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Five College Fashion Tips for Guys in the Know

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 4/14/2011

There are five college fashion tips for guys ready to graduate, start dating or to simply prepare for the big PowerPoint presentation. Even though the skater duds are great on campus, remember that the college years are also the time to build a professional wardrobe for what lies ahead.

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    The Fashion Challenge

    Walk across any college campus of your liking, and it is apparent that women have the advantage when it comes to clothes. Thread Magazine(1) outlines the vast number of choices in fabrics, colors and also style combinations that allow the average female college student to build a superbly fashionable wardrobe with very little money.

    College fashion tips for guys generally focus on the basic staples: jeans, t-shirts and a sports jacket. That said, the college years are the time to leave behind the high school grunge and skater fashions and take a good, hard look at fashion trends. Five simple steps make this transition easier than you might have imagined.

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    5 Tips to Go from Drab to Fab on Little Money

    “Jack Purcell shoes” by rando111us/Wikimedia Commons Athletic does not equal grunge

    The stained jeans, ripped t-shirt, baseball cap and knock-off tennis shoes qualified for athletic wear in high school and made it possible to fit in with the grunge crowd at the same time. In college, athletic chic needs to grow up a bit. Invest in a pair of clean jeans, a college t-shirt, sweat shirt or jacket, a pair of name-brand shoes and a matching baseball cap. If name-brand shoes are too expensive, substitute plain shoes – such as Jack Purcells -- that are not trying to pretend.

    Buy a suit and three ties

    The suit should be as expensive as you can afford. Don’t go for an odd color, such as olive, but instead opt for a brown tone that allows for easy mixing and matching. Pants with cuffs are a good idea for that extra pizzazz. Invest in one showpiece tie made from silk, which is a bit costlier than the others. The other ties can be bargain basement models that complement the color of the suit.

    Buy dress shoes and belts that match

    When wearing a suit, be sure that the belt and dress shoes match. Opt for leather shoes whenever possible.

    “Traditional waistcoat” by Gerry Lynch/Wikimedia Commons A vest helps get more mileage out of a dress shirt

    Ideally, a white dress shirt should be dry-cleaned and starched after each time it is worn. If this is not in the budget, add a vest to your attire. Wear it over the dress shirt the next time a suit is called for, and it is possible to stretch the times that the shirt needs cleaning.

    “Man with Slipover” by Zeilon/Wikimedia Commons Cleanliness is next to godliness (and fashionable)

    Pay attention to your finger nails. Make sure they are clean and well-groomed. Wear a watch, which is a great fashion accessory for men. Find a dry cleaner and inquire about student discounts. A professional wardrobe does better with the attention of a professional who can clean, press and starch as needed.

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    While these are just the top five college fashion tips for guys, consider that it is not necessary to pay full price even for designer suits. For example, second-hand stores in ritzier parts of town oftentimes feature some great duds – occasionally with the tags still attached – at cut-rate bargain prices.

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    Photo Credits:

    • “Jack Purcell shoes” by rando111us/Wikimedia Commons at
    • “Traditional waistcoat” by Gerry Lynch/Wikimedia Commons at
    • “Man with Slipover” by Zeilon/Wikimedia Commons at