This Seasons Best: Back To School Fashion

Back to school? More like back to having to look decent everyday around your peers. As much of a pain as that might sound, it   is much easier than you think. With just a few tips and staying on top of the season’s trends, you should be good to go every morning with a fresh outfit perfect for whatever weather Palo Alto throws at you. Here are some trends selected especially for back to school time this year.


Technically, the term ‘kimono’ is not quite accurate for this type of outerwear, but it has come back into style this summer season under this name anyway. Kimonos are essentially large, bat-wing cardigans, made out of lightweight, breezy chiffon material, perfect to throw on for those cloudy summer and autumn mornings. Since these are not as heavy as knit cardigans, you can keep them on throughout the day and will not be as much of a burden to carry as a cardigan. Kimonos come in a variety colors and patterns, especially jewel toned colors and tribal patterns. They can act as the highlight of an outfit, or just a basic layer, depending on whether they are solid colors or patterned. Kimonos can also accompany most tops, pants, and dresses. These can be found at a variety of stores, from Forever 21 to Brandy Melville to Urban Outfitters — but make sure to get them before autumn’s chill really sets in.


Accessories may be the icing on the cake, but that technically means that an outfit isn’t quite complete without them. An accessory that can be added to spice up your outfit in a matter of seconds is headbands. Whether they are casual, or more jeweled and more intricate, these accessories are very flexible and affordable. Jeweled headbands can make outfits a bit more formal and glamorous, while more casual, fabric headbands can add a more laid-back, effortless look to outfits. Admittedly, the best part of headbands, however, is being able to make that “bad-hair day” hair look a bit more manageable without too much stress or time spent that morning in the bathroom with a brush in one hand and a straightener in the other. Any clothing store should carry numerous types of headbands and at least one should fit your fancy.

Harem and Palazzo Pants

Skinny jeans and yoga pants might have been the popular types of pants in the past couple years, but the trend is taking a turn towards looser pants, such as Harem and Palazzo pants. These pants, just like kimonos, are loose and breezy and made out of softer, silky material. Although Harem and Palazzo pants are generally grouped together, there is a difference between the two, as Harem pants have a tight band at the bottom, whereas the end of Palazzo pants flare out, similar to bell bottom jeans. The easiest way of integrating these pieces into your closet would be to pair them with tighter crop tops or halter tops, and after you get more comfortable, you can start experimenting with brighter colors, more vivid patterns and pairing other types of tops with these pants. These pants may be a bit hard to find for a good price, but thrift stores will definitely be stocked with them and cheaper versions are starting to hit stores like Target and Forever 21.

Fishtail Parkas

Fishtail parkas have been pretty hyped in the past year and for good reason. In the colder months, a fishtail parka can provide an extremely versatile and warm piece of outerwear. Fishtails are also often referred to as M-51 jackets, which comes from the army designation. They were first introduced during the Korean War in order to insulate soldiers by providing the option to tie the “tails” around the legs to prevent drafts from reaching the body. The M-51 has since been dubbed the “fishtail parka” because of its signature shape in the back, which resembles a fish tail. The ideal length for a fishtail is somewhere about halfway between your hips and knees so that you can tie the tails together and take full advantage of the jacket’s functionality. Bonus points if the parka is army green, but other colors are also acceptable. Good-priced fishtails are somewhat of a rarity, and local military surplus stores will probably be your best bet if you are looking for a sub-$100 jacket. Used clothing sites like eBay and also often have listings for fishtails, look out for the brand Alpha Industries in particular.


Pants are majorly overlooked in the composition of outfits. However, pants can be the piece that ties an outfit together, or the piece that makes an outfit look awful. Jogger pants are a great option if you want to showcase your sneakers, or if you just want to wear sweatpants without looking like you put in no effort. The ribbing at the end of both leg openings help to keep warm in the colder months, and the fleece material will ensure your comfort. Cotton On is a great place to get decent quality joggers for a good price.

Oversized Tees

To stray from the norm of “well-fitted” crewneck t-shirts, instead consider picking up some oversized or scoop-neck t-shirts. T-shirts are often overlooked and denoted as basic pieces, but they can be the centerpiece of an outfit. Implementing long t-shirts into an outfit is an easy way to make an outfit unique and more interesting than it would be if a regular t-shirt was employed. An easy way to include long t-shirts into outfits is to pair them with a slim bottom and chunky sneakers. Scoop-necks, with their slightly deeper and more rounded neckline, are ideal for layering if you are  wearing a collared shirt or jacket over it. If you’re willing to drop the cash, Alexander Wang tees have very interesting, unconventional cuts, but will run upwards of $80. H&M and Zara also often stock flowy t-shirts and scoop-necks at a more realistic price point.