If you only get one chance to make a first impression, among the biggest is on the first day of school. It’s the time to show off all your summer style wins, from that sweet jacket you got at your local thrift store to the cute shoes you found right here, right now. Of course, you have to look great the whole year, and these shoes will last through all the months, all the moods and all the homework.
When you want to look good and feel even better:
Benson D’Orsay Flats
Available in black, burgundy or a pale pink, these are the flats to pair with favorite outfits on the toughest days (or the easiest days, too— why not?). With a pointed toe and slipper-esque detailing, they’re guaranteed to make an outfit professional, adding a preppy touch that’s right at home on campus. The ankle strap keeps your foot from flopping around, while the low cut on the sides keeps things easy and breezy—wear sock-free or with tights.
Coty Kitten Heels
Respect the power of the kitten heel: It gives you just the right amount of height while still being comfortable, and clocking in at under 3 inches tall, the heel satisfies some of the strictest dress codes. This pair is especially appealing, thanks to its trendy animal print pattern—snake is light enough to be a new neutral, while the black-and-cheetah ones are a ’90s nod that everyone appreciates. Wear with pink on Wednesdays.
When you want to dress like a hype beast…
FILA UO Exclusive Disruptor 2 Sock Mesh Sneaker
Available in a lavender or in a bright lime green, these mesh sneaker’s tick all the style boxes, putting any old white pair to shame. Of course, like all popular kicks, they still are a clean white, but the best is in the details. The mesh overlay, neon colors, sock lining and chunky sole are what everyone is going to see, which makes it even more convenient that those are all next season’s trends: Get these to get ahead of the game.
Sketchers UO Exclusive D’Lites 3 Sneaker
White, nude, and—is that iridescence?You know it. Only the hottest shoes are coming from Skechers now, a brand that’s got the perfect dose of irony to suit today’s styles. Their thickness looks best when paired with something light and small (think mini skirts, if you dare, or a breezy dress); in other words, this is a time when contradiction actually works.
When you want a go-to shoe…
Sperry Seaport Penny Loafer
Few shoes are more classic than Sperrys, but this loafer upgrades its famous boat shoe and turns it into something polished and structured. Offered in a range of versatile colors (black, burgundy and a crocodile-print pink to name a few), this is a pair you can throw on regardless of what your day has in store—but especially on days of stormy weather or lots and lots of walking, thanks to their reliable traction and comfortable insole.
Nike Air Force 1 ’07 QS Sneaker
They may seem understated, but these gingham low-rise sneakers will be making all the statements once you have them on. The platform sole will skate by unnoticed, giving you secret height—and speaking of skating, these Nikes would look great on a skateboard, or near a skateboard, or just looking like they could be doing either of those things. They’re going to age well too, because whatever dirt you get on them will give you the old school grunge that’s all the rage right now.