If a teen or twenty-something you know is heading off to college in a few weeks, time is of the essence for them to curate their back to school style statement. Whether they’re a fan of “funky ’fits” or prefer clean lines like Hailey Bieber, making note of these 12 trends will show them you know what’s what. After all, their wardrobe is basically a calling card that communicates interests, acts as a conversation starter and helps them feel confident in new situations.

With that in mind, I spoke to 19-year-old Arizona State University sophomore, Jaxson Hofmann, who has a knack for assembling unique outfits that turn heads and get lots of compliments. Like many college students, he favors Nike Dunks, Birkenstocks and Doc Martens and juxtaposes colors and textures. Hofmann says he enjoys “putting together funky outfits” that are, simply put, “dope.”

And Hofmann’s not alone. It’s clear that the days of copy and paste trends are over. Gen-Z is more inclined to cultivate unique aesthetics that will permeate all aspects of their lives from décor to music, etc. Thanks to Hofmann’s tips and this millennial writer’s TikTok habit, 12 trends stand out as the major players on college campuses this fall.


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Clean Girl Aesthetic


A&F Oversized Poplin Button-Up Shirt

$47$59SAVE $12 (20%)

The Clean Girl Aesthetic trend is ideal for college, since it makes it easy to get ready quickly and look polished with little effort. It’s all about elevated basics. Pair this button down with your favorite jeans or linen shorts, tiny gold hoops and slicked-back hair and you’re ready for class or the extracurriculars of your choosing.

Old-School Prep Style

Mango Knitted Cotton Gilet


Whether you call it ’80s Country Club Chic or the #OldMoneyAesthetic hashtag as popularized on TikTok, a knitted gilet or cardigan with stripes is a great way to nail this trend. Bonus point for adding pearl earrings and a white tennis skirt.

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Tie-Dye As A Neutral

Nirvana Smile Overdyed Sweatshirt


Aside the obvious fact that this sweatshirt proves you have good taste in music, the tie-dye accent really makes this piece stand out. Because it’s both a staple color (black) and multi-colored, it promises to get a lot of wear in your wardrobe. Plus, remember when I mentioned fashion as a conversation starter? This is definitely one.

Baggy Grunge-Inspired Looks

AGOLDE ’90s Jeans


Skinny jeans are officially out (as of a few years now) and they’ve been replaced by a baggier mid-rise jean that harkens to mind the ’90s grunge scene. These look great with an oversized T-shirt and gold dainty jewelry or a crop top and fresh sneakers.

Mean, Green Athleisure Chic

Quince Flowknit Ultra-Soft Performance Cropped Tank


More a lifestyle than a trend, sustainability is an important factor when building a back-to-school wardrobe. Many college students love to thrift and upcycle pieces, which is fantastic but can sometimes be time consuming. I love Quince, a brand that also features linens, Mongolian cashmeres and cottons in its cozy athletic-inspired wear. It’s sustainably crafted but very affordably priced.

Boho-Flowy With An Edge

Free People Denver Crop Long Sleeve Cotton Top

$30$48SAVE $18 (38%)

Whether it’s a tank top, a sweatshirt, a sweater or vest, it’s most likely going to be cropped. This option is a stand-out because it’s still modest enough for the classroom but loose enough that you’ll stay cool.

Matchy-Matchy…With A Twist

Madewell Variegated Corduroy Shorts

$64$72SAVE $8 (11%)

There’s nothing like a matching set to take the guesswork out of getting dressed. They’re also such a uniquely versatile option because they can be styled so many different ways. This particular set is a strong pick because it packs the unexpected texture of corduroy, making it a great option for evenings or fall thanks to it’s heavier fabric.

Day-Glo Everything (But Especially Dunks)

Nike Dunk Low SE in Sun Club


You can’t go wrong with a pair of dunks, but they’re especially en vogue if they’re low and include a handful of fun colors or accents that set them apart. They’re also comfortable enough for all-day wear—even if your classes are on opposite sides of campus.

An Oversized Statement Piece

Grlasen Women’s Oversized Blazer


Similar to the cropped trend, the oversized trend applies to tops, jeans, jackets and pretty much everything else. You can easily integrate this trend into your closet by pairing an oversized blazer or shacket with a cropped tank and jeans or athleisure, as seen above.

Shorts That Show More Leg

Nike Dri-FIT Stride 2-in-1 Running Shorts


Whether you’re working out, walking to class or relaxing with friends, shorts that hit mid-thigh are very much in style at the moment. These also come in a handful of fun colors so you can get attention for all the right reasons.

Dainty Cottagecore Prints

Hill House Home The Ellie Nap Dress


Feminine and breathy, the cottagecore aesthetic features lots of florals and light fabrics. This dress specifically is a versatile staple in any college closet as it can be dressed up for a date or party or dressed down for class with zero fuss.

Itty-Bitty Accessories

JW PEI Women’s Gabbi Ruched Hobo Handbag


You may not be able to fit your books in it, but an on-trend bag at the moment will fit your lip gloss, pens and pencils, phone, wallet and keys. If you’re really wanting to nail the trend, you can even go smaller with a micro mini bag (think: the Jacquemus bag).