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6 Accessories Every College Student Should Always Have on Hand

Every college student is tempted by the comfort of sweats and a hoodie, especially when you feel like you’ve worn every possible closet item and combination to death. Buying new clothes isn’t always a feasible option, especially for students on a budget. It also isn’t the most ethical or sustainable option. Accessories, however, take up much less closet space and are available at a wide range of prices and styles. For the fashion-forward student, no outfit is complete without an accessory or two.

Accessories are a simple but versatile way to change up your wardrobe or to create a signature look. As a college student balancing many demands at once, it can be difficult to figure out a cohesive look at the last minute. Keeping a few staple pieces that go with most of your wardrobe is a good way to get started. This way, no matter how many Birkenstocks and oversized hoodies you may own, you’ll have some killer accessories to go with it. 

Patterned hair scarves

Whether you’re running late or going to the gym later, a hair scarf is super versatile and won’t get in your way. These come in all kinds of colors and patterns, and ways to wear them are also wide and varied. Just grab one before you leave and you can tie it in on your way to class. It can match your outfit or stand out from the rest of your look – either way, you’ll be sure to make an impression on whoever you interact with.

Related: 5 Guaranteed Ways to the Nail Hair Scarf Trend


Stacked rings

If you’re not into obvious statements like a patterned hair scarf threaded through your hair, going low-key with various rings scattered on different fingers is an easy way to stand out. The rings themselves can match or be completely different — I’d recommend checking out your local thrift store, yard sales or any other cheap, second-hand source.

Rings have character, and so do you, so try to match the two! Options include thin, dainty pieces that look elegant when stacked as well as bulkier pieces that are noticeable and will pique others’ interest once they notice this detail. The added bonus of rings is that they don’t need to match your outfit every day so very little thought or time needs to go into this part of your look in the morning: just put them on and head out. They’ll make a statement no matter what.


This is probably one of the easiest pieces to incorporate into your everyday wardrobe; even a simple gold chain can elevate your look. There are so many options for necklaces, especially when layering. Pick out a couple of necklaces that have different lengths with complementing hardware (e.g. gold or silver). Try to match the hardware of the piece to hardware on other items you wear, like a silver-toned necklace with a silver-studded bag, or gold-toned choker with the gold clasp of a belt. There are ethical options and cheaper options available so be sure to explore your options and try to invest in pieces that will last past this season of trends.

Hair clips

Similar to necklaces, having a few different styles of hair clips that match a few of the most-worn items in your wardrobe is the way to go here. Match the pearl buttons on your cropped cardigan with pearl hair clips or any other combination you like. This is a super easy accessory, with the added benefit of creating an effortless hairstyle. It can also be incorporated into different hairstyles and can turn an otherwise ordinary outfit into a very memorable look.


If you want an uber-functional accessory that can also add some dimension to your outfit, scrunchies are likely a good option for you. You can color coordinate so the colors reflected most in your wardrobe also appear in your scrunchies. Alternatively, you can have one or two signature colors or even patterns. Whether you wear the scrunchie in your hair, on your wrist or keep it on a keychain, I promise this is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to add some life into your wardrobe.

Related: 5 Fresh Ways To Wear A Scrunchie

A pop of color in your makeup

A bold lipstick or colored eyeliner can make just as much of a statement as any other accessory. A purple lip or green eyeshadow will definitely turn heads. Colored mascara is a more subtle but still super interesting way to switch things up. Rock any color you feel like by creating a monochromatic outfit (all-black should be easy) or match the color to your look.

No matter what the occasion, you can never go wrong with an accessory or two to escalate your college look from ‘broke’ to ‘broke, but stylish’. Plus, it’s the perfect time to experiment with different styles and options so don’t be afraid to try something new from this list – you might be surprised by what you find! Be sure to tag @hercampus on our social media if you try any of these!

Samhita Sen

UC Berkeley '21

Samhita (she/her pronouns) graduated in December 2021 from UC Berkeley with a double major in Communication/Media Studies and Sociology. At any given moment, she may be frantically writing an essay, carelessly procrastinating by watching Claire Saffitz on YouTube or spending time with people she loves.