School is great, but it ain’t cute. The process of learning acts upon your things in time, fraying the pages of your textbooks, leaking ink on your binders, and chewing away at the nubby end of every last pencil.
But then there’s you. And you, girl, are a cutie. You swoop in like you’re the popular female protagonist in any ‘90s teen movie and you go full makeover on school’s drab a**. Out with the pink eraser, gone with the yellow pencil, and donezo with that prosaic black ballpoint pen. Combat the back-to-school blues with a few pretty items for your pencil case and make your lectures a little more beautiful, if no less banal. Check out our 20 favorite picks.
York Trash Bucket, Urban Outfitters, $24
This is the garbage can equivalent of a sandy bay in Montauk, N.Y. Before you relegated it to a life of rubbish, this bucket could have built castles on the beach, caught crayfish, perhaps even held a heaping pile of discarded shells at the annual family clambake in Nantucket. Instead, it’s holding the first, second, and third draft of your comparative paper on pathetic fallacy in early Wordsworthian poetry (the trash looks great though).
Moleskine Ruled Notebook, Moleskine, $16
There’s nothing like a classic, and the Moleskine notebook is classicism as Jackie O would have it. Refined. Simple. The pick of Picasso, Hemingway, van Gogh, Wilde, Matisse; it’s a tradition you should want to kill to be a part of. Thankfully, you don’t have to kill anyone—you just have to buy one for yourself.
High Styler Pens, Topshop, £6 (about $9)
If you’ve ever looked at a highlighter and thought, “What an ugly troll of a writing utensil. It’ll never be as pretty as a bottle of nail polish,” then comfort yourself in knowing that the buyers at Topshop evidently felt the same way. Enter the High Styler Highlighter set, the use of which is about as chic as you can be squinting through a stress migraine at some 50-page beast of a poli sci reading.
British Pencil Pack, Topshop, £2 (about $3)
The Olympic flame has long been lit in preparation for London 2012, and if you can’t be there in the flesh, at least you can have this Anglophilic pencil set, right? Leave it to Britain’s requisite retailer of all things cool and current to make you want a set of pencil crayons more than when you were 7 years old and thought popularity to Crayola count had a direct correlation.
FEED 10 Pouch, FEED, $25
Attention International Relations majors: made of natural burlap with a “luxurious plum-colored recycled nylon lining,” each FEED 10 Pouch sold will also provide 10 school meals through the UN World Food Programme. It’s glamorous and philanthropic; if this pouch were a man, it’d be the kind you brought home to your parents. Collegiettes, this pouch is the marrying kind, so pick it up immediately.