College Campus Style feat. Alex Wilson

September 8th, 2011

It’s that time of year again – back to campus.

College style can be tricky. You want to look presentable and job worthy, but not too stiff or uptight for a casual environment.

For this post we reached out to Alex Wilson, a student in the Design/Art/Architecture/Planning program (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati.

We caught up with Alex for his first week on campus, and he showed us that you don’t have to spend a lot to look good. “Since I’m in college, I work on a budget for my wardrobe – I’m no stranger to the thrift store and ebay.”

    1. Monday

    “I like american workwear looks like this one because they’re comfortable and masculine.”

    About the Bag: “This rucksack is great because it’s strong and has plenty of pockets for whatever I need for a day of classes.”

    Bonus Tip: “The timex watch was a thrift i found for six bucks, and I haven’t see too many other blue-faced Easy Reader’s around.”

    Bonus Tip II: “Dress shoes” are not “dress” shoes anymore. Brogues and wingtips of all kinds are made with sportier fabrics and softer soles. Like these canvas joints with the rubber bottoms – more sneaker than corporate in my opinion.

    Bonus Tip III: The beauty of this look is that every piece will get better with age and wear. That’s not shopping, that’s investing.

    • Blue Shirt by Banana Republic
    • Jeans by Gap
    • Beige Suede Wingtips by Polo
    • Rucksack from local army-navy store
    • Timex Watch (thrifted)
    • Aviator Sunglasses by PacSun

    2. Tuesday

    “Channeling vintage prep here. Something about a baseball jacket with a fitted cap and white sneakers means back to school  to me… Best thing about this jacket, is that it’s fleece – warm without being heavy and comfortable like a sweatshirt.”

    About the Bag: Find a canvas backpack, in a neutral earth tone, and you’ll find yourself carrying it everywhere.

    Bonus Tip:  Just because it’s laidback doesn’t mean it shouldn’t fit properly.

    Bonus Tip II: A pair of white low-top canvas sneakers can round-out a whole lot of outfits.

    • Grey baseball cap by New Era
    • Baseball jacket by H&M
    • White v-neck t-shirt by Hanes
    • Khaki chinos by Levis
    • Watch by Timex
    • Backpack by Urban Outfitters
    • Handkerchief Vintage

    3. Wednesday

    “As a boy growing up, my mother enjoyed watching musicals. She was particularly fond of Singin’ in the Rain… I count count how many times I’ve seen that movie, but I do know is that Gene Kelly understood style, and color. He is one of my style icons and this look is inspired by him.”

    About the Bag: A leather laptop case is the perfect cross between a briefcase and a portfolio. It’s great for business casual events – or when you only have a few notes for class.

    Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid of a little color mixing in the fall. Just keep it muted, in a classic silhouette (like a cable knit v-neck and button-down collar)

    • Grey v-neck sweater by Polo Ralph Lauren
    • Pink plaid shirt Vintage
    • V-neck Sweater by Ralph Lauren Polo
    • Pink plaid shirt Vintage
    • Jeans by Gap
    • White driving mocs by Tonino Lamborghini
    • Watch by Kenneth Cole
    • Black leather laptop case by Kenneth Cole

    4. Thursday

    “This is one of my go-to looks for a class presentation, or to attend an academic event on campus…a guest speaker, for example.”

    About the Bag: The classic messenger. An easy bookbag for a casual, but not too casual outfit. Perfect synergy with this look.

    Bonus Tip: A dark cardigan is the perfect layer to look casual and presentable. It frames a shirt & tie similarly to a blazer, but is much more relaxed and comfortable.

    Bonus Tip II: Boat shoes, preferably in the brown family, can serve as a more casual alternative to loafers. One of the reasons they have become so popular is their versatility, and comfort.

    Bonus Tip III: Sometimes a nice pair of glasses can complete a look. Think about your outfit before popping in those contacts.

    • Navy cardigan by Gap
    • White shirt by Kenneth Cole
    • Tie bar from TheTieBar
    • Khaki jeans by Levis
    • Brown Belt by Tanner Goods
    • Brown boat shoes by Sperry
    • Black frames by Ray-Ban
    • Brown messenger bag by Andrew Marc

    5. Friday

    About the bag: “Sometimes as a design student you have to carry a lot of sh-t. Between fabrics, patterns, rulers, markers, sketch pads, sewing supplies, etc. the duffle sure comes in handy.”

    Bonus Tip: A small duffle bag, especially a worn-in one, is perfect if you have top carry equipment, gym clothes and any other luggage along with your books, laptop, etc.

    Bonus Tip II: Sometimes the weather call for only a fine gage sweater. That’s good weather.

