Five Casual Essentials Every College Man Should Have In His Closet
Quintessentially American and undeniably classic, the Oxford shirt was introduced by Brooks Brothers in 1896 and soon became a staple on college campuses across the nation. Over a century later, it remains one of the most versatile pieces in a man’s daily rotation. Casual enough to throw on with jeans, yet refined enough to anchor a blazer and tie, two or three well-chosen Oxfords can serve as the base for a week’s worth of looks.
A pair of solid, dark jeans afford an era of rugged refinement and near universal wearability. Unlike lighter, pre-distressed options, clean, dark denim looks more distinguished and can be dressed up or down in a variety of situations. Opt for a slimmer-fitting pair in selvage fabric and you’ll have a go-to favorite for years to come.
One step up from denim in the formality department, chinos are another collegiate staple. They were popularized in the 1950s, when soldiers returning home from World War II enrolled in universities for the first time and took-up wearing this military basic on campus. Modern versions come in a wide array of colors, but a mid-tone khaki remains the enduring favorite. Don’t think of these as formal pants; the right pair of chinos can accompany a sport coat just as well as a plain polo.
While shirts and pants are important, a man’s shoes have the sartorial power to make or break an otherwise well-cultivated look. Desert boots, much like the other items on this list, have their roots in the military and have remained a tried and true staple for many generations. They represent the more formal end of the casual footwear spectrum and look sharp in both suede and leather.
Conceived as an alternative to heavy woolen football jerseys in the 1920s, the crew-neck sweatshirt retains its sartorial authority nearly one hundred years later. A classic grey version in a trim fit can be paired with any of the items listed above. Thrown over an oxford with chinos or paired with jeans and a t-shirt, it brings an era of athletic-inspired style to any casual outfit.