Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Smells Like Tween Spirit

When jcpenney contacted me about doing a back-to-school-themed post, I jumped at the chance. It's been years since I've had a first day back, but the bookworm in me still gets excited every August.

Top: Courtesy of jcpenney // Shirt as skirt: Thrifted, $1 // Shoes: Dolce Vita via Gilt, purchased with credit // Ring: jcpenney, $10

The challenge was simple: create an outfit inspired by a school picture from childhood. While I couldn't find any first day photos, I did find a relic from picture day, which was just as important an occasion.


 This gem dates back to 1994. As you can see, I was going through my grunge phase at the time. Just look at that flannel! I would have made a good little second-grade Seattleite.  


While shopping, this gorgeous yellow number was the first thing to catch my eye. I reminded myself to focus! This top bore no resemblance to my inspiration. Then... a lightbulb! It dawned on me how cool this pattern would look paired with red plaid. The only trouble was, I don't have any plaid skirts. Then I remembered a post on the Concrete Catwalk awhile back in which Jessie fashions a button-up shirt into a skirt, so I gave it a shot. Paired with some strappy black sandals (the next best thing to combat boots), I thought this look captured the rebellious spirit of my bygone style while still looking grown-up.


Tell me about your best (or worst) back-to-school look in the comments section of this post for a chance to win a $50 gift card from jcpenney! Open to US residents only. Entries will be accepted through Wednesday, August 31st at noon central time.

41 comments:

K said...

Oh man...I can see the picture in my head. There I am in a white tee, with a giant mens green flannel as a sort of cardigan over it. Huge baggy jeans with holes in the knees (probably cut by hand, not in battle field of playgrounds with my roller blades or bike), and giant white platform sneakers. I thought I was the coolest kid. I'm pretty sure I was wearing one of those elastic black choker necklaces too. Classy lady, always.

Santina said...

I love this mix of prints, and that skirt totally reminds me of the days of tying a shirt around my waist...you know, every day!

Your hair looks so glamourous!

Piper Alexander said...

Love this outfit, and I love JCP! Hmm... first day outfit... I seem to remember wearing a backless linen top & bell bottoms. Could have been 1st day of school, could have been any day at school, but we'll go with 1st day!

Nikki said...

Oh I love this look! The top is SO pretty :) and that school photo is SO cute ^^ x

Rae Veda said...

I love how you used a shirt as a skirt. So original. I may have to try that sometime.

xo, rv

http://aneclecticheap.blogspot.com/

Courtney H. said...

I'd have to say my 2 worst picture day outfits occurred in 5th grade (green corduroy Winnie the Pooh overalls) and 6th grade (faded black Levi's carpenter jeans and a Nike basketball t-shirt that read 'I'm the Queen of this court, Jack').

Ugh, what was I thinking? Or better, what was my mom thinking?

Jana Lee said...

My worst back to school out fit was a dress that came with a matching scrunchy headband with a huge bow on it. The print was huge hawaiian floral in bright pink, green, and yellow. It looked like I stole someone's curtains out of their hawaiian beach house to use as fabric, in the 80's. Horrible!

Hannah said...

My very first day of Kindergarten I dressed in all purple- Purple shorts, tee shirt, vest (90's!), socks, and tennies. I love the picture we have from that day. So cute!


Also, I love how you can pull off the shirt-as-skirt trick. Looks great!

dotty said...

your hair is killlller like this. it's the perfect mix of lady-ness with the plaid!

Little Gray Pixel said...

Oy, you're making me feel old. I'm pretty sure I had that same flannel, but I was in high school at the time. Ack!

Meghan said...

One grade school year I thought it would be fun to color a section of my (blonde) bangs with a hot pink hilighter... and baggy purple leggings under a denim skirt...

Lisa said...

I was always a t-shirt and jeans girl growing up. I think the worst back to school look for me though was actually my hair — the year I discovered the blowdryer but not the diffuser was not ok with my curly hair.

