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How to channel that back to school feeling through your wardrobe

The new month sees us favouring heritage checks, trench coats and tailoring, writes Olivia Petter

Monday 09 September 2019 09:08 BST
(Getty Images)

Regardless of your age, September always feels like a time for new beginnings.

This annual seasonal switch-up is undoubtedly a hangover from our school days, when the ninth month of the year heralded the dreaded transition from summer holidays back to classroom shackles.

But the mood still applies in adulthood. Come June, longer days and balmier climes leave us with a childlike liberation, regardless of our unchanging work loads.

By the time September rolls around, we’re ready to knuckle down, an attitude that applies as much to our professional choices as our sartorial ones. But not in the way you might think.

“There’s a certain element of nostalgia surrounding September that we can’t quite shake off when it comes to our clothing choices,” explains Anna Ross, womenswear editor at trend forecasting company WGSN.

Look closer at the items that continue to be popular at this time of year as listed below, and you’ll notice that many bear a striking resemblance to some of the staples we wore as uniform in our school days.

Trench coats

There's a reason why JW Anderson's double-breasted trench coat continues to sell like hot cakes and do the rounds of fashion influencer's Instagram accounts. Not only do the classic epaulettes flatter any figure, but they take us back to another era when we might've been required to throw a trench coat over the top of our uniform before an afternoon of playground debauchery.

It's a classic piece, one that continues to be reworked by designers for the autumn/winter season.

A-line skirts

 Cano X Paula Mendoza Atratogold-platedearrings: £297.60, Galvan satin camisole: £195, Alexachung Plaid twill mini skirt: £125, & Other Stories lace-up leather boots: £135, H&M Straight-cut jacket: £24.99.

Alexa Chung, COS and Mango are just some of the go-to labels for your A-line skirt fix this season.

A timeless but flattering shape, the thigh-grazing A-line skirt can work wonders when worn with thick woolly tights and a tight-fitting poloneck top. Throw in some biker boots for extra an school grounds-style stomp.

Tweed blazers

There's never a shortage of tailoring come autumn, but focusing on a blazer alone is often dismissed in favour of co-ordinating looks. They can, however, look immensely stylish when worn over the top of a slogan T-shirt.

Get involved with Oxfam's Second Hand September campaign for this item by rummaging through your local charity shop to see if you can find the perfect vintage blazer for the season ahead - just be sure to give it a good wash first.

Plaid, paisley and argyle

 Alex MillSlubcotton-jerseyT-shirt: £50.40, Kenneth Jay Lane Gold-tone earrings: £65, Munthe Diablopants: €199, Munthe Dietesouterwear: €339, Ted Baker ParalsDerbyshoes: £119

Plaid is a pattern you might've sworn off having had to wear it for most of your life between the ages of 11 and 18, but it's an ideal autumn staple for adults given its versatility.

Likewise with paisley and argyle, which are too easily dismissed as frumpy fashion prints. This season, designers including Molly Goddard and Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloé are putting modern twists on the aforementioned prints, notes Ross, pointing to the style of Diana, Princess of Wales as a key inspiration.

“It’s a look that screams prim and proper but now has a modern spin,” Ross explains.

Knee-high socks

Who says you have to be an 11-year-old girl to wear your socks pulled up?

With Nothing Underneath linen sky blue and white stripe: £85, Catherine Zoraida emerald elephant signet ring: £1,800, Givenchy Corrugated-sole leather low-top trainers: £495, Staud Shirley mini leather and shearling bag: £320, Frame Le Sylvie straight-leg cropped jeans: £230.

There's nothing wrong with pairing your shiniest brogues with some white silk knee-highs for Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl look. Particularly this season, when that collegiate style comes back into fashion.

For a full embrace of the back to school mood, you could even through a headband into the mix, lord knows they've had a renaissance in recent months.

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