Man Repeller wears their first day of school outfits
Behold: Team Man Repeller’s “First Day of School” Outfits
09.24.18

Ah, yes, the infamous FDSO — or “First Day of School Outfit,” for the uninitiated. Right in line with purchasing the right binder and getting a post-summer haircut, determining what I would wear on my first day of school was an endeavor equal parts thrilling and anxiety-inducing. I remember some outfits better than others, but I know all of them were fraught with careful consideration, inextricably tied to the concept of a fresh start and, therefore, a fresh self. And who’s to say that concept becomes obsolete after graduating? In my experience it doesn’t at all, which is why Team Man Repeller decided to harness that mindset and get dressed in our would-be First Day of School Outfits as adults. Scroll down to see the results, and tell us what you would wear on your first day of school in the comments.

1. Leandra “Most Likely to Solve Crime at a Garden Party” Medine

Why this outfit?

When I was in school, I distinctly recall spending time over the last week of summer break thinking about what I would wear on the first day back, and while I can’t actually remember any of the de facto outfits that I did wear, I do remember that I used to try to strike a balance that connoted a sense of respect for the season that had yet to leave (summer) but eager anticipation for the unknown that fall held. This probably manifested in chunky velvet sandals + turtlenecks (sounds great now), or short sleeve, lightweight polos with boots.

In an attempt to recreate this sentiment, the outfit I chose to wear did all the things a “first day of school” outfit is supposed to do in terms of marrying two seasons (see: leather trench, summer dress). Separately, though, I was also really excited to wear it. And perhaps most importantly, like any good outfit that you overthink, I left home feeling like The Shit but ended the day feeling confident that I would never wear it again (the dress was a little too long for the boots; I wanted a bigger sliver of lower leg to show, and the jacket turned out to be too important a part of the look and I didn’t take it off, which made navigating a keyboard/desk less seamless).

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school?

I don’t remember any of the outfits per se (as mentioned above), but do remember that I spent a week overthinking them! So it was rare that I ended up feeling committed to the looks after the fact. If I have learned one thing about me and my style, it’s that we are at our best when we don’t overthink it.

2. Nora “Most Likely to Get Peer Pressured” Taylor

Why this outfit?

I did not intend to participate in this shoot, but once the team peer pressured me into participating, I developed the persona of a slightly annoyed art school kid who just wants to be included. When I was getting dressed this morning, it was entirely based on me wanting to wear this new beanie.

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school?

My senior year, I wore an all-orange outfit with one of those very 2004 ruffled skirts. I made everyone cupcakes and brought them in a giant shoe box. I remember walking through the front door as someone held it for me thinking, “This is my year.”

3. Emma “Most Likely to Live Her Truth” Bracy

Why this outfit?

I was never that into Dragon Ball-Z, but apparently I’m really into Dragon Ball-Z merch. This T-shirt really brings me back to the days of me watching my brothers, who were probably watching this cartoon. I was in high school. Clearly I chose this shirt because of its roundabout connection to my youth — “youths have first days of school” was my actual line of thinking. I was really into coordinating but also trying to be edgy back then (really, what’s changed?), so the blue army pants were a natural choice, considering the navy-ness (color, not military branch) of the top. I feel like a big kid in this outfit, which is basically just me living my truth.

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school? 

I have zero fond memories of “first day of school” outfits. In fact, I can only remember one, and it was shitty. I’d rather not re-live.

4. Patty “Most Likely to Break the Dress Code” Carnevale

Creatures of Comfort skirt — similar here, Gossamer x Veda T-shirt (all proceeds go to the Women’s Prison Association!), Sam Edelman slingback shoes, Trademark bag, Witchery sunglasses

Why this outfit?

This outfit makes me feel ready, which is very much in tune with my “first day of school” mindset. It’s breezy and super comfortable, but my shirt is tucked, my shoes have kitten heels, and this little pouch is big enough for both snacks and pens so COME AT ME WORLD.

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school? 

My first day of senior year in high school, I wore a plaid mini skirt from Abercrombie & Fitch that was the EXACT same sunrise-y color scheme as this Creatures of Comfort floral wrap skirt. And pink flip flops, although they were technically against the dress code. Daring.

5. Simedar “Most Likely to Have Nightmares About Low-Rise Jeans” Jackson

Why this outfit?

This outfit is definitely a cooler version of what I wore circa 8th grade when I went to Warped Tour and listened to We the Kings. With a few minor tweaks (i.e., if the T-shirt was a “The Summer Set” band merch tee, the jeans were low-rise, and the Vans were purple low-tops), it would be even closer to the original iteration. Reinterpreting it as an adult, I felt really comfortable and only a touch hypebeast, but now I can’t stop thinking about the horror that is low-rise jeans.

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school? 

I don’t actually remember any of the outfits I wore on the first day of school, but I do remember meticulously setting out my clothes day by day like the contents of a pill counter. I also remember my mom scolding me for not being able to hold off on wearing my new clothes until the first day actually rolled around.

6. Amelia “Most Likely to Star in a Movie Montage Makeover” Diamond 

Why this outfit?

HONESTLY I forgot we were doing FDSO photos and spent the whole day grumpy about it. Even though this outfit has a few key components of my standard dressing formula, I didn’t love this particular combination enough to want to be photographed in it. I’ve been having a hard time overall getting dressed this month, so maybe that’s part of it. Maybe it’s tied to my writer’s block! I also need a haircut. Maybe I need a movie montage makeover to get out of my funk!!!

