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the stylist’s notebook | back to school

31 August 2009

Dear LC,

As I avidly read your blog, I’ve become a fan of your awesome advice when it comes to fashion dilemmas. I find it even more amazing that your posts are sophisticated yet fun, and you are quite young but you write like a seasoned professional. Since we’re about the same age, I think you know what time of year it is. The annoying Wal-Mart commercials telling you how to be cheap but look good for back to school. I need your advice on what to do. Unfortunately, I don’t attend a prep school a la Gossip Girl where I can sass up a uniform. My school is public and though without uniforms, the dress code is still limiting of true style-innovation. What do I do? What to wear?
-Mo of Chocolate Couture 😉

So here brings a post for those lucky (or unlucky, rather) enough to head back to the hallowed halls of public/private institutions in which we learn and thrive in for nearly a third of our lives. Come September all marketing strategies of every consumer business fall upon advertisements labeled boldly “BACK 2 SCHOOL” with a few images of ubiquitous pencils and school buses here and there – a ploy guaranteed a marketing success. Do I sound bitter? I can’t help it; summer ends in little over a week and already the stress is accumulating. But alas, it will be my last year in a public school. Helloooo, senior year!

But this ridiculously busy month before September, rightfully named us students’ much loved back-to-school season, is the one chance to rid ourselves of burdensome wardrobe that only gathers dust in the closet and start anew. So hurrah for back to school shopping, or simply revamping what you currently have!

Abide by those dress codes, darling. As much as I adore the current sheer blouse/tee/tank with the black-bra-peeking-ever-so-seductively-through trend, that is (clearly) a no-go for school. We must not distract hormonal boys! Repeat with me, dear. “We must not distract hormonal boys!”

Simplicity is key. Simply because we have not the time to worry about whether this sash is still tied in its perfect bow, or if that strap has come undone, etc. And stripping down in the locker rooms would be quite the hassle…

Layer, my love! (1) It allows you to be super chic with your fabulous blazer, leather jacket, sequined cardi, or what-have-you (2) And it is quite the life-saver in world of fickle air-conditioning (or lack of!) in school buildings.

Tone it down (just a tad). The fashion world (or simply the blogosphere for us plain folks) know that this very thing we thrive in is quite different (and often misunderstood) in the real world. I do hate to be cliché, but will the average teenager understand the beauty of the Balmain jacket? I think not. Do try to leave the platform heels for after the last period bell. I promise you, you[r feet] will be much happier, too. And as much as I adore the dark smokey eyes with nude lips, do tone it down so it looks a bit more natural (my new obsession with MAC is giddy with joy at the sound of sweeshugahon’s generous MAC giveaway!).

But fear not! Let not a paper packet of dress codes and an army of tee-shirt/denim minis/UGGs (disclaimer: I have nothing against them at all!) clad girls inhibit you from expressing you! The following is [one of the most impeccably styled editorial  e v e r ] that serves as the perfect back-to-school inspiration. For me, at least.

Back to School 1

Back to School 2

Back to School 3

Back to School 4

Back to School 5

{Image source:  t h e  f a s h i o n  s p o t }

Tell me it’s amazing. Isn’t it? My point: dressing for school does not mean you should abandon who you are, rather, subdued, as you would for work! My main inspirations come fall for this year: Dsquared² Fall RTW show. Juxtaposing & mixing (rather effortlessly, might I add) “high fashion” and trends with what your-average-high-school-girl would wear. Finished with a walk-able pair of ankle boots.


La C.

48 Comments leave one →
  1. 31 August 2009 10:11 am

    ah congrats to the winner.
    a bit sad thought- hoped it couldve been me- i never seem to win in blog competitions..
    great pictures from elle here. love the m.w dress 2nd pic.. love.

  2. 31 August 2009 10:31 am

    Congrats to the winner. lucky girl!

    I love all pics. 😀


  3. 31 August 2009 10:49 am

    I think your absolutely right. The perfect look for school. And of course congrats for Ania, I really love her poem.

  4. 31 August 2009 11:22 am

    her poem is adorable!

    and great editorial..that military jacket and that leopard is lovley!

