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How to win best dressed for going back to school

With a new school year approaching, you're probably thinking about getting a new wardrobe so you can dress to impress from the first day forward. Back-to-school can feel stressful. New classes, new people, and new challenges await. But you don't have to get stressed about your clothes.

Build on the basics to create a look that's truly you. The keys to a back-to-school wardrobe are items that combine style and comfort. That mix will give you the confidence you need to succeed, whether you're tackling tough coursework or trying out for a new team or the school play (or a little bit of everything). Come to think of it, that's knowledge you can use outside of school, too!

Find tops that you can mix and match

No matter your personal style, having a few basic tops in your rotation will help you craft unique looks sure to turn heads. That goes for schools with a strict dress code and those without one. Button-down shirts, sweaters, and cardigans can be layered to create different styles throughout the school year as the weather changes. A men's button-down shirt looks just as good paired with a sweater in the colder months as is does with the sleeves rolled up as the temperature rises towards the end of the school year.

If your school doesn't have a strict dress code, you can weave in other items like brightly-colored tops and blouses along with the basics. And if you do go to a school with a dress code, shop for items that are in line with your uniform so you can add a personal touch ... without breaking the rules.

Go for bottoms that give you confidence

Focus on bottoms that are comfortable and flattering, then have fun pairing with different tops to make unique outfits. If your school lets you dress casually, having a pair or two of jeans that you can always rely on goes a long way. High-waisted jean styles look great with a button-down or tee tucked in. Flares can lengthen your legs, while slim fit jeans and skinny silhouettes always look modern. The important thing is to find a fit that gives you confidence.

Can't go so casual? Dress pants or skirts are also great to have in your closet, and they give you the same freedom to mix and match with all your favorite tops. Wear the summer skirts you love with tights and boots to give them new life in the autumn. Your go-to dress pants will look great throughout the year.

Other items to have on hand

Want to change things up from your usual routine? Dresses are a fun way to play with your style. Many dresses work even with dress codes or uniform requirements. Just be sure to check to see what your school expects before heading out of the door in the morning.

Everyone should have a good blazer in their wardrobe as well. A blazer is easy to throw on over a casual ensemble if you need to get dressier in a pinch. You'll look on point with a blazer over everything from that jeans-and-a-tee laid-back look to summery dresses. They also work great with looks that are already dressed up. If you're giving a big presentation, you'll instantly exude confidence thanks to this versatile accessory.

Shoes for comfort and style

Now that you have your outfits set up and ready to go, it's time to get some great shoes! Again, you'll want to have shoes that are simultaneously stylish and comfortable. After all, what good is a cute pair of shoes if you can't get to class while you're wearing them?

Every wardrobe should have a few basics like sandals for the summer and a chic pair of boots for cooler weather. Just check on your school's dress code before committing to a pair. You'll also want a few items that you can use for specific weather or activities. Think appropriate sneakers or cleats if you're on a team or participating in athletic activities, snow boots for the winter, and rain boots for those inclement days year-round.

Accessorize to show off your personality

After creating a wardrobe with pieces you can mix and match with ease, have fun with your accessories! Whether that's a great blazer like we mentioned before or other items like bags or jewelry, your accessories are the place to play up your personality. Many accessories also work well with school uniforms, so have fun here if you need to stick to a dress code.

No matter your personal style, you can put together a wardrobe that's in line with any school requirements while highlighting the unique you. Finding pieces that are flattering and comfortable will give you the confidence you need to take on the new school year. Keep these tips in mind and you'll be dressed for success at school!

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