Back to School: A List.


A few days ago, my sister asked me to make her a little list of some back-to-school wardrobe essentials. Of course, I love making lists, and I got a little overzealous about this. Not only did I add in a few classic pieces that would be relevant in her wardrobe for years to come, I added a few trendier ideas as well that will easily propel her through 2010-2011 in style. Here's the detailed list I came up with:


1. Hanes Ribbed Tagless Tank Tops

...for men.

$19.99 for 6 -

These have been essential to my wardrobe for years now. They work well underneath anything that just needs an extra layer; sweaters, low-cut tops, sheer shirts - anything. Plus, not only are they super cheap and easily acquired (you can get these bad boys at Target, Walmart, or any big brand store like that), they're really versatile. If I need one to look more feminine, I cut off the seams around the neck and arms, or if I need a more relaxed look peeping out of the bottom of my sweater, I'll just cut off the bottom hem. They really can be life savers.

2. A Nude Bra
This one is pretty much a given. Basically, If you're a girl, and you don't already own a non-lacy, nude bra, you have had a really difficult time wearing white for a good part of your life. It truly is an essential. Victoria's Secret usually has some pretty great choices.

3. Dark Wash Jeans

(from left to right) Fade to Blue Bell Bottom Jeans - Urban Outfitters - $98.00
Dark Wash Boot-Cut Jeans - Banana Republic - $59.50

Honestly, having a pair of dark wash jeans is just a must, even if you aren't a jean person. Investing enough time and money to find  the perfect pair that fits you like a glove is completely worth it, because they will always be relevant in the fashion world. As far as fit goes, I say don't worry about what's trendy and what's not; buy the pair that feels like a second skin and make sure it's a flattering cut for your specific body type, and you've got a winner. While I'm all about skinnier cuffs, I usually invest in a good pair of medium flares, just because they can be worn in so many ways.

4. Ballet Flats

(from left to right) Abby Toe Cap Ballet Flats - J. Crew - $128.00
Frye Carson Ballet Flats - Piperlime - $148.00

As someone who only owned one pair of flats in her entire life until this summer (it's for real), I now understand the importance of this chameleon-like shoe. They work well with any type of jean/pant/skirt/dress that you're thinking about wearing. And they're so ladylike. They add a touch of maturity to an outfit that wretched flip-flops just cannot. These are pretty expensive ones, just because I recommend investing in a great pair, but the Gap usually has some fairly inexpensive, plain ballet flats.

5. Button Down Top

(from left to right) Silk Shirting Button Down - Splendid - $116.00
Selvedge Chambray Shirt - J. Crew - $98.00

A good button down cannot be underestimated. Especially now more than ever, when button downs have crossed over from being corporate to being comfortable and chic. From chambray, to plaid, to silky white, a trendy, oversized button down top is, in my book, a key piece to pair with skinny jeans and flats come fall.

6. Cardigan

(from left to right) Pixie Dust Cardigan - Anthropologie - $128.00
Ribbed Military Cardigan - Gap - $69.50

The slouchier and the chunkier the better. A nice, cozy cardigan is always a must-have for me, but especially because of the heavy-knit sweaters at Prada for Fall, a thick cardigan will be great this winter.

7. Simple Earrings

(from left to right) Lagos 'Columbus Circle' Ball Stud Earrings - Nordstrom - $150.00
Rachel Rachel Roy Spike Stud - Rachel Roy - $26.00

I was on a pretty intense jewelry kick for a while toward the beginning of summer, but now I've got this new attitude of buying really luxe clothing and adding a hint of shimmer with a gold or silver stud. Personally, I like both gold and silver, and recommend getting an interesting pair of earrings in each color. They really can add a perfect extra pop to an outfit that needs a touch more.

8. Loose-Fitted, Flowy Top

(from left to right) Sparkle & Fade Raphael Chiffon Mix Blouse - Urban Outfitters - $42.00
Nation LTD Cypress Tee - Pink Mascara - $95.00

This is another personal love of mine. Paired with skinny jeans, or even a skinny flare, loose-fitted tops give such a interesting twist to the silhouette of an outfit. Worn loose and free, they give a breezy feel to an outfit. Worn with a belt, they've got a slightly edgy feel. I love how versatile these shirts can be. And (big bonus) if you're ever feeling less than satisfied with your figure, wear one of these and nobody will ever have to know but you.

