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Casual dress for college student on a budget


Jun 27, 2004
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Well after educating myself about suit quality on Andy's board and being thrifty by purchasing suits on eBay and finding gems in thrift shops (e.g., the $3 Canali blazer, $4 Armani Le Collezioni dress shirt, $4 Polo Linen/Wool slacks), I find myself being complemented on my dress clothing when I wear it.

However, I'm coming to realize my everyday, casual dress is probably quite unfashionable and somewhat slobbish. I have polo shirts that I still wear from five years ago...sidenote: I never tuck them in; and I have a lot of t-shirts, many of which I'd like to phase out of my wardrobe. Many of my clothes came from a time when brand recognition was important to me / when I was in a hip-hop phase (Karl Kani logo shirts, Rawkus Records shirts, Nautica Competition logo shirts). These don't really work for me anymore. I have no qualms about going about in gym shorts and a ratty old t-shirt.

As for pants, I think I'm okay, but there's room to change. Practically all my pants are of some shade of khakis. Same for my shorts. They just seem to go with everything. I think I've gotten a little better with color matching since my suit education, so expanding my pants collection might be good for me.

To complicate matters, I'm cheap. I cringe at the thought of spending $20 on a shirt. If I buy something new, I'll usually buy it at Ross and look for something of pretty good quality at a low price (e.g., $10 Alfani dress shirts, rather than $15 Van Heussen or Geoffrey Beene shirts). My roommate stocked up on $20 MX shirts at Express, but I can't bring myself to spend this much unless it's something I REALLY love.

So help me out, be my style consultants. What can I do to dress more clasically / fashionably casual in a style that works for a college student on a budget? I live in Florida, so weather is quite hot here, especially in the summer--85-95 degree temperatures seem to be the norm recently.


Distinguished Member
Oct 7, 2003
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I'm in the same boat as him. I swing between two extremes. Extremely sloppy is one of them.

I have all these clothes from my high school days. Most of it consists of Quiksilver and other surfer/skater brands that practically nobody at my school wore because they were all also in the hip-hop phase. Most of it consists of jeans and button-down shirts with plaid patters on them that, in high school, I would wear unbuttoned over a t-shirt for that semi-grunge look.

I do believe Banana Republic offers very good clothing for very good prices. But besides that, I don't know.

Edit: In one issue of GQ (I believe it's the one with Jake Gylenlhahelhnlahelhall on the cover) there was an article on LA fashion. In it I saw some very good combinations: salmon-pink button-down shirt with striped navy pants, and an olive-green jacket, a tie, and a pair of sneakers. I suppose it takes a lot of hunting on eBay for the right articles.


Senior Member
Jan 16, 2003
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Knight, you are going to have to spend at least a little. Putting myself through university I know how it feels - 90% of the people would not tell the difference between Kitton and Kmart, but if you can, it will be torture. I used to have a jamm packed closet of crap now I feel better with half the garments, all of them of reasonable quality. It's a clichÃ
, but does hold true - buy quality not quantity.

If you turn to ebay to buy - look for a seller with a number of items you like - win 3 or 4 and save on shipping.

If you live in a warm climate I think polo or a tee +jeans/pants/khaki is the way to go. I would look in a khaki blazer which always looks good with jeans.

Other than that - looking in GQ and comparable publications can give ideas for campus attire.

Dope Nixon

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2011
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Did you end up spending over $10 on a shirt? What is your job now? Did better clothes help you through college?

Please Respond.


Distinguished Member
Mar 7, 2009
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Based on his posts, I think the OP stopped coming here.


Senior Member
Feb 9, 2010
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Im a student now, and to be perfectly honest better clothes certainly does help me get trough college. I got to school in Chicago, where its cold and miserable, and having non-frumpy ways of staying warm or reasons to feel comfortable in class make me far less upset than I would be if I just wore whatever. And yet there are kids who quite obviously dont care, and by this I dont mean they have no sense of style, or a bad one, but they really truly do no care, and that's fine too, as they also seem happy. But I think wearing nice clothes commands respect on some level. You can do almost anything if you're wearing a tie--and one that's properly made up and doesnt look like youre waiting to get out of class to hop onto the first train to an interview downtown. You look professional and people take you seriously. And that doesn't mean wear a tie or a SC every day, it means even when wearing a t-shirt, try to give a shit.

Then again, when I start to feel depressed I start to hate my wardrobe and go on a compulsive hunt for new things that I hope will confer to me some happiness. Being in school isn't all that fun sometimes, and we look to the asinine for comfort--and lets face it, ultimately clothes are asinine because the respect they give us is sometimes undeserved, and the image we have of ourselves with nice clothes is nothing but a veil between our consciousness and our true conditions. Am I a different person in a pair of brogues than in slippers? No, but when I'm working hard and I'm tired, I'll be the first to admit that the veil feels prettty damn good.

Also seriously, girls like guys who look like they're well dressed, but aren't preened to the hair. The latter types are anal retentive, and they preen and press themselves because they think that everything's being perfect is the gateway to comfort and confidence. But of course they wont come off as confident. So my advice to anybody reading this 7 year old thread (why the hell did you bring this up again, but now that it's here, lets keep it going with good advice for young kids in search of good clothes, and style and keep it consistent instead of letting them start a million new threads) is to be a little bold, but to feel totally badass in what you're wearing. Ultimately its just good fun, and that's what its all about.

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