Starting Member
Hello, my name is Artem and I am currently attending a private boarding school in Germany. I will finish next year and desire to attend a high-end German university (don't know yet which one) in order to study business. I want to become an entrepreneur and am already working on several business ideas.

In order to demonstrate my manners and ambitions, I wish to wear a suit or combination with chinos to lectures. I know that this is not common in Europe and that leftist hippie students will think of me as a snob, but I absolutely don't have a problem with being called a snob as long as what I am wearing is comfortable. And blazers CERTAINLY are comfortable for me. Besides, wearing formal clothes in school and university is much more widespread in Russia, my country of origin, where young men generally dress better than in Germany (in my opinion).

How do you like this outfit? What message will it send to the other students, to the professors, and to the ladies?

I went for a dark navy jacket, grey pants, a white shirt and a light yellow pullover as well as a patterned pocket square (light yellow and light blue flowers).

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New Member
I doubt a forum mostly frequented by guys two or three times your age from a different continent is going to help you with figuring out how people your age in Germany are going to judge your outfit. I also doubt people from good families, whatever these are, are necessarily dressed like that.
That said, I like your outfit, but take that with the grain of salt I supplied.

Peak and Pine

Du siehst gut aus. Herzlich willkommen. Wenn Sie sich in Jacken und Anzügen wohl fühlen, bleiben Sie dabei. Ich bin ein Lefty und denke nicht, dass du schlau aussiehst. Viel Glück.


Super Member
I don't think suits have anything to do with "Good Families", and I think is a big reason why those particular associations have caused suits to die out.

The best students I've known typically show up to class looking fairly dumpy in jeans and a hoodie.

I say this as someone who enjoys dressing nice and is a fairly terrible student.

I do like the outfit, but the message it will likely send is: He is trying to prove a point, does he think he is superior to us?

" In order to demonstrate my manners and ambitions and my willingness to socialize exclusively with people from good families "

Based on that, I would think yeah.

Making connections is important in university, doubly so as en entrepreneur. So is being self-aware regarding how you come across to others.

That outfit would probable alienate people.

With that said, I think that would be fine if you had a class presentation, just not to daily lectures.

Charles Dana

Honors Member
You stated: “[I have a] willingness to socialize exclusively with people from good families.”

Allow me to correct that sentence for you: “I have a willingness to socialize exclusively with good people, regardless of their families.”

Expand those horizons.

And your outfit looks good. Adding a tie would make it over the top in a college lecture hall, but it’s fine as is.


Super Member
Your approach to life seems a bit misguided, and offensive as well. Lose the attitude, recognize that humans of all walks of life have something to offer (not just those from “good families”), and lighten up. You'll be doing yourself a favor. Oh, you may wish to engage some “leftist hippies” as well. You may actually learn something.

The Irishman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
If you go to university dressing in a 'preppy' way, then you're following in the footsteps of a great many students. It's an established subculture with longstanding sartorial conventions (Isn't that kind of the origin of a good chunk of this forum?).

There's no difficulty with dressing that way. You wouldn't be the only one.

It's a little different from dressing for lectures in a business suit. Stay away from full suit and tie.

When I was at university (late 1990s) there were one or two guys who wore suit and tie to lectures and it came across as fancy dress, to be honest. The context was just wrong. Why would you wear a suit to campus when even the provosts and senior lecturers are dressing smartly but casually...

I also echo the comments above that you might want to consider that movers and shakers these days, and people with money, are often dressing down more often than not. That doesn't mean sloppily, but probably less formally than in the past. If you want to "dress for the job you want" then worth bearing in mind.


Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Looking at your picture, it appears you have paired a navy jacket with a pair of dark charcoal jeans. The maize hued sweater worn over what I assume is a white OCBD shirt looks good. Your Rig , overall, is fine for wearing to a college lecture. However, your logic for wearing such is really screwed up! Don't concern yourself with others potentially seeing you as a snob. Based on your words, you strike me as actually being a snob, a conclusion in which I hope to be totally wrong. There is just so much in life that a snob, by nature, is going to miss. I do wish you the best in your future pursuits! ;);)

Mr. B. Scott Robinson

Advanced Member
When I was teaching in the early years of this new millennia, I had one student who dressed in Edwardian dress and who often wore a boater to class.

