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Back to School Wardrobe

October 26, 2009

Even though it’s only August second I have jumped on the excuse to make my back-to-school packing list and, more importantly, shopping list. Shopping for back to school supplies and wardrobe is one of the best parts about going to school so here are a few tips to handling the sometimes overwhelming decisions to make.

  1. Go through your closet and pick out your top ten items (this includes accessories). Consider why they’re your favorites; are they the most flattering? The most versatile? The most unique? This exercise can help define your personal style and narrow your direction for shopping, which leads me to tip number two:
  2. Decide on a direction for the next season/school year. It’s unlikely that you want to remain exactly the same so which way are you planning on going? Whose style do you emulate? What image to you want to portray? Keep this in mind to (possibly) avoid making extraneous purchases (although they’re so hard to resist!)
  3. Stock up on basics. Personally, I hate shopping for basics because it takes all the fun out of shopping! But then I’m trying to put together an outfit and suddenly I realize I don’t own any plain black shirts or a perfect pair of jeans. Consider, if you will, Tim Gunn’s top 10 fashion essentials: the little black dress, a trench coat, classic dress pants, a flattering, versatile skirt, the blazer, a classic white shirt, a day dress, a cashmere sweater, a sweatsuit alternative, and jeans.
  4. Pick a few unique, trendy items to indulge in this season. This is where the fun begins but remember that you want to shoot for pieces that will last: avoid obvious flash-in-the-pan trends and pieces that you can only wear with one outfit or one occasion. Again, focus in on what you really want. Create a wishlist (see sidebar).
  5. Load up on accessories. These have an amazing ability to extend your wardrobe far beyond what it appears to be. For Fall focus on scarves, hats, necklaces and tights.
  6. Look for DIY altering opportunities with the clothes you already have.
  7. As suggested in a previous entry, organize a clothing swap with your friends for a free option to gain new clothes.
  8. Make sure you have an outfit option for the occasions you’re most likely to encounter during the school year: going to class, going to an interview or to work, casual hanging-out around town or the dorms and an outfit to impress on a date or at a party. If you can imagine a perfect outfit for each then you’re good to go. For a fun afternoon with friends, actually pick out each of these outfits and have a photo shoot together. Put the pictures in a notebook or a folder on your computer to pull up for inspiration for last minute invites.

Originally written August 2, 2008

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