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Read what are the Must-haves on my back to school shopping list this year, and how  this list looked like in the 1970s in Germany.


  1. Alaska Back to School Means Online Shopping
  2. What’s on My Back to School Shopping List
  3. In the 1970s, Back to School Meant Winter Clothes Shopping
  4. Back to School Meant Downgrading Sunday’s Best
  5. Wear Your Clothes like You Mean It


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


Alaska Back to School Means Online Shopping

In Alaska, summer ends in mid August. At that time, fall is in full swing, and I typically have started building my wardrobe for the cold season. This means I have identified already what I need, and my shopping list is prioritized into Must-haves and Maybes right in time for back to school shopping

Why so early? Well, except when living in the Anchorage area, most Alaskans have to rely on online stores to update their wardrobe. In Fairbanks and Juneau, the two other cities with more than 30000 inhabitants, only special niche stores exist like shops for wedding attire, outdoor and harsh weather clothing. Unfortunately, when these stores have something nice, Alaskans buy it in all colors.

Well there is also Value Village. While one woman’s trash may be another woman’s treasure, you can’t rely on them to update your wardrobe.


stylist in back to school outfit of LBD wedges canvas bag
Outfit details: Kieselstein Cord belt, L.K. Bennett wedges, peridot pearl necklace with brooch as pendant, watch c/o Nordgreen (use code HLSTYLE for 15% off), dress c/o Shop Cozy, and bag c/o R. Riviter



What’s on my Back to School Shopping List?

Here are the pieces that are currently on my short-list. Note I haven’t run my fashion budgeting tool yet.

  • A lightweight solid color and patterned cashmere sweater (Must-Haves)
  • Ankle high booties with heel (Must-Have)
  • Riding boots (Must-Have)
  • Tall boots that work with my gray tights and gray tweed skirt (Must-Have)
  • Walking ducks/booties (Must-Have)
  • A solid color fit-and-flare dress (Must-Have)
  • Statement winter coat (May be)


I love the tie-dye sweater <3 , but it is way out of my price-league. 🙁 The Fair Isle style turtleneck sweater would be nice, but it is a cashmere cotton mix. It’s great for warm climate winters, but not suitable in Alaska’s frigid cold. 🙁

All my fit-and-flare dresses are printed. I seem to love them as a printed one sneaked in on my list. However, it’s a may be.

Which are the pieces in these categories that you would buy? Just curious


In the 1970s, Back to School Meant Winter Clothes Shopping

On the contrary to the US, where school is off from mid May to mid August, or so, in Germany, summer time off was six weeks. The time differed depending on the regions. Even when the vacation where late, it always somehow covered July.

Like everywhere in the world, department stores used the sales to test-drive some new fall trends. During my childhood, there were only two sales, summer final sale and winter final sale. These sales started in July and January, respectively.

Since it was sales time, winter clothes were often not at the full price one would pay later once the season was in full swing. Being frugal, my parents started the shopping for new winter clothes for us during the summer final sales. Thus, I never associated back to school with getting new clothes. On the contrary, …


… Back to School Meant Downgrading Sunday’s Best

Depending on when the six weeks had started, mid or end of August was time for back to school. Back to school can be exciting because of new clothes. In the past, however, it didn’t amuse me fashion-wise because of the Must-haves. My late mom always insisted on that we kids dressed our best for the first weeks or so. She was a firm believer that


The first impression is what people stick to.


outfit on my first school day
This is the outfit I wore on my first school day in the late 1960s


Since kids grow out of clothes within a season, summer’s Sunday’s Best was now allowed to be worn to school! “…to wear it off” like she would have said.

I never liked this philosophy. Of course, I understood that it makes no sense to wear the new winter garments when it was still summer. Even though I was looking forward to wearing them.


