College Prep: The Looks You Need Before Hitting the Books

The new semester is soon approaching. Last year’s homebound wardrobe? Sooo 2020. With many of us heading back on campus and into the classrooms, this back-to-school season promises a chance for you to get back in touch with your stylish side.

We’ve got your seven must have items to put into your fit rotation. But wait, what’s that? Having a little wardrobe analysis paralysis? We got you, with equally amazing items that will go great with your must haves.

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#1 – THE OVERSIZED BLAZER

Also called the Boyfriend Blazer, these roomy jackets have been taking 2021 by storm. The trick to finding the perfect one is to find one that’s roomy enough to have a cool oversize feel but not so big you look like you’re swimming in it. Here’s one from Madewell that’s just right, and comes in this season’s major ‘it’ pattern – checkered print…

Madewell, Plaid Linen Blazer $49.99

Love this lovely but not sure how to turn it into a look? We’ll give you not one, but two ways to wear this easy lover…

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This look juxtaposes casual pieces like Windsor’s destructed jeans and Timberland’s Skyla boots with the more upscale vibe of the blazer and a fabulous lace top. This mix-and-match is continued by layering two necklaces from Baublebar, one a fun and funky take on glass beads paired with a sleek gold and crystal initial necklace. Together they create a look that instantly makes the grade.

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A monochromatic palette reads instant sophistication. Windsor’s nicely neutral mini dress made of ribbed knit adds visually interesting texture while keeping in the same tones of the blazer. Keep the texture story going with M. Gemi’s fabulous flatform espadrilles and then a dash of accessories with Amrita Singh’s clover necklace and a fab pair of peepers from Warby Parker.

 

#2 – THE PLAID TROUSER

We said it before and we’ll say it again – checks & plaids are major trending movements right now. We’re particularly partial to the flare pant, as it easily lends itself to dressing up and down (and we just love a good multi-tasker). This one from Aeropostale gives us all the good feels…

Aeropostale, Plaid High-Waisted Kick Flares $56.95

Wondering about your wardrobe options? We’ve got a few ideas.

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High-waisted pants just beg for a crop top and this crisp white one from Windsor is the perfect companion for creating a laid-back vibe. Layer on Good American’s classic jean jacket updated in cropped and Knockaround’s oversized aviators in vintage violet. Keep things kicking with one of the newest arrivals in the adidas collection, the Forum Halo (skip the expected white and go for a pair in cool mint). Pop on a pair of Sterling Forever’s gold hoops and you’re syllabus officially reads “chill”.

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Kick things up a notch by channeling a bit of the business side of these pants. Derek Lamb’s asymmetrical jacket paired with Windsor’s corset top bring this look into focus. Give your feet some stomp with Timberland’s Camdale ankle boot and then accessorize to the nines with Splendid Pearl’s double wrap of multi-colored pearls and Dior’s Stellaire sunglasses which we found for an absolute steal (you’re welcome!).

 

#3 – THE SKATER SKIRT

Proof that good things come in small packages, mini skirts are back (honestly were they ever really out?). There are lots of options out there but our hunt took us to Windsor where we found this fantastic staple piece in the form of a skater skirt. The length is just right and you’ll love the movement that flared bottom will give you as you walk.

Windsor, Stylishly Chic Ponte Skater Skirt $22.90

Need a hint on how to style this? We’ll give you two!

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Bring on the prep! With its clean lines and timeless allure, what’s not to love about the prep look? Start with the cornerstone of this style – the shoes. Sam Edelman’s faux-croc, patent vegan leather loafer is absolutely pretty in pink (we’re pretty sure Andi Walsh would approve) and look great with Happy Sock’s ankle socks. Next up, layer up with this fun, blousy top from Target. We love the little detail on the peter pan collar and the light fabric won’t bunch under the Argyle pattern crop sweater we found. Last, not least, toss on Alex and Ani’s Puka stretch bracelet from their newest collection, Token of Celebration, and finish strong with Welry’s astrology pendant.

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On the other side of the retro spectrum, you can easily get your grunge on with this skater skirt. Start with a great vintage-looking tee with the one-and-only Kurt Cobain. Kick things up with Marc Jacobs’ seriously stomping lace up boots, Zenni’s 90s frame sunnies and complete the look with a delicate velvet choker from Flint & Mortar.

 

#4 – THE MOTO JACKET

From celebrities to influencers and all fashion lovers in between, the Moto jacket has been a return player for years. This season’s version is a bit more cropped while showcasing a strong shoulder. This version from Andrew Marc is the poster child of perfection and one that will be a staple piece in your wardrobe for years to come.

Andrew Marc, NYSA Leather Moto Jacket $239 (reg. $475)

So what are some great ways to wear this? We’re so glad you asked!

 

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When you head out with your squad, show your drip game is strong. The juxtaposition between the biker jacket and Windsor’s sexy sequined dress are pure magic. Keep your bewitching vibe going with Baublebar’s two-toned metal mix necklace and Sam Edelman’s comfy thong heel. As for your belongings, keep them close with Maje’s colorful crossbody that’s just the right size for your phone and wallet.

