Lightweight Jackets
California has been going through a heat wave in the last week, so I’ve been unexpectedly getting a little more wear out of my summer clothes. Pictured above: a blue safari jacket from Ascot Chang, a pair 3sixteen jeans, some unlined Alden chukkas, a white Barns t-shirt, and a new belt from Don’t Mourn Organize.  
The nice thing about a lightweight jacket such as this is that you can get a little layering in even when the weather is hot. Unlined and unpadded, such jackets wear a lot cooler than sport coats — even when they’re made from heavier, thicker materials. They’re also great for the cooler conditions of early fall, when you want something to protect you from the chill, but don’t want something as warm as a heavy coat. 
If you’re interested in one, there are a bunch of options. Ascot Chang’s safari jackets can be found in both ready-to-wear and bespoke form at The Armoury, but you’ll have to call or stop by one of their stores. Alternatively, if you have a custom shirt maker, they should also be able to make you something. For something more affordable, browse eBay for Engineered Garments’ models. They’ve made a few in the past. You can also try to get one as cool as Hooman Majd’s, which was made by Maison Martin Margiela.
Generally speaking, safari jackets are better suited to hot summer weather (or when summer won’t seem to leave). For something more fall appropriate, try CPO shirts, which is a kind of heavy shirt jacket originally worn by Chief Petty Officers (hence the name CPO). I really like the unique material on Buzz Rickson’s model, but Steven Alan’s and Fidelity’s are more affordable. J. Crew also has this one on sale for sixty bucks today, although I’m not sure of the weight of the fabric (in the photo, it looks a little shirt-y). Additionally, there are Pendleton Board Shirts. They’re not technically CPO shirts, but they’re close enough. If you want something with a little more of an edge, check your local thrift shop or Vintage Trends.

Lightweight Jackets

California has been going through a heat wave in the last week, so I’ve been unexpectedly getting a little more wear out of my summer clothes. Pictured above: a blue safari jacket from Ascot Chang, a pair 3sixteen jeans, some unlined Alden chukkas, a white Barns t-shirt, and a new belt from Don’t Mourn Organize.  

The nice thing about a lightweight jacket such as this is that you can get a little layering in even when the weather is hot. Unlined and unpadded, such jackets wear a lot cooler than sport coats — even when they’re made from heavier, thicker materials. They’re also great for the cooler conditions of early fall, when you want something to protect you from the chill, but don’t want something as warm as a heavy coat. 

If you’re interested in one, there are a bunch of options. Ascot Chang’s safari jackets can be found in both ready-to-wear and bespoke form at The Armoury, but you’ll have to call or stop by one of their stores. Alternatively, if you have a custom shirt maker, they should also be able to make you something. For something more affordable, browse eBay for Engineered Garments’ models. They’ve made a few in the past. You can also try to get one as cool as Hooman Majd’s, which was made by Maison Martin Margiela.

Generally speaking, safari jackets are better suited to hot summer weather (or when summer won’t seem to leave). For something more fall appropriate, try CPO shirts, which is a kind of heavy shirt jacket originally worn by Chief Petty Officers (hence the name CPO). I really like the unique material on Buzz Rickson’s model, but Steven Alan’s and Fidelity’s are more affordable. J. Crew also has this one on sale for sixty bucks today, although I’m not sure of the weight of the fabric (in the photo, it looks a little shirt-y). Additionally, there are Pendleton Board Shirts. They’re not technically CPO shirts, but they’re close enough. If you want something with a little more of an edge, check your local thrift shop or Vintage Trends.

