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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.

Red, Outerwear, Backpack, Bag, Sportswear, Sweater, Jacket, Jersey, Luggage and bags, Illustration,

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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