quickly, which is why I’ve put together 11 casual outfit ideas perfect for college that you can refer back to when you’re in need of outfit inspo.

These budget-friendly looks feature a mix of on-trend clothing items with college wardrobe staples, like basic tees and tanks that you may already have in your closet (and that we highly recommend for keeping on hand at college).

So the next time you’re searching for a cute, effortless outfit for class, the library, or just your daily college life, check out these 11 casual college outfit ideas that will have you heading back to school in style.

Casual College Outfit with Cargo Pants

Casual College Outfit with Cargo pants and sneakers

Products: Pants, Top, Backpack, Sneakers

Cargo pants have become a style staple—not only do they look cool, but they are also majorly comfy thanks to their relaxed fit. Plus, who doesn’t love having extra pockets?!

While you’ll inevitably be wearing cargo pants to hang out (and go out) with friends, they’re great for days spent on campus, too. Simply pair them with sneakers and a basic top or t-shirt, like a long sleeve henley top. Graphic print tees and sweatshirts work as well.

Opt for a pair of cargo pants with a roomy fit for added comfort (especially if you have a long class or study session planned)—they’ll feel like sweatpants but look more put-together.

Casual College Outfit with a Onesie Romper

Casual college outfit with an athletic onesie romper and sneakers

Products: Onesie, Backpack, Socks, Sneakers

When it comes to casual college outfits, athleisure looks are a go-to. Athletic-inspired clothing is practical for trekking across campus, and as a bonus, you can wear it to the gym before or after class to get a workout sesh in without going home to change.

Athletic onesies are a favorite of mine that make getting dressed quick and easy: throw one on and you’re good to go. You can always tie a sweatshirt or button-down shirt around your waist or across your shoulders for more coverage (and to wear in those classrooms with AC blasting).

Complete your look with some sneakers and slouch socks for a sporty vibe, along with your backpack.

Casual College Outfit with Baggy Pants

Somewhere between sweatpants and trousers are these baggy, pull-on pants, which have a loose, relaxed fit that makes them ultra-comfortable to sit, study, walk, and hang out in. This particular pair has a utility-inspired look with cargo pockets, which we love.

For an easy, casual look, wear them with a graphic print t-shirt and some cool street-style sneakers, like Nike Dunks or New Balances.

Throw your hair up with a large claw clip, and grab your bookbag—this heavyweight canvas tote bag is big enough to hold your books, laptop, etc.

Casual College Outfit with Denim Shorts

Casual College Outfit with denim shorts, footbed sandals, and a button-down shirt

Products: Shirt, Tube Top, Shorts, Sandals

Denim shorts are practically the definition of casual, and they’re perfect for late summer/early fall when you head back to campus.

On a warm day, wear them with a basic tank top or tube top and a matching button-down shirt with an oversized fit. The shirt helps make the outfit a bit more polished and class-appropriate, but you can take it off afterward when you meet up with friends. (It’s a great class-to-happy-hour look.)

A pair of comfortable footbed sandals are in keeping with the warm weather vibe of the outfit and are a practical shoe option for campus.

Casual College Outfit with Biker Shorts

If you love wearing leggings, you likely feel the same way about biker shorts. They’re basically leggings in a shorter length, making them sporty and super comfy, perfect for working out and hanging out alike.

Whether you’re headed to class or the gym (or both), try wearing a pair of black biker shorts with athletic sneakers (I’m currently loving ones from New Balance) and a graphic logo crewneck sweatshirt or hoodie. BTW, these biker shorts feature a crossover waistband for an extra-flattering fit.

A cute logo baseball hat will not only add to the athleisure vibe of the outfit but is also a saving grace on a bad hair day or a sweaty post-gym walk home.

Casual College Outfit with Jeans

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how jeans are a wardrobe essential, especially for college. This casual essential can be styled in countless ways, from ultra-casual to dressy, for class or going out.

