Archive for Monday, August 12, 2013


The Fashion Column: Back-to-school fashion 101

August 12, 2013


The end of summer always seemed to spark my anticipation for the new school year.

As long as I can remember, going back to school meant one thing: back-to-school shopping. Obviously it means more than that, but I can’t contain my inner fashionista.

My somewhat adventurous sense of style didn’t always transpire to a school-appropriate outfit, so I struggled to find common ground.

Another struggle was to persuade my mom to buy me everything I thought I needed. Let’s just say after several years of buying my own clothes, I’ve learned the value of a dollar and have a much better perspective on what I need versus what I want. If only I had that wisdom when I was younger.

Although I’ve been out of the back-to-school routine for a couple of years, my older and wiser self can give you practical and stylish tips for your back-to-school shopping trip.

Keep it appropriate

Whether it’s age appropriate or school appropriate, you want to dress in somewhat of a modest way for school. Leave the mini-skirts, short shorts, and cropped tops for the weekends.

Don’t get me wrong, more of these are on trend right now, but school is not the place to wear them. You can still easily keep it stylish while you’re strutting down those hallways or roaming around campus.

Stock up on staples

No matter what age, every girl needs the right back-to-school staples to kick off the school year.

Skinny jeans are still the most popular style out there. You should always get a couple of pairs of different washes, or even printed or colored for a solid assortment of skinnies.

Next, you’ll want to work on your shoe collection. Neutral flats, a pair of boots and a comfortable pair of sneakers should be on your list. I can always find fabulous flats at TJ Maxx, 3107 Iowa St. For a cool and unique pair of boots, check out Foxtrot, 823 Massachusetts St. I prefer simple Converse sneakers for a cute and comfortable outfit.

Stock up on basics like camis (typically in black and white), plain tees (white, black and gray) because you never know when you’ll need a T-shirt to throw on underneath a blazer or jacket, or a cami underneath a semi-sheer chiffon top. You can basically find these anywhere, including Britches, 843 Massachusetts St., Kieu’s, 738 Massachusetts St., Fortuity, 809 Massachusetts St., and Urban Outfitters, 1013 Massachusetts St.

If you’re in the market for high-end, high-quality tees, check out Hobbs, 700 Massachusetts St.

A quality coat should be on your radar. I typically have two styles; a sporty style and a classic style. The North Face is a popular and high-quality outdoor brand that makes stylish and comfortable down coats. You can usually find that brand at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop, 802 Massachusetts St. I was never lucky enough to own one of these, so I looked for similar, and cheaper alternatives.

A classic peacoat has always been on my back-to-school shopping list. Weaver’s, 901 Massachusetts St., and Hobbs usually have unique peacoat options. You can always check out the second-hand stores like Wild Man Vintage, 939 Massachusetts St., and Arizona Trading Company, 736 Massachusetts St., for hidden treasures.

Last but not least, you’ll need a backpack. Again, North Face makes classic, heavy-duty backpacks that will never fail you. JanSport is also a reliable brand. You can also go for more of the stylish route and less of the practical route with a faux leather, slouchy backpack. These are trendy styles that you can find just about anywhere.

Adding extras

A few extras to complement the staples are always necessary.

Any type of layering pieces like blazers or sweaters are great extras to complement your back-to-school closet. You can find them virtually anywhere.

Leather will be a huge trend this fall, so pick up a cute leather jacket that you can mix and match.

Every girl should have a couple of dresses and skirts to spice up your school style. Wear them with ankle boots or flats at the beginning of the year, and as the weather gets cooler, you can layer with tights and blazers or jackets so you can get the most out of them.

You can’t forget to accessorize! Check out Francesca’s, 742 Massachusetts St., for an array of stylish and affordable jewelry. They have everything from dainty midi rings to polished watches to in-your-face statement necklaces.

— Emily Kennedy is one-half of the stylish duo behind The Fashion Column blog she shares with her twin sister, Elizabeth. Emily can be reached at


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