Of course this was an art school, and many students sought self expression in their visual appearance. I did respect him due to his charting his own course and rejecting the dyed hair/tattoo route of “individuality“ chosen by hundreds of others.

He certainly stood out and he was extremely knowledgeable about historical dress.




Super Member
I think your current outfit looks nice. I would guess that it is a little more dressy than the average college student in Germany although I admit I have no idea. Here in the states my experience is that you would be fine if slightly more dressy than most of the other students In some schools but way over dressed for most. A suit however would set you apart from your peers as university here has changed in the last 50 years. Even law school from my experience was more casual although ties were worn in some instances and suits, while uncommon were not unheard of. This was partially because many students were already working or in some kind of work program and at least 20 years ago, law was still relatively dressy here in the states.
my usual suggestion is wear something like what you are showing for the first few weeks and gauge what the other students are wearing. I would doubt, as most of the above comments, that it will be socially acceptable to be more dressy. I would further doubt, as most of the above comments, that there is a subculture of monied, privileged children of bankers and statesman that will think better of you if you are more properly dressed. One hundred years ago, definitely, fifty years ago, probably but today, I don't think so. Of course, I could be wrong. For all I know, schools like oxford still have that. Time will tell. You would be best served by finding a place in the middle, like you have, and then shopping to fit your needs.
And, as stated above, please remember that in this day and age, demographic and social norms have changed pretty drastically to the point where you don’t want to be judging a book by its cover.
good luck.

richard warren

Senior Member
Seriously, I think you have the right attitude, but may need to be a little more discreet about your ambitions and more importantly the means you choose to achieve them.

To seek to associate with and model yourself on people of substance, and thereby advance yourself and your prospects in life, is a quite rational, ethical, and all together traditional way of doing things, and the opposite of snobbery. If you set about it honestly but discreetly, it may well bring you success as it did legions of accomplished men before you.

Charles Dana

Honors Member
You are a snob. I wish you no luck in the future.
I wouldn’t be that hard on the OP. After all, he’s what? Sixteen, seventeen years of age? He’s a work in progress. He has a lot of maturing to do. (Thank God there were no Internet discussion forums when I was 17. I cringe when I recall some of the opinions I had back then.)

Let’s check back with the OP in 25 years. If he hasn’t shown evidence of emotional growth by that time, then we can lower the boom.

To seek to associate with and model yourself on people of substance, and thereby advance yourself and your prospects in life, is a quite rational, ethical, and all together traditional way of doing things....
That part I agree with. I think, however, that one can be a person “of substance” regardless of who one’s relatives are. People should be judged based on their individual merits.

C. J. Johansen

Starting Member
Having been a long time lurker around here, mainly looking at photos (Tweed season, WAYWT), I only write a message because of this question, for it seems to be the very first time that I feel uniquely qualified to answer a request.

I assume Artem is absolutely fluent in German, but regarding the lingua france of this forum I will try to explain the following in English.

As I have spent all of my life in Germany, attended university here and graduated a while ago, now being a lecturer, I may throw in a few remarks:

Nothing wrong with this getup. It is a tad more dressed up than usual, but nothing to raise an eyebrow, at least as far as I can tell. The long-time members grasped this very well, even without intimate knowledge of German universities.

Being at home in the humanities and more of a tweed person myself, I still dressed somewhat similar in terms of formality in my student days: blazers and sport coats, shirts, cardigans, cotton trousers (terms like khaki and chino are not traditionally used in Germany) and mostly brogues in summer, cords, tweed jackets, shirts, waistcoats, sweaters and half-boots in winter, sometimes with a (woolen) tie.

