Ever scour the entire two floors of the student store just to walk out empty-handed? Don’t worry, I completely understand. Over in one corner sits the dizzying displays of ceramic mugs mixed in with the odd steel tumblers. In another, rows upon rows of shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies in every conceivable color and block lettering. Crawling across an entire wall, baseball caps all in blue and gold with no discernable distinction from afar. Stepping into the school store often means inundating yourself with options you don’t have time to consider, but when everyone else proudly owns a Berkeley hoodie, you really don’t want to miss out.
Find out which Berkeley merch makes the “most wanted” list.
1. Berkeley Seal Hoodie
A staple in any student’s closet, a Cal hoodie will accompany you through all your college highs and lows. Wear it for comfort to your unfortunate 8 a.m. class and subsequent coffee run or stash it in the bottom of your bag for when it gets chilly at night. The fleece-lined interior ensures warmth throughout fall and winter as you hunker down in the library. If it gets hotter, you can always opt for a cropped, unlined design instead. With a hoodie, you simply don’t need to think too much – it works with anything, anywhere.
“I really like my blue Champion hoodie. It’s super comfortable,” UC Berkeley junior Nathan Dilger said. “I wear it all the time to class and around town, it does a good job of keeping me warm, but it isn’t too thick for a slightly warm day.”
You also want to make sure you get one in blue or gold. The school colors hoodie persists as a necessary presence at any Cal game. Come game time, students pack the stadium in brilliant dots of blue and gold. You don’t want to get ready to rep Bear pride just to stick out like a sore thumb.
2. Cal Cap Hat
Having a bad hair day? Or perhaps you want to keep your face from burning under the sun? Go for a classic baseball cap. A perfect accessory for days when you feel too shy to show your face or when you want to pull off that street style look, a cap remains both a practical and aesthetically pleasing choice. And luckily for us, Berkeley Blue and California Gold happen to work with most outfits.
3. Sticker Sheet
If you frequent any of the popular study spots on campus, then you know how many students walk around with identical laptops. Stickers prevent any potential mix-ups when you get up for that inevitable bathroom break. Aside from that, who doesn’t want to spice up their belongings with the ever-fierce, ever-menacing Oski? Put them on your phone, on your notebooks and on your suitcases. The variety that comes with a sticker pack means you won’t need to decide between the surfaces on which you slap your stickers.
4. Cal Mug
A household (or a dorm) can never own too many mugs. You never know when guests might come over and suddenly you wish you had something other than your dirty old Ikea mug. But even if guests don’t come regularly, you’ll still want to get yourself a Cal mug for when your schedule refuses to allow for an elaborate meal during midterms. This ceramic mug makes for a perfect vessel for a quick microwave mac n’ cheese.
“I would get a mug just because the current mug I have isn’t microwaveable,” UC Berkeley junior Jesse Lei said. “I wouldn’t use the kettle to heat milk or honey water up, so in that case I would use the microwave to heat up these liquids that are not electric kettle friendly.”
If food doesn’t come as a priority, use the mug as a pencil holder. The glossy ceramic can instantly elevate your desk area from a messy pigsty to a fancy scholar’s study. Or, well, maybe not without your organizational efforts. I bet the Cal mug would still beat out any drab grey plastic pencil holder though.
If you own a Berkeley hoodie, might as well make it a matching set with a pair of sweatpants. Known for their comfort, these sweatpants will accompany you through winter nights, hours-long study sessions and days you don’t care to dress up. The simplistic design makes it so that you can layer or pair it with anything. And personally, they stand as my go-to airport attire. Get yourself a pair, and I bet you’ll never want to take them off.
6. Cal pin
What if you don’t want to call attention to yourself and flaunt Berkeley around 24/7? A pin will work wonderfully. Subtle and understated, a Cal pin complements your ensemble without breaking your bank. Depending on what you feel like using or wearing on a particular day, you can also rotate it from your backpack to a tote bag or even a jacket. And if you come to fall in love with this pin, make sure to check out the other ones offered to start your private pin collection.
7. Cal Tee Bear Plush
In times when loneliness gets the better of you, the Cal Bear will stay by your side. A faithful companion (as long as you purchase it), this soft, squishy friend can act as your sounding board, your snuggle buddy and even a stress toy. And we all know that Berkeley students need stress toys. If stuffed toys make you sneeze, put it up on a shelf as décor. With its own cute little Cal t-shirt, the bear also acts as a reminder of school pride. Who says only children can own toys?
The ever-practical notebook. Not a merch item everyone thinks of off the top of their heads, but certainly one that everyone carries around in their bags to class. From essential equations to the most thought-provoking close readings from seminar, virtually every single class requires a note-taking apparatus. A notebook will contain all your vital notes come time for finals, or just whenever you need to look back at when the Holy Roman Empire fell. A simple and simply necessary addition to your life.
9. Berkeley Tote
Feeling tired of lugging your bulky backpack around campus like a turtle with a shell? I know I do. Switch it out for a tote bag instead. One of the trendiest accessories in recent years, a tote bag keeps you from looking frumpy or too much like a high schooler.
“I think the tote bag especially is such a thing and trend in Berkeley, because it has those young and casual vibes,” UC Berkeley junior Natania Wong said. “I’d always love to use a tote around this area, maybe to school or just to match with outfits when I’m hanging out.”
Designed by Julia Gash, this bag features adorable illustrations of all your favorite Berkeley landmarks – the Campanile, the Greek Theatre, Strawberry Creek and more. The next time your parents ask you what thing “Campanile” signifies, you can just point straight at your bag. The thin canvas also creates a great surface for pins and patches. Or, if your artistic spirit so beckons, paint the other blank side of the bag for a touch of personality.
10. Pullover Sweatshirt
The sweatshirt – everyone’s favorite oversized clothing item. From all the way down at Clark Kerr Campus to the very edge of Northside, you can’t go anywhere around Berkeley without catching someone in a Cal sweatshirt. And it makes sense. Sweatshirts often beat out hoodies because of their thinness and the lack of a hood. You can layer anything on top or above it. Add a collared shirt under the sweatshirt to look more put together, or put on jacket on top to keep yourself warm. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a sweatshirt