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    Back to School Basics: Six Picks for Upcoming Seniors

    21st August 2013
    Back to school, back to cool, amirite?

    Heading back for your senior year means the last time to make first impressions on campus (except for all you super seniors of course! big ups to all the Van Wilders out there..), so let’s make ‘em good, guys.

    Most likely your style has changed since freshman year, and hopefully it’s been for the better. While you’re probably started pruning your wardrobe since freshman year, it’s time to complete the transition from boy to employable young man. To round out your final year of freedom from the man, below is a list of key pieces to add to your wardrobe for easy transitioning into the real world, a.k.a “Here are the looks to wear in your new Facebook pics to replace the sloppy ones you need to hide from future employers.” You can thank me later.

    Here’s what you need to nab that “best dressed” superlative your senior year:

    1. Sturdy Leather Belt

    Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 9.11.14 AM

    Everlane, $45; Allen Edmonds, $88

    I cannot express to you how immature I find those sliding canvas belts. They are fine every once in a while, with a casual outfit, but they cannot be your everyday belt. It makes me like, “WHY DON’T YOU HAVE NOTCHES IN YOUR BELT?!”

    There’s literally a saying about adding a notch in your belt, so if you don’t have any then you’ve learned…nothing?

    Ideally you should have a thin, black leather belt for business and formal clothes and a wider brown/cognac/tan belt for casual wear. As a personal preference, I like silver buckles with black belts and silver or gold with brown belts.

    2. Attractive Lounge Pants

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    Le Coq Sportif, $60 J.Crew, $60Crooks & Castles, $88

    You invited this hot chick over to your place to watch a movie. She’s coming over at 11 and you’re staying in for the night. What are you wearing? You can’t wear jeans, because no one in their right mind “lounges” in jeans. Your high school varsity tennis sweats? No, those are your gym sweats.  You’re looking for the guy equivalent to yoga pants here.

    What I’m trying to say is you need some really sleek sweatpants, for looking good when your supposed to be looking “off duty“. These sweatpants don’t go outside – they are exclusively indoor sweatpants – so they don’t get all raggedy from weather, dragging on the ground, etc. This keeps them looking *fresh* for the ladies. 

    3. A Signature Cologne

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     Portland General Store, $98; Acqua Di Parma, $94

    By senior year you’ve graduated from the scented deodorant + bodyspray combo that originated in the sixth grade. In fact, you should have some semblance of “who you are” and be able to capture that “essence” in an essence. Spend a good 45 minutes in the perfume cologne section of your local department store and find something that a) you like b) your accompanying lady friend likes and c) you can see (smell?) being adapted to all situations. If you feel wildly lost when it comes to scent shopping, I encourage you to check out SG’s articles on signature scents and year round colognes, because I literally just pick up whatever has a cool bottle and doesn’t give me an asthma attack.

    4. A “Perfect” Button Up Shirt

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    Spectre& Co., $45; Hucklebury, $120; Proper Cloth, $145

    Get it in white, and get it in light blue, too, if you can. A made-to-measure or custom shirt will be your best wingman at the bar, on a date, in class, at formal, and at the job fair. And if you’re afraid of people recognizing that you wore that shirt two days ago for your presentation and yesterday at your frat party, don’t be. No one noticed, because all they were looking at is how well your shirt fit and how desperately they wanted to know where they can get one of their own. And if they do ask, you get to tell them, “It’s an investment piece.” For more information on the process on creating the shirts from the brands noted above, be sure to check out SG’s brother’s article on online shirtmakers, here.

    5. Business Clothes for Job Fairs

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    Sportcoat – J.Crew, $218; Suit – ASOS, $152; Pants – Calvin Klein, $45

    Khakis can only get you so far. If you can get yourself a well-fitting suit to pair with your #4, then the only thing that can keep you from being golden at the next job fair is a weak resume and a weaker handshake. First impressions matter more than we like to think, and if you can wow potential employers with your look, they’ll be that much more inclined to be wowed by your stellar interview answers.

    If you’re not going into a suits-required job setting, then you can go for khakis or business pants, but make them stand out! Choose a color like olive or a pattern like houndstooth. Fifty percent of people are visual learners; They are more likely to remember you by that really cool tie than by the listed skills on your resume (which, ps, are all boring..you know Microsoft Office? so does everyone else). Check out these articles on career fair clothes and interview wear for more tips and tricks.

    6. Cool Apartment Decor

    I’m not going to tiptoe around it: you well-dressed playas are surely bringing home some ladies. Whether it’s for a group project (collective groan) or, ahem, extracurricular, you should always have a neat-looking place. A great way to determine if your apartment is decent is to ask if yourself, If my mom walked in right now, would she be pleasantly surprised? If the answer is yes then you’re doing something right. As long as your mom is not a hoarder.

