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5th October 2021

Back to school: How to build a functional uni wardrobe

Are you a fresher and want to know how to dress? We got you: here’s how to create the perfect base for a functional university wardrobe.
Back to school: How to build a functional uni wardrobe

As a student, you don’t want to have to spend an excessive amount of time or money on figuring out what to wear, whether it is to go to lectures, clubbing, or to a job interview. This is why it is crucial that you build a solid uni wardrobe full of comfortable, functional, and sturdy pieces that you call always rely on. 

No matter your style, there are a few basics that everyone should have in their wardrobes. They’re the staple pieces: the perfect jean to balance out your new 70s printed top or the winter coat that will protect you as the mercury drops. They will ensure that even when you have “nothing to wear” you can still pull out a good look as you rush out the door. 

Here’s our suggested list of uni wardrobe staples you should definitely consider investing in: 


If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that one should put just as much thought into what they wear at home than in what they wear outside. A pair of cosy slippers and a matching set is the perfect fit to change into when you’ve spent all your day out of the house.


A crisp white shirt might seem boring but it truly is the perfect versatile piece: you can layer it under slip dresses for a night or under a cozy sweater for a long study day at Ali G. It will definitely elevate any cheaper pieces you have. Even if fancy wear is not your vibe, you’ll probably need to get one eventually for job interviews. 

We would also suggest getting a simple cotton crewneck for the mid-season to add a thin layer in the morning and the evening when it gets a bit chillier. For the colder months, get a chunky knit with a higher neck to protect your neck and combat the icy temperatures. 


‘Trousers’ is definitely the looser section of this article as there are so many styles that might or might not fit your personality, body, and lifestyle. However, finding the perfect pair of jeans is a godsend and having a pair of classier trousers that can be dressed up or down is also a must. 


If you don’t have one already, go buy a slip dress! They’re the perfect layering piece and they can be dressed up with heels for a fancy night out or dressed down over a simple white t-shirt to just run errands. Trust us, you will wear it more than you ever thought you would. 


Now that online classes are over, you will spend a lot of time running up and down Oxford Road and a good pair of sturdy boots is a must for the colder months. Go for a pair of Chelsea boots or Dr. Martens, ideally in black or brown and made of sleek leather (do not bother investing in suede, they will get destroyed in two weeks). 

Although this sounds pretty obvious, we would also suggest getting a fresh pair of trainers for running out and about but also one you like enough to go clubbing (don’t wear heels, just don’t). 


A winter coat: If we could suggest you invest in one piece this semester, it would definitely be a good wool coat (look for at least 50% wool). Not only can a good coat completely change your outfit, if you invest in a good one it will last you for many winters to come and they’re perfect to keep you warm while looking stylish. 

If street style is more up your street, get a puffer coat (just not a north face one, we beg you). Although you can obviously opt for a neutral colour, going for a cheetah print or a pop of colour will help you brighten up an otherwise basic wardrobe. 


The perfect uni bag: whether it’s a sleek backpack or a sturdy tote bag, any bag large and strong enough to fit your laptop, wallet and other essentials will do the job. 

A going-out bag: whether it’s a cute crossbody or a cool bum bag, make sure you have a no-hands-bag for all the nights out you’ll go to. You won’t want to carry something in your hand at all times, even if you think you do, you’ll regret it and on top of that, you’ll be much more likely to forget it somewhere or get it stolen and end up with no phone, no keys, and no wallet. 

Our last not-really-fashion-related tip is to buy an umbrella. It doesn’t have to be spendy. Just get a £2, but this is Manchester, and although the weather has blessed us so far this September, winter is coming and the north is unforgiving. 

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