Style Sud-Est said...

I really really like this combo so fab - Ariane

Sarah O. said...

My worst photo look was my 1st grade photos. I had on a cute purple dress with a Popsicle necklace, but the school decided to send us out to recess immediately before our photos were taken- and THEN they gave us our combs to fix our hair. So my hair was all messy and sticking up and my eyes were squinted in my school picture and in the yearbook.

Emily said...

Well, the outfit that comes to mind isn't technically a first day ensemble... but since you cheated I think I will too. :)
Every Friday at my middle school if you wore orange and black you were entered into a raffle, which was drawn at the monthly school assembly. Not being a loyal Tiger, but just a kid who never won anything, I would try to come up with outfits that weren't obviously Tiger-themed, but just point out the smidges of color to my homeroom teacher. Anyway, my go-to Raffle Friday outfit?
A short-sleeve, crew-neck, ankle-length, Lycra, orange&hot pink&lime green tiny flower print dress with black foamy platform sandals.
I wish I had been in to grunge....

Molly said...

As a freshmen in high school, for some reason it was really cool to buckle your belt on the side and wear a brightly colored one with a billion holes. All I remember is feeling so trendy on my first day as I buckled my belt on my hip. At that time I also wore glasses and had braces...I am so glad that extreme awkwardness has been left (mainly) in the past. :)

Laine said...

My mom has a first day of school picture of my sister and me, and we're wearing matching dresses, made by my aunt. They were sweatshirt tops, and bandana printed skirts, and we're both wearing cowboy boots, and HUGE bows. Classy!

Wendy said...

My worst back to school outfit had to be for 5th grade, circa 1998. I honestly don't remember what top I wore... The pants were bell bottom jeans from Walmart's Jordache line that had black/white racer stripes down the sides. I wore PLATFORM Keds-like white tennies from Walmart as well. I was superhot stuffs.

Love your grown up look! :)

Bianca said...

wow! I don't usually shop jcp that yellow shirt is fabulous! And such a good price!

I remember vividly that for one of my first days I wore a black spandex shiny baby tee with sunflowers all over it. Then, to top it off, I added clip-on earring that were big fake sunflowers... Actually, you know what? I think it was kinda fabulous for an elementary school kid :)

Learning said...

I love that top!

JennaStevie said...

This is the most genius thing ever!! A flannel top as a skirt?! I feel like my world was just rocked haha. It looks great with that top. The picture of you is so cute, I love your little grunge phase
xJennaD

Katie said...

My best back to school outfit was an adorable purple dress that my grandma made. It even had smocking on the front and princess puffy-ish sleeves. I LOVED IT. I had my preschool photos taken in the dress and had my mom give me cute little curls in my hair. :)
fashionfrugality at gmail.com

Valerie said...

Back when B.U.M Equipment was big, I wore one of those shirts for school picture day. In the picture, it was cropped so that all you could see was B.U.M.

Elaine said...

I remember wearing a matching top and bottom set with clowns on it. It was awesomely scary.

em²ile² said...

Until my junior year in highschool I attended a private school with very stiff plaid uniforms, so every back-to-school outfit was, in a word, uniform. Having been freed from the plaid jumper and peter pan collar blouse, I spent my final two school years at the uber-casual end of the spectrum--primarily in velour track suits. Gross!

Mallory said...

There is a photo that exists somewhere in this world….first day of fifth grade….
acid wash overalls with only one buckle done, a green tshirt with the sleeves that folded up to reveal purple, some brand new adidas kicks, and the perm that my mom made me get every year. But in this photo, the flash made my perm’s shadow huge. FROTASTIC.
I’m much better now, I swear….

Chandra said...

First day of kindergarten I wore the best Little House on the Prairie inspired dress. It was blue and white gingham and too big. I still have the picture of myself standing front of the tree in the front yard.

Briony said...

