Here's something they won't tell you on your college campus tour — the desire to eschew all nice dressing in favor of the most comfortable clothing possible will be strong, particularly during trying test/paper-writing times. But don't fall into the sweatpants and hoodie trap! There is a way to look put-together even when your first priority is (and should be) to ace your chemistry final and you can still get to your three-hour lecture on time, while not looking like a sloppy college kid. Seek out basics that are just a notch or two above terrycloth comfort, like sleek dresses in relaxed silhouettes, leggings that will last all semester, oversized tunics, pants with elastic waists and tailored bottoms. Keeping these pieces in steady rotation will ensure that you can seamlessly transition from small group discussion to off-campus dinner without feeling underdressed. Check out our 20 picks for optimal campus dressing that prove you need not abandon your fashion sensibilities while earning your degree.
The Sly Sweatpant
OK, so these are technically sweatpants, but pretty sure you could bet any amount of money that no one would be able to tell.
Band of Outsiders Stretch Sateen Sweatpant, $425 at Steven Alan.
The Everyday Sweater
Your new (super-warm) everyday go-to.
BZR Vented Fisherman Rib Sweater in Stone, $150.53 at ASOS.
The Colorful Frock
A slightly slouchy dress in a killer color and boasting a bit of structure.
Cheap Monday Mila Dress in Royal Blue, $48 at Article&.
The Sweat Dress
We are obsessed with the fake-out waist sweatshirt on this dress, which looks super comfy in its own right.
Dress with Four Sleeves, $40.60 at Front Row Shop.
The Relaxed Dress
This dress has just enough going on to keep it out of too-boring territory, and the oversized fit (and rampant elastic) will make sitting in lectures for hours much more comfy.
Shirt Dress with Drawstring Waist, $72 at Front Row Shop.
The Cool Kimono
Kind of an upgrade to your basic cardigan.
Just Female Brazil Kimono, $148 at Koshka.
The Denim Frock
The relaxed silhouette on this one makes it a winner. Pair with leggings and a sweater for all-day comfort (and style).
Just Female Line Denim Dress, $84 at Koshka.
The Classic Jean
Jeans are just as comfy as sweats, but look so much better.
Lee 3 Year Fade Skinny Jean, $88 at Nasty Gal.
The Perfect Summer Jean
Faded jeans work way beyond summer!
The Perfect Summer Jean, $118 at Madewell.
The Simple Silhouette
This dress is surprisingly elegant, but that silhouette means it will be extremely comfortable to wear. Perfect for when you want to look a little more pulled-together, without sacrificing.
V-Neck Tankdress, $110 at Madewell.
Another great comfort pick, this flippy dress will look great with leggings for class or with tights for a weekend party.
MM6 By Maison Martin Margiela Placket Dress, $395 at Steven Alan.
The Structured Leggings
These leggings have a bit of interest to them, which will dress up any tunic.
Straight Up Leggings, $38 at Nasty Gal.
The Cropped Turtleneck
Pair this cropped turtleneck with a high-waisted elastic skirt, and you're in for a comfort treat.
Eve Top, $27.99 at Need Supply Co.
The Upgraded Sweat
Sweatshirts are a necessary evil of college life, but forgo the hood and stick with a crewneck for an updated (non-slob) look.
Rachel Antonoff Forever Crush Sweatshirt, $85 at Bona Drag.
The Peg Leg
All the style of tailored pants, all the comfort of sweatpants.
River Island Pleated Peg Leg Pant, $57.16 at ASOS.
The midi skirt really is your friend — it looks put-together, but feels extremely comfortable.
Chambray Spliced Midi Skirt, $68 at Topshop.
Pair this with leggings for a great, everyday look.
Drop Waist Tee Tunic, $64 at Topshop.
You can enjoy the best of both worlds with jeggings, especially when they come in great washes and look just like jeans.
Vintage Washed Denim Leggings, $44 at Topshop.
The Layered Look
Slightly dressier than a tunic, this dress is super cute, but hangs like your favorite T-shirt.
Warehouse Two Layer Dress, $66.69 at ASOS.
The Oversized Top
A crisp white shirt is so elegant in an understated way, and this particular one is probably the most comfortable interpretation you'll ever find.
Which We Want Rodin Shirt, $74 at Need Supply Co.