When you think about shopping and college, you usually picture an 18 to 22-year-old female at the mall. However, it’s also important for college-aged males to have a few essentials in their closet.dress_for_success

Most guys have a complete wardrobe of gym clothes and basketball shoes, so this blog will focus on “the rest of your wardrobe.” Yes, guys: your wardrobe must extend beyond gym shorts and printed T-shirts. The whole point of attending college is to get a good job – and that means dressing for success. You also need to pay attention to dress codes in the workplace.  Even offices with casual dress codes have standards that you must meet.

So, here are 10 essential clothing items to help you start building a wardrobe beyond the gym and playing field.

  1. Nice jeans – Jeans come in countless styles and colors. Find at least one pair of jeans that has a dark wash, no holes, and fits snuggly in the hips and seat. Jeans like this can be worn in a casual work environment and will look good when out on a date. 
  1. Flat-front khaki pants – The color of the khaki pant is up to you. You could go for conservative, neutral colors like tan, brown, or black. Or, perhaps you might go for a more daring bright color. Today’s styles are slim cut, flat front, and comfortable.
  1. Nice shorts – Cargo shorts look great, but you’ll also want to have a dressier pair of shorts on hand for the warmer months. Select a neutral color like tan or grey so you can mix and match your clothes.
  1. Polo shirts / Crew or V-neck T-shirts – Polo shirts offer great versatility; you can wear them with jeans, Khakis or shorts to expand your wardrobe. Since most guys wear a T-shirt under a polo or long-sleeved shirt, add a bit of color to the layering pieces. Along with your standard white ones, consider black, royal blue or red T-shirts.
  1. Casual long-sleeved shirts – You can’t go wrong with a long-sleeved, button-down shirt. Roll the sleeves on warm days, and add a T-shirt underneath or sweater over it on cold days. This pairs nicely with jeans, Khakis or shorts.
  1. Casual shoes – Different occasions call for different shoes, so if the budget allows, pick up some light-weight boots, loafers, boat shoes and canvas slip-ons for spring. Be sure to select colors that complement your clothes. When in doubt, call your mom/sister/girlfriend for help with matching.
  1. Sweaters – You might often wear sweaters in the winter, but spring is a good time to wear light-weight sweaters. A classic V-neck sweater is a good choice because you can add a long-sleeved shirt or colored T-shirt underneath. Quarter-zip, crew neck and cardigans are also good options.
  1. Suit / tie / button-down shirt – You never know when you’ll need a suit, but eventually, you will. It might be for a wedding, a funeral or a formal interview. Ask the professionals in the men’s department to help you find a conservative suit with a flattering cut for your frame, as well as a shirt and tie. If you get a second interview, spring for a second dress shirt and tie to make your suit ensemble look totally different.
  1. Dress shoes / belt / dress socks — While you’re in the men’s department, ask for help buying dress shoes, matching belt and dress socks to go with your suit. Keep your shoes polished for a smart look.
  1. Nice jacket – Add a warm winter jacket and a decent spring jacket to your wardrobe. Sweatshirts are fine for hanging out, but not when you are going to your internship or attending an important school club meeting. Look for a wool-blend overcoat that will look great with a suit or casual clothes.

Now that you know the essential elements for your wardrobe, look for sales and find clothes that you can mix and match. In no time you’ll have a closet that is worthy of a college graduate.