A Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Your Back to School Wardrobe

Believe it or not, it’s time to start planning your fall wardrobe!

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“Every moment is a fresh beginning” – T.S. Eliot

The best part about going back to school is going shopping for new clothes! But the hardest part is connected to that: figuring out how to put together your wardrobe for a new semester

To assist you in this process, I have formulated a couple of steps that will help you on your journey to shopping and building a full wardrobe for your school year.

Related reading: How to Build the Perfect Wardrobe That Is Stylish & Functional

1. Clear Out Your Old Clothes

The first thing that should be done is sorting through your entire wardrobe. I find it best to have a friend with you or even your sister to help you go through all your items so you can have a second opinion. 

Go through each piece one by one and figure out whether you’re going to keep it. The key questions you’re going to ask yourself are “Am I going to wear this again?”, “Is this too old?”, and “Do I still like this?” If you answered no to any of these questions then take it out of your closet. 

If you’re feeling indifferent about an item, ask your friend for advice or even ask yourself “Do I really need this item?” If you need to, put it aside and come back to it later.

I also suggest going through your bras, underwear, and socks to clear out any old and tattered items. 

Once you go through all of your clothes, take the items you do not want and either donate them, bring them to a thrift/consignment shop, or even give them to a younger family member as hand-me-downs. Once you finish this step it’s time to move on to shopping!

2. Make a Shopping List & Stick to it

Before you even think about shopping, the first thing you should do is make a shopping list of all the things you need. What is your wardrobe lacking? Which pieces would make your wardrobe complete?

This step is important because it will help you stay on track when you’re walking through the mall or browsing online. I find that when I go shopping without a list I either forget items I need and buy things that I don’t. (Who else gets completely sidetracked by a good sale?)

When you’re clearing out your clothes, take note of things that you threw away that you would like to replace such as shoes, t-shirts, and tank tops. Once you have the necessities, then it’s okay to have fun and splurge on a few extra items. 

3. Take Advantage of Back-to-School Sales

The next thing that you should do is check which stores are having sales. Shopping for new clothes can become very pricey, especially when you’ve just cleaned out your closet. 

When walking around the mall, look for signs for back-to-school sales and look in those stores first before shopping at others. Or, if you’re shopping online, be sure to check College Fashion’s weekly sale guides for the latest deals happening at the places you’ll want to shop. 

It’s important to shop at sales whenever possible. After all, the more money you save, the more you can splurge on some high-quality, timeless items that will last for seasons to come.

4 . Back to the Basics

Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite part: shopping! When searching for clothes I always tell friends it’s a good idea to have a base wardrobe. A base wardrobe consists of simple articles of clothing such as t-shirts, jeans, and tank tops. 

Inside your base wardrobe I suggest you have plain black and white t-shirts and tanks, plain blue jeans, a jean jacket, and a simple cropped sweatshirt. With these items you have a base for multiple outfits for many different occasions. For a full list of pieces you need for school, see our list of college wardrobe essentials.

I recommend starting your search for basics at stores like Brandy Melville and Forever 21. These stores both have simple and basic clothing that can be styled up with accessories.

5. Have Fun with Colors

Once you have all of the basics down, now it’s time to have some fun. Colors are a great way to show off your personality and make any outfit pop. When picking out colors for your wardrobe, it’s important to consider which colors look best on you — ideally you want to tailor your wardrobe to these shades.

You can add color to your wardrobe by adding a pair of statement shoes, a colorful pair of pants, or something simple like jewelry. The possibilities are endless so go wild and try out new things!

How do you prepare your wardrobe for back to school?

I hope that these steps can help you build a new and exciting wardrobe that will wow all of your friends at school. It may seem like work but going through your clothes, planning your shopping, and building on basics will ultimately lead you to a stronger outfit base. And once you have all of this down, then you can continue to be organized and build on your wardrobe for the future. 

Now we want to hear from you: How do you prep your wardrobe for back to school? Any other tips for your fellow college girls? Tell us in a comment.

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