"Sometimes I think that the one thing I love most about being an adult is the right to buy candy whenever and wherever I want," Ryan Gosling told Esquire magazine in a 2011 interview. He makes a good point. Eating candy at your every whim is one really fantastic thing about adulthood. The other major one is that late August no longer signals an internal panic attack at the thought of having to return to school. See, as adults, we're able to do the fun stuff without the boring part, which is why we shouldn't give up on back-to-school shopping or picking out the perfect binder—one whose color really represents "who we are" and our goal of staying organized this year. We can still do that as sensible quasi-adults living in Brooklyn...
Buy a Backpack
I went to a ridiculous Catholic high school where we were forbidden to carry backpacks between classes out of fear of the illegal, harmful things they were surely concealing. For everyone else, backpacks were an essential back-to-school purchase. Vague nostalgia aside, the fact that they serve as the most comfortable way to lug around a laptop, an adult backpack is perfectly acceptable. On the local front, Brooklyn Industries has a selection of hometown-made packs, messenger bags and totes to justify the brand's name. Etsy shop April May June takes slouchy BAGGU backpacks and hand-dye them in Brooklyn in star-splotched patterns. And DUMBO-based company Voltaic Systems sells a solar-paneled backpack with the ability to charge a phone, tablet or camera on the go. To be honest, though, I've always been partial to our neighbors up north at Vancouver-based Herschel Supply for their varied, colorful, hiking-inspired bags. The one pictured above may be my favorite—midsize, with a built-in laptop sleeve, in a color called "chevron butterscotch," and in tribal pattern that's so popular these days because, I dunno, Animal Collective?
Wear a Uniform
So, Catholic school. As much as I complained about uniforms in the moment, I was always secretly thankful for not having to put too much thought into getting ready for the day. I would think those of you who went to public school can appreciate that too. And now it's sort of a thing, isn't it—school uniforms as a style? A trend that refuses to die? Say what you want about Urban Outfitters, but this Cooperative Pleated Peter Pan Collar Sweater is on sale for only $19.99 and hints at the rigidity of a uniform while also recalling something Edie Sedgwick might've worn. Pair it with a plaid skirt from Nifty Thrifty, the Williamsburg-based online retailer of vintage goods, and you've got yourself a go-to fall outfit. Boys may continue to wear black or khaki pants and keep their hair above the collar.
Eat Apples & Brown-Bagged Lunches
Apples will forever be associated with elementary school, but in adulthood we don't have have parents or teachers keeping our daily sugar intake in check, so we're afforded the opportunity to skip the fruit and go straight to the good stuff. (See: profound words from Ryan Gosling.) Salted caramel apple pie from celebrated Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop in Gowanus is a good entry point into sticking it to the rules of school cafeterias. Because look at that photo. The Elsen's, the 20-something sisters responsible for delivering the goods, are experts at double crusting pies, folding the warm, creamy goodness into buttery, flaky, lightly salted cages for you to devour. The artisanal apple options of Brooklyn are bountiful, of course, so tarts, jams and butters aren't off the table. Dig in and relish your maturity.
Replenish Your Supply of School Supplies
Even in the days of digitalized calendars and organizational apps, there's little satisfaction like crossing off items on a to-do list. Science has proven this. (Hasn't it? It will one day.) So you'll need some notebooks. For that, there's Park Slope paperie Lion in the Sun . It's the Willy Wonka of papery things, a wonderland of stationary, greeting cards, journals, wrapping paper and a line of custom-made of wedding invitations. You've got classic Moleskines, but you also have letterpressed note cards from Red Hook designer and printer Foxy & Winston, or a bicycle notebook from Kate & Birdie Paper Co., so it's a tough call. For even more options, box boutique Paper Source is opening a Park Slope branch in the next few weeks, and, look, here's a set of journals with ostriches on the covers. You never realized you wanted notebooks with ostriches on the covers until you saw them. That's the danger of notebooks. To make it worse (but also better), Paper Source is equipped with any other back-to-school supply your adult heart could desire: pencil pouches, decorative tape, sticky notes, pens... don't even get me started on pens.
Buy a New Pair of Reading Glasses
In the years since we were in school, glasses went from a reason for being taunted to, like, being the coolest thing ever. Brooklyn Spectacles in Williamsburg has capitalized on the quick turnaround, crafting stylish frames and calling each names like "McCarren" and "Bedford" to drive home the point of them being, in fact, stylish. Their wooden collection is enough to make you want to forget about the invention of laser eye surgery for a second, though. The model pictured above? That one's called "The L Train."
Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.