    • Tan v-neck sweater by J. Crew
    • Orange chinos by Dockers
    • Driving mocs by Tonino Lamborghini
    • Watch by Skagen
    • Shades from Street Vendor
    • Leather duffle bag by Andrew Marc

    6. Weekend

    “This is an outfit I draw from experience. My dad is a woodsman so I grew up hunting…I’m no stranger to the color palette here.”

    About the Bag: Take s simple nylon backpack, make a statement with it.

    Bonus Tip: “This outfit is perfect for the sporadic Cincinnati weather in the Fall. The flannel shirt and down vest keep me warm, but I can easily lose a layer if it heats up.”

    Bonus Tip II: You don’t have to spend a lot to look good. Understand that and color/pattern are most important, and shop within your budget. There are plenty options if you know where to look, even on a students budget.

    • Olive down vest Vintage
    • Plaid flannel shirt Vintage
    • White v-neck t-shirt by Hanes
    • Grey denim jeans by Levis
    • Brown leather belt by Gap
    • Boots by Supra
    • Watch by Timex
    • Aviator sunglasses by Pac-Sun
    • Orange nylon backpack by American Apparel

    Thanks for reading and special thanks to Alex for participating!

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by William Mata

    • CollegeStudent

      Thank you for your blog! I use this “look” for my casual weekly meetings at school && for presentations! Always looks professional yet casual! Keep up the good work!

      Shout outs from Orlando, FL! GO KNIGHTS!

    • Sebastian

      I absolutely love all the styles, and most of all I love the bags, they are amazing

    • hb


    • Susan

      I recognize that campus! UC! Cincinnati represent :)

    • justchad

      lovin the backpack …..
      combos are great …..
      fav is thee orange pants w/tan shoes

    • George Dunhill

      Sacrificing slick, clean, personal style to not appear “too stiff or uptight” was always something that really bothered me about campus life. You’ll find some of the most hideous outfits, both male and female, on college campuses, so please, students, spiff it up if you’re so inclined, and don’t worry about those around you.

      That said, you’ve done an excellent job putting together a few styles that any college could adapt as their own. Again, thanks.

    • Jinky

      Just saw that RMK collection on Karmaloop! Soo Dope!

      @Rubin – here is a link to see the whole collection. I just got the varsity!

    • Rubin101

      Awesome post!

      Could definitely see you rocking the new RMK jacket collection. Lots of classic styles updated for the modern man.

      I like the Monte Carlo Blazer for Alex.

      • Alex

        No offense but I would never wear that.

    • brick

      great job, alex!

      stay gold


    • l3on

      Nice posting!!! Way to go!!!

    • michael

      this story i would share with my roomates, thanks man. Good inspire.


    • Arsene

      Awesome post. Goes to show you really don’t have to sacrafice form for function. You can have whatever you like… I’m in a “look 5” state of mind lately. Easy and looks comfy!

    • Marco

      Another fantastic post by SB, this time for those going back to school (It seems like forever ago, when in fact, it was only a year or two since I attended my last lecture!) The looks are comfortable and very attainable for students. Excellent stuff.

      One thing, however. Thursday (Look #4)? Perhaps one shouldn’t let their smartphone take away from the beautiful silhouette of their slim cut pant? I mean, he is carrying a bag after all, why not let it serve it’s purpose and put your stuff in it? The outline of the phone is… distracting… to say the least!

    • Josh Y.

      Great post. Love the style since I’m in college too. And Alex is gorgeous :)

    • Kyle Norville

      … I love the style, I really want the weather to get colder so I can begin implementing my fall style into my wardrobe. But New York loves playing games with Fall and Spring.


      cool shoot

    • Marc Ryan

      Must say that this post is probably the most relevant one to me than most. I am currently a student and I honestly have worn every single look in this post at some point in time. I love the posts on this site because they serve as inspiration, but as much as I would love to wear my suit with style like Dan does, I don’t have that kind of budget to pull off a suit on a weekly basis. I appreciate this post and I hope there are more like this to come. Love the Timex watch by the way, I’ve been looking into those lately. Keep up the good work Dan!

    • Michael

      Easily my favourite post on SB so far and I’ve been reading for a very long time. This applies to me right now so its amazingly useful to give me ideas for looks I’d like to try and work around during uni. Love the post!

      • S.

        Goodness same here! I can’t go to class in a suit, but sweater and button down, perfect!

        • Luke

          Yeah, you needed a post to show you how to wear a sweater and khaki’s…ggeeessshhhh SMH

    • John

      I love the shoes in the first pic.
      Any info about what shoes those are, and optional where to buy them.

      • Daniel


      • Alex They are polo

        • John

          Call me Stupid, but I can’t find them on the provided site.

          • Paul

            They’re the Polo Jamfords

    • Al-Bizzy

      Diggin look number 4, but the knot on that tie is a little nasty. Also, short tie bars on standard width ties are questionable. (Please don’t kill me for having an opinion)

    • Mike

      Honestly, the best post in a minute.

    • J.G.L.

      Number 5 is my favorite by far. Those DOCKERS are really cool.

    • Allan

      One of my favorite posts to date, very nice job SB.


    • Anonymous

      I’ve been reading TSB since the website changed and I’m really happy about this post. I AM in college and I can’t afford bespoke MAB suits. This is what I like to see: casual and affordable.
      Thanks a lot, Dan. I’d love to see more.

    • Joseph


      I’m really feeling this post. I would definitely like to continue seeing more college/grad student inspired looks. It doesn’t make sense for us to be super dressed up, every day. This post right here fits the mold. Definitely hoping for a Part 2.

    • David

      I love those moccasins, what are they made of?

    • ken

      Are you sure those Khaki trousers are Levi’s 511 because 511 have jean pockets at the back. I think they are 510? Please let me know as I need some slim trousers.

    • TO

      This is a long awaited post in the blogging world… and Alex definitely didn’t disappoint! The style break down is very good here- thanks guys!

    • James

      Most relevant post to me in a long time.. I mean sure i like reading about bespoke suits and how to match a tie with a suit but right here is some things i wear and can inspire me now!! Thanks.

    • Erich T

      I appreciate seeing a post where the clothing featured was purchased at thrift stores and “common man” retailers. College students are not the only men who may have to choose against bespoke clothing and high-end retailers.

    • Andrew

      Since, I believe, most of the people who read and follow this website are young people, therefore maybe not all of them can spend a lot of money on clothes, so it’s nice to see one can look good and classy with less than a 100 bucks.

      The reason why I love this website is you guys costantly mix old, classic features with a more modern, fresh and “casual” look. This article is a great example of how’s possible to dress with style with clothes we all have in our wardrobe.

      Keep up the good work!

    • M

      Nice post good job!

    • Andrew Carlson

      I own those orange dockers. I’m glad that someone showed me a new way to wear them.

      • Arron

        Where can u get those orange dockers? I looked online couldn’t find Em

    • Senior

      This kid is dope. I see a lot of SBism…hell yeah.
      Keep doing it what you do one does it better than you. I bought 5 of your suits and love them all…
      Cant wait for the Fall collection.
      When is that coming?

    • Gabe

      What kind of sneakers are those in look #2? Nike’s? If so I have them. Anyway, perfect post Dan love the features. I am a loyal follower and a student myself so this is very helpful insight. I really like the remarks about dress shoe’s becoming more casual. Now could you please do that “tall guys” post. I’ve been waiting since the “short guy” got theres. Thanks for the help Dan.

      • Alex

        Hey man

        They are vans low profile. Got em at Journey’s

        • Anonymous

          final look is sweet. great colours

    • Jim

      I like the way he puts together looks but it helps to know how to tie a tie, or the correct wrist to wear a watch. Still probably the best-dressed person in Ohio.

      • Anonymous

        Left-handed people often wear their watches on the right wrist.

    • Isaiah Johnson

      Nice work

    • Arron

      This is my new favorite post. I went into h and m the other day walked out with 4 things for under a $100. I was surprised actually how well some of the clothing was made. Any how it’s cool to see things that aren’t so expensive on here. Don’t get me wrong thou , I’d love to have a job that required me to wear a suit Daily.

    • Felix

      Gonna be the first to say it, but on the tie look, everything looked smashing until I saw this limp tie knot overwhelming the collar. Tie also seems tied too short.

      • Roman

        Same here !
        Great look, but why is he using that knot ?

      • Anton

        It wouldn’t look as good if the tie was hanging out from under the cardigan, but that’s just my opinion.

        Liked the wednesday look the most, would have changed the shoes tho… Otherwise great look!

    • Jason

      Great post, I just began graduate school today so this is sure to come in handy! Love the Thursday look!

    • Every Man’s Closet

      The backpack is making a huge comeback right now, which is great for students! There are so many cool choices. And since color is in too, the brighter the better! Love the bold American Apparel backpack!

    • Travis

      Nice work on this post SB. It’s good to see a college student walking around on a college budget. He’s making it all look damn cool too – I had to check the descriptions to see the brands and I was surprised to not see some higher end/higher price names. This really lends itself to pure authenticity. We should all know by now, that it’s about style, not the girth of one’s wallet. When this guy gets out of school and makes it in the world like it looks like he will – I’m sure his wallet will help him to further extend his impeccable wardrobe selections.