Ever since a group of Shermer, Illinois students branded themselves as "a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal," it's become practically an academic rite of passage to supplement reading, writing, and 'rithmetic with social studies in the ranks of one clique or another. Luckily, every back-to-school season provides another opportunity for personal reinvention, so we pieced together a series of outfits -- inspired by our favorite small-screen sirens, of course -- that might suit you as you head into another school year, no matter who you want to be.
Back-to-School Style File: The Artist
See: Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), Vanessa Abrams (Jessica Szohr), Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen), Jane Lane
Right off the bat, the artistic soul claims plenty of leeway to experiment with her look. Whereas a queen-bee type prefers YSL to any sort of DIY, The Artist, inevitably perceived by her peers as sort of "out there," can really let loose and try on anything this season, whether it's Jenny Humphrey's body-conscious minimalism, Vanessa Abrams' print-on-print-on-print layering, or Aria's habit of channeling a new character with every outfit she assembles. With ‘90s fashion sweeping down the runways, it’s a great time for any sartorial sprite to give the grunge look a go, much like we did in the outfit we pieced together below. We can totally see Jenny Humphrey rocking it on a particularly chilly (read: too cold for her usual skimpy getups) day, eye rolls and all. With a hearty helping of layers and wintry prints, your first instinct may be to go with artfully mussed bedhead and a careful raccoon eye, but switch things up like a true creative and try an updated rockabilly look instead: slick ponytail with bangs swept up into a mini pompadour, subtle cat eye, and matte crimson lips -- rock on!
- Start with a tee that clues everyone into your affinity for obscure foreign films. Topshop Boutique Slogan Tee, $56.
- Flannel shirts, the uniform of the grunge scene, become fresh again in the form of a slim-fit vest. Topshop Green Sleeveless Check Shirt, $55.
- These jeans will look even better with a couple of well-worn rips in them after they become a staple in your wardrobe. River Island Skinny High Waist Jeans, $72.
- Tote your things in a bag that marries form and function perfectly. Fjallraven Vintage 13L Backpack, $99.
- When it gets a bit chillier, layer an oversized cardigan over your look (Ecote Intarsia Open Cardigan, $79) that plays off of the colorful socks (H&M Knee Socks, $9.74) peeking out of your rough-and-tumble boots (ASOS Aldis Hiking Ankle Boot, $78).
Tips for the Frugal Fashionista Artist:
You don’t let convention rein you in when you’re making art, so why toe the line when it comes to makeup? Color outside of those lines and let products like Tarte’s Natural Cheek Stain do double duty as a lip color.
When trying to set yourself apart from the mainstream masses, you’ll quickly find that vintage is a girl’s best friend. Sign up for email newsletters from vintage e-boutiques like Ramona West and Spanish Moss to find the best discounts on one-of-a-kind goods to assemble your one-of-a-kind style profile.
If you come across a piece of clothing that your DIY skills can’t improve, take it to a tailor to get a custom-made piece on the cheap.