How To Go Back-To-School Shopping When You’re Not Going Back To School


Damn, mid-August. A little more than a decade ago, you would have been gleefully showing Mom a list of school supplies your teacher recommended for the coming year, along with a few choice clothing items that could maybe help extort your way into popularity. Of course all those efforts would be in vain, but at least you can still fit into those puffy vests from GAP.

Flash-forward to college, when you would hit up IKEA for those last few dorm room items and conservatively slutty outfits that would pay for themselves in drinks.

Now that we’re set in the monotony that is the cyclical pattern of work and alcohol abuse, it’s a trifle disconcerting watching your interns head back into the bosom of college life–the safety net that is a schedule based on semesters, or at least a temporary life plan. So why not treat yo’self to some of the things you would normally not allow yourself to partake in, because you have such marvelous self control or a gripping fear of watching your bank account do a nose dive?

An Investment Piece
Now that you’re a “real” adult–regardless of your unwavering Peter Pan syndrome and penchant for dating recent graduates who share your fear of a relationship with any longevity–why not invest in yourself? I’m talking about classic pieces you’ll wear forever, like a Burberry trench, a Rowdy Gentleman polo or a Brooks Brothers navy blazer. Iconic separates that you hopefully won’t grow out of, because it’s horizontal instead of vertical from here on out.

Decent Alcohol
Notice how I didn’t say “nice alcohol.” I’m in the camp where if it gets you drunk and wasn’t made in a bathtub or could burn through the lining of your esophagus, it doesn’t really make a difference. There’s a certain sort of pride that comes with buying something that doesn’t come in a plastic handle or a cardboard box, and who knows? Maybe you’ll even end up pairing your wine with your meal. (Obvi Chardonnay and Cap’n Crunch.)

Art And Furniture
Harkening back to the idea of investment pieces, it may be difficult to buy something you love for your apartment, given how often you move or destructive your living situation is. But there’s no reason why you can’t start mindfully choosing things you love instead of Swedish pieces of cardboard that will literally and metaphorically break under their own weight in six months. For example, look into bar carts and accessories. Both genders appreciate an aesthetically pleasing and functioning bar that can follow you from apartment to house to back to an apartment in between marriages.

Chinese Takeout
Bask in the glory of Americanized fanfare that is MSG laden General Tso’s chicken and nutritionally bereft cartons of white rice. Make sure you eat it all in one sitting while binge watching Netflix, because the inevitable self-loathing will only last 20 minutes until you’re hungry again. Splurge on dinner instead of the lunch special to remind yourself of how far you’ve come.

A Trip
St. Augustine famously said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Why not go someplace you’ve always wanted to see with your friends from high school or college, take a romantic vacation with your significant other, or pony up for a solo spirit quest that ends with you not remembering a week in Amsterdam? Right now, we have this glorious window in our life where we can be selfish, because taking care of ourselves is our main responsibility. Cherish and treasure it because at some point, your hitting on the resort hospitality staff will be just plain creepy.

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Writer in NYC. To quote Dr. Seuss, "Being crazy isn't enough."

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