Students – How to dress for undergrad success

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Dress for success at uni and you’ll reap the rewards.
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Gone are the days when you could afford to saunter into lectures late, wearing your onesie while still chewing your breakfast. Your university education is costing you a bomb; it’s only worth doing if you make it pay in the future. Here’s how to dress for success while you’re an undergraduate student.

Step it up, fresher!

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Upgrading your wardrobe is the first step to becoming a young professional.
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Higher education is about more than academic results – and we don’t mean propping up the bar! It’s also about making the transition from schoolboy to young professional. Adopting a few well-chosen items of classic clothing and accessories gives you confidence. It’s about learning to be stylish and giving yourself an an edge. But when should you step it up and make the extra effort?

Lectures

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A pair of smart jeans is ideal for around campus and lectures.
Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

Put yourself in your lecturer’s shoes. As she stands before a sea of young faces, she’s asking herself which students are worth her time and effort? Who’s late? Who’s eating? Who’s on Facebook? Who looks like they spent the night in the cells?

Don’t get us wrong, nobody’s going to think less of you for being distinctive – experimenting with your look is part of what university’s about. But steering your dress towards smart-casual shows respect. It gets you noticed for the right reasons.

So what should you wear? You want to be comfortable and you’ll need to be able to take notes. Large lecture theatres can start out chilly but heat up quickly when they fill up, so layers are your best bet. Try a smart pair of dark-coloured jeans with a polo shirt, or your favourite collared shirt over a t-shirt. Add a jumper in the colder months, but don’t wrap up so warmly that you’re in danger of dozing off!

Seminars

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Think of your seminars as business meetings – that’s what they are.
Image source: George Rudy

Turn up on time, be well prepared, and dress like you mean business. Are we talking about the right attitude for a young professional, or for a uni student attending a seminar? The answer? Both. The earlier you get into “work mode” the better. Start making the transition from undergraduate to young professional now.

Think of your seminars as business meetings – because that’s what they are. Practise wearing work-appropriate attire, so that when you get your graduate job, you’re already used to it.

What should you wear? A smart pair of dark jeans or flat-fronted chinos will do the trick, paired with a collared shirt. Depending on the season, a tweed or summer blazer is ultra stylish and makes a positive impression. It’ll broaden and square your shoulders whilst making you look taller and leaner. No brainer, right?

Presentations

When you’re standing in front of your tutor and peers, how do you want them to see you? Do you want them to marvel at your fashion sense, wonder if that’s last night’s pizza in your hair, or listen intently to what you have to say?

Some courses will consider how you present yourself, along with what you have to say, as part of your grade. If you’re thinking of a client-facing career, this is a skill to nail early on.

Smart chinos or trousers, a crisply ironed shirt and perhaps a jacket or pullover, may not scream “hey, look at me”, but will say, loudly and clearly, “take me seriously”. That’s what you want. Don’t forget the details either. Polish your leather shoes, choose dark socks and try not to shove too many things in your pockets.

Need some more advice?

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Posted in Students what to wear, What to wear guides.