How to Dress Like A Gentleman in College on a Budget

How to Dress Like A Gentleman in College on a Budget

No matter what people say, image and personal presentation matters. Clothes are not just clothes, they’re one of the many ways we have to self-express as human beings, and they have the power to send a strong, memorable message about the kind of man you are.


It’s not unusual to see students in college walking around in their pajamas or in basketball shorts, sweatpants, hoodies, and that awful combination of socks and sandals.


Somewhere in history, this became acceptable among future professionals. But let me tell you, it doesn’t say anything good about who you are.


I’m sure you’re sending messages you wouldn’t like people to get and wouldn’t be proud of, without knowing it, just by the way you dress. Now, I know that dressing like a gentleman in college can seem like a difficult thing to do just because we all think that dressing well means buying expensive clothes.


Needless to say that in college, most of us can’t afford to buy a whole new wardrobe. You may have little to no income right now but finding quality clothes is possible and you don’t need a fortune to afford it.


As a man, you can make a good impression without overdressing and looking like you’re trying too hard. The key to dressing like a gentleman in college is finding the sweet spot between comfortable and elegant.


What I want to show you today is that you can improve your image and your wardrobe easily, and without straying from your college student budget, to look like a gentleman.


I want to help you look like the man you want people to see that you are, instead of them getting the wrong, sloppy idea.


Why Should You Care About Your Appearance in College?


Before we get into all the tips and advices on how to dress like a gentleman in college and upgrade your personal style, I want to expand on the importance that your appearance has in college and in life.


When you see people being careless with their image all the time, you start getting the message that appearance is not important. But you’re not meant to follow the crowd!


I’m not saying you should dress like a movie star from the 50’s. Obviously time has passed, and standards have changed, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dress well.


The way you dress influences your frame of mind. When you dress well, you think better, and you feel better; you’re more alert, confident, and ready for anything the day brings you.


The bottom line is that if what you’re doing is important to you, you should dress accordingly. Wearing pajamas or dirty clothes to class shows how much you don’t care.


On the other hand, there’s the issue of respect. Dressing like a gentleman in college doesn’t only show how much you respect yourself and what you’re doing, it also shows how much you respect your professors.


Dressing well will help you stand out in a positive way and good impressions are always helpful; they make you more likeable and memorable.


We can all agree that college can be the time of our lives for several reasons. One of those reasons is that we get to meet all kinds of people that can help us further our careers and we also get to meet women who could potentially end up being our life companion. Good impressions are not only important inside the classroom!


How to Dress Like A Gentleman on A Tight Budget


Now for the good stuff! Here’s what you need to do to dress like a gentleman in college on a tight budget.


Know Your Measurements


You need to know your measurements, period. Our bodies all have small asymmetries that affect the way our clothes fit. Memorize your measurements and learn about your body’s needs and how to adapt your clothes. You don’t need to go to a tailor to get measured if you can’t afford it, you can ask a friend or a family member for help. Once you know your measurements, finding well-fitting clothes online and elsewhere will be that much simpler.


Only Buy Clothes You Need


This is the most important thing when you don’t want to spend money beyond your means in order to dress like a gentleman in college. Here’s a list of essential modern gentleman’s pieces you need in your closet:


  • A suit (remember, if necessary).
  • Ties (solid colors).
  • Dress shirts (2 or 3 in different colors; white, pale blue, etc.).
  • Polo shirts.
  • Plain t-shirts (white, grey, black).
  • Denim shirt.
  • Sports jacket/Blazer.
  • Bomber/biker jacket.
  • Topcoat that goes with everything.
  • Trench coat that goes with everything.
  • Cashmere sweater.
  • Brown or black dress shoes.
  • Matching belt.
  • Dress boots.
  • Casual sneakers or trainers.
  • Blue jeans.
  • Chinos.


Let this list be your guide. Go through your closet and check off the things you already have, so you have a clear idea of what you need to buy.


I do have to say that it’s very smart to invest on quality suits, shoes, belts, and coats because those are the things you will get a lot more use from, which means that if you buy low quality items you will spend more money replacing them in the long run. Ask yourself what things you’ll be using the most and spend a little more money on them so that they last longer.


Keep Your Eye Out for Sales, But Don’t Get Carried Away


Sales are a great way to get the things we want on a budget, but it also makes it easy to spend money on things that we don’t really need or want or will ever use/wear. That’s why you need to organize before you go shopping. Be a critical, intelligent shopper; make lists of what you need and don’t stray from them, look for different prices both online and offline, try your clothes in the store, check the fit, look for different options, etc.


Learn the Basics About Menswear


The more you know about menswear, the better you’ll be able to dress. When you know what goes with what, dressing like a gentleman in college will be that much easier. Watch YouTube videos, look for men’s blogs and articles about menswear and different styles so you can have a more educated personal style.