At least among the students I associated with there has not been much discussion about clothing in general, as strangers usually do neither get approving nor disapproving remarks regarding their clothes in Germany and even among the looser social circle such remarks are not that common, mainly among friends (the German difference between "Bekannte" and "Freunde" - "people I know in passing, colleagues, fellow students" vs. "true friends"). If the topic arose, I usually got compliments.

The main sartorial difference between the faculties seems to boil down to one: Male law professors usually wear dark suits, the rest - regardless of sex and faculty - whatever they feel like. I was not able to discern such a difference among students, even after multiple years on campus and giving consideration to different universities. Blazers and sport coats might be seen sometimes.

So: What message will the outfit send?

1) To the other students: I see a fellow student that probably got some interest in clothing and cares about his appearance. Maybe a no-nonsense guy. Maybe someone engaged in university politics. Maybe just some random guy. His demeanor is the decisive factor how to interact with him.

2) To the professors: Not being a professor, but at least a lecturer, I would take a closer look and guess that this student could be serious about what he does, for he is at least serious about how he appears. I would choose this one to answer the next question, voice his opinion or whatever the task might be, because it might be a chance to find a student that is serious about the topic at hand (or the chance to sort out someone that is all about his appearance but nothing else). Anyway: I get to know one of my students better and will remember him.

3) To the ladies: I do not feel qualified to answer this, for I am merely a man.

If Artem is interested in how he appears to his surroundings he might pay close attention to the vocabulary concerning this that changes depending on the German dialect spoken. There is quite the difference between all those untranslatable words like "schick", "adrett", "schnieke", "herausgeputzt", "zurechtgemacht" "geschniegelt", "piekfein". All of those basically translate to "dressy", but the last four carry some strong undertones of snobbery.

Concerning the remark about good families that drew scorn among the members that are part of the Anglosphere, I assume in Artems defence that he did not mean what you thought he meant. These words uttered in Germany would lead to the same assumptions as they did in English ("versnobbt" being its own adjective, signifiying someone that is a snob), but as a German I might try to bridge the gap between the Atlantic, Anglo-American or thalassocratic world on the on hand and the Eurasian or tellurocratic world on the other (or whatever one might call these differences). I do not assume that he meant to say "I only associate with people that I consider my equal and only as far as those aquaintances will serve me later in life." But rather: "I do not want to be associated with never-do-wells or the ones that are studying for decades to no end, that are wasting their parents savings and are all about parties, drugs and alcohol that might lead me astray." Taking into consideration that university fees are rather low in Germany and the whole system of education works in a unique way, the long-time student (Langzeitstudent, Dauerstudent, ewiger Student) is a time-honoured institution on German campuses and one of the most iconic figures of German university life in media. Curricula are set relatively tight and do not lend themselves to merrymaking and a duration of study that gets too long is punished by higher fees (that are still comparatively low) and the cut of governmental student loans (Bafög) for the students in need of it, but there still is more than enough incentive to waste away some semesters, especially at university towns that offer a lot of distraction and an infrastructure catering to young people, for isolated campus universities are comparatively rare in Germany. Some students are like the proverbial rotten apples and tend to spoil the bunch, therefore one might stay clear of those. But, on the other hand, the one that is looking for amusements will never lack some booze buddies.

So "good family" as in "know how to behave, are responsible adults and do not shame their families". But if my interpretation should be wrong and there might indeed be snobbery involved: Shame on Artem! This will not fly in most places and especially not in Germany, for there is the ideal of "mehr sein als scheinen" (basically : understatement and appearing humble) as well as "Der brave Mann denkt an sich selbst zuletzt." - "The good man thinks of himself only after having thought of others." or plain: "Eigenlob stinkt." - "Self-aggrandizement stinks." Arrogant conduct is the safest path to failed job interviews, lost customers and the inability to get in touch with the right people. And one thing is for sure: Hell hath no fury like a (German) professor scorned!

Appearing like a snob to some fellow students might not be a major problem (after all: How do I know what some might have thought of me a few years ago?), appearing like a snob to the general populace might be disastrous.

