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Designers weigh in: What makes a great school outfit?

You know what they say… first impressions are everything! That’s why we just couldn’t help ourselves. We asked 10 designers to educate us on all the rules of back-to-school fashion.

Teenager girl with backpack

Layer on the accessories

“A cute floral dress with booties or sandals would make for a great first day of school look — add jewelry that picks color accents of the dress. Layering is a huge trend in jewelry right, now because it makes it easy to update your wardrobe through different seasons — and doesn’t break the bank! You want jewelry to be comfortable throughout the day while sitting in class, yet stand out. Layering delicate bracelets and the use of stud earrings as well as midi or pinky rings offer a unique and modern touch that won’t disrupt your comfort (or class). Another huge trend is anything customized with your name or initials. Accessories are the perfect way for fashionistas to show off their personal style.” — Lauren Brokaw and Lindsey Lerman, designers of Stella and Bow


Stay true to you

“Something that reflects your personality. For me, it would be skinny jeans, a cute tank top, sports bra, leather bomber jacket and some kick a** high tops.” — Kelly Dooley, founder of BodyRock Sport


Rock a maxi dress with flats

“I love a maxi dress with flat sandals. If you’re not feeling girly, then a pair of cutoff jean shorts and an ethnic blouse. It’s comfy and easy! Plus, it’s perfect for the first day of school!” — Rachel Pally, designer of Rachel Pally


Wear something new

“The most important element for me is the new factor. I used to love it when an outfit was almost crisp with how new it was. To me, it represented a new season and the significance of starting a new school year.” — John Muscat, designer of Line Knitwear


Keep it comfy

“Being appropriate is very important, but so is being comfortable. Spend some time planning it out the day before so you are not stressed at the last minute. Layering is also a good idea, because you never know when you will get too hot or too cold!” — Helena and Kaya Stuart, designers of Only Hearts


Don’t be afraid to dress up

“On the first day of school, you want to stand out without looking ‘too cool for school.’ I always think you look your best when you feel your best, so I’d go with a favorite pair of jeans, a colorful blouse and some new booties. Save your sweats and laid-back looks for later in the year. The first day back is always more fun when you truly feel ‘dressed up’ for the occasion.” — Karen Kane, designer of Karen Kane


Try a new trend

“A great back-to-school outfit will tell everyone about who you are, but remember to always wear something that you feel comfortable in! Try to spice up your wardrobe by adding a piece that is on trend. However, you don’t need to dress head to toe in the latest trends to be chic. One item is enough to express your fashion sense and keep your budget in control!” — Melissa Song, designer and owner of contemporary handbag line Melie Bianco


Slip into some printed skinnies

“Just because school started and summer is over doesn’t mean you can’t make a great first impression. A cute pair of printed skinny jeans is the perfect style for the first day of school, because it smoothens out and flatters your lower half. Pair your jeans with a bright top to emphasize your golden summer tan and to really help to stand out.” — Camille Passaro of Muse Apparel

More fashion advice

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Find the right necklace for your neckline

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