9. Blazer

(from left to right) Silence & Noise Leather-Trimmed Moto Blazer - Urban Outfitters - $78.00
Solid Knit Thandie Blazer - J. Crew - $148.00

A blazer is great because it has the ability to turn something super simple/comfortable/girly/edgy into something chic and slightly professional. Finding one that's a little bit cheeky is key, because you don't want to look like you just walked out of the women's suit department of Sears. When taking blazers into consideration, I usually always try to find one with some eccentricity.Blazers that are shrunken, interestingly-colored, or made with a more casual fabric usually make great options.

10. Cargo Pants

(from left to right) J Brand 1229 Houlihan - Nordstrom - $231.00
Cropped Ripstop Cargo Pant - J. Crew - $69.50

Trend alert! Okay, I won't lie, I've gone head over heels for the military trend that is marching its way into fashion right now (pun). Cargo pants are the easiest way to infuse this trend into your daily life. But when I say cargo pants, I'm not talking those wide leg Old Navy cargo pants you wore when you were in 4th grade. I'm talking skinny, potentially cropped cargo pants with loads of pockets and zippers.

11. Boots

(from left to right) Bowtied-Beauty Boots - Anthropologie - $248.00
Deena & Ozzy Perf Harness Boot - Urban Outfitters - $58.00

Boots are like party decorations. You can have a nice party without streamers, but when you add streamers, everything is just taken up a notch. Just like that, boots take every outfit up a notch. And the fact that they come in so many different styles makes them super versatile picker-uppers. Add combat boots to a girly dress, and you've got an edgier look. Add riding boots to skinny jeans and a sweater for prep school cool. Add tall Minnetonka boots to a mini and a t-shirt for a hipster vibe. Add cowboy boots to...well, anything for a good dose of fun. You see? They're like the most awesome streamers ever.

12. Backpack

(from left to right) Russel Backpack - Free People - $128.00
Juicy Couture Pendleton Wool Backpack - Saks 5th Avenue - $$248.00

Okay, so I discovered my searing love for backpacks only a little over a year ago, and, come school-time, I can't even think about living without my intense Swiss Army backpack. While I take the more I'm-a-nerd route, backpacks have certainly made their comeback as trendy accessories. Luckily enough, school is the perfect place for these gems. Choose a nice leather one or a simple canvas one; you really can't go wrong with a backpack.

13. Bangles

(from left to right) Global Girlfriend Triple Bangle Set - Target - $14.99
Melanie Bangle Set - Forever21 - $5.80

So I'll admit it; these aren't necessarily the best back-to-school items. While lots of little bangles may look really great, they do tend to distract classmates as they rattle on your desk like tiny bells. That said, I think these are an awesome thing to have on hand. You can usually find them for really cheap prices at Target or Forever 21 without worrying too much about quality. The good thing about buying them in bulk, is that you can choose to go all out gypsy and wear them all at once, or stay simple and classy by just showing one little band of gold around your wrist.

14. Watch

(from left to right) Timex 1600 - J. Crew - $195.00
Timex Mens Analog Casual - Walmart(!) - $25.00

Since we're talking back to school here, a watch is a must have. Not only is this accessory very smart and interesting, it defies the laws of fashion by actually being practical. Plus, watches come at every price range. You can spend a thousand dollars on one studded in diamonds and pearls, or $20 for a simple, chic non-investment piece.

May your back to school be filled with fashionable choices.


(Images from product source)

7 remarks


Uve got a great style dear! Love especially the shirts and that cute tan coloured skirt!

A Stylish Affair said...

OH my gosh this post is absolutely perfect!! I'll need to make sure I have each and everyone of these items before heading off to school. This is super helpful. And I'm so sad about those blankets they're super nice, I wish I had the money!

Cars said...

I love your back to school list! I'm inspired to write one now.

Sasha B. said...

great list!! id have to agree with pretty much all of your picks!

Ruta, Look Ugly in a Photograph said...

So this list is perfect and I can happily say that I own everything on this list, although I use/wear some of these things more often than others. Not a huge fan of the backpack and as university means lugging around a laptop, I can pretty much use anything.

chelsea rebecca said...

seriously thanks for this!
i'm most definitely gonna use it for when i go shopping with my first paycheck! WOOHOO!

Emily, Ruby Slipper Traveller said...

I love these suggestions. There is something about the approach of fall that makes you want to swear off all things flouncy and aim for a cleaner silhouette. And I certainly agree with you about getting interesting yet versatile studs in gold and silver.

Now, the only problem is buying all this wonderful, sensible yet luxe stuff on no budget... ideas? ; )

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