    All it takes to impress a college girl is not using milk crates for everything. You have a set of drawers for your underwear? Great! Your coffee table required instructions to assemble? Fabulous! If your apartment came furnished like mine did, then just a few touches of non-debauch decor would be nice: some books on display, posters that don’t have naked girls on them, maybe a sleek,  minimal iHome. Not sure where to start? There’s a Pinterest board to combat mancaving.

    Now go out there and have the best year ever, you senior stud muffins! 

    Tell Us:

    How did your style change from freshman to senior year?

    • Dan J.

      I know this is aimed at college age and I’m long past that, but really? You invite a girl over to your dorm for the first time and the recommended wear is sweatpants? I’m aware that there are a lot of guys who actually do this, even long after college, but it flabbergasts me that a web site like this would say “This is what you should do – this is what women WANT to see.” I guess I’ll go crawl back into my fuddy-duddy hole now and yell at someone to get off my lawn.

      • Josh

        I definitely agree, every pair of jeans I own are broken in and extremely comfortable for lounging around in. As for the price points for a pair of lounge pants…I’m flabbergasted by the idea that any college senior would spend $60-88 on a single pair of sweatpants.

        • Dan

          Or anybody spending $60-$88 on a single pair of sweatpants…

          • Josh

            I think my big problem is that sweatpants aren’t “the guy equivalent to yoga pants.” I mean, Megan says they’re for indoors duty only, whereas I’ll tell you my campus is loaded with girls wearing yoga pants all year long, be they freshmen or in my graduate courses. If you tried to make sweatpants outside the apartment wear, they soak up rain or standing water, let the wind cut right through, and of prime important to hormonal 21-22 year olds, they don’t have the, ahem, ‘holding-down-powers’ that jeans or chinos do when you see a pretty lady and your lower member gets a mind of its own.

            • Baxter

              I like Gabi’s idea. Here we have a casual 11:00 p.m. movie night at your place. The average college dude is going to be in his athletic shorts, flippy-floppies, free t-shirt, and some awful lanyard. What I have pictured is like the model in this picture.And I like showing some sartorial diversity. She sees you in jeans all day on campus. And this is nearing bedtime—show off your style chops in the least stylish part of the evening and you win.

              And I covet the modern sweatpants for my weekend life, but alas, they are too far down the priority list. Maybe a Christmas gift? (Honey, I hope you spy on my Disqus account.)

            • gabi meyers

              Yes! This is exactly what I’m talking about. Super casual, but not disheveled.

          • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

            I hear you, but this is one of those things where, when you try it on, you go, “Oh, I get it now.” The difference between an OTR dress shirt and a MTM one, for instance. Quality counts. I’m wearing Nike sweatpants that were more than I’d paid for sweats before when I got them, but I practically live in them around the house. They keep their shape and look fine if I have to run to grab the mail, or even to the post office.

            • Adam Wyatt

              All sweatpants are the same… until you try on a nice pair and you never look back.

            • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

              I hope you’re not being sarcastic, because…yes! exactly!

            • Adam Wyatt

              Completely serious. I too am a nice Nike sweatpants believer.

            • Dan

              Maybe I’ll try on a pair the next time I’m out just to see! But, I’m just a simple man and I just can’t imagine them being any better than the $20 Nike’s I have. I want them to be baggy, soft, and elastic.
              Hell, I’d be too afraid to even “lounge around” in $88 sweatpants – doesn’t that defeat the point?

            • Lisa

              If I have a running or yoga date with a guy, a nice pair of sweats or yoga pants is uber sexy. Of course, I would expect him to change for dinner, and undress after…

            • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

              but if they’re super baggy (rather than relatively trim and fitted), you might look a little dumpy, y’know?

            • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

              and no, I lounge around in my $90 lululemon pants LIKE A LOUNGING BOSS

            • Dan

              Ha!
              Well I guess I should have mentioned I’m not a college senior anymore trying to impress the ladies. I’m a married man living in the suburbs, so comfy and baggy sweatpants around the house is the norm! I don’t wear them outside of the house/yard so maybe that’s why I can’t imagine spending almost a c-note on a pair.

