BACK TO SCHOOL! New Back to School Clothes shopping was invented, I swear, to be the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down when September rolls around. It’s still warm, the days are still long, sunsets are particularly beautiful, hearts pound with the intense longing to remain outside, to continue to bathe in the perfume of cut grass, to lift one’s face to be blessed by warm yellow kisses from the sun, to listen to a symphony of cicadas with a mind completely clear and tuned only to the pleasurable, mindless chorus of the backyard. Yet back to school they must go, abandoning the holy freedom of summer and filing back to lines, order, routine, strictures, and standardized tests. Yet somehow, despite the sacrifice being made, back to school time is exciting. It always feels new, it always feels fresh; even if you spent the entire previous school year having gum thrown at your hair and sitting by yourself at lunch, you still get butterflies over the newness of the next grade up. The newness of a fresh box of pencils, a binder with a blank, doodle-free blank slate of a cover, the newness of a clean backpack emptied of residual paper scraps and wrappers, a new pair of shoes, and brand new clothes. Even if 90% of your closet consisted of hand-me-downs, there was always at least one brand-new outfit curated specifically for Back to School. A new pair of shoes, a sweater, a skirt, and if you were lucky, some kind of accessory. So tantalizing were these new accoutrements that the anticipation of breaking them in, reveling in and destroying their newness, surmounted any lingering dread or reluctance to end the summer. So beautifully new were your garments that you couldn’t restrain yourself from wearing them the very first day of school, all of them, flagrantly and with great dedication ignoring the stifling heat of early September, the environmental obviousness that summer was not, in fact, technically over, and keeping your cozy burgundy cardigan on all day simply for how much you loved it, a passionate and undeniable love that trounced the discomfort of being swaddled in a thick cable knit while cavorting on the playground in 90 degree weather with 30% humidity.
No more mandatory Back to School for grownups, but the good news is that grownups can also do pretty much whatever they want, whenever they want. Grownups can recognize the folly of ending summer with the arrival of September 1st and extend their summers by a month or more, as long as the sun keeps shining strongly enough to permit bare arms and bare legs. They can buy their own brand new box of pens (No more pencils. Pencils are for children. That graphite smear that ran along the the edge of your pinky down to the wrist on your dominant hand? It belongs in the past.) and fresh, blank notebooks. But the best part remains the best part: the clothes. Allow yourself a special pre-fall anticipatory shopping trip. Buy yourself the new fall sweater when it’s still warm out. Get the brand new shoes even if your feet haven’t grown in more than a decade, and if they happen to be the absolute perfectest Chelsea-style ankle boots anyone has ever seen, ever, in a rich, sophisticated navy blue suede, so much the better. Seek you out the skirt that combines a youthful, vibrant emerald green with a PhD in ass-sculpting and cling. Make it an outfit by throwing in a coordinating pair of patterned knee socks that scream of private school uniforms. Then challenge yourself to keep it all in your closet until the day you decide summer is over. Well, keep it in your home. Nothing is going to stop you from pulling it out and trying it on several times a week. Nothing is going to stop you.