By Diana Elbasha > Junior> Journalism > University of Maryland, College Park
The recent sunny-skied months have meant flaunting sundresses, bikini bodies and the most creative of summer accessories. Those days have unfortunately reached their end, placing the “back-to-school” era upon us and sunglasses and beach bags back into the depths of closets. But the blandness of the classroom doesn’t have to—and shouldn’t—reflect your wardrobe. Here’s what you need to know about how to amplify your look this semester with two of fall’s most essential items: handbags and boots.
The key to campus wear is mastering the difficult combination of two factors: comfort and style.
Take the universally-popular leggings and boots look, a definite example of said mastery. The lightness of solid leggings and comfort of bare feet sunken into the softest of furs makes fall prime time for breaking out the between-season-friendly ensemble. To get the most out of this look, contrast black leggings with a dress and long, chestnut- or sand-colored Uggs.
While these boots’ sheepskin interiors make them a popular choice for cold weather, they’re not to be worn in snow as exposure to precipitation can damage their quality. Keep these boots as a complement to primarily fall, and not winter, style. For a large selection of stylish, weather-friendly boots, try Charlotte Russe. Kristen Rolphs, a sales associate at the popular ladies’ store, recommended the brand’s 3-in-1 boots for versatility in style. They are foldable into three lengths—ankle, mid-calf, and knee—and look best worn over skinny jeans, she said.
Fashion Design student at Virginia Commonwealth University Leann Ahlskog took me through the aisles of Department Shoe Warehouse, where she works part-time, pointing out suggestions for the perfect fall boot: low-heeeled boots, she described, offer a balance between sophistication of heels and practicality of a walkable shoe.
But what’s on your feet offers only a fraction of fall fashion.
When it comes to handbags, the obvious standard is to have something large and durable enough to withstand books and an occasional laptop. “The last thing you want is your textbooks to tear right through your bag,” said Penn State student Kayla Marciniszyn. “I’ve had that happen before.”
Go for deep, vibrant, and more sophisticated looks this season; approach solids with minor, but significant details. Global style and shopping advisor Refinery29 says to look out for “splashes” of metals, zippers, and other standout hardware, giving the school-friendly simplicity of your handbag a bit of pizzazz.
Try Steve Madden’s ruffle tote, available in black or silver. A durable, square handbag laced with ruffles and rhinestones, this chic tote embodies “pizzazz.
Ahlskog said chains, buckles, and other metals satisfy this standard: Urban Outfitters’ Deena & Ozzy Chain tote is beautiful, as well as Forever21’s and Aldo’s selection of studded and chain-handled totes, definite show-stoppers this season.
But don’t overlook simplicity: simple, traditional styles are always a classy selection. Be daring and choose these bags in unordinary shades—Coach’s Julia Leather Op-Art tote in green, for example, or Longchamp’s Le Pliage large tote in Bilberry, a deep violet. In both brand and color, those two bags, though simple and common, scream sophistication.