7 First Day Of School Outfits To Wear If You Find Yourself Being Able To Travel Back In Time

From the first grade to your last year in college, the importance of your first day of school outfit is comparable to a celebrity choosing what to wear on the red carpet at the year’s most important awards show. Just like those celebs whose photos will live forever, your first day outfit will do the same. On top of all of the nerves and butterflies about starting a new year, you’re stressing about what combination of clothing best expresses your individuality, which will make you feel confident and comfortable in your own skin.

I wish choosing said outfit was as easy as it sounds. When you factor in all the terrible situations that could happen on your first day (stepping in gum, misplacing your schedule, getting lost on campus), it’s nearly impossible to even think straight, let alone pick out the perfect outfit. While I only graduated college this year, I still have vivid memories — as early as kindergarten, to the start of my last semester in college — about the traumatic ensemble choosing ceremony the night before each and every first day of school. I would choose something that was terribly trendy (remember those scrunchy shirts) or super uncomfortable (skirts are never that cute when they ride up). Let’s just say, it made for some terrible first day of school photos.

If I could go back in time, however, my first day of school outfits would be a lot different. I would erase that velvet pair of gaucho pants from my memory and replace it with a nice pair of fitted blue jeans. And my (beloved) mickey mouse t-shirt? That would be exchanged for a crisp, linen button down blouse. I would choose classic pieces that would be comfortable, give me confidence, and stand the test of time. Oh, and make a good impression on my algebra teacher because we all know I’m failing that class anyways.

So, in an effort to reminiscence on first days of school, and to guide those of you who still have first days of school ahead, here are seven things you should wear on the first day of school if you ever find yourself being able to go back in time.

1. Your Favorite Jeans

You really can’t go wrong with a nice pair of jeans. When you think about school and needing comfort and stability to get through your packed schedule, jeans make a whole lot more sense than a pencil skirt or a pair of shorts. Jeans are a fool proof way of maintaining casual coolness while still having the option of dressing them up or down. Regardless of whether you pair them with a T-shirt or a more detailed or embellished blouse, jeans are a great foundation for displaying your personal style.

2. A Button Down

Just like a pair of jeans, it’s really tough to get a classic button down wrong. Choose one with a classic collar, and maybe even an elongated tunic silhouette, so you can wear it with a pair of fitted jeans, with leggings, tucked into a skirt, or even with a midi skirt. The key is to stick to a button down with a non distracting, minimalist design. Stripes, polka dots, or even subtle floral prints are great options.

Things to stay away from: Hawaiian prints (even though I know they’re perfect considering the season), neon colors, or any large, loud graphics. You want the focus to be on you on your first day back from summer break, not on an obnoxious top.

3. Leggings

No one can deny that comfort is extremely important on the first day of school, especially when you have no idea what extremely awkward ice breakers your teachers have planned that might involve stretching, running, and remembering every single persons’ name in the class all at once. Obviously leggings are a great idea.

Instead of styling leggings as you would your gym-wear, dress them up with a longer jacket and cool blouse. As you can see, I definitely went a little "punk cool" over prim and proper with a camouflage jacket and a ripped up T-shirt. But if it gets warm, you can shed your layers. Just keep a jacket on your person for those freezing cold lecture halls.

4. T-Shirt

While you can definitely choose the wrong T-shirt (remember that Mickey Mouse disaster?), it’s all about opting for one that you know will either make you laugh years later, or something you’ll still stand by as time passes. Obviously, my CELFIE shirt is a much-loved gem in my wardrobe. We all take selfies, and it’s an indication of my generational pride. What could be better for a first day of school?

Depending on whether you want to be playful with your outfit or stick to something more classic, a T-shirt is fool proof. If you’re a part of the former group, choose a fun graphic tee like mine (but let's keep the graphics G-rated, shall we?) and make sure it’s something you’ll look back on and love yourself for wearing. If you’re in the latter group, it might be best to choose a classic V-neck shirt, or even just a soft, heather grey scoop neck variety. Both are great choices for remaining comfortable and confident.

5. Jean Jacket

Honestly, blazers are way too stiff to concentrate in. Jean jackets give you the same smart look that blazers do, but with a little more ease and style. Plus, denim is a lot more breathable and comfortable than even the airiest and fluffiest blazer out there. Sure, blazers are a sure way to look professional and put together. In my opinion, however, they’re a little too much. No one wants to look like a frat guy rushing for Pi Kappa Phi on their first day back from summer.

A denim jacket, like my dark washed one pictured, gives you the essence of a formal third piece without being overwhelmingly fancy or too out of place. Plus, just like the leggings outfit before, you can easily take the jacket on and off when you feel like an ice cube in class or are melting in the sun when walking through the courtyard. The popped collar is optional.

6. (Chic) Sweatpants

Let’s be real here: If we could, we would all be wearing sweatpants everyday, everywhere. Unfortunately, the comfortable, soft, and heavenly clothing item isn't necessarily accepted as going-out-of-the-house-for-reasons-other-than-getting-Chipotle attire, and that includes school as well. While some of us might be braver than others and opt for the sweatpant look, I like being a little sly about it.

As much as I love the comfort of sweatpants, I don’t want to look like I just rolled out of bed (even if I did just roll out of bed). To avoid this look, I invested in a pair of tuxedo-inspired knit pants that have the air of trousers but the comfort and softness of my favorite sweatpants. Of course, they're not exactly the same thing (those sweatpants have magical powers, I’m telling you), but you will remain comfortable and look chic at the same time. Thought you’d never hear that, did you?

7. School Colors

Lastly, it’s always cool to show off some school pride. My college, the University of Tennessee, is epitomized by the colors orange and white. So, with the help of the Victoria’s Secret PINK college collections, and a pair of perfectly cropped white shorts, I put together this outfit. It doesn’t get much easier than wearing what your college already decided are the colors students should wear.

That is, until it’s time for finals, when you will never want to see those colors again.

Images: Melodi Erdogan