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10 Ways to Step Up Your Back to School Fashion

By Erika Bell

Do you smell that? It’s the bitter-sweet aroma of back to school drifting through the air. That means time to crack open the books and put away the swimsuits (moment of silence). Since bikinis and board shorts can no longer be your go-to ensemble, you have to find a way to make your back to school styles ones that Kimye can approve of because–believe it or not–fashion and college are not mutually exclusive (at least before exam season). Before you reach for your beloved leggings or sweatpants, try out these style options for 10 typical college situations.


As much as we act like the first day of classes doesn’t matter, it does. Cue the bell, it’s time to make our first impressions. Whether acquaintances are wondering how your summer went or you’re meeting new peeps for the first time, you have to look somewhat stylish and clean. Go for something cute and casual by playing with jeans, t-shirts and stand-out accents.

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You’ve waited for this moment for the past four months. You and your besties are meeting up after being separated for what seemed like decades. Before planning your mission to wreak havoc this school year, make sure you walk up to them in an outfit that screams I had a great summer. Can’t wait to brag about attending Nicki Minaj’s Pinkprint Tour? Throw on your concert tee and await the jealous questioning.


At the end of every school year it seems like your backpack has taken a beating from Ronda Rousey. Start this fall off with something that has the ability to carry your entire life while also making a fashion statement.


You have one mission: look hot. Girls─if you like it short and flirty, try out this spaghetti strap number for your first frat hit up. Guys─lucky for you, trying hard isn’t really in your repertoire. Opt for a graphic-t so you’re in your element as you spit your game all night.


A coffee meeting in college is the equivalent of doing business with a potential investor. From people in your student orgs, to professors and classmates, making plans or doing work over a fresh espresso is the number one DIY business setting. Casual button-ups, neatly pressed khakis and an eager attitude are essentials. So dress accordingly.


Throw on some of your school gear and make sure you can a) move around b) are warm enough and c) have made enough storage room on your iPhone to take a ton of pictures for Facebook. Michiganders love a good maize and blue overall set for game days. It’s the perfect mix of being playful, staying comfortable and reeking of school spirit.


Shoes are always the last thing I think about when it comes to back to school shopping, but having some solid (and durable) shoe options is vital–especially because in college you walk everywhere. If your outfit is fire but your shoes look like a tbt to your 2010 closet, then there’s no point in leaving the dorm. Try out a fresh pair of converse. They’re classics that never go out of style.



Most campuses get blessed with a rainy day every once in a while and this is the perfect weather for some comfy, stylish outfit options. A matching rain jacket and hunters? I think yes. Try out pops of bright color to make any dreary day one that’s worth enduring.


If you’re lucky enough to have a boo on campus, then you have more motivation to look your best (well, maybe). Date nights are the perfect time to spruce yourself up and throw your worn-out hoodie in the hamper. Ladies, lace is a hot-trend this fall so go for a skirt that incorporates this fabric while also showing off your curves. Fellas, go for a dark wash pant and a clean button-up. With your killer outfits, this date night is sure to be one for the books.


With a ton going on, it’s hard to always be on time at school. Change up your alarm system for class with a stylish watch. You can wear this bad boy to accessorize any outfit and also practice being punctual.


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