One of the strangest things about starting university is leaving the simplicity of a school uniform or college dress code for the freedom to wear whatever you want every day. Whilst this is liberating and exciting, it’s also often a cause for stress when you’re running late for a 9am after a few hours sleep and nothing you put on seems to be the outfit. Even on a good day, dressing for a new environment where you’ll be meeting lots of new people can be daunting. It’s worth mentioning that there are no rules on how to dress – especially at university. I am a firm believer in the maxim ‘if you like it, wear it’ and feel that clothes are an outlet for self-expression, individuality and to be had fun with. That being said, it’s good to have basic pieces which can act as the foundations to each outfit. So, if you’re looking for some staple pieces this campus capsule wardrobe is a guide on practical and stylish essentials to help you tackle first term feeling as confident as you should be.
When choosing a coat to wear for uni practicality is definitely a big factor. Being prepared for the Yorkshire rain means that if you don’t want to carry an umbrella (I went through about 5 in my first 3 weeks in Leeds) a waterproof is a must. Whilst a trusty puffer-jacket will help you brave the winter weather, for transitional seasons I’ve found that a good (vegan) leather jacket is a staple in my Leeds wardrobe. They’re great for layering with tees, jumpers and scarves for days on campus and equally cool over a dress for drinks. For A/W 21 I’d suggest an oversized fit, but a leather jacket you love never goes out of style.
A graphic t-shirt is a good base for any casual outfit. You can find them anywhere and go for any fit from oversized to a y2k baby tee. They’re a little more on the pricey side, but L.A brand Realisation Par do some cool designs if you’re looking to invest. Alternatively try Leeds vintage shops for something one-of-a-kind.
Shirts are a good all rounder when it comes to layering and adding a little something to an outfit. They’re also easy to find second hand in vintage or charity shops – I got one for £1 in ‘Revive’ Kirkstall – which makes them a budget friendly addition to your wardrobe. They look good on their own, open over a t shirt or underneath a jumper.
Whilst listing a pair of jeans in this guide may seem like an obvious -and potentially boring – choice, I’m a firm believer that the perfect pair of jeans are a crucial piece in a great outfit. It’s all about finding a fit that works for you, whether that be a cult classic like Levi’s 501s (an absolute gem if you find them vintage) or from newer brands like Weekday and Collusion which offer something for everyone. My pick would be any pair of Weekday straight leg jeans. They’re absolutely something you can throw on any time and love (and get extra points for fitting the ‘jeans and a nice top’ bill when you’re going out).
As with jeans. With trousers it all comes down to the style you prefer. But for days when you’re feeling like something more formal than your joggers, a good pair of black pants work as a great base for an array of different looks. Zarado a great selection of wide leg styles, but if you’re wanting something more form fitting, try London based brand Isabella Vrana. Their ‘Stella’ and ‘Chloe’ pants are flattering, comfortable and versatile. Something you’ll definitely wear on and off campus.
Since Leeds is such a big city you’ll want a pair of shoes that can cover the miles whilst being comfortable and cute. A good pair of New Balance trainers spring to mind as the perfect option. NB’s self-proclaimed slogan ‘Worn by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio’ encapsulates the marriage of functionality and fashion in these trainers. But don’t let the ‘Dad’s’ put you off, your feet and wardrobe will thank you for this purchase.
Although cool, colourful, trend-led jewellery has dominated this summer, if you’re looking for some timeless additions to your outfits your safe bet is simple statements. Whether you prefer gold or silver, a good pair of hoops earrings, some simple rings and necklaces you can layer add a sophisticated finish to any outfit.
When going from autumn to winter, hats and scarves can add more than just warmth to an outfit. Take inspo from Ganni with chunky beanies and Acne Studios with checkered scarves – similar pieces can easily be found on a student friendly budget. Tote bags are so handy for uni and of course the official Leeds ones finish off a campus outfit perfectly.