I partnered with Net 10 Wireless to bring you the knowledge that I wish was privy to during my formative years as part of their #Net10CollegeHacks sweepstakes:
I am going to show you how to hack your closet to get several essential outfits for college survival, using pieces you might already own.
If you think you have an idea for a better college hack than this, feel free to submit it to their page for a chance to win a tablet and smartphone weekly prize pack enabled with Net10 Wireless service; or the Grand Prize which is $5,000 towards a dorm room makeover. (In my opinion, just blow the $5k on a custom suit and rock that thing every day. But a room makeover sounds cool, too.)
Legal lingo: Rules for the sweepstakes here. No purchase necessary 18+ Ends on 10/19/2014
Looking back on all the areas of my college life, and this is way back mind you, I really wish someone had told me the basics of a man’s wardrobe and how to build a decent closet. Clothes don’t necessarily make the man, but it can help you (read: me) look like you know what you’re doing.
Anyways, enough about me. Let’s talk about you, your life, and your closet, currently stocked with clothes you never wear.
First things first, pick out the 20 pieces you actually wear. Put them on one side of the closet. Everything you didn’t pick, throw into a garbage bag and drag it on to Salvation Army.
A man’s wardrobe during college can be boiled down to a short list of basic pieces:
• Basic White/Gray Pocket T Shirt - The classic tried and true. No logos, no weird writing or graphics. Let your mouth do the talking.
• White/Blue Button down Oxford - The Swiss army knife of shirts. Tough fabric to deal with any action you might get into and nice enough to wear under a blazer.
• Dark Wash Straight Fit or Tapered Denim - No more ripped denim, no more super low-rise fits with embroidered pockets. Just get nice-fitting dark wash denim. Why dark? Because you will spill things on your pants over the course of your extracurricular activities.
• Tan Chinos - Again, another staple. Most companies now make a nice modern fit that sits above your hips and tapers slightly at the ankle.
• Dark Sweatpants - There are times when you need to feel relaxed. This piece is for those times. A lot of new brands have a tailored fit to their sweatpants. Which means it can be mixed in to your normal wardrobe routine and not just be relegated to your days where you want to say “I give up.”
• Gray Sweatshirt - Comfy, classic, and will go with everything else in your wardrobe.
• Denim Shirt - Beat it up, it will look better and most likely will outlast every other piece of clothing you own.
• Plaid Shirt - Own one shirt that has a subtle plaid pattern. Blues, dark reds, greens to match your colorful personality.
• Rugby - Another tough-as-nails shirt meant to stand up to your abuse.
• Polo - Just one white Polo for the times where you need to look like you care.
• Blue Blazer - The most important thing about a blazer? It has to fit right. Take your time and find the right one that fits your body type. Then try not to gain back your freshman 15.
• Tan Coat - A coat is preferable to the hoodie you keep holding on to. Men wear coats.
From these 12 items you can have over 20+ outfits. Certainly enough to get you through 3 weeks of classes before you hit up the laundry room with a handful of quarters.
Top 10 Outfits
Blazer + Oxford + Chinos - Great for date night, (but let’s be honest) or more likely parents’ weekend.
Blazer + Plaid Shirt + Denim - Big presentation for ECON 101? This is your outfit.
Tan Coat + Sweatshirt + Denim - If you are running around all day from class to class.
Sweatpants + Sweatshirt - The “weekend recovery and TV binge watching outfit.” Everybody needs to be comfy sometimes.
Sweatpants + Oxford - The running out to the cafeteria but didn’t have time to change pants outfit.
Chinos + Polo - Again, alternate for parents’ day or anything where you need to look presentable.
Chinos + Denim shirt - A heritage/americana look for when you need to feel older. Like at a bar for instance, or the reference section of the library.
Chinos + Rugby - You are rugged and ready. At least you look that way.
Denim + Oxford - Standard class outfit T-TH.
Denim + T shirt - The classic.