What to pack for your college closet

Deciding what to bring to college is challenging enough before thoughts even begin about clothes. How does one decide what clothes to bring for this new chapter in life and what should be left at home?

The secret to packing clothes for college? Less is definitely more. No students wear absolutely everything they originally bring, and they inevitably buy some new clothes once they figure out their new school style. Plus, everyone is shorter on space than they are used to. Hello, dorm-living.

To assist SMU’s newest class of ponies, here is a simple do and don’t list for college closets.


Don’t: Old T-shirts

Don’t take up valuable suitcase and closet space with all those old high school tees. The number of clubs, organizations and local businesses that immediately welcome new students with free, comfy T-shirts always surprises first-year students. And for those planning on joining a fraternity or sorority, having too many T-shirts will be more of an issue than being without. Showing up with more than two favorite tees is already a loss. Of course, most of the clothes worn in high school are perfectly acceptable in college, but it might be best to leave the items advertising JV football, cheer, etc. at home. Yes, that includes letter jackets. High school is now an old chapter; treat yourself to a sweatshirt with Peruna on it instead.

Do: Costumes

Do bring any old costumes that still fit, as they will no longer be limited solely to Halloween. Old dance, holiday, play costumes, etc. will all prove to be extremely useful in college. There will be parties almost every weekend and a majority of said parties will be themed. From the classics – ‘70s, ‘80s, Western, Hawaiian – to creative, diverse and weird themes no one’s heard of before, even the most random costume pieces can and will be used. Instead of scrambling for outfits last minute every weekend (which can also get very expensive), come prepared with at least a starter costume box that can be added to throughout the next four years. Those with costume boxes will be ready for whatever event presents itself, and no one wants to miss the party of the year simply because they were without a costume.

Don’t: Fancy clothes and accessories

Don’t bring too many fancy clothes and accessories for the first semester of college. First year students will not be attending galas every weekend wearing their finest tuxedos and ball gowns. Girls can get away with two nicer business-casual dresses and skirts their first year. In terms of going out clothes, don’t bring/wear anything that you can’t live without. Bringing a collection of designer high heels and bags is totally unnecessary. Everything will only get lost, stolen or ruined, and besides, a backless dress paired with beat up sneakers works just as well as a pair of sky-high heels. Guys will likely need no more than one to two formal suits their first year as well.

Do: Hygienic necessities

Do bring shower shoes. Read again: do bring shower shoes. It is not an old wives’ tale. The ugly truth is that dorm showers won’t be the cleanest at all times. Come prepared. That means take a robe with you each time you shower as well. Everyone will lock themselves out of their room going to shower at least once in their college career; it’s better to do this in a robe and not just a towel. Also, bring a lot of underwear. The ugly, ugly truth is that most students only do laundry when their underwear runs out. Those extra pairs of undies could mean doing laundry every two weeks (or more for the extra courageous) instead of every week.

Don’t: Off-season clothes

Don’t bring the warmest winter jacket to school in August. While figuring out exactly which clothes to bring to college can prove to be a challenge, one simple rule is to leave off-season clothes behind. Pick that warm jacket, and other winter necessities, back up when you go home for Fall Break or Thanksgiving, or have your parents bring them if they come for Family Weekend. There’s no need to have clothes that won’t be worn for months taking up the already-limited space in dorm room closets. Bring the minimum amount of clothing at a time and get in the habit of switching out seasonal clothes when returning home for breaks. Just think of it as a whole new wardrobe when those tiny closets are filled to the brim with different clothes than they were just the week before.

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