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What to Do, What to Wear: Back to School Shopping


Shopping bags
Photo credit

Welcome to the final summer edition of What to Do, What to Wear, where we share fun activity ideas and tips on what to wear while doing them! (Don’t fret, I’ll be providing you with plenty of to-dos and outfit suggestions during the school year, too.) By reader request, this week, we’re focusing on cute outfits to wear while back-to-school shopping.

Fall semester is rapidly approaching and you’re going to need pencils, notebooks, a few tops, definitely an update to your jean collection, a cute pair of flats, a new comforter, annnnnnnd a million other things.

Whether you are a brand-spanking new freshmen or a seasoned upperclassman, shopping will most definitely be on your to-do list over these next few weeks. And with a seemingly endless shopping list of fall trends to try, it will take you a few trips to get all you need (and it’s a fabulous activity to get done on those rainy summer days!). Thus, I have put together three super cute, comfortable outfit ideas for you to wear while venturing to three major shopping stops.

Mall Shopping

Back to School Shopping outfit 1
Bag- Debenhams, Maxi Dress- Net-a-porter, Earrings- ASOS, Bracelet- Nordstrom, Sandals- ASOS

After walking through Macy’s, making a stop in H&M (plus ten other stores), and finishing in Nordstrom’s, only to turn around and walk the entire loop again, you’re going to want to make sure you’re wearing the comfiest of clothes on your mall shopping trip.

When comfort is key, a maxi dress is that perfect piece to wear! Aside from being stylish and breathable, it will keep you at an ideal temperature, as the mall can be quite chilly. It is also the ultimate outfit to throw on and off while trying on tons of clothes.

Speaking of trying on clothes, forgo a necklace (it will simply get in the way) and instead opt for statement earrings and a bold bracelet. As for shoes, go for something comfortable to walk in and easy to throw off and on. Be sure to throw a tank in your cross body bag (hands free to hold more bags!) just  in case you need a shirt to try on with some bottoms in the dressing room. Finish off your outfit by fixing your hair into a quick bun and you’ll be the chicest of back-to-school shoppers.

Outlet Shopping

Back to School Shopping outfit 2
Earrings- ASOS, Bag- ALDO, Top-, Skirt- Topshop, Sunglasses- Mango, Bracelet- JewelMint, Sandals- ASOS

Being that I am a college student and a chronic shopaholic, I absolutely love, love, love outlet shopping. You can get AMAZING deals out of these factory stores. For example, I bought two pairs of trouser pants, a pencil skirt, a dress, and a plain shirt from the Gap Outlet Store and spent…$75. WHAT?! I know – I cannot stop telling people.

But enough about my shopping trip. The outlets are where you can do the most serious of back to school clothes shopping, which is why you want to stick with separates when going there. That way, you will already be prepared with a top and bottom when trying on new bottoms or tops.

Accessories are easy. Make sure to only bring the essentials in your purse, as your arms will surely be full of bags by the end of your trip. Again, stick with cute earrings, a fun bracelet and stylish, comfy shoes. If the weather is hot and humid, keep your hair off your back by sweeping it into a side braid and shop until you drop! Oh! And don’t forget your shades!

Furniture Shopping

Back to School Shopping outfit 3
Necklace- Jane Norman, Rings- River Island, Bag- DSW, Boyfriend Jeans- Gap, Blouse-, Flats-Madewell

Last but not least on the list of shopping trips you may be taking for back to school is furniture shopping. Whether you spend hours browsing through Ikea or piling heavy boxes into your cart at Target, you’ll want to properly dressed while doing so!

I’d suggest donning your favorite pair of boyfriend jeans and most comfortable flats. Boyfriend jeans are so comfortable that they feel like stylish sweat pants, which will be great for all movement you’ll be doing while furniture shopping. Closed toe shoes would be ideal, as a rogue bookshelf box falling on your big toe in flip flops would be painful. Pull your hair off your face in a chic low pony and accessorize with simple, easy pieces like a chain necklace and simple rings. Again, be sure to bring a cross-body bag so your hands are free to grab at cute furniture.