  5. 31 August 2009 11:37 am

    Congratulations Ania! 🙂

    And, of course, amazing post as always, La C! 🙂

  6. 31 August 2009 11:48 am

    Great tips! Love the editorial as well.

  7. 31 August 2009 11:48 am

    oh wow, lucky ania!

    love that editorial, we’re launching a leoprinted collection but not until next year which i’m a bit gutted over… hopefully the leohype isn’t over by then!

  8. 31 August 2009 12:25 pm

    This post makes me wish I were going to college again this year!

  9. 31 August 2009 12:50 pm

    “We must not distract hormonal boys!” Such good advice.

  10. Tamara permalink
    31 August 2009 1:13 pm

    Back to School… oh, sweet memories… 😉

  11. 31 August 2009 1:46 pm

    Nice post- those looks are great inspiration! 🙂

    Congrats to the winner too!

  12. 31 August 2009 3:11 pm

    The lemming pressure in high school is overwhelming. Even without a uniform or strict dress code, a lot of girls tend to wear the same things, shop in the same stores. If this reader can balance that pressure with her unique sense of style, I really applaud her.

  13. 31 August 2009 3:14 pm

    Fabulous post Kim, as always. Luckily I never had any kind of limitation when it came to dressing for school, no dress code at all. Not that we could go there naked or anything, but almost everything is allowed. They might look bad at you but nothing else. It’s what public school is like here in Spain! And now… I’m heading to college :D. Law is waiting!

  14. 31 August 2009 3:48 pm

    It’s funny because I usually absolutely don’t care about ANYTHING that could ‘stop’ me. Perhaps because my school is a little bit peculiar, post-hippy, and ‘tolerant’.
    But I can sport even the Balmain jacket and some people will understand it.
    I can wear blue or lace tights and ( almost ) nobody cares. But I admit this takes YEARS, and confidence isn’t easy to get ( it’s also my last year so it’s easy to talk ! )

    I just feel a little bit ashamed with your
    “We must not distract hormonal boys!”
    …thinking about my 10cm cutted jeans shorts of today (a).

    But on a more realistic optic, your advices are GREAT, as usual !

  15. 31 August 2009 4:03 pm

    Wow! I’m obessesed with these looks! How amazing!

    Thanks for sharing!

  16. 31 August 2009 4:57 pm

    what an amazing editorial and wonderful advice!

  17. 31 August 2009 5:08 pm

    I love yours posts, even if I don’t read everything (difficult in english for me). The jacket of the first and the last pictures are amayzing!

  18. 31 August 2009 6:35 pm

    congrat to the winner. what great advice. Yes, leave the platform for the last period. : )

  19. 31 August 2009 6:52 pm

    Ooh! That sequinned jacket is gorgeous! Thank goodness school was half a life-time ago for me! 🙂


  20. 31 August 2009 8:10 pm

    I couldn’t stop smiling. Thanks so much for this, I actually wore something similar to the 4th look today! This was quite lovely, though.

    xoxo Mo

  21. 31 August 2009 8:22 pm

    Such excellent advice!!

    Thanks so much for your sweet comment!

  22. 31 August 2009 8:45 pm

    Hi doll,

    how are you?

    Thanks for the comment 🙂 I dont blame you I would check every 10 minutes! I hope it gets there soon, if not I’ll send an email…

    Let me know sweetie

    xo xo

  23. 31 August 2009 9:03 pm

    Congratulations to the WINNER – LUCKY YOU!!!
    OMG! I LUV THIS POST, these are such FAB OUTFITS !!!:)

  24. 31 August 2009 10:25 pm

    the only gooood thing about starting school again is a back to school wardrobe! this is an awesome editorial! everything in it is very wearble yet OH so chic 🙂

    P.S. CONGRATS on the pop magazine gig, that is absolutely amazing!! so happy for you!

  25. 31 August 2009 10:31 pm

    Hello La C. Great ideas. I’ve got a couple of young cousins I’ll have to show your blog post too. They have just gone back to school for the new year. I hope you have a great week. Take care. Cheers!

  26. 1 September 2009 1:08 am

    Congrats to the winner!

