Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Project Runway challenge for real people

What to wear for the first day of school
by guest blogger @lindsayleboyer, Lindsay LeBoyer 

model Shalom Harlow
September is fast approaching, and we all know what that means; back to school. The beautiful weather and endless free time will be missed, but fall shopping can cure the back to school blues in no time! If you stick to a few key guidelines, you'll have the perfect outfit for the big first day.

Pay attention to the weather 

Crew neck t-shirt, $14.99, J. Crew
Check the weather forecast for your first week of school. In many areas, September still feels like summer. You may feel tempted to wear your new fall jacket on the first day, but most likely people will be wearing shorts and a lightweight top. The key here is to wear pieces that can transition from summer to fall. This can save you money too, because a lot of stores have big summer sales towards the end of August. One of the best things you can buy for fall at a summer sale is a t-shirt. Not just any old t-shirt, you'll want it to be soft, comfortable, and flattering. You can never go wrong with a crew-neck in 100% cotton. A t-shirt never goes out of style. You can wear it with cargo shorts from summer and long jeans in the fall. T-shirts also make great layering pieces underneath cardigans when the weather gets really chilly. Basic white is always a must, but you can take advantage of summer sales and stock up in several colors. Bamboo yellow, cedar green, deep teal, honeysuckle pink, and phlox purple are all hot for fall 2011. You can find all of these colors including basic white on sale for just $15 at J. Crew.

Converse sneakers, $39.95 at Nordstrom
Some other items that can transition from summer to fall are sneakers, like Converse all stars. In addition, layer pieces like open knit sweaters, and a great pair of light to medium wash jeans.

Don't be afraid to accessorize 
Set of wooden bangles from TopShop, $28
You'll want to buy some great pieces of jewelry and accessories on your back to school shopping spree. Jewelry can really transform a look. A statement necklace or chunky bangle is an easy way to get noticed on your first day. Avoid things like hemp or seashells, which scream "I'm still in vacation mode." Go for something that's still youthful and fun, yet sophisticated, like a wooden cuff. This set from TopShop has shades of chestnut and copper, which are perfect for fall.

Fall essential: scarves

Plaid scarf by Thakoon, $250,
Urban Outfitters, $24


Wear a lightweight woven style and save the heavy knits for winter. Try a floral print for your first day and classic plaid once it gets deeper into fall. Plaid was seen all over the runways this season, like at Rag and Bone, Sonia Rykiel, and Thakoon, who took his leftover plaid fabric and created limited edition scarves. Thakoon's scarves will set you back by $250, but all the proceeds go to UNICEF.  Another more affordable option is this tartan scarf from Urban Outfitters for $24.

Dress comfortably and be yourself 
Striped v-neck T, $29.95, Gap
The first day is nerve-wracking enough, so you want to feel comfortable in whatever you decide to wear. Shorts that are too short will leave your legs sticking to the chair and self-conscious in front of your male teachers. If you're going to wear new shoes make sure they're broken in before the first day. When you feel comfortable in your clothes you'll appear more confident and at ease. Feel good in the look you're projecting. There's no need to put on an act, just be yourself. If you're sporty, you probably won't feel like yourself in a bold floral print. The key is to dress in a way that represents your personality but still looks put together. So if you're a tomboy, try a racerback tank or striped t-shirt like this v-neck from Gap, with a pair of comfortable, sporty long jean shorts. This style still looks like you put some effort into your outfit. A little effort shows that you care about your appearance, but there's no need to get carried away. Trying too hard to look stylish often has the opposite effect. When you're getting ready for the first day, think "effortless chic."

Blogger Lindsay LeBoyer is interning at Schulman Art for the Summer 2011 season. She writes a fashion blog called The Style Child.

To follow more style posts like this you can subscribe to daily blog posts or get a weekly digest: by by Email / RSS / BlogLovin / NetworkedBlogs