The Pocket Tomboy's Back to School Fashion Tips

Today's blog post is a guest post written by Layne Crawford a.k.a. The Pocket Tomboy, a blogger and fashion consultant who has earned a coveted spot on DapperQ’s 100 Most Stylish list for 2017. Their mission is to help folks feel good about themselves through fashion and have fun while doing it. You can follow them on Instagram @thepockettomboy or on Facebook.

Unless you attend an educational institution with a strict uniform policy, on the first day of school you want to show off your style and new threads. While it’s been more than a minute since I’ve been in school (5 years actually), I still get excited over the fashion associated with it.

Like New Years, the first day of school can be used as a catalyst to change up your style. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to roam the halls of your high school as a freshman or you’re about to begin your final year of graduate school, these are some of my tips and personal picks to look polished while pulling all-nighters and suave while chilling in the student union.


Resist taking the lazy way out

You know that person who wears pajamas for a lecture that starts at 2:30 p.m.? Do not be them. Believe me, I know the struggle is real, especially if the registrar's office blessed you with a schedule that has more than one 8 a.m. class. It’s hard to get motivated in the morning when you spent the night before studying or doing something else that wasn’t studying but that’s what you told your parents you were doing when they called you.

It’s so tempting to just roll out of bed, put on a giant hoodie and stroll across campus like an extra from The Walking Dead. How many additional seconds does it take to put on a pair of dark washed denim and a just-as-cozy crewneck sweater? The New England native in me loves this one by L.L.Bean, but you can find something similar no matter what your budget is.

Maybe you’re not feeling jeans, but you still want to look more put together than your classmates. Joggers, like this pair from Zara are perfect for this. However, if you decide to match them with other casual items like graphic t-shirts your look still might scream, “I just got up and only had three hours of sleep.” It’s not something that everyone can pull off, but joggers with a casual button-up (think chambray or an oxford) tucked in straddles the line of relaxed, but not so relaxed that you look like you’re getting ready for a Netflix binge.


Quickly tame that 7:00 AM hair

So you managed to put on something other than the pajamas you wore the night before, but you definitely don’t have time to tame your bed head. A dry shampoo can be your secret weapon. I recommend Batiste as it can be found literally everywhere and in a variety of sizes. All you do is spray, play, and then style your hair as you normally would.


Get some fall-appropriate foundation pieces

I’m all about deals and getting things on sale, but when it comes to picking up key pieces, it’s perfectly fine to spend a little more. Because weather during the Fall can be a gamble (Cold in the morning, hotter than the surface of the sun by the afternoon), the best thing to do with your outfits is to incorporate layers that are easy to peel off or put back on. Your top layer should be a versatile piece that can be worn a variety of ways. A dark denim jacket like this American made one by Brave Star Selvage is timeless and well worth the higher price than a similar jacket you can pick up at a fast fashion store. Plus, denim jackets just beg to be customized.

A trendy approach to layering would be to wear a bomber jacket. Bombers have seen a spike in popularity over the past couple of years and it looks like they’re not losing steam. However, they’re still not as classic as denim jackets so I recommend a basic bomber like this one from ASOS that won’t break your budget.


Crack out the corduroy statement pieces

Fall is the perfect time to embrace a material that you might not usually wear and that’s corduroy. Something like this autumnal brown Tommy Hilfiger blazer (above) paired with light brown chinos and a whimsical microprint shirt seen on yours truly is a more in your face approach to rocking corduroy.

If you’re new to cords, I suggest starting out by getting a pair of pants like these slim fit ones by Levi’s that would create a great silhouette with a pair of boots like The Barrister’s.  They come in a variety of colors, so you can either go classic prep with a pair in navy, or show off your bold side in a pair of red ones. If you lean towards the femme side of things, a corduroy skirt like this one by Patagonia paired with a cable knit sweater, and shoes like the Roguish Brogue is a classic look that is easy to pull off and looks sharp.


The art of shopping for sneakers

Even if you’re in high school, get yourself some grownup sneakers. My sneaker addiction is something fierce. I’ve been collecting kicks since I was in middle school, but I know that the majority of people who want to look nice aren’t necessarily sneakerheads and tend to buy a pair of sneakers if they need them or it’s a new school year. If you only buy one pair to carry you through the school year, make sure they can be either dressed up or down.

Converse Chuck Taylors can work with a variety of outfits and equally look great with thrift store band t-shirts and blazers and bowties. However, an alternative to the ever popular Chuck Taylor, is the Converse Jack Purcell. The versatility of the Jack Purcell is on par with that of the Chuck Taylor, but will allow you to step away from the herd, and wear something a little different than your peers. Get a pair like these in leather and you’ll have a shoe that will look sharp on the days you don’t want to wear your wingtips.


Even a backpack can be dapper

Your outfit can be amazing, but it can instantly be ruined by the wrong bag. Do you need to carry your tablet, laptop, and a few books in a backpack that is intended to haul enough provisions to last a week? Exactly. I love the look of the Herschel Pop Quiz and the Fjallraven Kanken. Both of these bags are very simple in their design, come in a plethora of colors and patterns, and are made with quality in mind. You’ll know that even if you load it with your 15 pound chemistry book it won’t rip on you.

The price of these bags are not within a lot of folks’ budget, but if you can swing it, backpacks are in the same category as versatile pieces like denim jackets. It’s better to spend a little more on them so they can last for multiple years (maybe even a lifetime) rather than buying a new cheap backpack every September.


Whatever you wear, remember to rock it 

Confidence is always the best accessory. Not only is it the best accessory, but it’s always in style, and it doesn’t take up precious closet space. It’s extremely stressful to start at a new school, but especially for folks who are queer, trans, or gender nonconforming.

My biggest tip for those who just headed back to school is to put a little swagger in your step no matter what your personal style is. You could spend a fortune on all of the latest trends, but if you lack confidence it isn’t going matter. Whether you're going into the school year with a whole new wardrobe or with a dependable collection of old favorites, be proud of who you are and the clothes that you wear. Your charisma comes from within!

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