Groom accordingly!


Get a new hair cut that goes along with your personality and your new clothes. Also, brush your hair, wash it, moisturize it and take care of it regularly. Instead of just hiding it under a baseball cap take the time to stylize it.


The same can be said of your facial appearance. Wash your face with facial soap instead of hand soap, keep your beard polished and well-kept if you choose to have a beard at all, and if you don’t, shave everyday and keep your face fresh. Go to your barber at least once a month and learn to maintain your look for the rest of the month.


Learn to Accessorize


Accessories can help you look more like a gentleman in college and they can make both casual and formal outfits look a lot more clean and elegant. Learn about the different types of accessories you can use according to your style and choose the ones you like best. Once you’ve managed to buy all your closet essentials, invest a little money on sunglasses, watches, ties, cuff links, etc.


Avoid Spending Money on Trends


Trends change in the blink of an eye; what’s fashionable today, won’t necessarily be fashionable a month from now. If you want to dress like a gentleman on a budget, avoid spending too much money on trends. Don’t buy things that can quickly go out of style. Instead, find a way to look in style with timeless pieces. Remember: you don’t need the latest fashion to be stylish and dress like a gentleman in college.

Go Vintage


If you want to stick to your budget and still dress like a gentleman in college, one of the many things you can do is buy vintage clothes and browse flea markets. Of course, this will take you a lot more time than shopping in regular stores because you really have to search. Once you find something you like, you have to carefully inspect it for any details (such as stains or tears) and assess whether you can fix it or not.


Sell Everything You Won’t Be Using Anymore


Nowadays there are many ways to sell second hand clothes and get a little money, so you can buy yourself a new wardrobe; turn to social media and look for apps that serve this purpose.


To do this, you first need to clean your closet. Go through all your clothes and separate them into piles: the “yes” pile of clothes you can still use or repurpose—this usually includes items that are in good shape and that are timeless. The “no” pile of clothes you don’t use or are out of fashion, but that you can still sell. And finally, the giveaway pile of clothes that are not in great shape but can still be worn or that you’re sure no one will want to buy. This is the pile that you can take to a thrift shop to see if there’s anything they’ll buy, and the rest can be donated to charity.


Take Care of Your Clothes


I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t take good care of your clothes, you’ll find yourself spending more money than you want or should. Learn how to take care of different items of clothing and do your research so you can use good products, also get good hangers and keep your closet clean and organized.


Style Overview: Examples on How to Dress Like A Gentleman in College


Now that we went through all he tips to help you assemble your new wardrobe on a budget, it’s time to give you an idea on what dressing like a gentleman in college actually looks like. We’ll take a few pieces of clothing and think of a few ways to mix and match them.


The Basic T-shirt: T-shirts are super versatile, which is why they’re an essential item. A well-fitted t-shirt can do wonders for your look. You can wear them with jeans or trousers to make a simple, yet clean look and the best part is that they’re comfortable. Choose your neck style well and consider different colors.


Polo Shirts: Every time you reach for a t-shirt, ask yourself if a polo would look better; they often do and they’re a bit dressier. Wear them with jeans and you’ll be good to go!


Denim Shirts: Denim shirts transcend season, age and style. They will never be out of fashion and they’re as versatile as they can be. You can combine them with different bottom colors and different shoes like trainers, boots, etc.


Sweaters: Sweaters can be worn over button shirts or on their own, they also come with different designs and you can combine them with jeans, chinos, and finish the look with different kinds of shoes.


Jeans: Blue jeans and dark jeans are a must! They make you look smart casual and they make for a classic college style. Lighter jeans do have their moments, but blue and black jeans always win. The best part is that they’re not crazy expensive, so you can have quite a few pairs at hand. Just avoid black shoes when you wear dark jeans!


Chinos: Chinos are versatile, and you can wear them with t-shirts, polos, cardigans, etc., along with sneakers, espadrilles, boat shoes, and more.


Joggers: Just because you want to dress like a gentleman in college doesn’t mean you have to throw away your sweats and your hoodies. Just learn to use them right! Joggers are simple and cool, so wear them with t-shirts for a casual look.


Hoodies: Hoodies will always be popular among college students, just use them with jeans and trainers and done a good pair of glasses or a nice watch to complete the ensemble.


Shoes: Running shoes are not the only comfortable shoes in the world. If you want to dress like a gentleman in college, you have to diversify. Go for a good pair of trainers, brogues, dessert boots, espadrilles, etc. And please, for the love of God, stop wearing flip flops, crocs, and sandals to complete your look.


Follow these tips and you’ll be dressing like a gentleman in college on a budget in no time at all!


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