It’s the summer before freshman year begins and you pack up all of your coolest jeans, t-shirts, hoodies and sweatpants. You’re ready to conquer whatever the semester throws at you.

Fashionable but casual is the look you’re going for. You pulled it off in high school right?

But what are you going to wear for your first speech in public speaking or that group presentation in history?

There are certain expectations when it comes to presentations and effort in college. Some professors offer bonus points for dressing up and some may flat out say dressing up is a requirement, no exceptions.

No matter what your personal style is you’re always going to need professional clothes. Don’t get caught scrambling to put something together at the last minute.

Get ahead of the game and invest in a few key professional wardrobe pieces.

Guys: Two pair of dress pants, two dress shirts, a tie and black dress shoes


Girls: Pencil skirt, one pair of dress pants, two blouses and black pumps (with an appropriate heel height)


As a student, more than likely your budget is either very tight or nonexistent.

Stores such as H&M, Forever21 and your local thrift store have inexpensive pieces to start your wardrobe.

My personal favorite place to look is thrift stores. You can find a lot of great pieces for a little close to nothing. I have found designer brands like J. Crew, Tory Burch, Cole Haan and more for under $10.

Remember, this is just a start. For more inspiration, look for fashion pages on Instagram and Pinterest.


Tonisha Brown is a Nashville native with a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Tennessee State University. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, writing and shopping.