As a kid, I always found back-to-school time to be kind of exciting. Sure, it meant the lazy days of summer were coming to an end, but it also represented a time for fresh starts and getting to see friends every day. And - best of all, of course - there was the annual back-to-school shopping ritual.
The beginning of the academic year was the one time I knew I could expect a couple of fresh outfits, new school supplies, and a new pair of shoes or two. Combing the racks at the mall and stocking up on notebooks, pencils, and Trapper Keepers became a cherished tradition. Even now in adulthood, I still feel that familiar itch tingling around late summer. If you're like me and looking for a little nostalgic hit of retail-induced serotonin, look no further. Here are my favorite things for grown-ups that scratch that back-to-school itch.
Plum Paper planners are a dream come true for productivity enthusiasts. Everything about them is fully customizable, from the size of the paper to the page layout to the cover design. You can even choose the start month! Additional pages for wellness tracking, menu planning, and budgeting allow you to keep every aspect of your day organized in one easy-to-reference place.
The Boogie Board digital notebook is a 21st century update on a classic back-to-school basic. Use the stylus to take notes or annotate documents on the semi-transparent surface, then scan with your smartphone to save, share, and markup. You'll never have to leaf through paper notebooks again. Plus, it's compatible with Google Drive, OneNote, Evernote, and Dropbox!
Whether you're in the middle of a big, stressful project at work or taking a test for a night class, it's always nice to be reminded to cut yourself a little slack. These pencils are such a fun addition to your stationery collection. It's a set of six in pretty lavender pink, gold foil stamped with the phrase "I'm Doing My Best, Okay?"
This Etsy creator, Texas-based teacher Brittny Nguyen, also has a bunch of other cute slogan pencils and things in her shop, so be sure to check them out!
For the ultimate in school days nostalgia, Pink Pearl erasers from Paper Mate are second to none. I can smell them even as I type this. These latex-free, smudge-resistant erasers are perfect for removing pencil marks without tearing paper. And the pack of three will definitely last you all year long and beyond.
Chances are, whatever random ballpoints you have lying around the house or office are running dry, so treat yourself to some brand new pens this fall. You won't regret it. The G2 gel rollers from Pilot are my go-tos. They write beautifully on any kind of paper and the ink is quick-drying, long-lasting, and fade-resistant.
I find the 0.7 mm fine point tip to be the perfect size for jotting down notes, and the ergonomic grip makes it way more comfortable to hold for long periods.
If you were the type of student who pretended to do their homework with a feather quill, this is the pen for you. Kaweco is the industry leader in affordable fountain pens and the brand has built a dedicated following of folks who take their writing implements seriously.
This model is designed to fit in the pocket and features a fine tip nub that, according to one Amazon reviewer, "writes smooth as butter." The screw-top cap prevents leaks, and it comes with one handy refill cartridge.
For those who prefer to make their planning a part of the decor, the Susan Wall Organizer from 1Thrive is as aesthetically pleasing as it is helpful. This system includes a large magnetic whiteboard coated in 1Thrive's signature matte finish, a small corkboard, a brushed gold magnetic file holder, a magnetic header strip, two brushed gold metal cups, a small magnetic to-do board, two 1Write liquid chalk markers, and all the hardware needed for hanging!
My favorite memory of back-to-school shopping involves a pair of knee high semi-platform boots I somehow convinced my mom to buy for me. They were very Ginger Spice, and I loved them until the soles literally fell off.
These days, my style is a little more preppy, so my pick for new kicks are these lug-soled loafer mules from Madewell. Constructed from high-quality leather and featuring a substantial block heel and horsebit style hardware, these shoes are sturdy, comfortable, and destined to become a staple in your closet.
This chic tote from Nubily is the Grown Lady version of the store-everything backpack you remember from your youth. Thoughtfully designed with seven roomy compartments, you'll be able to fit practically your whole life in this thing and still look good doing it. Fill it with books, notebooks, a tablet, a laptop, headphones... whatever you need throughout the day will be at arm's length.
The shell is made of a water-resistant, scratch-resistant PU leather, and the inside is ultra-strong nylon. It features a shoulder strap and carrying handles (both adjustable), and the two zipper closures keep your belongings safe and secure. In other words: it's the perfect catch-all!
Spending hours a day in front of a screen isn't great for your eyes. Luckily, there are cute accessories to the rescue! These so-nerdy-they're-cool blue light blocking glasses from Sojos are proven to reduce eye strain as you work through back-to-back Zoom meetings and endless Excel spreadsheets.
The lightweight metal frames are surprisingly durable, and the silicone nose pads ensure they stay on your face all day. Plus, included in the package is a microfiber cleaning cloth, microfiber storage pouch, blue light test torch and card, and a helpful glasses repair kit!
If back-to-school season had an official pattern, it would be plaid. I love this oversized blazer from LookBookStore. It's a universally-flattering silhouette that looks chic whether you wear it to the office or toss it over a t-shirt and jeans for running errands. This jacket features a crisp double-breasted design, two-notch lapel, and two functional front flap pockets.
Pickleball may be all the rage these days, but I remember it as a beloved gym class quasi-sport. This preppy cotton dad hat will keep the sun out of your eyes while on the court and tame bad hair days off. And the adjustable strap in the back ensures a perfect fit every time. Game, set, match.
The aptly named Nostalgia Lunch Companion by Igloo is the ideal bag for toting your midday meal in straight-from-the-locker style (no need to remember your combination.) It features an adjustable shoulder strap, extra large interior capacity, and a fully insulated design that will keep your food and beverages cool for hours. The front pocket can easily hold wet wipes, napkins, condiment packets, or utensils.
The Great Courses is an educational library for the lifelong learner. Whether you're interested in learning a new language, diving deep into history, or brushing up on your creative writing skills, this incredible site offers lectures and class materials for hundreds of subjects taught by the world's foremost experts. No homework, no tests, just the pure pleasure of satisfying your intellectual curiosity.
Download the app for iPhone or Android devices or access your courses via the desktop interface. The best part of all is one purchase gives you access to that content for life. Knowledge is power!