When we think of college we think all-nighters, dissertations and spring break shenanigans. College is a time for education, growth, and discovery, in all areas of life—from earning a degree to crafting a signature style. More importantly, the numbers show that the college retail market is vast and thriving. 

Research by Deloitte revealed college students and their parents planned to spend $4.2 billion on clothing and accessories in their back-to-school shopping last year, with an average per student spend of $279. 

So, what are college students actually wearing these days, and how can your brand cater to the market? Instagram, Youtube, and niche sites like CollegeFashionista can give you an inside look from the student’s themselves. 

With the demand of classes, the cost of college and the social pressures, campus style is all about finding that sweet spot between comfort, trendiness and affordability. Let us explain.

The go-to pieces in any college student’s wardrobe are comfortable enough for a three-hour lecture, on trend with the latest popular fashions and don’t mean the difference between sacrificing textbook or clothing funds. College is a balancing act, and multi-tasking is a must. As a result, the styles seen worn across many campuses are both creative and practical, with plenty of room for personalization.

Read on for five must-have items to stock-up on for college back-to-school season:

1. The School Spirit Tee

(Above: Bella + Canvas – Unisex Short Sleeve Jersey Tee – 3001)

Attending college is a huge accomplishment, and rockin’ the school logo, mascot or colors is the perfect way for students to rep their community. (Be honest, we all still have at least one college tee shoved somewhere in our closets.) But no student wants to wear a plain boxy tee. This jersey t-shirt is simple, but has a retail fit and a softness that’ll keep them wearing it for years to come.

2. The Hoodie

(Above: JERZEES – Snow Heather French Terry Pullover Hood Sweatshirt – 90MR)

Hoodies never go out of style, and they make the perfect “go-to” for any student on campus. Not only can they keep you feeling comfortable all day, when you choose the right one, they can make for a quick and easy fashion statement. This “Snow Heather Hooded Pullover” has some added texture to elevate its style and also comes with raglan sleeves to give it the sporty look everyone loves to wear on campus.

3. The Greek Life Customs

(Above: J. America – Game Day Jersey T-Shirt – 8229)

If there’s one thing students in greek life love, it’s a custom shirt. Jersey style t-shirts and long sleeves are particularly popular to embroider, emboss or print with custom greek lettering (and remember, we’re talking large orders!).

4. The Classic Cap

(Above: Comfort Colors – Pigment Dyed Canvas Baseball Cap – 104)

College students on the go, count on the classic baseball cap to save the day. When time is of the essence and there’s a million things to do, the “dad” cap pulls together even the most rushed outfits. No bad hair days here! Opt for versatile shades of black, grey, and blue to suit anyone’s palate. 

5. The Athleisure Staple

(Above: Bella + Canvas – Unisex Sponge Fleece Jogger Sweatpants – 3727)

Pants that go from the gym to naptime to Instagram-ready streetwear are always a win. Joggers are a stylish, unisex, athleisure must for any multi-tasking college kid.  

The new school year is right around the corner. Are you ready? Stock up on some new threads for the college crowd. 


Leave a Reply