          • Baxter

            Abercrombie & Fitch, if you can stomach getting through the plume of cologne, happens to be running a sale. You can nab similarly trim, sweatpants for $48. I’d buy these, if the A&F logos didn’t make me look like I was trying too hard to be a Cool Dad. Don’t know what they’re like in person, but they look pretty great for what I’m looking for: Saturday coffee on the patio, reading my Feedly, followed by a trip to True Value for some grass seed—all without sweatpants saggy @$$.

            http://www.abercrombie.com/shop/us/mens-sweatpants

            • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

              Totally appreciate you digging to find a deal, but really, the Le Coq and J.Crew sweats Gabi pointed out in her post are only ten bucks more at full price, without the huge logo betraying the brand origins…seems woth the extra Hamilton to me!

        • Dan J.

          Not every pair of jeans I own would be comfortable for lounging but I definitely own a couple which still look good and are comfortable. (They’re not as dark as my “dress” jeans but they’re not Dad jeans either.) And while I don’t really have an issue with spending that for sweat pants if you can afford it, I agree that most college students don’t have that kind of cash. (If you can call Daddy while lounging in your Mercedes and ask him for the money, then go right ahead. If you’ve got a spreadsheet tracking your expenses to help you figure out how you’re going to pay for your books and lab fees, then you’re probably going to skip the $80 sweatpants.)

          And to be clear, I don’t have any issue with wearing sweats to lounge around in if you have a steady girlfriend or at least have gone out a few times and have gotten quite comfortable with each other. To put it another way, if she’s comfortable enough not to wear make-up, I’m comfortable enough to sear sweats. But if she’s still making up her face for a night in, I’m putting on something a bit nicer than sweat pants. To me, those are similar levels of familiarity and casualness.

          • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

            As with any clothes, you have to consider which items are going to be investment pieces for you. Maybe sweatpants aren’t for you, which is fine, but the idea of buying one well-made, good-looking pair of sweats and having them for the next five years seems like a pretty good cost breakdown to me.

            And as a point of comparison, Lululemon pants (the holy grail of yoga pants) retail at $80-100. And girls who are college-age *and* post-grad shell out cash for them on the regular.

            http://shop.lululemon.com/products/category/women-pants?mnid=mn;women;bottoms;pants

            • http://www.google.com/ Adam

              And what’s that say about our ever-increasing debt to income ratios? Priorities… :)

            • Mitch

              I’m a sophomore in college have 2 pairs of lulu lemon sweat pants. Definitely worth it. Would recommend to anyone

            • fattsmann

              And if you take care of them, they last a really long time.

              It’s like buying a high quality wool suit and keeping the moths out of the closet — it will last you 10-30 years. And hopefully the body still fits it after that long.

        • AJ

          I totally agree. Why not just flush your money down the toilet? If this is style advice for guys, then perhaps guys don’t need any. Isn’t it easy to spend a lot of money and look like total crap? Do we need advice for that?

      • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

        Hey, we’re just telling you what we think; what you do with that info is up to you.

        And really, shouldn’t you be happy to hear that a girl would like to see you in (presentable) sweats on a date night? It makes getting dressed for the evening much easier!

        • Dan J.

          That doesn’t make me happy. It makes me sad and makes me wonder where our standards have gone. If I wasn’t willing to put effort into my appearance, would I bother to be a regular reader of a website like this?

          • Baxter

            Dan J, what in your opinion does a 20 year old co-ed want to see a college fella wearing when he invites her to his dorm/apt. at 11:00 p.m. for a movie and some Pizza Rolls?

            • http://www.google.com/ Adam

              My GF says “boxers”, because a movie date scheduled for 11PM says “pizza rolls” aren’t on the only thing on the menu. :P

            • Dan J.

              I can’t speak for a 20 year old female. Gabi may have nailed it. A nice pair of sweat pants may be exactly what she wants to see. Gabi is obviously a lot closer to that scene than I am. But suppose you put me in a way-back machine and took 30 years off this carcass, then plopped me down on a campus and said “Hey, some hot young thing is coming over in half an hour to watch TV and eat pizza rolls, so get ready.” Then, it wouldn’t be about what she wanted to see. It would be about what I wanted to present her. First, I don’t see a problem with jeans. Gabi says no one in their right mind lounges in jeans, so I suppose my mind is not right for today’s college student. The only potential issue I see with jeans is that they can be awkward to remove and interfere with free access to certain bits of the anatomy if not removed. If that’s the justification for sweat pants, then I’d look more towards pajama bottoms and a t-shirt than sweat pants.

            • JM

              As a college senior I completely agree with you Dan. But I think we have to take into account that as the website says “guys style from a girls perspective”.

        • AJ

          Geez….I agree with Dan.

      • AJ

        Geez….I totally agree. Those sweatpants are horrible. I am shocked a girl would want to see those on a guy, ever. But I guess you learn something new every day.

