26 Ways To Do Back-To-School Style (For Grown-Ups)

Eni Subair

We may no longer be students but our fondness for a uniform says otherwise. After a summer dedicated to mini bags, barely there sandals and cycling shorts, the thrill of nostalgic '90s dressing has been usurped by more tailored, smart staples. We're all dressed as though we're ready to learn.

There was an influx of back-to-school references on the catwalk. British designer J.W. Anderson confirmed class is in session with delicately pleated midi skirts, and Peter Pan collar shirts were in abundance, with satin iterations at Alexa Chung and busy prints at Victoria Beckham. And we couldn't scroll five minutes without glimpsing a pair of Burberry's thick-soled Mary Janes – enough to make us seriously reminisce about our schooldays.

We're embracing whimsical, childlike dressing throughout autumn, one frilly sock, oversized blazer and obnoxious backpack at a time. Scroll through for 26 pieces we're adding to our wardrobes to get us started.

We've never met a poplin shirt we didn't like.

Zara Poplin Trim Scalloped Shirt, $, available at Zara
Mary Janes have had a much-appreciated update.

Burberry Mary Jane Platform Shoes, $, available at Farfetch
Pleats please!

Lazy Oaf LO Pleated Skirt, $, available at Lazy Oaf
Another day, another chunky shoe.

ASOS DESIGN Milo Chunky Mary Jane Shoes, $, available at ASOS
Blair Waldorf, eat your heart out.

Prada Satin Headband, $, available at Prada
We're pairing our pleated midi skirts with cute ankle socks and brogues all autumn.

Zara Pleated Skirt With Belt, $, available at Zara
Sweet pinafore dresses will forever remain on our radar.

Topshop Belted Pinafore Dress, $, available at Topshop
Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz but make it fashion.

Batsheva Peter Pan Collar Gingham Cotton Blouse, $, available at MatchesFashion.com
Overzealous collars are the only shirt detail we're acknowledging, thanks.

Monki Peter Pan Collar Blouse, $, available at Monki
Because sometimes you need a backpack as big as you are.

Burberry Wilfin Small Icon Stripe Backpack, $, available at MatchesFashion.com
Teaming a checked pinafore dress with knee-length boots and a polo neck is the only way to go.

Violeta By Mango Buttoned Printed Dress, $, available at Mango
Enjoy twinning with your grandad in these beauties.

Mint Velvet City Tailored Shorts, $, available at John Lewis
Imagine this with a crisp white shirt, glittery socks and a pleated skirt...

Acne Studios Keborah Wool Sweater, $, available at Net-A-Porter
White ankle socks make almost any outfit that much more chic. Try it, we dare you.

Marks & Spencer 3 Pair Pack Ankle High Socks, $, available at Marks & Spencer
A classic checked blazer will never steer you wrong.

Warehouse Check Blazer Jacket, $, available at Warehouse
We're still obsessed with all things prairie. Blame Instagram.

Zara Asymmetric Poplin Dress, $, available at Zara
We're getting flashbacks to the school bus with these chunky sole brogues.

& Other Stories Technical Chunky Sole Oxfords, $, available at & Other Stories
A black headband is an absolute must at this point in the season, no?

Topshop Velvet Padded Headband, $, available at Topshop
Sometimes simplicity is key.

Violeta By Mango Embossed Polka-Dot Cardigan, $, available at Mango
If it isn't printed, we don't want it.

Gucci GG Pattern Tights, $, available at Browns
We're sliding one of these on either side. Double the treat, y'know?

& Other Stories Love Pearl Pendant Hair Pin, $, available at & Other Stories
Black blazers make up at least a third of our wardrobe.

Whistles Relaxed Double Breasted Blazer, $, available at John Lewis
Is there a cycling short iteration we aren't a sucker for?

Annalisa Plus Cropped Pinstripe Trousers, $, available at Navabi
Couple this stunning Marni creation with chunky ankle boots or brogues – wear it as much as you like, it'll never get boring.

Marni Checked Pleated Midi Skirt, $, available at Farfetch
This magenta is the ideal shade to brighten up our otherwise dull autumn wardrobe.

H&M Chunky Knit Wool Cardigan, $, available at H&M
Metallics: not just for Christmas.

COS Metallic Socks, $, available at COS

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

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