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Then vs. Now: 10 Adult Fashion Buys for Back-to-School

Sneakers Mom picked out < Gazelles you, a grown woman buy yourself.

Aside from the vague hopefulness that stems from knowing you're one step closer to breaking outta there, creating a moodboard and shopping for a new year's aesthetic (just me?) has to be the only good bit about back-to-school. Ahead, 10 grownup fashion buys that replicate that feeling—without the eventual letdown when you realize some people took "never change" literally.

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Then: The most important decision of the season, to be agonized over for 12 minutes in the backpack aisle (until your mom gets exasperated, so you choke and get one with a lame cartoon character). Now: Buttery leather, a clean shape, and zero turtles trained in martial arts to be seen.

Mansur Gavriel, $795

BUY IT: openingceremony.com.


Then: "But I want the sweater with GREEN GLITTER, MOOOMMMMM." Now: You got it.

H&M, $50

BUY IT: hm.com.


Then: No heels until you're, like, 35. They'll affect your development. Now: Should've listened ("I want to be 5'10" like Cindy Crawford"), but it's too late now, so I'm wearing these monochromatic mules.

Finery, $145

BUY IT: finerylondon.com.


Then: New prescription, new owlish glasses. Now: Contacts and life through rose-colored Hello Kitty sunglasses.

Hello Kitty x Crap Eyewear, $76

BUY IT: crapeyewear.com.


Then: Probably something really cute, actually. Children's outerwear is so much nicer. Now: So go geriatric with a waxed trench. Menocore's where it's at.

Mango, $150

BUY IT: shop.mango.com.


Then: Hard plastic pencil case you poured Elmer's glue onto for bookmarks. Now: A zip-around wallet for carrying the *real* supplies (card, cash, ID, single-serve Wet Wipe in case of ribs). 

Cuyana, $110

BUY IT: cuyana.com.


Then: Adidas Gazelles but black. Now: Royal blue. 

Adidas, $90

BUY IT: barneys.com.


Then: The friendship bracelet Kristin wove for you at camp, even though three days after, she named Molly her new best friend. Now: Geometric drop earrings and a bit more maturity. (But still—f*ck you, Kristin.)  

Surface Handmade, $78

BUY IT: needsupply.com.


Then: Whatever jeans would fit you for the 2 seconds between growth spurts. Now: Silver trousers that'd get you roasted all the way to hell back then but mad compliments now.

Topshop, $100

BUY IT: us.topshop.com.


Then: Death before plain primary-colored notebooks. Now: Some things never change.

Paul Smith, $30

BUY IT: mrporter.com.

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