Spending money on one piece of clothing that can do it all—dress you up for an important meeting with a professor or dinner with your girlfriends’ parents, warm you up for a beach or camp-side bonfire, and make you look good for a party—is just smart shopping. Check out the Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel, which is super soft and simple, but reams with relaxed style and the right amount of insulation.
Goods from brands known for making hard-wearing, long-lasting apparel go a long way, like they’re meant to do. Carhartt apparel was originally made for Rust Belt construction workers before crossing into cool urban-wear. This Carhartt Relaxed Fit Canvas Jacket will likely last you through all your college years and rigors beyond, no matter how hard you are on it.
Shop for Usability
Let’s be honest: Is there any reason to wear any other pants than insanely comfortable joggers? Probably not. For that reason and more, grab these Patagonia Terrebonne Joggers. They’re made of polyester-stretch ripstop material, so you can wear them to the climbing gym, to yoga, on a hike…but they’re refined enough that they could also pass as “nice pants” when the need to make a more professional impression arises, say, on that first day of class.
There’s no way around the fact that you need a backpack to haul all your books, your laptop, and all the other essentials to get through both semesters. But why not buy a pack you can also use for fun adventures off-campus? Come Saturday morning, dump out all your school stuff from The North Face Surge pack for a hike or climbing session, or even use it as a weekend getaway bag. A padded laptop sleeve keeps your lifeline (computer) safe when you’re in school mode.
As you learn and understand your place in the world, consider buying choices that can better sustain it. Start with the items that you use every day—say, the vessel that helps you hydrate and caffeinate—notably factoring the impact of single-use plastic water bottles. Do your part and invest in an insulated Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 32 oz. Bottle with Flex Cap. Refill it with water around campus to stay hydrated (and get the attention of that environmental science major you’ve been eying). Come finals week, load it up with coffee and enjoy how well the insulation keeps your java warm.
Shoes are one item worth the spend, since you basically wear them every single day, and especially so given the increased miles logged on foot. You want your shoes to be comfortable for walking around campus, town, and—who knows where else you’ll end up—music festival? The Vans Ultrarange EXO blends classic old-school Vans styling with a comfy, cushy midsole and a breathable upper so your dawgs don’t get sweaty, uncomfortable, and worse, smelly (because you want your roommates to like you).