This season, consider opting for jeans with a loose, baggy fit. Anything ’90s-inspired is going to look on-point and will perfectly balance out your little crop tops on the weekends.

For class, though, wear your denim with a rib-knit cardigan in the color of your choice with some platform sneakers. These flatform Vans are a fun take on a classic style, with a laid-back feel and a little height boost that will allow the jeans to hang just right.

A colorful beaded layered necklace brings the ensemble together… along with your backpack, of course.

Casual College Outfit with a Dress

Casual College Outfit with a dress and denim jacket

Products: Jacket, Dress, Hat, Tote Bag, Sneakers

I know a dress may not seem “casual” for class, but think again! Simple and/or athletic-inspired dresses are actually great for college—especially ones that have built-in shorts, like this active mini dress.

A dress like this will make you look polished, but you’ll feel comfortable thanks to its activewear-like design with breezy fabric and a hidden cell phone pocket.

To give the ensemble a more fashionable feel, try wearing a denim jacket over top, along with some white low-top sneakers. (Athletic sneakers work too, but will give the outfit a sportier vibe.)

Accessorize with a baseball cap and your bookbag—this graphic print tote bag features a cute logo and has a roomy fit.

Casual College Outfit with a Denim Skirt

Casual college outfit with a denim skirt, sneakers, and cardigan

Products: Skirt, Sweater, Earrings, Sneakers

Denim skirts are a major fashion trend this season, both in maxi and mini lengths. The denim material gives these skirts a more casual feel, making them a surprisingly versatile piece you can pair with (almost) as many items as you would with your jeans.

This particular denim mini skirt features cargo pockets for a trend appeal and can be dressed up or down. For a laid-back daytime college look, style the skirt with a knit cardigan, like this striped zip-up sweater with a hood worn over a simple tank top or t-shirt.

A pair of low-profile, neutral-colored sneakers add to the casual vibe and make the outfit practical for walking around campus. Accessorize with some classic hoop earrings for a cute touch.

Casual College Outfit with a Plaid Shirt

You can’t go wrong with a plaid flannel shirt—these never go out of style and make for a versatile layering piece, especially in the fall.

As we transition from the end of summer into autumn, try wearing an oversized plaid flannel shirt over a simple white ribbed tank top and high-waisted jean shorts, which will add a print to your outfit while giving it a ’90s-inspired look. You can always tie it around your waist, too; it’s a great option for those days when it’s chilly in the morning but you’re sweating by the afternoon!

Finish the outfit off with some sneakers like a classic pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, or some footbed sandals.

Casual College Outfit with Combat Boots

If you want to give your casual college look a little bit of *edge,* try some lace-up combat boots. They are tough enough to take on campus (especially on days with not-so-great weather) and work well with academia-inspired looks.

For this academia-inspired outfit, style a pair of lace-up boots with some plaid wide-leg pants and a cable knit sweater vest, which can be worn on its own or layered over a t-shirt.

Any bookbag works, but this tote backpack is especially cool, as it can be worn in two ways (as a backpack or as a tote bag) and is waterproof.

Complete the ensemble with dainty jewelry—this initial pendant necklace is a cute option.

Casual College Outfit with Sweatpants

When all else fails, you can always turn to sweatpants and a sweatshirt! We are keeping it casual here, after all.

While I wouldn’t advise wearing sweats to a class presentation, they are acceptable most of the time, especially for long study sessions or finals week.

The key to making sweats look put-together rather than sloppy is to opt for tops and bottoms that match or are at least complementary to each other. Neutral colors, like gray, are always a good idea since they are easy to mix and match!

Wear your sweat set with your favorite sneakers (Nike Air Force 1 sneakers are classic) or Ugg boots, along with your backpack. A colorful claw clip is a functional way to add a bit of flair to your ensemble while also keeping your hair looking cute (and controlled!).

What do you think of our casual college outfits guide?

Would you wear these outfits? Which casual college look is your favorite? Leave a comment and let us know.

11 casual college outfits to copy for back to school season

Leave a Comment