Style for College Students
There’s no kind way to put this: college students are some of the worst dressed people in America. I say that as man who has spent the last eleven years on college campuses – four as an undergraduate, two as a researcher, and five as a graduate student. This has been at three universities, but with many visits to other schools throughout the years.
To be sure, students are in a uniquely hard bind. They’re broke, very busy, and have little time for gainful employment. Not having a lot of time or money doesn’t lend itself well to picking up nice things. Plus, as a graduate student instructor, I’d rather see students spend more time on their studies than worry about what they should wear.
Still, dressing well in college isn’t that hard. Especially when the bar is set so low. So, in an effort to help students smarten up, I’ve come up with some tips.
Focus on Smart, Mid-quality Basics
The downside to being a student is that you’re broke, but the upside is that you can have a complete wardrobe with very few pieces. No need to worry about having separate weekend and weekday wardrobes; it’s just off to class and libraries for you. So, focus on buying mid-quality, versatile basics. Don’t go for anything too nice. Whether you’re getting straight-As or barely passing class, your lifestyle in college will be mostly rough on clothes and probably not very hygienic. Get things like decent jeans that can take a beating, or thicker merino sweaters, not thin cashmere-blends. Build your wardrobe off grays, blues, and browns, so things can easily coordinate without you needing to have to put in too much thought.
Upgrade 
The best way to not look like a college slob is to not dress like a college slob. Instead of graphic t-shirts, pick solid colors tees. Better still, try to wear shirts with collars, as they’ll help frame your face. Plaid flannels for fall, colorful madras for summer, and stripes year-round will help make those button-up shirts look less like office-attire. Long sleeve polos can also work, so long as they don’t look too fratty (I like Kent Wang’s). 
Instead of ratty or pre-distressed jeans, pick up a solid pair of dark, raw denim jeans that fit well. Levis is relatively cheap and easy. Maybe add a pair of chinos and corduroys too, so you have other things to wear.
Instead of college-branded sweatshirts, get merino sweaters. Club Monaco’s are pretty good on sale (they also offer a student discount year-round, which you can stack on top of sale prices). Cardigans can also work in theory, but they’re much harder to fit well than a simple crew- or v-neck sweater.
Instead of flip-flops and running shoes, get camp mocs, boat shoes, plimsolls, or desert boots. Clarks desert boots are a particularly good option if you’re on a student budget. You don’t have to put too much care into them besides applying some Obenauf’s LP for the beeswaxed versions or waterproof spray for suede, and the crepe soles will be comfortable for long-walks. Jesse has some other suggestions here as well.
Finally, there’s no alternative to cargo shorts, sweatpants, or basketball shorts. You just have to stop wearing those (unless, you know, you’re exercising or playing basketball).
Don’t Overdress
I know this site is often about sport coats and ties, but unless you’re a member of the Model United Nations or College Republicans, I encourage you to not wear ties as a college student. There are some campuses where this is normal, and you’ll know when you’re at one, but for everywhere else, you’ll just look out of place and over-dressed. For many campuses, sport coats may also make you stick out in a bad way.
If you really want to wear a sport coat, tweeds and corduroys can look a bit more natural on a college campus. For everyone else, I encourage reaching for more causal options. A vintage peacoat can be had for $50-75 through eBay, Vintage Trends, or a local thrift store. You can use this guide to help date your peacoat finds. For something new, check Fidelity.
There are also some go-to brands for decent, cheap(ish) outerwear. LL Bean Signature, Land’s End Canvas, and J Crew can be workable once they have their end-of-the-season sales (when things will be discounted 50-75%). J Crew also has a student discount, but only for in-store purchases. Additionally, Land’s End mainline is probably be less well-suited for a younger person, but this oilcloth jacket might be a good Barbour alternative. It can be had for under $100 if you wait for the right coupon codes. You can read Broke & Bespoke for a review. Lastly, Ben Sherman’s Harringtons can also be had through eBay for about $80.
And the Standard Advice
Add to this the standard advice.
Learn how clothes should fit. We have a few guides you can read through here. You have more wiggle room as a young, college student, but avoid things that are skin-tight or overly baggy.
Find a good alterations tailor and bring as much as you can to them. There are very few things a good alterations tailor can’t improve.
Make a wish list and tightly edit it. Make sure you’re building a wardrobe, and not just a collection of outfits. If something doesn’t mesh well with the other things you plan on buying, strike it off your list.
Set a budget and shop slowly. Especially at this age, your tastes can change rapidly, and if you buy everything now, you may find yourself regretting it next semester.
(Photo by John Morgan)

Style for College Students

There’s no kind way to put this: college students are some of the worst dressed people in America. I say that as man who has spent the last eleven years on college campuses – four as an undergraduate, two as a researcher, and five as a graduate student. This has been at three universities, but with many visits to other schools throughout the years.

To be sure, students are in a uniquely hard bind. They’re broke, very busy, and have little time for gainful employment. Not having a lot of time or money doesn’t lend itself well to picking up nice things. Plus, as a graduate student instructor, I’d rather see students spend more time on their studies than worry about what they should wear.

Still, dressing well in college isn’t that hard. Especially when the bar is set so low. So, in an effort to help students smarten up, I’ve come up with some tips.

Focus on Smart, Mid-quality Basics

The downside to being a student is that you’re broke, but the upside is that you can have a complete wardrobe with very few pieces. No need to worry about having separate weekend and weekday wardrobes; it’s just off to class and libraries for you. So, focus on buying mid-quality, versatile basics. Don’t go for anything too nice. Whether you’re getting straight-As or barely passing class, your lifestyle in college will be mostly rough on clothes and probably not very hygienic. Get things like decent jeans that can take a beating, or thicker merino sweaters, not thin cashmere-blends. Build your wardrobe off grays, blues, and browns, so things can easily coordinate without you needing to have to put in too much thought.

