What Do College Kids Wear?

Fashion hates college. Or is it college hates fashion? Everyone mopes to A.M. class in baggy sweats and slept-in tees. Accepting pajama pants and slippers as public attire. Only tossing on big-boy wardrobes for special events and weekends.

I cringe at these misguided reputations – placed upon us by those who haven’t smelled campus air since the 80’s. Things have changed. A lot. By no means have the paths to class transformed into cat-walks. And yes, we’ve all experienced the five-minute fire drill, grabbing the essentials half way out the door. But my short stint in the “real world” has proven that the occasional morning fire drill isn’t a college thing. It’s a human thing.

On a mission to defend my image as a college kid, I brought a few friends from the Buckle Team to the source – a real-life university campus. Here’s who we found…


What were some of your back to school purchases?

My usual list is full of denim, tees, and shoes. This year, I added some bright solids and a few light-weight quarter zips.

Seeing anything new on campus this year?
Mandals (with a chuckle). You know, man sandals. I’m noticing tons of Birkenstocks.

On an average day of class, what are you wearing?
While the sun is out, I have a stock of colored flat fronts that I wear with solid v-necks. Or, a comfy, dri-fit tee with a quarter zip over it.

What’s new on campus this year?
All the different patterns on sandals. I love using patterns and textures as alternatives to jewels and bling. Also, I’m really surprised how the hippie/boho look has taken off. Lots of flower headbands and multiple accessories. It’s an organic, natural look.
What’s your daily go-to?
For nicer weather, high-waist’ed shorts and a flowy crop to class. When it’s cooler, I like long cardigans on top and skinnies on bottom. Kind of the ‘free’ style.
Fall favorites?
Colors. Definitely colors. Fall colors blend so well – burnt orange, tans, browns, deep reds, olive greens. In the fall, I pretty much just throw things on. I love mixing and matching.
What are you wearing during the back to school season?
Honestly, I have about two looks – flat fronts with logo tees and chinos or khakis with a button-up. When the season starts changing, the button-up/sweater combo is my usual.
Talk to us about shoes for college guys.
Always get new shoes for back to school. I’m a fan of boat shoes and casual flips for summer, but chukkas and shorter boots have taken over my fall look. They’re dressy without being formal, look good without trying, and they aren’t super mainstream. Also, I like to show some sock. I keep things fairly classic on top, but I’m not afraid to wear some loud socks.
What else are you seeing on campus this year?
I just enjoy taking in the different styles. No two are the same. Especially the first week of classes, I’ve seen a variety of looks.
How’s the back to school style this year?
It’s interesting. This summer, I studied in Spain, so my style sort of changed with the culture. When I got back, it was a little bit of a shock. I was used to being dressed up a lot more over seas. Here, it’s more of a casual look. Not that casual is bad – casual can look good. It’s just different.
Are you bringing any pieces or looks back from Spain?
Oh yeah! They had these really over-sized scarves. They’re like blankets with fun patterns. I brought a few back for when the weather turns.
Other than traveling, where does your inspiration for style come from?
I love experiencing different fashions and cultures first-hand, but I pull a lot of things from Pinterest. Even if it’s just quick, simple tips on accessories or just random accent pieces that can change a look entirely.
What have been your go-to looks lately?
I have an obsession with rompers. You can dress them up or wear them down. I wore a ton of them through summer. For back to school – leggings. All day, everyday. I’m all about the cute/comfy style. Leggings with a looser-fitting top is perfect for class.
Any major changes in your look for fall?
I wear a lot of over-sized cardigans, and, of course, leggings. I’ll wear long socks and boots with them. Again, the comfy/cute factor plays a large role in my look (laughs).
Anything unexpected on campus this year?
Flower headbands are all over. Also, it’s just impressive how many options are out there. From boyfriend jeans to leggings, there is a fit for everyone’s look. I’ve noticed that everyone kind of adapts to they’re own style. With so many options, everyone has a chance to build their own look.
What’s your favorite look for back to school?
Pretty much what I’m wearing right now. A plaid or patterned button-up with denim and worn-in boat shoes or loafers.
What are other students wearing?
Denim is always huge. It’s a nice look and a comfortable style. I’ve also seen more long sleeve shirts with a few buttons on top (we call those henleys) than previous years.

Any fall go-tos you’re ready to bring out?
For me, it’s about the feel. I’m a sucker for super soft, long sleeve tops. I’m ready for zip-up jackets and sweaters. They bring another level to your look. Like a new layer from the typical summer tees and tanks.

Take that, world.
You see, all it took was a camera and notepad to show the true colors of college styles. We’re fashion-forward people, us students.

Stop studying or wasting time on Facebook during class, and comment below. Walk around campus. Let me know what you’re seeing at your school.

Your fellow college intern,

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