What do you think?

I wish you the best of luck with your back to school shopping and hope you enjoy these last few weeks of relaxation! Now I want to hear from you:

Are you excited for back to school shopping? What is your favorite place to shop to back to school? When do you start back? Which outfit could you see yourself wearing? Let us know below! Also, please, please continue leaving suggestions in the comments! I absolutely love reading all of your ideas! 

Posted on on August 11, 2012 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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15 Responses to “What to Do, What to Wear: Back to School Shopping”

  1. 1
    August 11th, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    $110 is a little pricey for a maxi dress, isn’t it?

  2. 2
    August 11th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Whenever I’m clothes shopping I make sure to wear a tank top for trying on those pesky layering pieces. It helps so much!

  3. 3
    August 11th, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Thank you for writing a post on this. It is very helpful for me. I totally love the outfits. they are very cute. I can see myself wearing the second one. Outlet shopping is my favorite shopping place.
    Nice Post! :D

  4. 4
    August 11th, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I absolutely love this! Great post! I’m so excited for my shopping trip (right after my final :( vacation for the summer this week) with my sister were hitting up H&M and whatever else looks fun and not totally out of our budget! ;)

  5. 5
    August 11th, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    The maxi dress is really too expensive, considering that it’s only something casual. You might want to give less expensive options also.

  6. 6
    August 12th, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Robyn & A- The maxi dress is definitely expensive, but I could see it as an amazing investment piece. Because of its simplicity, you could layer all over that dress in the winter and really play it up with fun accessories in the summer. Of course, if you are not comfortable wearing maxi dresses all year round, an investment in a piece like that wouldn’t be realistic for your wardrobe or your wallet. Here are some cheaper, but equally as cute, options:

    Marlee- Such a great tip! I always kick myself for not bringing tanks while trying on clothes. It really is a lifesaver!

    Pauline- I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Outlet shopping is my favorite too!

  7. 7
    August 12th, 2012 at 2:41 am

    I love these outfits and especially love that you took the time to think about what’s practical instead of just what’s pretty!! Great job!!! :)

  8. 8
    August 12th, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Like all the outfits, but I think wearing separates is easier when you are going to be trying on clothes. If you had to wear a dress, maybe pick one that you could wear your usual bra style with- I’ve made the mistake of wearing built-ins or an awkward fitting strapless (that I only have for one or two outfits) to go clothes shopping many times.

  9. 9
    August 12th, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Would love to see a move in day segment on what to wear!

  10. 10
    August 12th, 2012 at 11:20 am

    While I appreciate the thought behind the maxi-dress outfit, I agree with the commenter who said that you should wear something that involves your most commonly-worn bras. I tend to just wear my favourite jeans and favourite shoes (things I throw on again and again) to make sure they’re compatible with things I find.

    Or, I’ll wear something that I bought that I’ve been wanting to make outfits with but struggling – it might be fun to find things that inspire outfits/coordinate with those pieces.

  11. 11
    August 12th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    My #1 rule is never wear skinny jeans while shopping. They’re a pain to take off and on a lot! Also, I just bought those leopard print flats in the third outfit. They’re so cute!

  12. 12
    August 12th, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I love the outlet shopping outfit!
    I actually start school very soon, so I’m looking for first-day-of-school outfits already! If you could design some back-to-school outfits for those of us who are starting relatively early, that would be much appreciated :)

  13. 13
    August 12th, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Kelsey- Thank you, thank you. I appreciate it!

    Sam & Jill- That is a great point. Wearing a strapless bra (which are always uncomfortable regardless of how much you spend on one) would definitely result in a different fit for many of the top you’d try on.

    Gabrielle & Emily- I’ll see what I can do! :)

    Amanda- 110% agree! Skinny jeans are SUCH A PAIN!

  14. 14
    August 15th, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Excellent outfits. The maxi dress is pretty expensive though. Thank you for your shopping suggestions.

  15. 15
    December 5th, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Some amazing dresses I really would love to have something like that

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