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Back to School, Mom Cracked the Whip

Jill Alexander

Memoirs of a Young Designer.....

 Jill with her back to school look

Looking back, my back to school shopping experience as a child was anything but normal.  Growing up as the daughter of two parents in the fashion industry, there were certain expectations that were put upon me, even at a young age.  When my mother announced we would be, “handling our back to school shopping”, that was my signal that the prep work was to commence.  This meant cycling through my closet and dresser, removing things I grew out of, and noting my favorite things to wear.  I was also to construct a color list of prevalent colors in my wardrobe so that the things we purchased would match other things that I owned.

While mustering up the energy for this daunting task filled me with dread, I think ultimately it taught me so much about making good choices when it came to building my wardrobe.  Each time I was drawn to an item, my mom would ask me what I already owned that I could pair it with.  If I couldn’t answer with at least three things, that piece never made it to the fitting room.  There were times I was able to get around that rule.  If I had things in the fitting room that worked with others in my closet, and found something new and trendy that worked with the things we were buying, she would often let it “slip” through.

Growing up with these shopping rules became second nature to me.  When people ask me how I can design each collection to work with a past collection, what they don’t realize is it’s actually the easiest way for me to come up with new ideas.  I already have a framework in my head of styles that work well together.  When I’m choosing colors and fabrics, it helps me narrow down the array of choices and streamline my decisions.

I hope as you’re taking advantage of all the new fun fall fashion for either yourself, or your, “back to schooler”, you’ll reflect on buying things that work with what you already own.  It is not only economical and environmentally responsible; it ensures that you will be able to wear everything in your closet!



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