And one last thing: Never forget one of the golden rules of leaving a lasting impression in Germany: If your shoes are not polished, you are done for. It is certainly one way of judging peoples cleanliness and orderliness (like two other things that are used to judge somebody at first sight: the ability to keep eye contact and the obligatory firm handshake). And "Ordnung" is still a major thing, regarding university life as well as the rest.

Hope this helps.


Starting Member
@C. J. Johansen and everybody who accused me of arrogance - "Good families" is not tied to material wealth. I know enough rich kids that are complete idiots and just as many poor and middle-class kids that are hard-working, interesting and morally outstanding individuals which I would happily accept into my circle in an university situation provided that they too set their ambitions high. In the Russian sense a "good family" is a family in which the parents care about the children and instill in them the pursuit of extraordinary endeavors rather than conformity and mediocrity. In which a bright student is punished for getting a grade "2+" when he himself knows he could have pushed a bit more and gotten a "1".

The readiness to wear more formal clothes when those surrounding you are slobs serves as a good test for this in my opinion. And the working-class guys I know would do if they had a chance and I recommended it to them.

BTW I am on the track to a 1,0 Abitur (for non-Germans: this is the best possible grade), so yes, wearing formal clothes is one of my ways to demonstrate not only business but also academic ambitions. After all, my parents say that I ought to treat school like work, or like a business.

I somehow believe that of the people who will keep calling me a snob, many will consider not only dressing well but also having good grades and ambitions snobbish in obfuscation of their own laziness and failure. And people who think negatively of those with above-average and extraordinary goals should not be taken seriously in my honest opinion.

@Charles Dana - I edited it because I understood that it might be misunderstood and offensive and I hereby request to apologize to you and to everybody for this wrong impression. See above for explanation.

Charles Dana

Honors Member
HNBTrader: All right, it appears as though we’ve had a bit of a culture clash here. Thank you for the clarification. You didn’t really need to give me an apology, but since you graciously extended one, I accept it.

Good luck to you in your university career!


Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Well, I think you should wear suits because I think everyone should wear suits. I always wear suits because I don't have anything to wear but suits. I always say wherever you are, someone will be the best dressed and it might as well be you. To do that, you'll probably need a suit. I say that now as an old guy, but fifty years ago when I was your age I could still say that as I always wore suits because I didn't have anything to wear but suits then either...


New Member
From the standpoint of practicality, it actually doesn't matter too much what type of formal appearance you put on in school. (The only place it might ever matter a little bit is if you're attending a personal interview to get into a school)

I think you only need to dress somewhere in between casual and formal. This is school, not an actual business office workplace.

If you're going to a school with a lot of students from wealthy families, there is such a thing as expensive casual. There's a style of casual that is actually expensive.
If you try to dress too formal in a situation that does not call for it, it obviously looks to others that you are trying too hard. (It is a sign of being fake)
I don't know, this might be of some small importance if you are trying to develop future connections with other students in school. (which can possibly help with job opportunities later)

In a school, you are mostly going to be dressing to put on an appearance for others your age. The teachers will not be much influenced by how you dress, I mean if you are trying to dress very nice. Although dressing extremely informally could possibly hurt, if you appear so unprofessional and immature that the teacher cannot take you seriously. Yet at the same time, you do not need too dress too mature (I mean older age group) either.
What I am saying is you do not need to dress too nice, that won't help, but don't dress too bad either.

Mr. B. Scott Robinson

Advanced Member
Do German Universities offer subsidies for dry cleaning? Keeping a dressy wardrobe in good nick on a student budget can be a chore.

My son attended both Humbolt and Free Uni in Berlin for a year. He must have pocketed that subsidy for beer. :)



The Irishman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I suspect students who are wearing suits and more tailoring to university - unless they truly are a different breed to the rest of their ilk - are laundering their shirts, underwear and socks and dry cleaning is a ... semi-rare ... occurrence.

I would have been loathe to spend on dry cleaning what could have bought me a couple of refreshing beverages. Besides, napkins, and skilful attempts at spot cleaning are free.
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