• Ella Malvino

back to school essentials: college edition

Updated: Oct 6, 2019

Hi everyone! With back to school season officially starting, I thought it would be helpful to share the clothing essentials you NEED if you are a college student. No matter if you are returning to college as a sophomore like I am, starting your freshmen year, or about to be a senior, these pieces are sure to become major staples in your wardrobe.

Let's be honest, everyone starts the year looking their best, trying to make a good impression among their peers and teachers. Yeah, so this is going to last maybe three weeks at most. For me, I try not to look super sloppy for class, but I also do not feel the need to put on makeup and wear a completely put together outfit every day... and if that is you, I admire you. Since my priority is to be comfortable, most of these pieces are centered around being effortless, yet looking like you tried a little bit.

So, let's dive in.

Comfy tees.

AN ESSENTIAL. Something I constantly found myself looking for during college was a t-shirt I could wear to class that wasn't my gym tees or my pajamas tees. Not something super cropped, but not something that goes down past my hips. Just the perfect mid-length shirt that you could wear with high waisted jeans. Well, you can stop looking because I found it. The Aritzia Sunday's Best Everdeen T-Shirt is the perfect length and comes in multiple colors.


I know this may seem like a no brainer essential, but having soft comfortable tees is something you will rely on for going to class, grabbing food, or just hanging out with friends. Pair with jeans, sweats, plaid pants, you have endless looks just by stocking up on tees. I recommend a white, black, and then either neutrals or pastels.

Body Suit Tanks/ Tees/ Long Sleeves:

These are my staple. They look so great paired with high waisted jeans and can be worn casual dressed up with a leather jacket and booties. So simple, yet you look put together at the same time. My go-to.

L: https://www.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/aqua-rib-knit-short-sleeve-bodysuit-100-exclusive?


R: https://www.revolve.com/free-people-truth-or-square-bodysuit/dp/FREE-WS2461/

Going Out Tops:

No matter if you are going out to a frat, going to dinner with friends, or going out to the bars, you need going out tops. I find these the hardest to find, so I have picked out a few of my favorites to share with you all.

1. https://us.princesspolly.com/collections/tops/products/malik-top

2: https://us.princesspolly.com/collections/tops/products/the-liaison-crop-top

3: https://www.brandymelvilleusa.com/mckenna-top-686p-s94-bc.html

4: https://www.aritzia.com/us/en/product/sedum-camisole/71002.html?dwvar_71002_color=16087


Little black dresses come in more need than ever in college. Forgot your sorority formal is Friday, good thing you have an LBD in your closet. You never know if you are going to be invited to a formal, need to go to a fancy event, or just need a black dress, so make sure to have one in your closet! It's not fun trying to figure out who's you can borrow on short notice, so just be prepared and always have one ready.

L: https://www.revolve.com/leslie-mini-dress/dp/NBDR-WD1351/

R: https://www.lulus.com/products/forever-your-girl-black-bodycon-dress/524082.html


I know how difficult it is to find jeans, they are either too short, too long, don't fit around the waist, are too tight, not the right material, etc. Well, not anymore. I found the holy grail of all jeans. Shockingly, my favorite jeans are by Sam Edelman, which I found out is much more than a shoe company. They have the perfect soft yet denim feel, fit in all the right places, and are most importantly comfortable. My favorite is the Stiletto Frayed Ankle Skinny Jean in Hunter. They are true to size and are my go-to jean.

I own the light wash, but they have so many cute styles to choose from! Also, insiders tip, they are actually Joe's Jeans, but with a Sam Edelman label, so you are getting the quality of Joes for a cheaper price! Also, the Stiletto is the high rise version, Kitten is medium rise.

Light wash: https://www.nordstromrack.com/shop/product/2906314/sam-edelman-the-stiletto-frayed-ankle-skinny-jeans




A no brainer. You may think that you only need one pair, but I think having a few pairs of sweats in your closet makes life so much easier. I try to get sweatpants that are more like joggers because I think they are great to wear to class. Here are some of my top picks:

Sundry is my favorite brand to get sweats from because of their quality. I know they are more expensive, but they last for years and stay just as soft as they were when you bought them.

L: https://www.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/sundry-rainbow-striped-tapered-sweatpants?

Rt: https://www.revolve.com/superdown-dallas-joggers/dp/SPDW-WP54/?


You need a good sweater that you can pull out when it gets freezing in your classrooms. I don't know why they like to freeze us in lecture halls or discussion classrooms, but it can more often than not feel like Antartica in your classroom. Cardigans are the perfect addition to any outfit and are comfortable to pull over any tee. TIP: order one size up for a cute oversized look.

R: https://us.topshop.com/en/tsus/product/stone-cocoon-cardigan-9083069

L: https://us.princesspolly.com/collections/all/products/rawlins-cardigan

Frat Shoes!

The beloved frat shoes. If you are a freshman, you need these. Don't make the rookie mistake and wear your brand new Air Force 1's your mom got you to a frat. They will be ruined in seconds. Instead, opt for an old pair of sneakers, or buy a cheap pair that you do not mind getting ruined. Both of these are super cute and under $40.

L: https://www.lulus.com/products/toluca-white-flatform-sneakers/805992.html

R: https://www.lulus.com/products/urbani-white-and-green-platform-sneakers/709362.html

Black Booties:

An essential. I love wearing boots to class and also wearing them to go out with friends at night. They are so versatile and will never go out of style. I included a few different heights because I know some prefer a smaller heel and others a higher.

L: https://www.revolve.com/tony-bianco-bailey-bootie/dp/TONR-WZ144/

M: https://us.asos.com/asos-design/asos-design-action-chunky-chelsea-boots-in-black/prd/12147058

R: https://www.stevemadden.com/collections/womens-booties/products/devan-black-multi


I love having a patterned belt and a simple black belt in my closet that I can add to any outfit to make it look more put together. A fun animal print belt paired with jeans and a white bodysuit can completely change your outfit. Belts are so easy to wear and such a fun way to accessorize.

L: https://us.topshop.com/en/tsus/product/bags-accessories-7594012/belts-70521/stingray-bamboo-circ-8767811

M: https://www.revolve.com/allsaints-leopard-belt/dp/ALLR-WA1/

R: https://us.princesspolly.com/collections/belts/products/the-everyday-belt-black

https://www.revolve.com/allsaints-leopard-belt/dp/ALLR-WA1/ (bottom):

Last but not least, blue light glasses

I bought a pair of blue light glasses before starting my freshmen year, and I recommend that every college student buy them. The truth is most students are going to be on their computers way too much, so blue light glasses are an essential to protect you from the harmful blue light that electronic devices emit. They can prevent eye damage and headaches, so for me, they are a great investment! I got mine from Eyebuydirect and I have no complaints. They have so many options and the best part is that you can try them on digitally to help see what shape fits your face the best!


There you have it! My top essentials for back to school season, college edition. I hope you enjoyed and this helped figure out what things you need to add to your closet for this year.

Lots of love,


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Los Angeles, CA, USA

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