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5 Fun Back-to-school Outfit Ideas

Choosing the first looks of the school year can be fun -- and a little nerve-racking, too!
Choosing the first looks of the school year can be fun -- and a little nerve-racking, too!
© iStockphoto.com/sjlocke

Make no mistake, fashion sits near the bottom of the list of priorities when it comes to schooling. Eh, maybe toward the middle. But that doesn't make it any less fun, and come fall, choosing those initial back-to-school outfits can be a massive, exciting and, on occasion, nerve-racking endeavor.

Never fear, we've got five fashion-forward looks for that ever-important first week, and they should carry you through the year with some seasonal tweaks.

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Let us begin with the boyfriend -- blazer, that is…

The slightly shrunken "boyfriend" blazer covers summer-to-fall temperature changes.
The slightly shrunken "boyfriend" blazer covers summer-to-fall temperature changes.
© iStockphoto.com/SQUAMISH

This trend has been around for a couple of years now and shows no signs of slowing down. The "boyfriend" blazer, a classic suit-type jacket, a bit shrunken, occasionally broken-in, pairs beautifully with slouchy "boyfriend" jeans and flats. For the late days of summer and early fall, go with something lightweight -- cotton or a linen blend.

Try this:

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  • Boyfriend blazer in black
  • Faded, cropped boyfriend jeans or dark-wash skinny jeans
  • Fitted, button-down top
  • Flats or ankle booties

Toss a printed scarf on top to girly it up a bit, and consider a mini leather cross-body bag to finish the look. It won't hold any books, but it's really cute.

Next: for the boys…

The button-down and T combo looks casually style-conscious.
The button-down and T combo looks casually style-conscious.
© iStockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages

Fashion ain't just for the ladies, and one of the best looks on a guy is the effortless, "I just threw this on and I look good" style you see so often on Hollywood's quirkier leading men. Two pieces on top -- a T and a button-down (un-buttoned) -- layer to create a look that's a tiny bit grungy but mostly pulled together.

Try this:

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  • Solid, neutral T or faded, graphic one
  • Short-sleeve, plaid button-down
  • Dark wash jeans
  • Retro-style sneakers

Slightly tousled hair will finish off the look, if you've got the length for it.

Next: school-girl chic…

Young or old (and by "old" we mean, like, 17), school-girl chic is, well, chic. Think Rachel Berry minus the reindeer and the crippling insecurity.

A mini skirt, waist-length sweater, and Oxford shoes are your basics here. Knee socks are optional, and shorts under the skirt are very highly recommended.

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Try this:

  • Lightweight, girly sweater (a subtle neck frill or Peter Pan collar work great)
  • Plaid mini skirt
  • Solid knee socks or leggings
  • Oxfords (platform ones, for the grown-up girls)

Top it off with a narrow headband. It's still in.

Next: for the trendy male…

Some Chuck-inspired canvas sneakers channel '50s rebel and old-school hoopster.
Some Chuck-inspired canvas sneakers channel '50s rebel and old-school hoopster.
© iStockphoto.com/pearleye

The "sensitive bad boy" look pretty much always works (especially when the wearer is a sensitive good one). If this is the year you go hip, you might go back to school in something a little bit emo – but please, not all black. So dull.

Try this:

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  • "Old" graphic tee (possibly retro)
  • Skinny, dark-wash jeans
  • Hoodie
  • Studded leather belt
  • Chuck Taylor-style high-tops

And finally: the back-to-school style for the girls…

Whatever you choose for back-to-school wear, make it something that fits your own personality.
Whatever you choose for back-to-school wear, make it something that fits your own personality.
© iStockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages

Soft, feminine and free-spirited, the bohemian look is everywhere now, and it works for all ages and body types. Loose, printed tunics over jeans, flowing maxi skirts with crop tops, and wide-leg pants paired with embroidered, cotton, gypsy-style blouses are staples here, and the shoe options range from leather platform sandals to canvas flats to slouchy, suede knee boots.

Try this:

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  • Wide-leg, soft linen pants
  • Silky, hip-length blouse, belted at the waist (something wide, suede or leather)
  • Neutral gladiator sandals
  • Long, beaded necklace
  • Mixed-metal bangles

Whichever look you choose for those first days back, keep it you. (Or if you're shopping for your younger grade-schooler, get his or her input.) Even the most fashionable outfit falls flat if you're not comfortable in it. So take some trends and make them yours.

And then study. This stuff is just window-dressing.

For more information on fashion, style and related topics, look over the links on the next page.

UP NEXT

10 Back to School Fashion Tips for 2012

10 Back to School Fashion Tips for 2012

Looking for back to school fashion tips so you can look stylish and still meet the pesky school dress code? Check out our 2012 back to school fashion tips.


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More Great Links

Sources

  • Acciardo, Kelli. "Back-to-school Celebrity Style Inspiration." Seventeen. (July 6, 2011) http://www.seventeen.com/fashion/tips/back-to-school-style#fbIndex1
  • Back To School 2010 2011 Fashion. Become Gorgeous. (July 6, 2011) http://www.becomegorgeous.com/search-s1-q1-m1-a1-t1/back_to_school_2010_2011_fashion.html
  • Blue collar: denim workwear for fall. Teen Vogue. (July 6, 2011) http://www.teenvogue.com/style/market/feature/2011/06/industrial-inspired-denim-looks#slide=1
  • Honor roll: back to school beauty. Teen Vogue. (July 6, 2011) http://www.teenvogue.com/beauty/feature/2011/06/beauty-looks-for-back-to-school#slide=1
  • Looks We Love: J Crew Crewcuts. (July 7, 2011) http://www.jcrew.com/boys_feature/LooksWeLove.jsp
  • Urban Outfitters.com. (July 7, 2011) http://www.urbanoutfitters.com

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