Real talk: Picking a perfect first day of school outfit is stressful. But picking a perfect first day of school outfit when you're a pre-teen is a pure emotional roller coaster. As unimportant as it may seem now, it's likely you thought the clothes you wore to your first day of sixth or seventh grade were either going to make or break you at the time. Heck, you probably even thought that the rest of your life truly depended on that ensemble.
Like so many other eager and nervous 12-year-olds, I wanted my first day of school outfit to get noticed but not be too OTT. I would scour the pages of Seventeen and Teen Vogue looking for advice and rip apart my wardrobe for the perfect combination of clothes. Usually, I ended up wearing what's easily the most basic ensemble in the world: Jeans and a T-shirt. But I still felt like a million bucks.
In an effort to reminiscence on the wackiness of being a pre-teen and to revel in the whole process of picking out a first day of school outfit, here are the seven emotional stages of choosing a back to school outfit in middle school.
Chances are you were thinking about your first day of school outfit before summer even started. You begged your parents to take you shopping, convincing them that it's never too early to start looking for a flawless ensemble. Perhaps something with sequins and sparkles that looked exactly like the kind of thing Hannah Montana would wear.
Except, well, the fact that school starts in less than a month and you have yet to find the perfect outfit for the first day back. You're trying not to freak out, but you can already imagine how great all your friends' outfits are going to be. You want a memorable ensemble, you want to give a good impression to your new teachers, and you want to show those cool girls your style. Just try to stay calm.
Now there are only two weeks until school starts. Summer camp has officially ended so there are no more distractions. The fact that you have yet to find a perfect outfit is consuming you. You wish you could just get it over with already, or not go into school at all. Your mom reminds you that you have no choice, so all you can do is let yourself sulk in your sartorial woes.
Finally, you break down. Being a pre-teen is hard enough and throwing in the emotions of choosing a "perfect" first day of school outfit doesn't help. While there are definitely bigger problems to be worrying about in this world, you can't help but feel depressed. You just want to be cool and comfortable — is that too much to ask? The tears have to stop eventually, right?
You then decide that there's nothing stopping you from finding and wearing the perfect outfit. It's just going to take some time. So you go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. Whether your parents take you shopping again or you simply pull everything out of your wardrobe to see your options, you're determined to find the look.
With a lot of time and a lot of effort, you find that perfect outfit. Sure, your bedroom looks like a tornado destroyed it and you were nearly on the verge of a breakdown more than a few times, but you're proud of your work. You try on your outfit and show your whole family what you have put together, and lay it out strategically in your bedroom for easy access on the first day of school.
The day is here. After so much struggle and strife, you feel confident, comfortable, and beautiful in your perfect outfit. It may not be as Hannah Montana-ish as you initially imagined, but you feel like yourself and for that you couldn't be happier. You're relieved that you don't have to worry about it anymore, and that the stress is lifted off your shoulders.
At least until next year.
Images: Melodi Erdogan