Creating a professional wardrobe for the start of your career is always easier if you get a head start in college. Discover a few excellent style tips for college guys, which can help you take a step forward into a more mature style, without losing your personal touch.

Find out what changes you should be doing right now, to add some sophistication to your outfits and create the best looks, even on a limited budget.

Polo Shirts

Slowly moving on from t-shirts to polo shirts is one of the best style tips for college guys. Even if you’re stuck at a community college, you can still get a cooler look with the right polo. Look to Ralph Lauren for inspiration but shop according to your budget and always... always keep the collar down. 

Polo Shirt Mens Outfit
photo: David Guison

Polo shirts are naturally more dressy than a t-shirt, but not if you wear them with a popped collar.

Sweaters

Mens Striped Sweater Outfit
photo: Peter C.

It’s time to move on from sweatshirts and start building up a collection of sweaters. From polo style sweaters to cardigans and crew necks, there’s plenty of styles to choose from, even if you have a more sporty style. The only type of sweater you should definitely stay away from is the sweater vest. Unless you’ve truly mastered your style, you’ll have a hard time pulling this one off.

Jeans

Men's Dark Washed Jeans
photo: Ben Galbraith

Even if you’re a big fan of faded or distressed denim, it’s time to add a more simple and dark denim to your look. Start transitioning out the low-rise jeans and skinny jeans to a mid-rise with a relaxed fit. Even if you want to keep your looks trendy, one of the best style tips for college invest in at least one pair of dark and simple denim, since since it’s a lot more dressy than any other trendy option.

Shirts

Men's Jeans Outfit
photo: Reinaldo Irizarry

If you want to start dressing like you’re ready to take on any professional challenge, start investing in white and light blue shirts. One or two should be enough while you’re still in college, but you need to prepare for the future with options that are a bit more serious. One of the best style tips for college guys is to invest in shirt that can be worn with both jeans and more dressy pants.

Shoes

Men's Outfit With Brown Shoes
photo: Mohcine Aoki

As soon as you graduate, crocs are over, so be prepared for wearing actual shoes. With a little care, dress shoes can last you for years, so if you do invest in a more expensive pair, make sure they’re either black or brown. Even making the switch from tennis shoes to more casual leather ones is a step ahead, since you should never wear them with either chinos or khakis.

Hats

Men's Outfit With Hat
photo: Adria Machado

One of the most useful style tips for college guys is to stop wearing hats to cover up messy hair. Baseball caps are fine as long as you wear them the right way, but you need to start thinking about hats as an accessory that naturally enhances your style, not something you can just pop on every time you have a bad hair day. Go for simple hats if you want to refine your style, but stop trying to make them work for you if everyone around is telling you to lose them altogether.

Cologne

If you’re still using the cologne you loved in middle school, it’s time to move on. Stay away from very floral and very musky scents and find the sweet spot with a cologne that doesn’t smell to young or too mature for your style.

Watch

Investing in a stylish watch is one of the most useful style tips for college guys, even if you have no need for it since your smartphone can do everything a watch can do and it seems just as trendy. When you’re choosing a watch to go with your improving wardrobe, stick to simple and elegant lines. You don’t need it as bling, you need it as a statement of maturity.

Go for Quality Before Trends

When you’re looking to improve your wardrobe and start moving it in the right direction for your professional life, it’s better to invest in quality items, even if you can afford less of them. One of the best style tips for college guys who want to improve their looks is to invest in good clothing and accessories that are less prone to go out of style. You can still go for trendy t-shirts, but when you’re buying your next pair of pants or shoes, go for a timeless elegant look.

See also:
Men's Fashion Trends Spring 2014
Common Mistakes in Men's Fashion