I remember seeing a fashion blog post last year about Michelle Obama wearing a blue floral print dress and jelly shoes. My first thought was, ahh...jelly shoes, how much I loved them as a kid (well, except when they got rocks stuck in the heels). Then I remembered that my first day of kindergarten outfit, chosen by myself was...a blue floral print dress and jelly shoes! (And Katy, you have such a pretty smile, we should see more of it!)

Samantha Manzella said...

I had a pretty serious obsession with cats and animals in general growing up, so, as you may imagine, there was many an animal-printed sweater in my school photos. And I kind of still love animal printed clothes, not gonna lie. :)

ccristobal said...

With the new school year in full swing, I’m pretty upset that I won’t ever have to choose a “first day of school” outfit ever again. One of the many pitfalls of graduating college. Anyway, this is how my mother dressed me on my first day of Kindergarten: Polka dots, horizontal stripes, pink trim, and a pink quilted backpack shaped as a doll. I still can’t decide if this is the best (blackmail material) or worst (outfit) my mother has dressed me in.

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqib8bCGpE1qaqxl2o1_400.jpg

american girl said...

I used to wear the same dress for the first day of school every year from first to fifth grades. my mother had made it for me - it was a pink and green plaid [think Easter colors] with panel of smocked flowers over the chest. very girly.

as much as I loved that dress, I'm pretty glad I no longer dress like that.

AfternoonAbbey said...

Thanks for the amazing inspiration on this blog.

My worst school picture was probably 1st grade. My mom was a teacher and could be there to help my sister and I get ready...Let me put it into a some key terms here: Permed, mullet, teased, missing teeth, and wrinkled shirt. I think I managed to destroy all of them, but my mom may be hiding a copy for my children to mock me one day.

Lovers, Saints & Sailors said...

Yup, love it. I have so many flannelette shirts - definitely gonna try wearing them as skirts!

Grace M said...

My best back to school attire, though never captured on film (thank God), consisted of black pants, a bright pink striped sweater and yellow canvas hi-tops. I remember literally crying about this outfit since I didn't like the hi-tops at the time, but I'd wear those now if they'd fit! So, it was more of a best outfit in hindsight.

Holly Marie said...

Man, I had a lot of terrible back-to-school outfits. Terribly awesome. I remember in second grade I thought school uniforms were cool (probably because my school didn't have them), so my mom bought me one anyway. First day of second grade: white button up, plaid uniform jumper, lacy ankle socks, saddle shoes, and a headband with a huge red bow.

Leah Harrison said...

Back to school outfits are always the best! I used to agonize over my outfit for weeks. I think my best outfit was in 9th grade when I was really into the 60's/70's hippy look (this was in 2003!). I wore these patchwork jeans that literally had patches sewn all over. Then I wore this billowy brown peasant top and boots. I had my hair flipped out, Farrah Fawcett style! I loved that outfit.

Colleen @ Mommy Panda said...

In 4th grade, I wore an over sized shirt that had two bears eating cookies on it and said "In the cookies of life, good friends are the chocolate chips!" with yellow leggings, white high tops, and treasure troll earrings that had green hair. Clearly, I was awesome.

retrokitty [at] gmail [dot] com

T @ The Happy Clipper said...

Hmmm....I'm seeing myself in skin tight knee length olive green striped shorts with a matching t-shirt and white tennis shoes and big bangs! Awful to think about now, but I was in style back then :)
tara.huff(at)gmail(dot)com

Jamie Rose said...

I love the plaid shirt inspiration you drew from your school picture. Cool way to wear a plaid shirt as a skirt. The two patterns look really neat together. I especially love that ring you're wearing though!

jessie @ the concrete catwalk said...

yay! love your take on the tied shirt-as-skirt look! :) XOXO

Rebecca H. said...

First day outfit that was best at the time and worst in retrospect - my first day of kindergarten, I wore a pink shirt with matching pink and green striped leggings. Paired with my LA Gear light up tennies, I probably thought I was the coolest kid in school!

Love the plaid shirt as a skirt. I may have to try this!