Graduation day may have been years ago, but this fall, you’ll still be excited to pick out your back-to-school wardrobe.
Whether it’s British private school classics or sporty Ivy League prep, there’s a strong academic vibe in fall’s newest pieces. Experts say the trend calls for a masculine-feminine mix that’s anything but uniform.
Fall’s savvy style student “borrows from the boys for the right combination of student style meets professorial polish,” says Heather Hopkins, a spokeswoman for Banana Republic Canada.
Menswear-inspired pieces get an update through construction and colour. “Varsity team colours of butterscotch yellow, cherry red and deep river blue offer bright punches in solid columns of bold hues,” Hopkins says, while tailored, monochromatic separates give an air of studious sophistication.
For another fresh take on the trend, elevate prep-school pieces with materials and embellishments that you wouldn’t find in the average student’s closet. LOFT style expert Amanda Kraemer calls it “Ivy League opulence."
“The trend is based on mixing one part academia-inspired pieces — think stripes and traditional Ivy League collegiate blazers — with one part opulence — jewels, and shine and luxe fabrications,” she says. “Whether it’s an embellished sweatshirt, varsity-striped blouse or metallic cardigan, this formula creates a modern spin to a classic look.”
Here’s your back-to-school shopping list:
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There’s nothing that says prep-school cool quite like a tailored jacket. Academic-inspired details are everywhere, including trim, piping, crests and elbow patches; for that feminine update, try variations with a subtle pattern or metallic texture.
Every kid wore a pair of corduroys for at least one first day of school, and the appeal hasn’t waned yet. To avoid looking like a retro flashback, reach for a fine-wale cord — the effect will be almost like a luxe velvet. Kraemer says that while a skinny cord is a go-anywhere classic, an above-the-knee corduroy skirt provides a “feminine spin on a traditional fall look.”
The sweatshirt trend is set to be major for fall; to avoid looking like you just left a pick-up rugby game, Kraemer suggests one with embellishments. (You can also add your own with a jewelled collar.) Pair your sweatshirt with a structured skirt or trouser.
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The never-ending patterned pant trend lends itself perfectly to fall plaids, which liven up tailored, buttoned-down pieces without being too loud. “Patterns – gingham check and black watch plaid – keep the look energetic,” Hopkins says.
A kilt-style skirt may be a bit too schoolgirl for many. But a skirt with plenty of movement — in the form of pleats or a fit-and-flare shape — hints at a uniform influence while softening masculine or athletic pieces.
For fall, thin nautical-inspired stripes are giving way to thicker varsity-style patterns that will score some major style points. Forget the striped tee and mix the athletic pattern with a sophisticated blazer. Kraemer suggests glitzing up a rugby-stripe dress with a metallic or jewelled belt and ankle boots.
Feminine or boyish accessories? Both will make an elegant conclusion to your look. On the menswear side, Hopkins highlights oxford shoes and masculine canvas-and-leather bags; if you’re ready for a more feminine influence, a chain-strap, quilted bag and a smoking slipper-inspired pump will streamline your look. If your outfit is on the serious side, add a dose of fun with colour or pattern.Follow @CanoeLifestyle