Despite near unanimous opposition from the student body, finals season has returned for yet another semester. For some lucky individuals, this will be the last time they’re forced to hole up in Glenn G. Bartle Library, going over notes they bought three days ago until night turns to day. Graduation is the start of the rest of your life, and to be honest, it should probably be the start of your new casual wardrobe. You might have gotten away with wearing a hoodie and sweatpants nearly every day for the last four years, but it’s time to grow up, eat your vegetables and start dressing like a person who owns more than one set of sheets. Oh, and you don’t have to spend that much. Here are some tips:
Make sure your clothes fit
If this tip could be in the article five times, I’d try to make it six. Fit is more important than any other aspect of fashion by a ridiculous margin. You will look better in a $25 outfit that flatters your body shape than you will in a $250 one that doesn’t. If you’re struggling to find clothes that fit off the rack, go to a tailor and get measured for adjustments. They’re cheaper than you might expect.
Swap your hoodies for sweaters
Listen, there’s nothing wrong with a hoodie, especially a high-quality one. They’re a classic staple of the American closet and there’s no reason to pretend otherwise, but if you’re looking for a low-effort change with a large impact on your style, start substituting them out for sweaters. They present a more put-together look while still keeping you warm and comfortable. You don’t have to splurge on cashmere, especially if you don’t know how to take care of it. When your hoodies wear out, replace them with cotton sweaters and within a few years, you’ll have a more mature wardrobe for whatever you do on the weekends.
Diversify your pants
It’s really easy to fall into a routine of wearing the same black or blue pants every day, whether they’re jeans or leggings. They offer a lot of versatility, and that’s great — everyone should own some boring pants that let their louder shirts and shoes shine. It doesn’t hurt to add some color into your rotation, though. Chinos are a perfect middle ground between jeans and trousers, and they come in practically every color. Olive, burgundy or stone gray are great places to start. If you’re not comfortable with matching less conventional colors, there are online resources to help you figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Get a good pair of shoes
If there’s only one item in your wardrobe that you’re willing to spend some money on, shoes are the right pick. Believe it or not, your shoes are the most crucial part of your outfit — they’re the linchpin that decides whether your look will sink or swim. With that in mind, you’ll want to find the most versatile shoe possible, unless you want to end up owning 20 pairs. For a more masculine style, chilly weather can be met with Oxfords or chukka boots in brown or black, while summer calls for a no-frills white sneaker, either leather or canvas. On the feminine side, lean toward black Chelsea boots in the winter and canvas sneakers or a quality sandal in the summer.