Back to school has always been the time when I spend a good chunk of change on updating my wardrobe. I try as much as I can to eliminate as many stressors as possible before the school year starts, and for me, I want it to be pretty easy to create outfits for work.
I suggest starting with a wardrobe analysis before you shop. Now this process is something I do with my clients as a style coach (you can check out my STYLE COACHING page for services and pricing), and this analysis is definitely something I do with my own wardrobe at least a few times every year. I start this process for back to school at the beginning of July.
In my own wardrobe analysis, I noticed a few issues:
- I had little to no school appropriate blouses/dressier tops.
- I needed to restock my cardigan collection.
- I needed a few pieces for Casual Fridays.
- I needed a little more creativity. I needed to look beyond basics for a few pieces.
So here is the damage…yes, it is a considerable amount of damage done over the span of about a month. Most of these items were purchased on major sale (Express tops, for example, were 50 percent off; Old Navy cardigans and tee were 40 percent off; I used a $15 off reward coupon for my Evereve jumpsuit; Steve Madden wedges were over 30 percent off during the N Sale at Nordstrom; etc…I am definitely a sale stalker).
And here we go…I paired several pieces featured below with basic black skinnies and a black block heel to save time, just so we are clear!
Tees for Fridays:
These are my favorite Target tees. I wear a medium in these.
Now this may be just me, but I find it really hard to wear a school sweatshirt or tee and sneakers on Fridays. It’s really not my style, and it makes me feel weird. So my solution (and suggestion for you if you’re a teacher and you feel the same way) is to add tees and cardigans in school colors that I can mix and match with jeans and booties or the wedge sneakers I found below.
Same thing here with this tee. I bought this tee in maroon, as it’s our main school color. I plan to throw a cardigan or jacket over it and add some cute booties or the wedge sneakers below. I love the luxe feel on these tees, and the price is just right.
Since I like to layer and mix and match, I knew I would spend the bulk of my money on cardigans. I love that I can throw one over pretty much any look (dress, tee and shorts, blouse and dress pants) for any occasion I would dress for. I also liked the structuring of this one, how it was a little bit different from the other ones I snagged from Old Navy below.
It was all about the color for me with this cardigan. I thought it would be perfect against black and white (90 percent of my wardrobe…) or even gray. Now this styling is for a lunch out with a friend, but you’ll have to stick around to see how I style it for work!
I really liked the marled look in this sweater, and I love long cardigans for lengthening the frame.
I had a gray cardigan that I bought right before my first year of teaching (cough…13 years ago…), but it bit the dust last year, so I knew I had to replace it because who doesn’t need a gray cardigan?
Not super exciting by any means, but the long black cardigan is a definite wardrobe staple for a teacher especially. I’m always cold in my classroom, so layering is a must, even in August. I do love it with the jumpsuit, which I will talk about below.
DUSTY ROSE OPEN WEAVE CARDIGAN (ENROUTE FASHION BOUTIQUE)
When I work with my styling clients, I always advocate for boutique shopping to add a little uniqueness and personality to their closet. And I follow this suggestion, too! This boutique is located in town for me (Mahomet, IL). The ladies at Enroute have an INSTAGRAM account I suggest you follow, and while they work on getting their website up and running, you can DM them or call the boutique to order anything you see on my blog or on my Instagram.
I absolutely love dusty rose/blush pink, and I love the open weave in this cardigan for something a little unexpected.
STRIPED CABLE KNIT CARDIGAN – PANDELLAH BOUTIQUE
I love cable knits for chilly weather, and I love how the mustard is incorporated with the black and white in this one. Pandellah is a local mobile boutique, and this was my first time ever shopping on a bus, I will say! But it was such a cool experience, and I will definitely shop Pandellah again.
I love Express blouses for something a little dressier but still on trend. I love olive green and black together, and I love the detailing, so this shirt was a must.
As I mentioned before, I was looking to add a little creativity to my wardrobe, and I loved the sleeve detailing, how it was different from most of my tops, and the metallic detailing.
This top caters to my creative side. I love the print on the side stripe paired with camo, and since it was such an interesting pairing, I knew I had to have this top.
This one is a simple wardrobe basic for dressier days, like parent/teacher conferences, etc. That’s not to say I won’t wear it for every day, but I like having a mix of blouses to choose from, depending on how I’m feeling that day. I have this one in gray stripe, but it looks like blue stripe is the only one left online.
This top was under $10, and I, of course, gravitated toward the gray and black. I also liked how it was different from really anything in my closet, since I don’t wear a peplum top very often. If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend shopping Jane or Groopdealz. I have been rarely disappointed at either website.
TASSEL NECKLACE – ENROUTE FASHION BOUTIQUE (pictured above with peplum top)
I wear long necklaces almost every day, so I loved that this one was a little fun with the tassels but also practical with the neutral colors.
Ugh. I did it. I shopped the Nordstrom sale (but only for these sneakers). Why I’m not a fan of it is for another day…However, I love Steve Madden shoes but not the price. I wanted to add a wedge sneaker to my wardrobe, especially for Casual Fridays, and I had not seen one in this color (taupe) any cheaper. These run around $90, but I paid $60. I don’t mind spending a little more on shoes that are neutral and will last.
The Wild Card:
I needed to step out of my comfort zone and add a wild card piece. I actually tried this jumpsuit on a few months back when I got to visit an Evereve store in the Chicago area. I didn’t snag it at the time, and I have been thinking about it ever since. I think this is one I could wear nearly anywhere (school, church, date night, etc) with the right jacket and accessories. Bonus is that the straps are adjustable for us taller gals!
WHOA. Now that I’m reflecting, I see that I bought quite a bit. But back to school comes but once a year, right?!