Feeling blue about trading in your bikini for pencils and backpacks and binders? Don't be glum, stylettes! Back to school doesn't have to be a drag, and we're not just talking about the obligatory wardrobe revamp. A new school year, whether you're in high school, college, or grad school (or anything in between) is one of those rare chances to start over, to show off, to reinvent yourself. We've already broken down our favorite backpacks, varsity jackets, summer to fall trends, and sneakers, but we wanted to take a look at some killer first day looks that will help you put your mark on the school year in style.
FOR THE STYLIN' NERD
Being a bookworm doesn't have to be stuffy.
Photo: Urban Outfitters/Club Monaco/Marais USA/Madewell/Everlane
Since the dawn of time (modern time, that is), one of the most mysterious, awesome, coolest breeds of girl has been the stylish nerd. Is there anything more timeless than a great pair of horn-rimmed specs? Or the perfect pair of penny loafers? And is there any girl prettier than the one who can look as confident in a pair of pants and a button down as she would in a ball gown? The answer is no, which is why our one of our fave first day of school looks goes out to all the four-eyed stylettes in the audience. Since we're building from the frames down here, our faves are the Begley frames in whiskey tortoise from Warby Parker ($95). The brand also has a ton of other shapes and colors to fit any face, so our fave doesn't have to be yours too. They're equal parts Harry Potter and librarian chic, which are two things we're definitely going for here. Sometimes it's cute to be a little matchy-matchy, especially where accessories are involved, so we lurve this tortoise shell iPhone case from Case-mate ($40). While we're on the topic of accessories, a colorful belt adds a surprising splash to a simple outfit, and we love this Sundew leather one from Madewell ($48). It's no surprise that we love a good backpack, and the just released snap backpack in blue from Everlane ($65) reminds us a bit of Huckleberry Fin, so we think it would be perfect for lugging around all your favorite books, and yeah, the ones you're assigned, too. And not for the outfit! Every girl should have a simple pair of high-waisted black skinny jeans, it goes without saying, and these Urban Outfitters cigarette high-rise jeans ($39-on sale!) do the trick like none other. The classic move would be a crisp white oxford, but we wanted to throw a modern twist into the mix, which we managed to do quite nicely with the Faye Zodiac print shirt from Club Monaco ($129). If you can't tell, those are tiny zodiac symbols printed all over this button down, *swoon.* To top it all off, we found that perfect pair of penny loafers (say that 10 times fast) we were talking about, the Marais USA loafer flat in nude ($49).
FOR THE PREPPY PRINCESS
Just because you like classic shapes and matching colors doesn't mean you can't surprise everyone with accessories.
Photo: ASOS/Nasty Gal/Marais USA/Cambridge Satchel Co./Catbird NYC
There have been some amazing preps throughout history: Sandy from Grease, Nancy Drew, Blair Waldorf. There's something so undeniably cool (and a little scary) about a matching outfit, a flared skirt, simple and classic accessories. Being preppy doesn't have to be boring, however, and it definitely doesn't have to break the bank. One of our favorite girly trends this season is the skater dress. Not meant for windy days or those with strict school dress codes, this is a silhouette that's been around as long as there have been cheerleaders and soda fountains. We love this color blocked version from ASOS ($71.53), which is cute and girly while still having an interesting twist. Just to up our prep factor and add a little British flair, we paired the dress with a matching pastel pink satchel from the Cambridge Satchel Company ($164.76). Although saddle shoes would also work, we thought this look would work well with a pair of cut out oxfords, also in a matching blush hue, like these Marais USA open oxfords (they also come in denim, which we LOVE). Attention to detail is everything with this pristine look, so we thought we should not only keep the accessories simple, but also topical! Catbird NYC's ampersand earrings ($96) are the grammatically correct way to adorn your ears for English class, and for that we love them. Finally, since we don't want to go too overboard with the pretty pastels, a chambray blazer, like this ruched variety from Nasty Gal, is an unexpected topper for an otherwise classic outfit.
FOR THE SOPHISTICATED REBEL
All black doesn't ever have to be all boring.
Photo: Urban Outfitters/ASOS/ALDO/Catbird NYC
Just because you favor black and count Lydia Deetz (as portrayed by Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice) as one of your primary style inspirations doesn't mean you're a debbie downer, style wise. In fact, many of us here at MTV Style tend to wander over into goth-land every once in awhile, and some of the most exciting silhouettes we're seeing these days are more witchy that cheerleader. We love a textured high-low midi dress like this Urban Outfitters byCORPUS textured knit midi tank dress, paired with a so-classic-you-could-live-in-it black leather biker jacket, like this one from ASOS ($170.30). The combination of the knit and the leather will make this monochrome look feel as varied as if you had all the colors of the rainbow, we promise. Combined with a pair of ready for adventure combat boots, like Aldo's Lola lace-ups ($100). Finally, no outfit is complete without a fierce piece of jewelry, and we favor this Katie Diamond Astrid Necklace in Moonstone ($98), because it's equal parts dainty and powerful looking.