Back To Campus Shopping at Quaker Bridge Mall

No matter your age, back-to-school shopping will always inspire joy. There’s something about the time-honored ritual of assessing the needs of a fresh school year and hitting the mall to gather all the things that will help get that all-important time off to a good start that feels immensely satisfying, whether you’re entering a new semester at college or you’re a parent helping your students navigate their choices.

Recently, we tagged along with Rutgers student Cynthia Hanna on a back-to-school shopping spree at Quaker Bridge Mall. She stopped into Forever 21, Garage, and H&M and left with what have to be the coolest first-week-of-school outfits around. Read on to see what she snapped up, then head to your local Simon center to finalize your own back to school ‘fits. 

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Tell us about your visit to Quaker Bridge Mall — have you visited the center before?
This was actually my first visit to Quaker Bridge Mall — I really liked it! The mall had an awesome selection of stores and looked very new and modern. The stores were all super clean and organized and all of the staff members were so friendly and helpful.

It’s time to go back to campus — what are you most looking forward to this year?
I am really looking forward to being back in person at college. The campus vibe with all of the students walking around is so awesome and I am excited to get back into the routine of actually leaving my house for class. 

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How does the back-to-school season differ when you’re in college vs. when you were growing up?
The freedom! Something about moving out of your childhood home at the end of the summer and into your dorm or apartment with your friends is so exciting and unlike any other experience. Also, the sheer variety of things you need when back to school shopping for college is so different from high school. You need comfy clothes for lounging and class, dressier clothes for going out and events, and professional clothes for interviews and certain classes with dress codes. That’s not even including all of the things you need for your dorm room!

What trends are you particularly excited about this fall?
Shackets! I have been seeing so many cute shackets and I am so excited for the weather to cool down enough for me to start wearing them. 

I have also been loving the emphasis on neutrals lately. It seems like my whole closet is composed of black, white, and brown pieces. Straight leg jeans are also having a moment, which I’m happy about.

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Tell us about your visit to Garage.
I had such a great time. I haven’t shopped there too many times before, but their selection was incredible. I loved how they arrange the store by different color stories, so it’s really easy to find items that match with each other and envision the look you are trying to create. 

I found the cutest flannel shacket from Garage and I am so excited about it! I love that it’s a little bit cropped so it can be styled easily with high-waisted jeans or leggings! It’s also super thick which is nice when it starts to get colder outside. 

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I also found a super soft pair of blue joggers to wear to class which I am super excited about and a pair of black denim shorts which I have been wanting forever!

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Then it was on to Forever21 — what did you pick up?
This Forever21 was so big — two floors, with an escalator inside! The options were endless and I tried on some really cute outfits. I am taking a trip to Nashville in the fall and was trying to find a look for that. 

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I loved the cropped white sweaters I tried on and the brown flare pants were so comfortable. I ended up leaving with a super-cute blue fleece button up that I have been obsessed with. It will be the perfect layering piece to wear to class!

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Last but not least, you visited H&M. Tell us about your experience.
I really loved the emphasis on sweaters in H&M. Their fall pieces were great, and I was loving the light blue sweater vest look I tried on. I’ve been really into varsity-style sweaters recently and ended up leaving with the cream and black V-neck sweater I tried on.

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I also had the opportunity to try on the mom jeans at H&M and I was so impressed at how great they fit! I have so many pairs of skinny jeans from H&M but hadn’t tried their straight leg pieces yet. They’re amazing. 

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What’s your philosophy when it comes to dressing for class — are you in favor of comfort at all costs or do you like to dress up?
As much as I enjoy dressing up, I typically keep it comfortable for class. With my busy schedule and traveling via bus across campus it’s just so much easier to stay comfy and casual. 

With that being said, I don’t believe in sacrificing style for comfort. Leggings or stretchy jeans with a cute top and a cardigan is usually a safe go-to for me. A lot of the pieces I bought during my visit to Quaker Bridge Mall can be styled casually but can also be dressed up for different occasions!

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What are you most looking forward to about your next visit to Quaker Bridge Mall?
I am super excited to go back and see how the trends change from early autumn to later in the fall. Long trench coats are going to be a go-to for me this winter and I am excited to see the stores I visited today change as the seasons continue to change.

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