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College Wardrobe Essentials for Guys

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College is a wild time. It’s something that’s glorified in American movies and is certainly worth the hype. If you’re just out of high school or junior college, you have a lot waiting ahead of you. It’s a tough time to figure out who you want to be, but this is also part of what makes college so great. 

You get to explore and go for it, without having your parents or whoever over your shoulder.  You get to feel what it is to be your own man. And a huge part of that is how you want to present yourself to this new community. You have the freedom to decide who you want to be and how you present yourself. 

While no one can answer that for you, you can get some help along the way when it comes to how you present yourself in the clothes you wear. Here is a good little guideline for some essential clothing picks, perfect for helping you on the right path, right away.  


T-shirts are timeline and can go with everything casual, and even some formal wear. They feel comfortable and are easily the most common clothing item in the world. When you wear a t-shirt, you give off that relaxed, active, intimately self-expressive vibe.

Here are a few categories sure to fit in perfectly in your collegiate closet:


The go-to

This is that shirt that you just know deep down is your favorite. It’s the one you just naturally gravitate to without thinking about it.  When you wake up in the morning, you have to convince yourself to wear another shirt so that people don’t see you in the go-to too often. They might think you don’t shower or something.

mens tshirt for college

It’s that perfect combination of favorite color, design, and fabric all rolled into a slice of heaven on your chest. Check out this black crew neck from Nimble Made. This is what we’re talking about!! This is a tee that will never steer you wrong - you can wear it with anything! 


Athleisure and other comfortable go-to’s

This next one is one step down from the go-to. It’s close, but still some of your favorite tees. You wear these when you need something in a pinch that will go with whatever.  They can be worn day or night with no problem.

These t-shirts have probably a more neutral tone and vibe, but still one you feel good in regardless. To be clear, this is not to be confused with the comfy-and-lazy sets of tees we all have. You should never leave the house whatsoever in one of them. You know which they are, but if you want to make an impression then at most you would be wearing those to the gym. 

Paired up and styled

Say you just picked up a sweet new pair of kicks that have that color you just had to add to the collection, but might be a bit more difficult when it comes to color combinations. That’s where this section of tees comes in. When we’re talking about creating a “look,” this is a big part of it.  

Take this olive green v-neck for example. You just got a pair of blue canvas Converse Chuck Taylor’s or a pair of Yeezy’s. These are statement shoes, and should be accented by the rest of your outfit. You can pair those new kicks with that olive green color, with the v-neck styling, and maybe some slim fit chinos to complete the look.  All of a sudden you are oozing cool vibes - you’re more than ready to mingle with other students.


Long sleeves

Long sleeves have come back in style as of late and are a fun look to try out. They can be styled for both an artsy and an athletic look for and can really add to your wardrobe. Because these are a bit more retro, they are a bit of a throwback to the 90s. But if done right, it can speak to your personality and personal style in volumes. 

mens flannel for college

In addition to long-sleeved t-shirts, you can think about long-sleeved button-down shirts. These sweet flannels from Nimble Made are sure to throw some wow into your closet.


Jeans + Khakis

Nothing will make you feel more unstoppable than a pair of pants that look and feel just right. There are so many cuts out there to choose from, be it baggy, skinny, slim, loose, and all in between. How you decide on what fit is best for you and the occasion really depends on the purpose. 

Do you want to be able to move around freely? Are you planning to pull off the splits in front of someone? These questions must be asked and answered because these days, pants are made from all kinds of materials. There are even dress sweats, believe it or not. 

For most people, having a pair of pants to walk around in and a pair to go out in are all that’s needed. But of course, if you’re trying to style - then you need to look over these options.


Blue jeans

Blue jeans, in whatever wash you looking to sport, are where it’s at in college. These, like your basic t-shirt, are classics because they’re so versatile. Blue jeans can be dressed up or down and have endless styling options. You can wear them with your basic t-shirts and sandals or sneakers, or toss on a button-up with a blazer for a sporty-casual look if you’re going out. 

mens jeans for college

Jeans also come in a variety of washes, which add to the versatility of this clothing item. There is light wash, acid wash, dark rinse, and also black and white jeans if you’re looking for a different look.  


Chinos, khakis, brown pants, or whatever you want to call beige-colored pants are a great addition to your wardrobe, especially if you own a few pairs of jeans. It really helps to have a different color and feel to give you options with your attire. Often, chinos are made with a different fabric than jeans, which will give it a whole other texture and vibe.  

Chinos are great to wear with blue t-shirts and button-ups, especially if you want to avoid the Canadian tuxedo look (denim on denim, although there is a time and place for this style as well). Because the fabric of chinos are more prone to wrinkles, we recommend getting an iron or steamer on hand so you can press them for a cleaner look. That said, the time and effort you put in will be well worth it! 



Along the lines of the ‘Paired up and styled’ part of the t-shirts section are multi-colored pants. Say you just got a sweet new tee in a bold color, like red. But if you wear a pair of blue jeans with it, then it has this weird contrast-y look, and if you wear a pair of chinos with it… well you just look like you work at Target.

That’s where multi-colored comes in. These can be pants or jeans that come in all sorts of saturations and textures, ranging from greens, grays, yellows, and more. While color blocking is more of an art and is definitely a step up from having a basic wardrobe, it is also a fun way to express your personality. 

This is also a great option for football games and other occasions when you want to express some school spirit. Blue and yellow or cardinal and gold are very classic color combinations, and having a basic tee and pants in these colors will ensure that you’ll always be prepared for fun college activities. 


Goin’ Out

Besides going to class and hanging out on campus or in your dorm, going to some formal events, big parties, evenings out on the town can all be part of the classic college experience. Going out can mean a wide range of things, however, and there are some nights when you want to wear some old t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers so that you don’t want to worry about what happens to your clothes while you’re out partying with your friends. 

On the other hand, there are times when you want to dress up and look a bit nicer. Here are some options for you to consider in these occasions. 


Dress shirts

mens dress shirts for going out in college

Every guy should have at least a couple of collared shirts to have ready to go for a nice evening.

But professional attire doesn’t have to be boring or square. These should be ones that fit you just right, with the color you dig, and the design you can get behind. 

Fit, especially, is key here. You want to wear something that is close to your chest and back without constricting your arm movements. Nimble Made has your back with a beautifully designed slim fit dress shirt that will accent your physique in a way you will not hate. 



After the dress shirt come the slacks. While jeans and a dress shirt is a vibe, it’s important to also have a few pairs of slacks with a crease down the front. This is meant to give you that more polished look, to accompany the dress shirt for special occasions.

Typically, you would go for a lighter dress shirt on top and darker slacks, but you can feel free to mix it up based on what you prefer. 



Finally, check out Nimble Made’s strong tie game on display here. Ties used to be more professional and reserved for the workspace, but nowadays ties not only come in all shapes and sizes, but also colors and textures too. A skinny knit tie paired with a chambray shirt and light khakis can work both on campus or out on the town. 

mens ties nimble made for college


Another consideration is the bow tie, which can also now be appropriate for more casual and fun environments. These are especially novel if you’re going to a party with friends, since not many people wear them. It will be an accessory that serves as a conversation opener while also showcasing your personality. 

Final thoughts

Now get out there, use these tips to find that oyster and pearl.  Enjoy the search, and dress to impress… yourself because that’s number one at the end of the day.