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9 Back to School Essentials

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

If you’ve got children or siblings, you know exactly what day it is today. It’s the first day of school and summer is kind of over! I have four younger siblings and three of them went back to school today. One’s continuing business school, another starting college for nursing, and the other continuing high school. As for me, I’m going back to school too – for web development – but not for another 20 days 😉

Nevertheless, I’m getting ready and – if you’re a student – you should too, with these 9 essentials.

Backpack / Laptop Bag

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

 

One of the things I don’t miss is carrying my life around in bags while I’m on campus 👿 Seriously, people would tell me that I look like a tourist. You don’t really have a place to store your stuff while you flit between classes so it’s important to have a good backpack to carry your laptop and other school essentials.

Before you buy a new backpack, make sure to check that it accommodates the size of your laptop. My MacBook Pro is 15″ so this Everlane one would fit it just fine. But, if you want to fit more things in your bag, make sure to check the bag’s dimensions too. This one’s a little bigger. Remember to consider quality too!

If you’re more into totes, I love this classic, quilted option from Kohl’s. Best part is it’s under $60! If your budget is bigger – say you’re well into your career or you’re actually going to work – I love this luxurious cognac briefcase investment piece. The rich material looking material makes a great impression 🙂

Planner

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

Aside from Google Calendar and Google Drive, a physical planner is a great way to stay organized. It’s functional, compact, and visually stimulating – which can be really motivating when you’re keeping track of your week. Like how cute workout clothes help to motivate people to exercise 😉

I love this sleek, white planner by Emily Ley. You’ve probably seen it on Instagram. I love the gold foil lettering. I also like Craftsposure’s blogging planner. She hasn’t come out with a 2017 version yet but, if you sign up for her mailing list, you’ll be the first to know. Check out her 2016 planner for an idea.

Phone Case

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

A simple way to update your back to school look is to give your phone a makeover. For the classic girl, try this cognac leather case for iPhone 6 by Madewell. If you’re looking for something different, I think Etsy is a great place to shop for unique items. I love this marble one and this geometric one. Super sleek.

Shoes

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

 

I think it’s important to be comfortable – whether you’re at a gala, work, home etc. That’s not to say I think you should look like a bum. A great marriage of the two is this Everlane street shoe. It’s a great take on the sneaker except elevated. It’s a sophisticated version of the sneaker without looking like it belongs in the gym or on a skateboard. Perfect for keeping your feet comfortable while walking around campus.

I also like this everyday shoe from Sanuk. They’re comfortable, like their slogan #NeverUncomfortable says. If you have wide feet, order a size up. I’m usually a 7 and 7 is a wee bit snug. The slate coloured ones I have are actually almost sold out – only size 5 left – but they have a cute rose version available too 🙂

Water Bottle

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

As hard as it is for me to stay hydrated, I think it’s important to try. Especially when you’re at work or school all day, getting enough water will help keep your body and your mind running in tip-top shape. At home, I carry a 1L bottle around but compact bottles that you can carry are this cute birchwood bottle by Swell or this stainless steel option. I love Swell’s designs and Contigo never fails to keep water cold.

Wallet / Clutch

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

Another simple way to upgrade your back to school look is to upgrade your money pouch. It would feel similar to upgrading your bag but a lot less expensive. Try Bellroy’s men’s style wallets if you’re into saving space. All of their products boast slimness even packed to the brim with cards and coins. You can also try this cute perforated one from Kate Spade or this handmade Dear Survivor wallet and clutch.

Laptop Case

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

For a long time, I was pretty anti-cases. I just liked products – namely my iPhone – in all its naked glory. But the better the item, the more you have to take care of it and that’s a good enough case for having a case 😉 The same applies to your laptop. If not for style, get one to keep it safely encased in padding. I like this faux leather one and this unique envelope style one from Etsy. Chic and portable protection.

Lunch Pail

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

Bringing a lunch to school is a great way to save money. It’s also a great way to make sure that you’re getting the nutrients you need by making meals from fresh groceries. Give your lunch pail some flare by considering this cute “Out To Lunch” pail by Kate Spade. For something inconspicuous, try this uptown lunch tote. Bring it around with you to school or work meetings and it won’t look out of place! 🙂

Signature Scent

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 9 back to school essentials including an Everlane's backpack and Kate Spade wallet.

Sometimes people underestimate the long-lasting impression you can make simply from the way that you smell. Upgrade your back to school style by switching up your signature scent.

Try Giorgio Armani’s new and light Air or Acqua scents or Chanel’s new L’eau. Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker and Daisy by Marc Jacobs are also great day scents to make a good impression with. If all else fails, go with a fresh long-lasting deodorant. I love that “fresh out of the shower” or “fresh out of the laundry” smell. Because, in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with smelling like you shower often. 😉

Final Thoughts

If it wasn’t for my course, I probably wouldn’t have considered this a valuable enough post to put up. But, this phase of my life reminded me that my second largest age group for readers is in school so it ended up working out. I really hope you found these options helpful if you’re still gearing up for the new semester!

Some last words: If you’re feeling stressed about getting all the essentials while under a budget, just make a list of what you absolutely need and just spend the most money where priority requires you to. For example, a sturdy yet chic backpack is going to go a long way for me. Can’t wait to lug around a laptop! 👿

 

What are your back to school essentials? Let me know in the comments!


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Featured image photographed by @dressupchowdown.

Other photos borrowed from their respective retailers.

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