How to Buy Clothes for College?

Leaving for college for the first time is exciting. But knowing what to pack can be daunting. Rather than letting it get you down, keep it simple and focused on the basics to ensure that only what you really need ends up in your freshman dorm room.

  1. It’s recommended that you bring only what you’d consider to amount to three weeks worth of clothes suited to the season. This is essential, since you won’t be able to fit every item of clothing you own into one dorm. In particular, focus on ways to make one piece of clothing work many ways––travel packing advice is often a good source of information about this trick. For now, some pointers include:
  2. A tailored jacket (both for men and for women) will always be useful as it can serve both casual and dressed-up outfits. Obviously, matching pants or skirt for the jacket should be included but be aware that this jacket can go over T-shirts, shirts, sweaters, and the like, as well as matching with jeans when needed.
  3. At a minimum, pack four base items (pants, capris, skirts, shorts), six tops that match at least three of the base items, three warm layers (a sweater, cardigan, blazer, thermal top, etc.), 1 dress (for women) and four pairs of shoes (three casual, one professional).
  4. Use accessories to change the look of your clothes. Think wraps, scarves, ties, bags, belts, jewelery, etc. In this area women are more likely to have greater choices but both men and women can alter the look of an outfit with accessories.
  5. Have your parents send along winter items later but always have at least one warm coat with you for early chilly nights that occur unexpectedly. A thermal can also assist as a quick way to get warm when the temperature begins to turn downward.
  6. If possible, having two nice outfits is best, especially if one is more conservative and the other outfit is flashier for evening occasions. You never know when you will have to dress up for a religious event with a new friend, go to a job or internship interview, or eat out at a fancy restaurant.
  7. Always include a swimsuit, whether or not you swim regularly. And take along whatever sports clothing you use regularly, whether it’s exercise/athletic gear or team sports.
  8. You may also want to consider bringing some sports equipment. Many colleges have great sporting facilities to use and intramural teams to play on. A tennis racket, football, or cleats may come in handy. Then again, it might be easier to wait until you’re there and buy or hire equipment as you determine what sport you’ll participate in.
  9. Try to find everyday clothes of the same kind: all light-colored cottons or all dark blends. You will be able to do all your wash in one load.

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