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The Only Wardrobe Staples You’ll Need In College

“Ugh, I have nothing to wear!” Sound familiar? No, it’s not just a line from Clueless—it’s the very real problem you run into every single morning. But if you invest in these wardrobe staples, you’ll always have an outfit ready for you to rock on campus.

For every day

Classic pair of jeans

There’s a reason “blue jeans” outlived the Wild West and made it into our closets. All you need is a few pairs of these classic pants, and you’ll instantly have dozens of outfits ready to go. So whether you’re into boyfriend jeans or skinnies, make sure to find your go-to denim!

Black leggings

If there’s ONE item you need in college, it’s a solid pair of black leggings. They’re easy to slip on and they go with everything. And yes, leggings ARE pants.

Simple skirt

Forever 21 short skirt



Topshop mini skirt



Short skirt


Like with a good pair of jeans, the right skirt will go with all of your favorite tops for a cute and put-together look. So what will your staple be—tube or skater?

Plain tee

James Perse v neck tee




Free people top



You’d be surprised at how far a good quality t-shirt can go. Why not pair it with those jeans or that skirt? (For bonus points, you can get the same simple t-shirt in a few colors and you’ll be set for the week!).

Flowy blouse

Shirts top



MANGO v neck sleeveless top
$31 – johnlewis.com




You can have a bit of fun when shopping for a blouse. Whether your favorite is printed or monochrome, short or long-sleeved, it will look great for class over leggings AND for work with a blazer!

Warm sweater

Whether your campus gets really cold in the winter or your sunshine-ridden school just uses way too much AC, you’ll need a staple sweater (or two, or three!) for when you’ve had enough of your school sweatshirt.


Madewell cardigan



V neck top



Halogen petite top



White cardigan
$36 – newlook.com


When it’s chilly out, but you don’t want to hide your cute top, cardigans are your best ally. Plus, they go great over leggings and booties!

Statement scarf

Humble Chic tartan shawl



Wrap shawl
$16 – yoins.com



Muk Luks scarve



Knit infinity scarf


Sometimes a scarf can be just what you need to turn a boring outfit around. A neutral-colored one will go with basically anything, while a printed one will add an edge to your precious basics for any occasion!


Booties are the instant outfit upgrade you need, whether you’re headed to dinner on the town or to the library. A slight heel is classy, but not uncomfortable, so you can walk across campus without injury.

Tennis shoes

TOMS flat



Converse black shoes



For the days when booties feel too fancy, you’ll definitely want a solid pair of tennis shoes to traipse around from class to class.

Flat sandals


ASOS leather sandals
$30 – asos.com




Slip on shoes


Flat sandals are an obvious must-have for the warmer days. There are so many options out there that you are bound to find the pair for you!

For lounging

Yoga pants

No finals week would be complete without the right pair of extra-flattering, extra-comfortable yoga pants. Or, you know, you could actually wear them to yoga class.


You already know that sweatshirts are basically comfort with sleeves, but did you know they can also be super cute? We love these picks under $100!

For work



Love 21 white blazer



Very J black blazer
$69 – nastygal.com



Miss Selfridge blue jacket
$35 – johnlewis.com


Blazers are a total essential for the workplace. Whether you work a casual job or you intern at a law firm, a chic jacket will instantly give you a professional look that will impress your boss—or it will make you look sophisticated when you hit happy hour after work!

Pencil skirt

J Crew long pencil skirt
$155 – jcrew.com



ASOS white pencil skirt
$30 – asos.com



Dorothy Perkins black pencil skirt
$22 – dorothyperkins.com


You know how they always say it’s best to overdress than underdress for an interview or networking event? A pencil skirt is the way to do it, which is why every collegiette should own one.

Nice flats



Topshop brown flat



Charlotte Russe navy shoes


Unless your office has a strict dress code, you probably don’t need to be wearing heels to work. But that doesn’t mean that you should be wearing sneakers, either! Nice flats are a total essential, and you can repurpose them for brunch with your mom. Win-win.

High heel pumps

So your office does have a strict dress code, or you have a big interview. Don’t worry— you’re covered with these pretty pumps!

4. For going out

Crop tops

Striped top
$69 – nastygal.com





Boohoo shirts top


Crop tops are the ultimate party and festival staple. Try pairing a neutral-colored one with some fun printed shorts, or a patterned one with a simple high-waisted skirt!

High-waisted shorts

UNIF high waisted shorts



High rise shorts



Charlotte Russe white shorts



Charlotte Russe short shorts


The most important college party staple is a good ol’ pair of high-waisted shorts. You can pair them with a tank top for a tailgate or with a crop top and booties on a night out!

For formal occasions

Evening dress



Little black dress



Charlotte Russe red dress


You never know what occasions you might get invited to! Between sorority formals, student organization galas and even weddings, it’s always a good idea to have a dressy number on hand.

High heel sandals




Missguided high heel shoes


Complement your party dress with some Carrie Bradshaw-worthy sandals!

With these items in your closet, you’ll never have to wonder what to wear again. Mix and match them for a blend of casual and classy, and you’ll be the best-dressed (and least stressed) collegiette on campus in no time! 

Iris was the associate editor at Her Campus. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in communications and gender studies, but was born and raised in France with an English mother. She enjoys country music, the color pink and pretending she has her life together. Iris was the style editor and LGBTQ+ editor for HC as an undergrad, and has interned for Cosmopolitan.com and goop. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @irisgoldsztajn, or check out her writing portfolio here.
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