Study Abroad with Style: Men's Edition

by Alex Outlaw

The Idle Man teams up with GoAbroad to give you some college fashion tips for guys, served up with an international flair. Read on for insights into how to study abroad with style, including the best fashion-forward locations to sport your on-point style, the importance of packing smartly, travel style faux pas you definitely want to avoid, and some other last minute study abroad packing tips.

Traveling for college students is always a good idea, as it is for most; it is an opportunity for learning and experiencing life in a different culture. But beyond the photos and the new languages learned, one of the most important things is *obviously* making sure your style game is strong. Whether you’re going to class, indulging in the nightlife with your new friends, or sightseeing, you don’t want to be remembered as a style outcast.

folded flannel shirt, leather shoes, a wallet, keys, and a camera
Leather and flannel are a man’s best friend.

Study abroad for men looks a little different than for women, and it all starts with what’s in the suitcase.

Most Fashion-Forward Destinations for Study Abroad

You’re probably wondering: with fashion on my mind, where is the best place for me to study abroad? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! There are a myriad of international destinations that will inspire you, and allow you to hone your personal style.

Paris, France

First off, of course, Paris! This fashion hub is without doubt first on our list. Paris has a rich fashion history that can’t be rivaled; if you want to learn the industry’s true roots, and be amongst impeccable street style, then Paris is definitely the place for you to study abroad. There are a plethora of shopping destinations on Champs Elysees, Rue du Fauburg Saint-Honore, and the unbelievable thrift shops in Marais right at your doorstep.

To make sure you fit in with the Parisian style you are going to want to be equipped with the following essentials: a leather jacket, Oxford shirts, long line T-shirts, black or grey wash skinny jeans, trainers, and Chelsea boots. The key to Parisian style is its understated simplicity and classic, chic feel, but with a slight eclectic edge. These basic essentials will ensure you have a good starting point to nail the Parisian style.

London, England

If you don’t think Paris is for you, or don’t want to deal with the language barrier, London should be first on your list. London definitely has it all, insane street style, men’s and women’s fashion week, and of course English fashion powerhouses, including Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, and Rick Owens. Studying abroad wise, London has an academic prowess and is an amazing city of opportunities for growth. For students, it offers just about everything, incredible style, buzzing nightlife, and is awash with culture. London certainly provides just about every opportunity you could ever wish for as an international student.

With the crème de la crème of street style, amalgamating Shoreditch’s signature grunge and eclecticism with Canary Wharf’s high-end suit and tie, you can get away with trainers and joggers, or a dapper suit. UK weather is known for keeping residents on their toes, so you need to be well prepared almost constantly for varying temperatures and conditions. Ensure you are equipped with a quality coat, rain jacket, or trench, which all happen to great with denim jeans or navy chinos and a casual shirt. 

black and white photo of a man wearing a jean jacket
Keep it classic with a jean jacket.

New York City, USA

Another English-speaking study abroad location is the beloved Big Apple, a magical city indeed where you can rock a coordinated corporate look, or go totally street vibe. This fashion capital offers many tantalising treats like 5th Avenue, New York Fashion Week, and of course, its elite array of fashion industry heavyweights’ headquarters, if that’s what you’re in to.

For the summer in NYC, if you want something casual, then opt for chino shorts and an Oxford shirt, with either loafers or boat shoes. For the winter, you can afford to smarten up a bit, given that you will more than likely be wearing Chelsea or Timberland boots, with skinny jeans and a good quality coat.

Other Fashion-Forward Destinations

Aside from these top fashion-forward picks, students should consider other favorites like Sao Paulo, Sydney, and Barcelona. All of these are perfect locales for dudes who want to study abroad with style. These places offer more relaxed, casual street styles and beg for style experimentation with more summer looks, fun patterns, and prints, whilst also offering an insanely diverse cultural experience.  

It’s All in the Packing

Think you can pull off European chic with a manly twist? Then let’s talk about what to pack for study abroad. Packing can often be the most difficult part of going abroad, especially if you’re going for an extended length of time. Whilst studying abroad you’re likely to need a wardrobe suitable for multiple occasions, whether that be classes, nights out, or just day to day chilling in the city. And while, of course, you’ll want to be prepared for any eventuality, a capsule wardrobe is your best way of keeping covered and ensuring you have the basics; you can always top up on extras while you’re there. And packing lightly, of course, means a great excuse to go shopping in your new city! 

Ensure you do your research before you go and consider the main factors that could influence your wardrobe choices. But, here are some tailored study abroad packing tips just for you:

NYC skyline
There’s a reason we all know NYC fashion week.

Check the Weather Report

Make sure you know what season you are packing for, and the destinations track record for the time of the year you will be there; the last thing you want to do is land with a six month supply of shorts and t-shirts, when you clearly needed your jeans and Oxfords.

Pack for Activities

If you know that your daily routine may include university classes, an office internship on the side or weekends exploring with friends, make sure you pack outfits versatile enough for every occasion whether they be smart or casual. Also, when packing for study abroad, you want to make sure you have a stylish, yet practical travel bag that you can easily use for day-trips or daily trips to classes.

Avoid These Horrible Travel-Fashion Faux Pas

You don’t want to commit style suicide when you are trying to find your place in a new city. To ensure this doesn’t happen, here are a few study abroad fashion faux pas you definitely want to avoid:

  • Sandals with socks — just wear trainers
  • Fanny packs. Even though I trust you have more sense than that I thought I would still mention it… unless you are at a head-banging festival all weekend and need to carry supplies, there is never a place for guys sporting bum bags.
  • Crocs — just a no.
  • Flip flops. Unless you are at the beach or in dormitory/hostel showers, this footwear is a no-no if you are trying to impress people with your style.
black rucksack with scattered items/accessories.
Rock a rucksack and leave your grade-school Jansport at home.

How to Knock it Out of the Park

It’s not all about mindset. Pair that good attitude with a slick pair of shoes and shades. Follow these study abroad fashion tips for guys to round out your look (and your learning experience!):

  • Embrace the culture - Try your best to incorporate and get style inspiration from your surroundings
  • Check out local thrift shops - If you’ve forgotten anything, this is a cheap way to replace it but also helps you to achieve the former tip.
  • Don’t be afraid to be more daring - You’re in a new city, there’s no better time to be a bit more experimental with your style, or totally reinvent it all together.
  • Make the most of the experience - Whether it’s shopping, the culture or the education the city has to offer, make the most of every second, and do it all in style.

Hopefully this guide of college fashion tips for guys inspires an easy and affordable style for you when studying abroad. Though trends are important, you don’t want to put too much thought into it when traveling and living the student life; you’re there to learn, after all (not just to look good). Whether you’re going for show stopper, attention grabber, a classic t-shirt, or another vogue look of choice, step out with confidence and a smile to match by adding these fashion tips and go-to items to your study abroad packing list.

Ready to study abroad (and look good while doing it!?)? Make a MyGoAbroad profile to bookmark & compare program options today!