Fashion understood the assignment (aka your 2023 back-to-school lookbook)

It's back-to-school time, and we're glad it is, because this season, fashion is all about math equations. Start with a pattern like plaid or animal print, add some texture in the form of, say, bouclé or velvet, then multiply by an unexpected factor (some A+ examples include jewel-tone metallic boots, a teddy bear sweater or suspenders). What does it all add up to? Your best fall look yet. 

Ivy League Bound

Blazer, $106, Molly Bracken. Bodysuit, $128, N:philanthropy. Pants, $98, Unique Vintage. Boots, $68, Dream Pairs. Earrings, $7, and necklace, $10, Forever 21. Bracelet, $120, Maison Miru

Here's some pattern mixing any professor would be proud of: Pair checkered wide-leg trousers, a fitted striped turtleneck and a velvety camel blazer to create a power suit fit for the campus queen. And, oh yeah, suspenders have entered the chat...and they're carrying you to the honor roll. 

Best Believe These Boots Are Bejeweled

Blazer, $45, Ambiance. Top, $20, shorts, $25, and necklace, $10, Forever 21. Boots, $60, Dolls Kill. Sunnies, $80, Raen. Bag, $30, Wrangler. Bag charms, $8 each, Claire's

When you've got something as spectacular as metallic jade cowboy boots, you build the outfit around them. Here, they pop against black tights under jorts (yes, it's still jorts season) and transition to fall with a slouchy knit sweater top, houndstooth blazer and oversized hobo (the pompom bag charms keep it fresh). The math is definitely mathing. 

Little Chic on the Prairie

Dress, $25, heart choker, $7, and circle necklace, $10, Forever 21. Pants, $78, Unique Vintage. Boots, $70, Franco Sarto. Necklace, $170, Vince Camuto. Bracelet, $60, Air & Anchor. Ring, $98, Pdpaola. 

You know how Y2K loved a dress over pants? If our calculations are correct, we do, too, when it's done like this: A patchwork plaid puff-sleeve mini dress over skater-y plaid trousers is just too good. 

Smileys and Stones and Bears? Oh My

Mini blazer, $50, Zara. Sweater, $20, and bag, $20, Forever 21. Skirt, $37, Cooperative. Shoes, $80, Skechers x The Rolling Stones. Beanie, $16, Neverold. Necklace, $108, and bracelet on right wrist, $32, Air & Anchor. Bracelet on left wrist, $120, Maison Miru. Tights, $12, Target.

Here's some more math for ya: Subtract the "proper" from a pinstripe set and what do you get? This extremely fun fit, composed of a mini skirt and cropped short-sleeve blazer, a baby blue teddy sweater, iconic Stones logo slip-ons and a smiley face beanie. 

Animal Kingdom

Jacket, $35, and rings, $12 for the set, H&M. Top, $20, earrings, $8, and bag, $18, Forever 21. Pants, $85, Reclaimed Vintage. Sunnies, $28, I-Sea. Necklace, $62, Air & Anchor

Go for the whole safari in oversized mismatched zebra prints, paired with some cheetah sunnies and a fatigue-hued knit top. You won't exactly disappear into the terrain, but who wants to blend in anyway? 

Multi-Layered Genius

Sweater, $78, Lili Sidonio. Dress, $78, and skirt, $35, Molly Bracken. Shoes, $20, Rainbow Shops. Necklace, $165, J. Crew. Belt, $80, House of CB London. Rings, $81 each, Dreamland Jewelry

Why wear one dress when you can wear a sweater dress over another dress with a skirt underneath? It's a turducken of style—and an oversized metallic silver wrap belt and matching chunky loafers tie the whole thing together like a delicious demi-glace. 

Morticia at the Met

Collar, $280, Anne Fontaine. Shirt, $95, Elizabeth and James. Skirt, $22, Forever 21. Shoes, $59, Azazie. Sunnies, $60, Quay. Earrings and necklace set (worn as belt), $60, New York & Company. Gloves, $5, Amscan. Tights, $12, Target.

If Wednesday Addams wore Chanel, it probably would look something like this: a bouclé, ruffly mini skirt strung up with onyx beads and a lacy Peter Pan collar over a cropped black sweater. Insert *snap snap* iconic Wednesday dance here. 

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this post originally ran in our August/September 2023 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

How are you dressing this BTS szn? Tag us in your fits on Insta for a chance to get featured @girlslifemag!

Looking for more fab fashion content? Check out these posts:
🛍️ Outfits inspired by your fave OG Disney Channel characters
🛍️ Why it's totally OK to be overdressed
🛍️ 7 outfits inspired by Kitty Song Covey

Credits: Photographed by Mike Azria. Styled by Lo VonRumpf. Hair by George Fragkioudakis. Makeup by Sophia Hutch.


by Sara Gaynes Levy | 8/20/2023