Upgrade

The best way to not look like a college slob is to not dress like a college slob. Instead of graphic t-shirts, pick solid colors tees. Better still, try to wear shirts with collars, as they’ll help frame your face. Plaid flannels for fall, colorful madras for summer, and stripes year-round will help make those button-up shirts look less like office-attire. Long sleeve polos can also work, so long as they don’t look too fratty (I like Kent Wang’s). 

Instead of ratty or pre-distressed jeans, pick up a solid pair of dark, raw denim jeans that fit well. Levis is relatively cheap and easy. Maybe add a pair of chinos and corduroys too, so you have other things to wear.

Instead of college-branded sweatshirts, get merino sweaters. Club Monaco’s are pretty good on sale (they also offer a student discount year-round, which you can stack on top of sale prices). Cardigans can also work in theory, but they’re much harder to fit well than a simple crew- or v-neck sweater.

Instead of flip-flops and running shoes, get camp mocs, boat shoes, plimsolls, or desert boots. Clarks desert boots are a particularly good option if you’re on a student budget. You don’t have to put too much care into them besides applying some Obenauf’s LP for the beeswaxed versions or waterproof spray for suede, and the crepe soles will be comfortable for long-walks. Jesse has some other suggestions here as well.

Finally, there’s no alternative to cargo shorts, sweatpants, or basketball shorts. You just have to stop wearing those (unless, you know, you’re exercising or playing basketball).

Don’t Overdress

I know this site is often about sport coats and ties, but unless you’re a member of the Model United Nations or College Republicans, I encourage you to not wear ties as a college student. There are some campuses where this is normal, and you’ll know when you’re at one, but for everywhere else, you’ll just look out of place and over-dressed. For many campuses, sport coats may also make you stick out in a bad way.

If you really want to wear a sport coat, tweeds and corduroys can look a bit more natural on a college campus. For everyone else, I encourage reaching for more causal options. A vintage peacoat can be had for $50-75 through eBay, Vintage Trends, or a local thrift store. You can use this guide to help date your peacoat finds. For something new, check Fidelity.

There are also some go-to brands for decent, cheap(ish) outerwear. LL Bean Signature, Land’s End Canvas, and J Crew can be workable once they have their end-of-the-season sales (when things will be discounted 50-75%). J Crew also has a student discount, but only for in-store purchases. Additionally, Land’s End mainline is probably be less well-suited for a younger person, but this oilcloth jacket might be a good Barbour alternative. It can be had for under $100 if you wait for the right coupon codes. You can read Broke & Bespoke for a review. Lastly, Ben Sherman’s Harringtons can also be had through eBay for about $80.

And the Standard Advice

Add to this the standard advice.

  • Learn how clothes should fit. We have a few guides you can read through here. You have more wiggle room as a young, college student, but avoid things that are skin-tight or overly baggy.
  • Find a good alterations tailor and bring as much as you can to them. There are very few things a good alterations tailor can’t improve.
  • Make a wish list and tightly edit it. Make sure you’re building a wardrobe, and not just a collection of outfits. If something doesn’t mesh well with the other things you plan on buying, strike it off your list.
  • Set a budget and shop slowly. Especially at this age, your tastes can change rapidly, and if you buy everything now, you may find yourself regretting it next semester.

(Photo by John Morgan)

Pendleton Board Shirts and CPOs

I was clearing out my closet last month when I “rediscovered” an old Pendleton board shirt I bought many years ago. It was an impulse buy at a Black Friday sale, which I had woken up very early that day to check out. The sale was a bust, unfortunately, and only confirmed my now deeply held belief that all Black Friday sales are a waste of time. Not wanting to leave that sale empty handed, however, I bought this shirt-jacket for about $40, and it’s been sitting in my closet for the last three or four years.

Since finding it, I’ve had my tailor take in the sides a bit, so that it’d be a bit more flattering, and now wear it on weekends with a white OCBD, pair of jeans, and moc toe boots. Being wool, it’s a nice layering piece for cool weather - when you need something to wear over a shirt, but don’t want to put on a serious coat. I’ve been finding it quite useful for temperatures in the low 60s. To be sure, it does have a bit of “woodsman” look that’s been fashionably stale for a while now, but it’s also nice for casual activities such as taking the dog for a walk or going on a hike with friends. 

At full retail, these run $115. I’d hesitate to recommend people spend that amount, but you can easily find them for about $40 to $60 at Vintage Trends or eBay. You can also consider a CPO jacket, which can be worn in the same way. There are a ton of options for those, but the two most affordable I know of are Fidelity ($65) and Save Khaki (now $99 on Gilt). From what I’ve heard, the two are built equally well, and the thickness and quality of their materials are about the same. The Save Khaki version has hip pockets, however, and fits somewhat slimmer. The Fidelity is less of a trim fit, but you wouldn’t need to go as far as sizing down. You’ll want to have enough room to occasionally layer this over a light sweater anyway, and a tailor can take care of any excess fullness beyond that.