September is right around the corner, which means the head-scratching in the mirror has already begun. That’s because it’s time for you to start thinking about what outfit will best reflect your post-vacation glow.
You can’t wear the same sweatpants and ketchup-stained t-shirt for the rest of the school year, but the first week back is the best time to buy some new pieces and start the year off on the right foot.
Giving their expertise on what you should buy to ensure you start the year off right, we’ve brought together staff members from Highsnobiety to pick out the essentials they think will make your school outfits so much easier to create. Although some pieces are a little more expensive than others, they are timeless.
Check out their recommendations below for everything from school bag essentials to the best stain-hiding t-shirts. And if you want some inspiration to put it all together, you can check out complete outfits for the school year.
Scroll down to see our back-to-school checklist curated by Highsnobiety staff.
The best backpacks for back to school
The backpack is the essential element that you will use on a daily basis. You have a lot to think about when shopping for a school bag. Is it durable enough to last all year round. Is there enough room for everything? It gets dirty easily.
These are the choices made by our employees.
“Choosing a tote bag over a backpack is the definition of style over substance, but with the size of this XL (16.5 x 22.4 x 6.3 inches), you’ll have to hard to find a backpack with more carrying space.” –Tom Barker Style Writer
“There’s nothing wrong with making a flexible little backpack for back to school, especially if you’ve been working all summer and want to treat yourself to something fun. The large Dyed backpack from Stone Island has enough space (35 x 38 x 12 cm) to hold all your books, goodies and everything you need to stay focused during the school year. – Denzel Blake, Associate Style Editor
“When you use the same bag every day at school, you want something that doesn’t get boring quickly. This brilliant design from Acne Studios should do the trick. – Lia McGarrigle, Editor-in-Chief
“If you stick to the less is more mantra when packing your bag for the day, this Gramicci bag will have you covered for a few pens and notebooks – and the ripstop material is very durable.” – Dasha Kolomiiets, content merchandising assistant
The best sneakers for back to school
The shoes you choose to be your daily companion throughout the year is a major decision. They should be comfortable, durable and adhere to the dress code. You should choose sneakers, but there are many options.
These are our top picks for everyday shoes that look as good as they look. We do not forget those who prefer shoes.
“It’s never been easier to get a pair of sneakers at a decent price with all the options that New Balance has rolled out recently. Whatever the season, the 2002R is a good choice. – Denzel Blake, Associate Style Editor
“If you’re looking for a shoe that will last you through the school year, Salomon’s hiking sneakers are known for their durability. And you can wear them to gym class without anyone batting an eyelid. – Tom Barker, style editor
“The jury is out on whether these can be described as trainers, but I can bet these fluffy mules are more comfortable than any pair of runners.” – Lia McGarrigle, Editor-in-Chief
The Best Back-to-School Outerwear
Don’t be that person who walks into class soaked from head to toe or shivers from the cold because they didn’t bring their jacket. Not having the right choice of outerwear can be a painful mistake – we’ve all been there.
This selection of coats and jackets will protect you from the elements, are easy to carry and, in our opinion, look great too.
“Coach jackets are the undisputed kings of spring and fall transition season. Along with olive being a perfect color for fall, the faded texture of this lightweight jacket should easily match your new gear. – Denzel Blake, Associate Style Editor
“If you’re looking for a jacket to keep you warm and dry, then Stone Island are experts in outerwear that has you covered. There are too many practical details to mention in this design” – Lia McGarrigle, Editor-in-Chief
“A classic shape crafted with a pop of color – you can’t go wrong with this jacket.” Dasha Kolomiiets, Content Merchandising Assistant
“When winter really hits you’ll want something more substantial, but most of the time you need a lightweight jacket that’s easy to carry to school. This waterproof design from K-Way packs down into its pocket for easy transport. –Tom Barker Style Writer
The best back-to-school sweatshirts
Sweatshirts are an essential part of the school uniform for one big reason: they’re comfortable. Pulling on a chunky hoodie or fluffy sweatshirt makes a day sitting in uncomfortable plastic chairs all the more bearable.
From preppy sweater vests to oversized hoodies, you can get cozy here.
“Whether it’s a layering accessory for winter or a statement piece for summer, you can wear a vest almost all year round. Just make sure your teacher doesn’t have the same. -Tom Barker, Style Writer
“Having a hard day at school?” I can’t think of anything better than snuggling up in a furry cardigan. – Lia McGarrigle, Editor-in-Chief
“The key to choosing a durable hoodie that’s great for back to school, or anywhere, is to opt for quality materials and minimal graphics. That way, you can be sure you’re not going out too strong, but also shows how effortlessly you put together your “fit”. – Denzel Blake, Associate Style Editor
The best back-to-school tops
Everyone has their own way of fitting, feeling and looking at their tops, but there are certain rules for deciding which ones will join you at school. It goes without saying that wearing your most expensive white top is a recipe for grease-stained disaster and only plain Uniqlo t-shirts (as much as we love them) are going to get boring after a while.
Here are a few to choose from that have considered all the factors that make for a great top.
“A white graphic is always a good choice, especially when it comes from legendary designer and musician Nigo’s latest Kenzo collection.” – Denzel Blake, Associate Style Editor
“You can outdo anyone who’s spent their summer t-shirts dyeing with this Dries design.” – Lia McGarrigle, Editor-in-Chief
“If you’re like me, your white t-shirts are constantly stained. The trick is to always have some solid black t-shirts to fall back on when that happens, like this one from Noon Goons.–Tom Barker Style Writer
The best back-to-school pants
Now that we’ve established the best things to wear on your upper half, it’s time to think about tights.
Luckily, Gen Z has killed off the traffic-cutting skinny jeans, so these options are a lot roomier.
“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Cargo pants have been ruined by backpacking dads. Thank goodness we’ve collectively realized the power of extra pocket space. –Tom Barker Style Writer
“There’s nothing more practical than overalls, which is why they’ve been a workwear staple for countless years.” – Lia McGarrigle, Editor-in-Chief
“Biker gear is a serious fashion statement and generally looks great when paired with taste. GmbH’s attention to detail, from the symmetrical contrast stitching to the unique cargo pocket, is sure to set you apart from the crowd. your classmates. – Denzel Blake, Associate Style Editor
The best accessories for back to school
Accessories have two main roles: to provide a solution to a practical problem or to add the finishing touch to an outfit. They can even meet both of these requirements, making them ideal for going back to school.
From keychains to necklaces, once you’ve added them to your rotation, you’re officially ready for day one back.
“This necklace is giving me some serious back vibes, I’m pretty sure I had exactly this one on my first first day of school.” – Lia McGarrigle, Editor-in-Chief
“If you need a break from sports teams or skate brands and are a fan of the greats, then this Alice Coltrane cap is a must-have. Consider the ‘Endless Wisdom’ embroidery a lucky charm for the next school season.” – Denzel Blake, Associate Style Editor
“Who else at school has a bottle that changes color based on their temperature? I think it’s safe to say no one will. – Dasha Kolomiiets, content merchandising assistant
Want to browse more? Head to the Highsnobiety store for more products we love. Highsnobiety is an Affiliate Marketing Partner, which means we may receive a commission if you make a purchase.