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school? 

My grammar school had a uniform, and my high school had a strict dress code, so short answer is not really. But I do really clearly remember that I wore Rainbow flip flops to college orientation, which is how I met one of my best friends and collegiate ride-or-die, Merritt. We had this very lame moment where I said to her (at the time a total stranger just standing next to me): “I like your flip flops.” And then she looked down at her feet, and then at my feet, and then we were both like, “Lol.” And the rest is history.

7. Crystal “Most Likely to Make Her Mom Mad” Anderson

Mother denim jacket, Stella McCartney for Adidas leggings, Converse sneakers (old and my girlfriend’s), vintage shirt — similar here, vintage silver windbreaker — another here

Why this outfit?

This is an outfit that I would have loved to wear on my first day of school, but my mom would have died 10,000 deaths if I had!

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school? 

Omg omg omg omg sooo many, BUT I truly have never felt better, sartorially, than the first day of 6th grade. I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since! It was the first time I was able to have full autonomy over my clothing choices, and I went with these weird boots by Guess jeans, light denim shorts and one of those shirts that changed color with your body heat. I literally felt like Beyoncé.

8. Haley “Most Likely to Overanalyze Her Knee Socks” Nahman

Why this outfit?

While I stood in my bedroom this morning, pondering what I’d wear for this challenge, I panicked. I used to spend weeks planning my FDSO! (As evidenced by the journal I kept of FDSO outfit ideas that inspired this very story.) How could I possibly achieve the same effect — a.k.a. dazzling my peers and literally recreating my entire image — in just five minutes? Turns out I could not, at least not in the way I first set out to, which was to try to jam all my favorite garments together in a single outfit. As soon as that failed, I decided to go super literal and dress like my version of a school girl. I just got these socks and was looking for an excuse to wear them. This outfit doesn’t really remind me of my style necessarily, but I felt great and it worked for Blair, so.

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school? 

Per above, the idea of this story was born when I found an old diary of mine in which I’d drawn/labeled my 6th grade “FDSO” in detail: “jean petal-pushers, red hooded vest, white three-quarter T, navy Vans.” I thought I looked so cool. I wore it for picture day, too; it was truly the best I had.

9. Harling “Most Likely to Be an Armadillo” Ross

Why this outfit?

True to most of my past experiences choosing a “first day of school” outfit, the ensemble I planned in my head the night before morphed into something completely different on the morning in question. Why does that happen??? I don’t know, and I haven’t thought about it since I was 21, but apparently it still applies now — and on a fictional first day of school, no less. While I originally intended to wear a dress with loafers, I felt cold when I woke up and thus pivoted to jeans in a panic. The rest of the outfit came together in a hodge-podge manner, dictated by my desire to wear a new pair of bright yellow loafers because why the hamburger not? Overall, though, even if it involved some rushed decision-making, the final look checks all the descriptive boxes a first day of school outfit (in my mind) should: put-together without trying too hard and indicative of one’s personal style but not in a way that sticks out too much — like, say, an armadillo in a herd of sheep.

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school? 

I wore a uniform from kindergarten through 8th grade, so when I switched schools in 9th and finally had the opportunity to choose my “first day of school” outfit, you better believe I pondered what I should wear for the entire summer leading up to that fateful day. I settled on a pink polo shirt from Lacoste, a gray corduroy mini skirt with a raw hem from American Eagle, a homemade ribbon belt and Rainbow flip flops. If that’s not early 2000s style in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.

10. Jasmin “Most Likely to Make You Want an Oversized Blazer” Aujla

Why this outfit?

I had to wear a uniform throughout my whole seven years of high school. I wore an extremely oversized blazer because the lady at the school uniform shop was adamant when I was 11 that I would “grow into it.” To nobody’s surprise, I never did. This look pays homage to that blazer. I actually wear simple things like this a lot, so maybe the school uniform shop lady really has had a lasting impression on my personal style.

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school? 

My school uniform didn’t allow for much outfit prep on the first day of school, so the real opportunity for showcasing your creativity was in your choice of bag! Mine had butterflies and gems all over it. Also, my mum always took pictures of me before heading to school at the start of a new term, so I asked her to take this picture of me, too, just like the old days.

11. Elizabeth “Most Likely to Stay Up Late” Tamkin

Vintage jacket — similar here, vintage bandana shirt — another here, Urban Outfitters pants, LOQ shoes, IMAGO-A bag

Why this outfit?

I planned out my “first day of school” outfit for the entire summer when I was a child. As I got older, I became a little more experimental and impromptu with what I wear, hence this combination of patterned trousers, a vintage suede “rainbow fish” shirt and basket-weave shoes. My hairkerchief, however, is an homage to all the good students who stay up too late and don’t have time to wash their hair.

Any fond memories about choosing a “first day of school outfit” when you were actually in school? 

On the first day of school in 3rd grade, I planned to wear a heavy wool wrap sweater, jeans with a giant cuff and flip flops à la Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s opening performance in their hit TV series So Little Time. That year I also curled my hair in perfect banana curls (not quite in line with the character, but I did remember insisting on them) and, with rollers in my hair all night, barely slept.

Photos by Edith Young.

Get more Fashion ?