    • Max

      I would like to see everything combined into one outfit. The red sweatpants shown with the brown belt (why a belt when the sweatpants have a drawstring, because that would be funny) with a crisp button down shirt and the blue sportcoat. I feel that would be a great look around the dorm. Sorry, forgot to mention flip flops.

      • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

        haha, sounds like a perfect look :)

    • TJ

      Make sure you get a good pair of shoes to go with that new suit. You can’t go wrong with a simple black captoe, or if you’re going a bit more casual a brown loafer or brogue. Just please don’t go with those ugly black square-toe slipons I used to see so many guys wear to career fairs and still see daily in my office.

      • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com Style Girlfriend

        Co-sign co-sign co-sign! Sporting square-toe should result in an inability to graduate :)

      • gabi meyers

        I knew I could have done 7! Great point TJ!

      • TJ

        Also don’t forget a nice crisp white or french blue dress shirt, button cuff and a nice dark, neutral tie (minimal patterns). I see guys walking around in all kinds of weird patterned, colored shirts and ties and I think all it does is distract your interviewer.

    • http://www.google.com/ Adam

      For once, I’m in agreement with Gabi on almost everything here. I’m even fine with “nice” sweatpants (I opted for some Burberry ones on clearance from Nordstrom Rack. $30!).

      My ONE change would be to nix that horrible suit. That one’s cheaply made from polyester and viscose, and not worth a dollar of that $150 price.

      You should get the J Crew Factory Thompson suit ($200ish on sale). It’s a MUCH nicer “beginner” wool suit that you can get tailored to fit. For the investment value, it will last you MUCH longer. Plus, the Thompson jacket can double as your sportcoat. :)

      • TJ

        Agreed on the suit. You could even try macy’s bar III, they have wool suits that can get in the same range as the thompson.

      • gabi meyers

        omg you can’t tell me Nordstrom Rack isn’t the best thing in the world because it is.

        • TJ

          Except for their housebrand dress shirts. I tried them on, the shoulders are huge.

          • fattsmann

            haha! Unless you have huge shoulders… then you would say they fit just perfectly!

      • gabi meyers

        I didn’t even think to look at J.Crew Factory! Great call, Adam!

      • fattsmann

        I think natural vs. synthetics (for suits and other clothing) is where I have had several lengthy discussions with female friends.

        A light, flowy, summer dress will feel the same (airy, flowy, light) if it’s made with cotton vs. rayon. Similarly, a suit made from wool vs. polyester will feel the same for a woman — warm! As long as the fit and cut are right, material may not matter. As a matter of fact, many synthetics may have better drape and feel for a particular dress or blouse or whatever.

        But a cotton vs. rayon dress shirt for a man? Huge difference!!!! Wool suit vs. polyester suit for man? Huge difference!!!! Thankfully the wife agrees with me and all the polyester suits have been donated and the rayon shirts set on fire.

    • Soak Vs Kaos

      Nice belts. For rugged veg tan I love my Friday & River classic. http://fridayandriver.com/collection/product-category/belts/

    • Eric

      I personally can’t get behind the sweat pants idea. I lounge in cords in cold months and shorts in the warm months, and jeans (yes, there are some super comfy jeans out there) any time of the year.

      That being said, I appreciate Gabi drawing my attention to something I otherwise wouldn’t have considered. That’s why I read style blogs, after all. I know by now that I could get by with a navy polo, khaki chinos, and desert boots for 90% of my daily activities (those that don’t require a uniform, anyway.), but I read on for eye-opening opinions put forth by the well-dressed men and women of the Internet on things that I wouldn’t have worn before. I think some of us forget this when we see something that doesn’t fit our own styles.

    • AJ

      “I cannot express to you how immature I find those sliding canvas belts. ” Wow! GQ absolutely loves those belts and showcases them over and over (for Spring/Summer not Fall). They are now moving to the canvas D-ring for something fresh. But still surprised by this comment.

    • JM

      While I don’t agree with them I think the suggestions are fine for the average college “bro”. I think if guys on this website are upset about the sweats or the cheap suit that was suggested they should be on Style Forum. ;)

    • fattsmann

      For shirts, I recommend Charles Tyrwhitt (www.ctshirts.com). The tailored/extra slim fit is my go-to shirt for work and usually they have promos and discounts that bring it down to $40 a shirt or less. While not bespoke or made-to-measure, they are high quality and fit very well (at least for my body… 6′ 1″, 170lbs, 16″ neck, 40-inch chest with a 8-inch drop to the waist).

      Almost all the shirts can be purchased button vs. french (double) cuffs. And they have a 6 month “no quibble” return policy.

    • Aaron Brown

      Best belts you can possibly buy: http://www.slidebelts.com/