Back to School on a Budget

Fashion Blogger Back to School Must Have Essentials List

Even though there’s a full three weeks left of summer, (I’m trying not to count, but does it really have to end? :( ) back to school season is in full swing. The stores are chalked full with a fresh shipment of sweaters, boots & booties, scarves, leggings, and heavy jackets. Here in So Cal the weather typically stays warm well into September, but there’s no harm in preparing for fall early!

I’m on a budget this year so all of the pieces I picked out are under $100, with the majority being under $40. Even as a stylist, I often fall into spending less money on something I’m not in love with rather than saving up to purchase one piece that I will really like and last. So don’t worry, you’re not alone! If we aren’t intentional about how much money we have to spend and what specific pieces we need, it can happen to the best of us. Now here is my list of must-haves for this fall: (btw, I’ve already purchased some of these, so stay tuned for some cute and layered fall outfits!)

1. ASOS petite skinny jeans // $40 – Did I mention how tired I am of buying regular fit jeans and that are always about 5 inches too long? I’ve been making a real effort to start shopping petite sizes so that my clothes will actually fit me instead of trying to fake it with roll-ups and tuck-unders or having to spend even more at the tailor. These classic black jeans are a year-round closet staple and the small rip gives it a little extra something.

2. Wet Seal blush flats // $12 – These nude flats are perfect to wear with anything from a cute dress and cardigan to a sweater and leggings. I’ve been searching for a pair of comfortable, basic flats and I think I’ve found the perfect ones for an amazing price!

3. Forever 21 lock crossbody // $23 – I’ve wanted this Chloé crossbody for a while now, but on this college budget I’m definitely not able to drop $2,000 on a handbag. In Their Closet wrote a great article listing similar alternatives at more reasonable prices- this one from Forever has a similar look but with a price tag I can actually afford!

4. H&M white tank top $10 – You can never go wrong with a simple white tank. Endless opportunities to style this with lightweight jackets, chunky sweaters, delicate vs. statement necklaces, etc.

5. Vince Camuto printed scarf $12 – For some reason, there aren’t too many scarves in my closet! I guess they’re not exactly a necessity when living in Southern California, but I feel like during the fall and winter they can really make an outfit look complete.

6. H&M army green lightweight jacket $40 – I have been on the hunt for a lightweight jacket that didn’t hit my kneecaps in length, so when I saw this one hanging in H&M I knew I had to have it. It hits the perfect length on more petite girls like me, but it was still had the oversized look if you are a bit taller.

7. Kendra Scott bangle set $90 – Ever since I got my Kendra ‘Elisa’ necklace from Rocksbox, I’ve been #wishlisting everything Kendra! Stacking bangles are so much fun because you can wear one standout piece or combine multiple bracelets on your arm party. I like that this set has three color options, especially since I like to mix up wearing gold and silver jewelry.

8. BCBGeneration leopard clutch $50 – Similar look to the Clare Vivier clutch I’ve been eyeing on all the top fashion blogs lately, but about $200 cheaper!

9. Rampage cognac gladiator sandals $30 – I found these babies on sale at Macy’s for only $13! Check the clearance rack at your nearby store to see if they have any left, you seriously can not beat this price. FYI, Rampage typically runs about a size larger (I’m normally a 6/6.5 and I had to get a size 5!)

Do you have a back to school budget this year? What other fall essentials are on your list?