#momstyle affordable fashion work style August 13, 2018

Back to School Shopping: My Closet Analysis and What I Bought

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.

STYLE TIP: I find it so much easier when I section off my closet. This section is for clothes that I can wear to work. Now granted, I can wear a lot of these pieces for other occasions, too, but when I go to get dressed for work in the morning, I’m only focused on looking in this section.

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:

  1. I had little to no school appropriate blouses/dressier tops.
  2. I needed to restock my cardigan collection.
  3. I needed a few pieces for Casual Fridays.
  4. 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:

TARGET UNIVERSAL THREAD STRIPED V-NECK

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.

OLD NAVY LUXE V-NECK TEE

 

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.

Cardigans:

TARGET UNIVERSAL THREAD BURGUNDY KIMONO CARDIGAN

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.

TARGET A NEW DAY COCOON CARDIGAN

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!

OLD NAVY LONG-LINE OPEN FRONT SWEATER

I really liked the marled look in this sweater, and I love long cardigans for lengthening the frame.

OLD NAVY BOYFRIEND V-NECK CARDIGAN

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?

OLD NAVY OPEN FRONT LONG LINE SWEATER

This jumpsuit is everything. I will talk about it later in the post.

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.

Blouses:

EXPRESS TWO POCKET ZIP FRONT CHELSEA SHIRT

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.

EXPRESS METALLIC STRIPE V NECK GRAMMERCY TEE

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.

EXPRESS CAMO SIDE STRIPE SILKY SOFT TWILL BOYFRIEND SHIRT

How fun is the side stripe?

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.

OLD NAVY CLASSIC RELAXED STRIPED TUNIC

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.

JANE PEPLUM TOP

In most tops, I am wearing a medium, but I sized up to a large in this one for a roomier feel.

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.

Accessories:

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.

STEVE MADDEN SULTAN WEDGE SNEAKER

Such a great shoe, especially for teacher moms. Wear it on Fridays and on weekends running around with the kids! They feature a hidden wedge and are ridiculously comfy.

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:

EVEREVE WINDOW PANE JUMPSUIT

This outfit is a contender for the first day outfit. I love how sleek and out of my comfort zone it is!

I could also style it with a denim jacket!

Cardi off for a late summer date night (this would not be school appropriate, obviously…)! FYI, I’m in a medium, which fit just right, though I had to adjust the straps to account for my long torso!

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?!

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  • Stacy August 16, 2018 at 2:30 am

    As a fellow teacher, this was fun to read!

    • admin August 19, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      So glad to hear that, Stacy! Thanks!