By Felicia Czochanski
It’s that time of year again! The season of BBQs and fun in the sun is slowing down, and the slow hum of cicadas going back into their dens marks the countdown to back-to-school. Like the start of a new year, the commencement of a new school year makes for the perfect moment to reflect and do a refresh that will set you up for success. Thinking about how you can revamp your wardrobe, extra curriculars, friend groups, and priorities, you can create a pathway for a great school year for yourself by thinking about what has worked well in the past and where opportunity areas for improvement are – whether that aligns with the types of classes you enroll in or who you hangout with after school. And hey, if you have butterflies in your stomach just thinking about what going back to in-person school will be like, take a deep breath and don’t worry! Confidence will be key this year and heading back to class in your version of the latest trends can help.
Before we get into some outfit inspiration, let’s talk about the big question on everyone’s mind at the turn of the season – what is going to be the biggest trend people will be following? The answer might surprise you, but for Gen Z (current high school and college age students under the age of 23) sustainable shopping at second-hand stores is all the rage. This is because second-hand shopping not only makes a huge positive impact on the environment, but it also helps you save money and limit outfit repetition. If there’s one thing Gen Z knows as the king’s and queen’s of Instagram and TikTok, it’s that once you’ve posted content in one outfit, it could be time to recycle it by donating to your local Goodwill and replacing it with some other thrifted treasures.
If that piqued your interest, keep reading for some back-to-school outfit inspiration that will have you looking and feeling your best as you head into the 2021-2022 school year!
1. Pops & Prints
A cute corduroy mini skirt can easily become a wardrobe staple for the late summer and early fall months. As you ease back into your class schedule, you can show off the last of your summer tan while also playing into some of the big trends of the season. Pops of color will continue to be big – whether you’re a fan of neon or enjoy some of the more muted pastels that continue to be popular – and repetitive prints continue to dominate the market too, like the adorable croissant top from Pull+Bear for sale at this awesome Chicago Goodwill for under $5.
2. Day to Night
Back-To-School can mean the return of a packed schedule. If you’re running from class to an internship to the cafeteria to a club meeting and then have plans to destress at a party day to night outfits will be the decision that keeps you going throughout the day without stopping back at your dorm. That, and coffee of course! This corduroy Free People jumpsuit – new with tags that tout an original price of $148 – was spotted at a Chicago Goodwill store for $14.99. A steal!
3. Old School Tops
For a more casual but still put together look, leaning into the vintage print top trend is going to be your new best friend. Whether you opt for a vintage or vintage-esque band t-shirt or an expertly faded cool print like the NASA sweatshirt in the picture above, you can dress it up or down to showcase your own spin on the trend. This look is versatile too – perfect for class, date night, or even logging a few hours at the library. And there’s no better place to look for old school tops to add to your collection than your local Goodwill.