9 Great Back to School Outfit Ideas for College Students

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You’ve been free from schoolwork for a few months, but it’s time to return again.

From reuniting with old friends to making new ones and conquering the challenges of academics, if you look your best, you’ll feel your best. 

For some of us, this means flannels and jeans, while others look to make a statement with a satin midi dress on day one. Whether you view your campus as your personal runway or are trying to blend in with the crowd, here is some fit inspo as you head to college.

1. First Day of School

For both freshmen and upperclassmen, the first day of school is an opportunity. Getting away from home base means the chance to reset your identity and become a new you. 

This could mean doing a full reset and embracing your grungiest punk and emo vibes, or upping the ante with a semi-formal satin midi dress. 

Or maybe you want to keep it simple in jeans and a graphic tee as you find your place on campus–whatever makes you feel your true self.

2. Go Preppy 

Preppy vibes aren’t just for Ivy leaguers. This classic look screams college but could give you the confidence to crush your academic life.

When it comes to prep style, you will need a few staples to nail the look. Think knit sweater vests paired with a pleated skirt or bermuda shorts and white sneakers. 

Layer a sweater over an oversized blouse for the exposed collar look. If you like to break all the rules, you can update the look by wearing chunky boots or sneakers. On the weekends, keep a nice satin midi dress or two ready to wear.

3. Find Your Uniform

Some days you will want to truly go for it and make a statement as you stroll across campus. 

Other times you will want to curl up in bed and not get dressed at all. For those days, you may want to find your default uniform and keep decision-making out of the equation. Trust us, you will thank yourself for planning ahead.

Ideally, your uniform should be what you’re most comfortable in. It could be as simple as jeans, sneakers, and a hoodie. Alternatively, pick a preferred color palette and select within that framework.

4. Be Bold with Color

If you’re looking to stand out among the crowd, leave the neutral tones behind and get bold with your color choices. If you’re wearing a satin midi dress, you might as well enjoy the full range of shades and tones.

For lovers of pink, go all-in on Barbiecore and channel Legally Blonde. Or build layers on those chillier days with a colorful cardigan for a classroom-ready look. 

When using a monochrome palette, incorporate different textures to elevate your fit.

5. Coastal Grandmother

To capture a restrained yet elegant mood on campus, you may love the coastal grandmother aesthetic. This look is a whole mood-channeling the leisurely beach culture of the East Coast, relaxed and comfortable.

Just like on breezy beach nights, the denim button-downs, cable-knit sweaters, and khaki pants of this style are ideal for the cooler days of fall. The color palette is simple: think whites, beiges, and blues. In the evenings, a satin midi dress fits the bill.

6. Oversized Tops

For long hours in the classroom and walks across campus, comfort is definitely on the top of the list. Invoke the early 90s style of Winona Ryder to get that cozy vibe without sacrificing style.

Oversized cardigans and sweaters make for great layers on chilly days. Dress them down with graphic tees or switch them out for an oversized blazer for a dressed-up look.

7. Wide-Leg Pants

Skinny jeans have been on their way out for a minute, and wide-leg is in. That’s no surprise because they look great with everything and offer a comfy change of pace.

When styling for your internship or side job, pair chic trousers with an oversized blouse for a touch of elegance and professionalism. For classroom use, wide-leg pants look great with a form-fitting top and sneakers, playing the line between casual and refined.

8. Platform and Chunky Footwear

Like many things Y2K, the chunky shoe is back in and looks like it’s here to stay. Chunky dad sneakers are truly comfortable–ideal for walking around campus. They instantly make an outfit look carefree and casual.

Boot season comes shortly after the school year begins. A thick-heeled combat boot and satin mini dress is peak grunge, channeling that Courtney Love energy.

9. Make a Regencycore Statement

Inspired by Regency-era UK and brought back to life by shows like Bridgerton, Regencycore is all about getting as luxe as possible. If you want to announce yourself loudly to the world, you’ll love this vibe.


The style is all about dramatic flourishes: puffy sleeves, lace, bows, and ruffles. Think floral midi dresses accessorized with gloves and pearl necklaces, and you’ll get the picture. Not everyone can pull this off with confidence, but it may just be your perfect statement fit.

Campus Fashion Done Your Way

None of us are tied down to one image or one identity. Be free to explore any aesthetic and carve your own fashion path this school year.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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lol beans
1 month ago

That is so fashionable.Thanks for sharing your idea.

sienna nixon
sienna nixon
18 days ago

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