    I love reading your amazing articles giving advice & inspiration. I’m definitely with you on the fact that not everyone is going to embrace certain trends (the Balmain jacket, for example). Also, when you have classes really, really early, the last thing you probably think of is being stylish.

    I’m a communications student, so of course there are a bunch of other students with kickass, interesting & unique styles, but they definitely get weird looks from other people.


  27. 1 September 2009 1:55 am

    Ah back to school shopping – I remember those days fondly. It was always so much fun and a good excuse to spend money =D. You give great sound advice for your young readers, especially the pointers about toning it down and dressing appropriately. totally agree with you it’s not about hiding who you are, but there’s a balance for everything. I wish there were more girls like you walking through the hallways (aka runways) of my high school days.

    I’m no school girl but i love the looks you’ve posted!

    Re – the 90’s – see my latest post about it =D

    • 1 September 2009 1:56 am

      Liv: Exactly – spending a bit more for a new wardrobe (: And awww thank you! That was so sweet of you! Perhaps in another love? (; Haha

  28. Erin permalink
    1 September 2009 8:14 am

    Great post, and great editorial. I love ALL of them and would totally rock them for school. Also good point that you can always still wear the trends to school just tone them down… and remember not to distract the hormonal boys 🙂

  29. decadentluxe permalink
    1 September 2009 11:26 am

    I love the photos in this post!

    I’m holding a Perricone skincare giveaway if you or anyone else is interested!

    • 1 September 2009 11:27 am

      decadentluxe: Thanks for the heads up (: I don’t have wrinkles… yet (:

  30. 1 September 2009 12:42 pm

    Oh I love Mo!
    Fabulous advice and photos!


  31. 1 September 2009 12:55 pm

    Ah I would die to own that jacket.

  32. 1 September 2009 3:21 pm

    Hi LaC, thanks for this post. I’m in University but I still struggle to strike the balance between casual & fashionable! You posted some really great tips that I’ll be looking back on throughout the semester. Take care!!

  33. 1 September 2009 3:45 pm

    Love this! Good advice. Blahhh that’s the only plus side to starting school, getting to sort of “dress up” again!

  34. thebaglady permalink
    1 September 2009 4:35 pm

    I’m faaaar from being in school, but my workplace is casual, so this is PERFECT!

    I love the advice about the hormonal boys 😉 How cheeky!

  35. 1 September 2009 9:04 pm

    Boy do I wish this fashion had been around in my day I will be getting my not far off teenage daughter to follow your blog, in time she will love your tips & style, lovley blog 🙂

  36. 2 September 2009 1:04 am

    I love the first one. It has a rock & roll edge, and looks comfy enough to withstand any activity thrown at you during the day.
    Good post as always. You certainly are the queen of fashion advice, I bow before you. xo

  37. 2 September 2009 3:08 am

    you’re totally right. Dsquared² is the perfect ispiration for a new school year. I think your advice is perfect for the little fashionistas who want to look great even at school.
    ps: “walk-able pair of ankle boots.” I love this and is so damn true. Most of nowadays girls don’t know how to walk on high heels but still they choose to wear them. Congrats on your work !

    • 2 September 2009 3:09 am

      Mariana: I absolutely loved Dsquared²; it was perfectly styled and most importantly (and rather unique on their part!), it was wearable for the average girl/teen/woman! And thank you!

      Agreeeeed! I see so many girls – and loads of women as well – wobbling and stomping with bent knees. It makes me cringe in side! But there are few girls who walk well in high heels! I can walk in heels + 5 inches – but flats? I feel like a slob walking in them! LOL

  38. 2 September 2009 3:09 pm

    Lovely post!

    The photos are darling!

  39. 3 September 2009 2:14 pm

    i definitely do not miss high school especially PE. i thought that was the stupidest thing, esp. the fact that you HAD to wear shorts. i mean there are so many options these days for track/gym clothes than when i was a kid. why cant they let the kids wear those now? i wouldnt recommend maxi dresses or heels though, well, at least when i went to high school we had stairs. but nowadays i notice schools are shifting to uniform dress code, which i totally agree with. it sort of puts kids more at the same level.

  40. 3 September 2009 4:15 pm

    i wish i were going back to school!


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