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Edmonton students take fashion-forward approach to back-to-school

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Edmonton students take fashion-forward approach to back-to-school

 A new school year brings new challenges, not the least of which is defining personal style on a budget. Here we profile five students who talk about what they plan to buy, what will survive from last year and how they’ll make it all work within their means. The students are current or alumni Cappies critics, which means they not only have to look good at school, but at the theatre, as well.


Bellerose Composite High School, Grade 12

Describe your look: Classic, vintage. I love the elegance of the 1920s to mid-century, with beautiful textures and design details.

Shopping destinations: Anthropologie and Simons

Fiscal reality: I try to shop on sale. Having my own job, I pay for it all myself, which makes me seriously consider what I buy.

Signature pieces: I like to feel put together. One piece of jewelry I always incorporate is a simple, dainty necklace from Tiffany’s that works with just about everything.

Back from last year: A pair of short, brown leather boots that I wore all of last year during colder months will definitely be making a reappearance this fall.

Fashion essentials: Scarves definitely get me through the week. They add interest and warmth.

This year’s splurge: I am on the hunt for the perfect chunky sweater. Something in a warm, fall colour.

Fashion muse: Audrey Hepburn’s look from the ‘50s and ‘60s, as well as the wonderful costuming from the TV drama, Call The Midwife, set in the late 1950s. Monthly Anthropologie catalogues and Pinterest are sources of limitless fashion ideas.

Julia Stanski wears Toms from Red Ribbon and a lace dress from Macy’s.

photo: formal dresses


Archbishop MacDonald High School, Grade: 12

Describe your look: Simple, classic.

Shopping destinations: Simons, Old Navy, Aeropostale, Winners, Bluenotes.

Fiscal realities: I don’t pay for my own clothing because I don’t buy very much, only necessities.

Signature pieces: I don’t follow trends. I wear a lot of skirts and dresses, anything I can move in comfortably, and I like florals and colour. My favourite accessory is a Storiarts infinity scarf, with a passage on it from Jane Eyre.

Back from last year: American Eagle gold sandals.

Fashion essentials: Jeans and cardigans during the winter, and skirts and tank tops when it’s warmer.

This year’s splurge: Looking for a cute pair of flats.

Fashion muse: My sister or my friends.


The King’s University, first year

Describe your look: My style is not having a style. I’m into skinny jeans and a fitted T-shirt most days, but I love pastel dresses and pattern skirts. I adore lace.

Shopping destinations: I find if you stick to one store or brand it closes off opportunities for new things to craft a personal style. Boutiques are great for statement pieces, but chain stores are good for consistency.

Fiscal realities: I have a strict $200 budget. That’s plenty. It’s about how smart you shop. My mom helps me a lot with clothes for back to school, so I can spend my money elsewhere.

Signature pieces: I don’t follow trends. My style reflects what’s important to me. I have shoes signed by all my friends, animal-themed necklaces, and shirts with important messages. You have to pick out items that reflect who you are, to set you apart.

Back from last year: Skinny jeans. I find leggings uncomfortable for sitting at a desk all day. I’m picky with my jeans, so they always fit me comfortably no matter what I’m doing.

Fashion essentials: A comfortable bag. I had a canvas messenger bag with an octopus print last year, and it gave me comfort and style. No one had anything like it and the fabric was great to manage. You need something fun to carry around.

This year’s splurge: New shoes and a messenger bag.

Fashion muse: I love music and play the saxophone, so it’s exciting to find themed shirts and jewelry to express that passion.


Holy Trinity Catholic High School, Grade 12

Describe your look: Straightforward and simple. Sticking to the basics ensures that I will always be in style.

Shopping destinations: Winners for discounted prices and various brands all under one roof. For flannel shirts, Gap is my definite first stop. Marks for shoes.

Fiscal realities: I strive to always see what store has the best deal, so I never leave my wallet empty.

Signature pieces: With Edmonton being a winter city I love sweaters. I can almost always be seen wearing either a hooded or pullover sweater.

Back from last year: Last year I bought a taupe cardigan from H & M. The light colour makes it easy to match with blue jeans and any darker V-neck shirt underneath. This one cardigan offers endless combinations with pants or shirts for a fresh look every time.

Fashion essentials: Hoodies are the most functional piece of clothing out there. Quick to throw on, they keep you warm.

This year’s splurge: Finding a backpack that is the right shade and size is always the hardest part of back-to-school shopping. You can’t have too many pockets.

Fashion muse: I never have thought of anyone as a fashion influence. Instead, I see what the stores have to offer each season and check for the ideal price.


NAIT, first year

Describe your look: Business-casual.

Shopping destinations: Dynamite, Aritzia, and a new favourite is a store in St. Albert called Monjeloco Jeans.

Fiscal realities: I pay for the majority of clothes myself, and try to budget for the new school year.

Signature pieces: Abundance of jackets, cardigans, and pullovers set my style apart.

Back from last year: An oversized sweater from my boyfriend.

Fashion essentials: A pair of comfy jeans and a baggy shirt or sweater, with flats.

This year’s splurge: I just bought a few jeans from Monjeloco that were my special treat to myself.

Fashion muse: My style is fairly unique, although I get quite a bit of fashion advice from my boyfriend.


For back-to-school fashion this year, the biggest news is old news, with the return of denim, which briefly stood in the wings last year as athleisure took the spotlight. Pair these with the season’s favourite topper, an oversized, nubby sweater, or lacy blouse (for her) and a graphic tee or Oxford shirt and tie (for him).

Skinny jeans remain popular, but wide-leg denims are on the rise, as are waistlines. The mid-top (rather than low or high-top) sneaker takes the supporting role.

read more: white formal dresses

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