Back-to-school supplies

What you won't find on your syllabus
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  August 26, 2009

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Photo: Margo Roy
VINTAGE LAYERS Shop Find at 16 Free St.

After a summer that started with a monsoon and coasted into its final lap with a heat wave, when we talked about Wilco, celebrity deaths, and Shakespeare in the park, when we feared tasers and crime sprees, and we consumed Mexican food and ice cream, we're ready to make the transition into fall. It's back-to-school time, and we need a different set of basics to make a fresh seasonal start.

Here are a few of fall's must-haves:

• For guys, A SUIT. For girls, A BLAZER. For looking sharp in the classroom, at the office, or out on the town, the look is classic, tailored, and professional. (Don't forget that you can learn more about fall's fashion trends in the next issue of Style magazine, which hits the stands late next month.)

BOOTS. Again, for guys and girls. Experiment with heights (ankle, calf, or knee), heels, and colors, but get at least one solid pair of boots for fall trekking. They pair well with jeans, slacks, and skirts alike.

• Fall's other big gender-neutral fashion trend is LAYERS. V-neck cardigans, Grandpa sweaters, henleys, and T-shirts will appear into the cold months with mixed and matched patterns and colors. Speaking of colors, this fall's palette replaces typical autumnal hues like burnt orange and brown with PINKS, PURPLES, and a neutral triad of BEIGE, GRAY, AND HONEY YELLOW.

A BIKE. Nothing says autumn like a languid bike ride through the West End, rust-colored leaves crunching below your tires, the smell of cider and woodstoves in the air... Okay, perhaps that's a bit much. But seriously, a two-wheeled ride is the ultimate fall accessory — it's eco-friendly, and depending on the one you choose, it can complement the season's vintage aesthetic.

• Whether you've got a new apartment or a different dorm room, outfit it with UNIQUE ACCENT PIECES from Se Vende (south-of-the-border inspired dining ware and display items; 81 Market St.), Blanche & Mimi (cottage-style housewares and antiques; 184 Market St.), Pandemonium (quirky clocks and lighting fixtures, along with kitschy collectibles; 2 Exchange St.), Ember Grove (handmade hanging and floor lamps add a warm natural glow to any room; 247 Congress St.), or Addo Novo (well-made, modern pieces with price tags to go along; 490 Congress St.).

• No back-to-school survival kit would be complete without its scholarly accoutrement. Check out fall's BIG LITERARY ARRIVALS (Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, Jonathan Lethem, and Jonathan Safran Foer all have new releases hitting shelves in September and October) at Longfellow Books, One Monument Way. For your ACTUAL SCHOOL-SUPPLY NEEDS, we suggest a foray into Wigon Office Supply, for a shopping experience that matches, or even exceeds, its practical purpose.

Deirdre Fulton assures us she was always the best-prepared student in class. She can be reached at

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