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iStyle: School’s out

The pinafore is shaking off its classroom connotations this season  in favour of a more grown-up interpretation, says Holly Swayne

Fashion is known for being cyclical, with designers continually breathing new life into tired silhouettes. And looking at what the autumn/winter catwalks had to offer, it’s clear that the pinafore dress is the latest style undergoing a renaissance. Traditionally worn as an overdress at school, they may conjure up ideas of little girls with ringlets, but this couldn’t be further from the truth this season.

It’s a trend that has been on the periphery of the high street for some time – starting to emerge on an army of twentysomethings in denim dungaree dresses this summer. Now, though, the pinafore is evolving as a more sophisticated choice. From smart tailored styles to slick leather versions, they took on a tough and androgynous mood at the autumn/winter collections.

Tweed versions at Victoria, Victoria Beckham avoided any classroom connotations thanks to thigh-grazing hemlines and sharply tailored fits. Marc by Marc Jacobs’s navy versions had a similar sensibility, worn over striped shirts to create a cool girl-meets-boy charm. More statement designs came in the form of harnessed styles at Chloé and structured styles at Cushnie et Ochs. Finished with metal hardware and stiff white leather, these are the go-to pinafores for the more directional sartorialist.

But it’s not just the high-end designers championing this look, as you’ll find plenty of high-street offerings to suit all tastes and bank balances. Look to Scandinavian brands such as & Other Stories and Cos for clean-cut styles, while affordable favourites such as Topshop and Asos are the places to go if you’re after something with a little more character. Proving the perfect investment for this transitional autumnal period, the pinafore works best worn over a crisp white shirt now, followed by a knitted polo neck when winter takes hold.