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22nd November 2023

University clothing staples as recommended by our Editorial Team

Whether you’re looking for suggestions to add to your Christmas wishlist, or simply searching for more practical uni clothing ideas then this article on university clothing staples is perfect for you
University clothing staples as recommended by our Editorial Team
Credit: Lucrezia Carnelos @ Unsplash

If your wardrobe needs expanding but you don’t know where to start, then have no fear because our Editorial Team have compiled a guide on university clothing staples! Whether you’re a fresher or a final-year student, hopefully these recommendations can help you out.

Claw clips

My uni staple is a claw clip. Basic but very, very handy. Perfect to keep my hair out of my face in the ferocious Manchester wind and rain, and more stylish than a simple ponytail. I like to slick my hair back with gel first, and put some on the ends too for a cooler, spiky effect. I have them in a few colours, but obviously my favourite is classic black.

Velour hoodie

My uni staple would definitely have to be a velour hoodie. During lockdown, I accumulated a ridiculous amount of Lipsy London tracksuits from eBay (bidding is a thrilling activity when the most interesting place you can go is your own living room) so I have one in every colour. This means I conveniently have a hoodie to match every outfit. They add an extra layer of warmth under my coat, but also give that perfect Y2K touch to my ‘fit. However, if you want to wear one too I highly recommend getting some fabric glue, because those 10+ year-old gems do be falling off.


Finding a pair of jeans which fit perfectly is a struggle. The last pair which instantly fit me was Topshop’s iconic Joni jeans, but they can rest six feet under. Make way for Motel Rocks’ low-rise parallel jeans: they’re flattering, ultra-comfy, and easy to pair with pretty much anything. They’re available in a wide range of sizes and colours. They cost £56, but Motel seem to always be offering student discount or sales which bring the price down significantly. The amount of compliments I’ve gotten has inflated my ego way too much. Are they 2023’s version of the 2015 Joni jeans? Only time will tell, but for now, I’ll be reaching for them every morning.

Winter boots

In preparation for Manchester’s characteristically rainy winter, a pair of long-lasting boots is a must. Whilst a hefty expense for a student, a high-quality pair will remain a staple in your wardrobe well beyond graduation. That pair of battered Converse you use as clubbing shoes really won’t do the job – we need to think about practicality. Timberland and Doc Martens are popular choices, but Converse, UGG, ASOS, and even John Lewis have good options. Dress them up with an eye-catching colourway or keep it classic and versatile with a solid black or brown fabric.

Little black dress

Navigating university can be a bit of a minefield, particularly the social aspect of it. In a city like Manchester, there are dozens of clubs, bars, and house parties to go to which makes choosing an outfit difficult. That’s why you can’t go wrong with a little black dress: a timeless classic for a reason! Dress it down with boots and a biker jacket for a Fallowfield house party or dress it up with heels and a clutch bag for a Northern Quarter bar. Having a versatile dress that you can wear at any event or season means you can spend less time agonising over an outfit and more time having fun.

Chunky scarfs

In a place like Manchester, it’s crucial that you stay wrapped up. Throwing a chunky scarf over your outfit is the perfect way to do this. Neutral scarfs look great with any outfit, but I personally love a funky multicoloured one – there are some really unique ones on Vinted. Crochet, knitted, cashmere, wool; the world is your oyster when it comes to scarf choices. Scarfs are a great way to elevate your outfit, and, as I learnt while waiting for the bus in the rain, protect your hair and makeup from the elements.

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