Wear Your Clothes like You Mean It

While I was still growing in height, “keep the new clothes for Sunday’s Best” meant my attire looked like hand-me downs. I namely had worn it in rotation with a second Sunday’s Best (when I was lucky to have two) every Sunday all summer!

The other “everyday” clothes were cheap finds my mother had picked up in fast fashion stores. When I was older, I refused to wear new clothes on Sundays, and wore them to school instead. Of course, I got a lot of critique about that from my family.


It’s all about feeling confident in what you wear. I am the kind of gal who thinks that not wearing your investment pieces is like tossing them.


Live first class, before your heirs do it.


However, I am also very down to Earth when it comes to shopping. I would never buy a statement piece when a work horse is needed.


Don’t let your outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy the book now.


Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2022 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Jess

    Hi Nicole, the orange sweater really pops against this print! Love the shoes too.
    Hard to beleive it is almost back to school time.
    Thank you for the feature!
    jess xx

  2. thestylesplash

    Gorgeous floral print dress! It looks lovely with the orange sweater over your shoulders!

    Emma xxx

  3. Tatiana Moskatova

    I love your colorful outfit, Nicole! You look beautiful and very stylish!
    Thank you so much for featuring me in your post!


  4. Rena

    Before online shopping, I used to really enjoy back-to-school shopping even once I was no longer in school. The magic of the Fall wardrobe was what I loved. Now it’s not as much a thrill because the fashions come out in dribbles. But I still like to shop.


  5. Emma Peach

    The biker jacket looks great with the dress and heels! I love the orange bag – the fish detailing is beautiful!

    Emma xxx

  6. Just love the refreshing color of this dress (and the matching heels!) with your black jacket. I need a new hand bag this fall! It’s been too long.


  7. aquamarinastyle

    I love that orange bag you’ve styled! I can’t believe it’s already turning dark so early in Alaska, and it’s interesting about the limited shopping. You sure manage to get around that as you always look amazing, Nicole! Thanks for sharing.

    xx Darlene

  8. Lucy Bertoldi

    Give me dresses forever- Absolutely on my list for fall!!

  9. Chrissy Rowden

    Love the outfit Nicole and the shoes you paired with it. 🙂

  10. mireilleftm

    That purse is beautiful! We don’t have much in our little town but we have a TJMaxx and a Ross which is really fun!

  11. stinedurfdl

    I love the Bellorita bag…the color is beautiful! I didn’t realize that shopping options were so sparse in Alaska, even the cities. I live in a pretty remote area, but there’s a mall about 40 minutes away. Pittsburgh is about an hour and a half drive and I do go down there fairly often since my son lives just outside the city. I still do most of my shopping online though.

  12. Jennie

    Love the pattern mix and play with color in this look! Great way to elevate camo.

  13. Cheryl Shops

    Aww, thank you so much for the feature, Nicole! I am spoiled by living in a big city with a lot of shops; you must have to be so creative with your shopping options up in Alaska—or just go online. 😉
    Cheryl Shops

  14. mummabstylish

    Dresses are always a top contender for my shopping list – there’s something I love about wearing a dress. Thanks for sharing and hosting. Jacqui Mummabstylish

  15. That pink ribbon belt and colorful bag are so pretty. I could really use a new coat this Fall/Winter and bag… I’m looking forward to browsing the stores soon! 🙂


  16. Jess

    I like what you are adding to your closet for Fall. YOu know I am a fan of Karina dresses and the color in the first print is lovely! I do the same thing, make a list. Your new orange bag is perfect for Fall! ( I have the clutch)
    jess xx

  17. dousedinpink

    I just love the mix of the feminine skirt with the camo jacket! And your orange bag is fabulous! Thank you for the linkup!

    Jill – Doused in Pink

  18. shelbeeontheedge1

    Great outfit, Nicole! I live in a place that doesn’t have much to offer as far as shopping either. You have to travel at least an hour to get to the good shops. Or shop online! You have some great items on your fall wish list. And that orange fish bag is magnificent!


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