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The Absolute Must Haves for Your Back-to-School Closet

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

Let’s face it, there are a plethora of things to be stressed out about when a new school year starts – one of them being having a couple decent outfits to live off of for the next year. Outfits make or break your day, and let’s be honest, some days it’s the only thing that keeps you going. With the stress of college and life on your shoulders, clothing shouldn’t add any extra anxiety which is exactly why I have curated the ultimate must-have guide for your back-to-school closet to start the year off right.


If you are struggling to find out where to start, always go back to the basics. You want to have a good few staple basics in your closet to serve as the foundation for your wardrobe. You can start doing this by investing in your neutral, everyday colors such as black, white, and nudes. Not only do these colors go with almost everything, you are bound to have a solid outfit to dress up and down anytime you want.

Skims Cotton Rib Tanks  

Garage Baggy Jean

Gap Shaker-Stitch Cardigan

Aelfric Eden Solid Color Knit Sweater 

Princess Polly Karlet Low Waist Mini Skirt 


Although sticking to the basics is always a good idea, spicing up the closet with fun colors and unique styles is the perfect way to introduce a piece of yourself into your wardrobe. For this step, I would recommend delving into your personality as a whole and picking a few good quality pieces that screams you. Although I recommend you do this step all on your own, here are some examples: 

Abercrombie Cropped Vegan Suede Shearling Jacket 

Finesse Kala Moon Body Print Midi Dress 

Free People We The Free Firecracker Flare Jeans

Aelfric Eden Whirlpool Knit Sweater


I can’t count how many times athleisure has saved my life in my college career. Long day and don’t feel like wearing jeans? Athleisure is there to save the day. Not only is it a comfortable choice, but there are so many brands and pieces out there that make you feel and look good. It is always a good idea to invest in a good pair of leggings and a hoodie to save for that day where you don’t feel like trying but also want to present yourself.

Aerie Flared Leggings 

Buff Bunny Legacy Leggings 

Fear of God Essentials Jet Black Hoodie

Nike Sportswear Phoenix Fleece  


This may not be the typical category you would think of, but you would be surprised how much intimates can impact your outfits. You want to be comfortable, and not be picking up your bra every two seconds. Investing in quality intimates will help you save money and be comfortable at all times. 

Cotton Plunge Bralette 

Fits Everybody T-Shirt Bra

Comfort Stretch Thong

No-Show Cheeky Panty


Now that we have clothing down, getting a few statement pieces to accessorize can help enhance your outfits. I especially love this because you can get really creative with it and start to dig into what you may or may not be into. Here are some ideas to get you started off: 

Gold Must Have Hoops Bundle

CelineTriomphe Sunglasses 

Celestial Sun & Moon Ring Set 

Marc Jacobs Tote Bag


You may be able to get away with getting cheap pieces of clothing for your closet, but shoes are the one item I recommend you don’t skimp out on. It’s important that you have a good quality shoe that not only does the job but a) lasts you a good while b) is fashion forward c) can go with a majority of your fits and d) is comfortable for you to be walking around campus all day. 

1460 Smooth Leather Lace Up Boots 

Converse Chuck Taylor – Black 

Steve Madden Theresa – Black Patent

New Balances 550s 

Jasmine Padda

UC Riverside '24

just your average pre-med student that occasionally writes :,)