Skip to main content

You’ve chosen your courses and purchased your books. But have you figured out what to wear once classes start? Fashion might not appear to rate as high on a list of priorities as what academic faculty to choose when heading to university.

You've chosen your courses and purchased your books. But have you figured out what to wear once classes start? Fashion might not appear to rate as high on a list of priorities as what academic faculty to choose when heading to university.

But anyone who thinks looks don't matter need only to open the books on the great Irish wit Oscar Wilde who said, "Only shallow people do not judge by appearances." True, true.

"Studying of course takes top priority for students but that doesn't mean that they stop caring about their appearance, especially for those starting to job hunt," says Emily Scarlett, a spokeswoman for affordable fashion chain, H&M Canada.

Story continues below advertisement

The start of the school year is always a great time to re-evaluate your personal style, Ms. Scarlett adds.

"Ask what new trends do you want to try? Who are the style icons you admire and whose looks you can draw inspiration from? Try different things and styles until you've found your own unique personal style."

Luckily, the Canadian retail landscape is filled with a variety of fashion stores where even the most divergent of style personalities, from preppies to punks, can try on looks that suit them best.

While experimentation is encouraged during the exploratory years of a university or college education, cost is very much a factor in determining how far a student can pursue his or her fashion choices.

"If university students do have extra money to spend on clothes, they are buying from stores where their money can go the furthest and they can dress in the latest looks – Zara, H&M and Winners, for instance," observes Leesa Butler, co-ordinator of the fashion business and management program at Centennial College in Toronto.

Which university is right for you?

"If they live at home and have access to mom's or sister's closet, they may borrow, but then it's typically higher-end labels to be used as bragging rights with their girlfriends."

Story continues below advertisement

But even when purchasing fashionable items at affordable prices at a store like H & M, "don't go crazy on of-the-moment items," cautions Ms. Scarlett.

"If you're on a budget think about investment pieces that will last you through many seasons like the perfect jeans, a really great fitting transitional coat and if you are looking for a quick wardrobe update and don't want to break the bank, try a statement accessory."

Colleen Uncao of Marshalls Inc., a chain of off-price department stores owned by the TJX Cos., advises students to plan ahead so as to shop smart.

"When you're shopping on a tight budget it's critical to assess what you currently have in your wardrobe that will carry you into the fall and identify what you most need to update it," Ms. Uncao says.

A pair of jeans you feel great in will be a wardrobe workhorse throughout the school year.

Advises Ms. Uncao: "Once you have all the back to campus essentials – a pair of jeans, a plaid shirt, a cool sneaker or a flat bootie and a backpack – then you can layer in the trendier items like fringed accessories, printed blanket scarves and a rocker tee."

Story continues below advertisement

An evergreen trend, denim is perfect for students on a budget because of its versatility.

Paired with running shoes and a casual top during the day or heels and a fitted jacket at night, jeans will take a student from day to night without much effort.

In the renewed popularity of the 1990s grunge trend, stressed jeans can be paired with plaid flannel shirts and cool rock T-shirts.

Guys are also expected to get in on the grunge trend this September, pairing their plaid shirts and rocker tees with banded bottom denim or even slimmed down joggers.

The great thing about banded bottom pants is that it allows those new kicks to stand out from the crowd.

"It's tempting to head back to the lecture hall in head-to-toe sweats come September, but casual comfort is about more than yoga pants and sweatshirts, Ms. Uncao says.

Story continues below advertisement

"New developments in denim fabrications make sure that you never have to sacrifice style for comfort. Stretchy skinny jeans are every bit as comfortable as a pair of sweats but score top marks for style."

More stories from the Canadian University Report

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter