Maybe your college countdown clock has been ticking since May, or perhaps it’s just begun. Either way, only a few weeks stand between you and another year of college life. With a future full of social events you may not even know about yet, and a closet lacking in space, you need to think carefully about what you pack for the next semester–or two.
You need maximum fashion and function with minimal cost. You need shoes that can carry you from the darty to the party, and accessories to make yesterday’s outfit seem … not so yesterday. These are the college-ready, and college-proof, looks at the head of the class for 2019:
Cotton Blend Strapless Smock Top
From the smocked cotton to the bandeau shape, this top features some of the best things to come out of the 1990s and early aughties—including you, once you wear it. The creamy white color makes it versatile enough for any high-waisted bottoms, while the breathable shape will keep you cool in any climate. Pair with some jeans—even mom jeans—an oversized shirt, and all the jewelry you can find for a look that’ll take you from a professor’s office hours to happy hour.
Topshop High-Waist Ripped Mom Jeans
If you’re thinking of going to college without these pants, think again. With a high waist that looks good on all body types and a relaxed fit for maximum comfort, they’re denim that you’ll want to live in—and you’ll really be living in them. With a nonstretch cut, slight ripping and a wash lighter than your mom’s latest hair color, they’ve got old-school energy perfect for any new-school look.
UO Claire Lace-Up Platform Sandals
Forget the LBD—having a pair of LBH (little black heels) is far more important. They’re just as versatile as a Hepburn-worth dress, but the ideal pair—low enough to walk in, smooth enough to dance in, versatile enough to study in, and tough enough to party in—is hard to find. But these shoes from every student’s best friend, Urban Outfitters, make the grade: With a heeled platform giving you a boost without making you a giant, and straps giving you some sartorial sass, they offer construction that’s easy to clean and vegan-approved.
Urban Renewal Remnants Seersucker Shorts
Whether you’re recovering from the night before or just craving a lazy Sunday, these are the shorts you want to chill in—in Netflix-red, no less. They’ve got an elastic waistband and boxers-like shape that make them especially lounge-worthy, while the seersucker fabric stays breezy even if your AC is broken. If you must leave the comfort of your dorm, they’re great for that too: an old T-shirt, sandals and an anklet will give you effortless-cool vibes worthy of any campus courtyard.
H&M Tank Top
Yes, this is a men’s shirt, but we all know the magic that menswear can work. Just loose enough, it’s an easy look for your next house party (or dive-bar dinner). When you’re not tucking it into ripped black jeans, knot it to show a bit of skin and use the oversized armholes to feature a hint of your favorite bralette. This tank is easy to modify, too, so feel free to play with scissors for the perfect customized fit.
Outdoor Voices TechSweat Flex Short and Athena Crop
You already know that bike shorts are everywhere this season; you can see that for yourself. But flattering bike shorts? Impossible to find. That is, until you try this pair from Outdoor Voices. Not too long, not too short, they offer all the benefits of leggings without unnecessary coverage, and have everything you love about shorts without the rustle. The side and back seaming gives them great texture, and the high waist makes them ripe for all your sports bras and especially this crop top. No bike necessary.
Maui Beaded Barrette Set
You’re living to the fullest in college—or so you think—so you might as well see what you’re doing. These barrettes will keep your hair back while you keep abreast of trends. (Plus, their beaded design lets you bring summer’s beach vibes with you to campus.) Also available in a pearly white and a peachy pink/orange duo, this Dippin’ Dots-esque set should be styled two at a time for best results. Get modern with mini sunglasses and a STAUD bucket bag—or go way, way back and wear with a baby tank to rival any of Carrie Bradshaw’s.
Motel Camara Satin Tie-Shoulder Slip Dress
Ask any fortune teller: This dress is in your future. With a calendar full of possibilities, you need a look that’s easy and chic, one that can be dressed up or dressed down and look good always, and this slip is it. With a deep scoop neck fit for any bust, sultry tie straps, a glossy satin finish and ’80s-pop pink, it’ll look just as it does in photos when you’re dancing in it—and you’ll really want to dance in it. It’s a dress you’ll get out of faster than you got out of 8 a.m. Econ.