Back to School: A Stylish Transition

The phrase “back to school” has penetrated my psyche. When August rolls around, I am consistently confounded by my habitual emotional reactions to the coming school season. I am nervous to begin another round of academia with unfamiliar professors. I am anxious about the inevitable first-day mishaps that will speckle my new routine with moments of chaos. But, most of all, I am excited to revisit my summer wardrobe with fall on the brain.

In September I will enter my last year of university at McGill, a place I have called home for the past three years. Now that there is an end in sight, I have started to wonder what the phrase “back to school” will mean to me when my collegiate bubble has deflated. As a fashion devotee, I know that one thing is for certain: Once September’s sharp pencils and blank loose-leaf paper cease to make my stomach flip, new fashion and beauty trends will continue to thrill me.

Though it is only the beginning of August, here are a few items – with a youthful twist – that will make you want to transition from summer to school year.

The Closed-Toe Shoe 

Sam Edelman, $195, thebay.com.

In your younger years, open-toed shoes on the playground were the ultimate taboo (you couldn’t play tag or be a jump-rope champion in sandals). Now, wearing sandals with your early-fall wardrobe doesn’t seem to fit the bill. A pair of flats will ease your journey from flip-flops to boots perfectly. This season, smoking slippers are stepping out as ballerina flats’ more fashionable cousins. They can be worn with skirts (sans stockings) or your favourite pair of slim-cut jeans.

That Fall Smell

Jo Malone London, $125, holtrenfrew.com.

We all know that the sense of smell is linked with memory. This cologne from Jo Malone London in Nutmeg and Ginger embodies the fall fragrances we are all so familiar with. One spritz and I am catapulted back to the schoolyard, where leaves crunch under my feet and a fistful of ginger cookies rests in my hand.

Textbooks vs. Coffee-Table Books 

The Sartorialist (Particular Books, $32) by Scott Shuman, chapters.indigo.ca.

Though a 700-page chemistry book may fail to inspire you these days, a street-style coffee-table book will spark your imagination. My personal favourite is the tactile version of Scott Shuman’s blog The Sartorialist. Flipping through it before you go shopping will give you a new outlook on personal style. Though he shoots during every season, his fall photographs are particularly poignant.