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Move to the head of the class with this go-to-for-the-on-the-go gal. Start with Windsor’s fun and flirty floral dress and add some comfy-moving kicks a la Stan Smiths from adidas. CalPak’s Luka backpack is a college girl’s dream with a ton of internal and external pocket, plus an insulated water bottle sleeve and laptop sleeve that can handle up to a 17″. Keep tabs on all those steps you’re taking with the Fitbit Versa 2 and last but not least, protect your peepers from eye strain with a pair of fashionable blue blockers from DIFF.

 

#5 – THE CABLE KNIT SWEATER

Sure, it’s warm enough now but oh-so-soon those autumn breezes are going to come along and remind you Fall is but a few weeks away. And while chunky cardigans were the talk of the ’20 this season’s runaway hit is the cozy cable knit. There are plenty of options out there but this staple piece we found is proudly made in Ireland by folks who know a thing or two about keeping warm through the damp and cold season. Made from super-soft Merino wool that naturally breathes and insulates.

Creative Irish Gifts, Merino Crew Neck Sweater $169.99

Don’t believe us that this neutral creamy cutie will be welcome in your wardrobe? Here’s two options to get things started…

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We love a good chunky sweater + mini skirt combo and this look doesn’t disappoint. Windsor’s Sleek and Sexy skirt in dark red faux leather with dark herringbone tights and Dansko’s burnished burgundy clogs are a killer combination with the creamy cable sweater. Only thing to add are some cute chain link pattern hoop earrings, whose pattern are simpatico with the sweater’s cable knit.

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Bring a little carefree to your autumn look by combining your cable knit sweater with Three Bird Nest’s equally carefree floral midi skirt. Slip into Red Wing’s warm and comfy boots and give your lobes some love with Eye Candy LA’s “live life” shell earrings.

 

#6 – THE BOOT CUT JEAN

While we wouldn’t tell you to toss your skinnies just yet, be aware that the slim fit boot cut jean is growing to world fashion domination level. Unlike the exaggerated super-flares, which now seem more costumey than couture these days, the boot cut has just the right amount of kick to the bottom to make them ideal to pair over your favorite kicks and ankle boots.  We located the perfect pair at none other than NYDJ. Ideal length in that perfect shade of 90s true blue, plus they have just a bit of stretch to show off your curves as you move from class to class.

NYDJ, Barbara Bootcut Jeans $139

Not sure how to make the cut with these? We’ve got you covered…

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Once upon a time getting a hole in your sweater was considered a bad thing. Fast forward and the frayed/distressed sweater trend is really taking off. This hot pink hottie from Golden Goose is such an item, and when front-tucked into a great pair of boot cut jeans, this look reads effortless chic. This sweater is on the sheer side, so make sure you have a cami underneath (the one we found by Paige would look amazing). As for accessories, G.H. Bass’s thick heeled bootie in cognac is just the boot these jeans were looking for. Finally, add some organic flair with some kailua shell earrings from Baublebar and you’re ready to kick some class.

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Give yourself more than a passing grade in layered looks. The Kooples crisp white button down makes for a great base layer. Tuck one end into your boot cut jeans and leave the rest untucked. Inject some argyle with Wild Fable’s v-neck. Go green with your tootsies with Butiti’s swanky suede ankle boots and pull all the colors of your look together with Lulu’s multi floral drop earrings.

 

#7 – THE PERFECT HOODIE

Because loungewear isn’t going anywhere. While you may already have one or two of these in your arsenal, this season’s take on the hoodie has a few modifications on the silhouette that may have you retiring your long, oversized version. Alo Yoga’s Bae hoodie is on just about everyone’s list and when you try it on, you’ll know why. Cropped to go with all your high-waisted fits. Roomy enough for layering but tailored so your shape isn’t lost in a sea of material. The sleeves are cut long to give you that ‘just right’ amount of scrunched look. Altogether, this one moves to the head of the class…

Alo Yoga, Bae Hoodie in Dove Grey $88

If you’re new to this silhouette and don’t realize just how this one item goes with just about everything, we’ll give you two great examples of this fleece’s flexibility.

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When your campus closet is on the small side, every item in your wardrobe becomes a multi-tasker. Here’s a perfect example where we have this sexy cut out dress from Windsor, which for sure will be a stunner at your next party. But why keep this gorg gal for festivities only?  Bring it into your day look while having fun with some pattern play. Theory’s striped button down is the ideal transition piece. Layered over the dress and under the hoodie, it brings the look together, playing up the creamy whites of the dress and uniting the grey of the hoodie with the shirt’s light gray stripe. Add some stylish white kicks, some statement chandelier earrings and viola! You have a winning look.

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And for our last look – this ensemble is perfect for those days when your time is short but you still want to look fresh and pulled together. Wild Fable’s distressed overalls plus a hoodie underneath are a super quick, cool combo (add a little drama by leaving one shoulder undone). Pop on some colorful kicks from Sam Edelman and the charmer to top it all is this awesome lucite chain necklace we found on Shein.

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