Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to School

Isn't it great that it's finally cooling down outside? Fall is my favorite season, let alone it usually lasts for no more than tops two weeks in New York. But regardless, fall means an obligatory dose of back to school fashion! Suddenly, it seems like everywhere you look, there are crested blazers, tweed, thigh high socks, ballerina flats, plaid mini skirts, argyle V-necks and bright colored tights. I have to admit I am pretty hooked on this style, even though I would never wear it head to toe (I'm too old!). On the right is the Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf takes on the look, respectively, on the left Balenciaga ready-to-wear, and below the current window display of Rugby (12th & University): the home of preppy! I am particularly smitten by the grey dress / striped socks combo... Whether a Baird student would actually wear an outfit like that is another question, though. There is an NYU dorm on my block and from what I can see, those kids seem to live in their sweats and pajamas!












So, how do you get away with a touch of the back to school look, if you're not, cough, cough, going back to school this fall? Whether we like it or not, grown women wearing lemon yellow tights and Hello Kitty backbacks are NOT cute! Sorry.

My style advice is easily summarized: First of all, don't wear more than one or two back-to-school staples at once, unless you're actually in school! And be sure to mix and match with more grown up pieces, so as to avoid looking like an overage Gossip Girl wannabe or Catholic schoolgirl. For example, pairing a crested blazer with Chanel flats works fine even when you're 21+, but do wear them with tailored skinny pants or menswear trousers (hot right now) instead of a pleated micro skirt. And conversely, if you have great legs and won't part with your plaid mini, skip the preppy look and incorporate your skirt in a biker chic look with a cropped, fitted leather jacket (check out Rodarte and Alexander McQueen) and buckled motorcycle boots. Note that an over-the-knee boot is a clever and trendy substitute for the somewhat tired thigh high socks with flats combo!

Also, layer, layer, layer! I'm always cold, so I'll take any opportunity to wrap myself in scarves and oversize knits... if I can wear them in a remotely stylish way, that is. Some inspiration: Lacoste behind the scenes (above right) and a variety of Benetton runway looks (above center). Check out Ali McGraw in Love Story, swing by Rugby and pick up a varsity scarf! :)

As for your color palette, I suggest sticking with muted fall tones, such as burgundy, forest, mustard yellow and charcoal, and leaving the crazy American Apparel brights to the kids. The exception is shoes and accessories, of course. I love the Coach Poppy collection (ballerina flat on the left), but almost anything neon and patent goes in my book... for instance, Guess has great faux patent pumps in neon brights right now for less than $100.

Last but not least, be crafty and consider the DIY option! Who wants to look like everyone else when it's so easy to customize an outfit so as to make it your own? I'm thinking about getting a basic crested blazer (the Ralph Lauren Tirana, on the right, sells online for $59 right now) and customizing it with some gold trim, luxe buttons and fun brooches. Pick up the trim, buttons and applique at Mood and go shopping downtown for accessories. There is a myriad of consignment and vintage jewelry boutiques in the East Village (think the area between 11th and 7th streets, and 2nd Ave and Ave A, respectively) and they all carry unique and affordable pieces. All you need is a sowing machine, a couple of bucks and some time on your hands!

xoxoxox

23 comments:

  1. So exciting! Love all these chic preppy looks!

    xoxox,
    CC

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  2. I adore the preppy look!!! Besides de boho look, the preppy is one of my favorites!!
    The photos you selected are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing them!
    Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog too :)
    xoxo
    Giovanna
    www.bohomarket.blogspot.com

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  3. Aren't they adorable! I want that Lacoste dress so badly! :)

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  4. Great picks... I'm actually heading to Mood Fabrics in a bit.

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  5. i wish my back to school clothes were that nice!

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  6. Gotta love Mood! I need to get better at sowing, though... one of those days, maybe.

    :)

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  7. thanks for the advice. i love fall although we don't have fall season in manila. that's why i make it a point to travel during fall so that i can get to wear fall outfits. quick question: what's your take on patterned tights for women over 20?

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  8. I would love to do some traveling too this fall!

    Regarding the tights; I think it depends a LOT on who is wearing them, what she looks like (especially her legs), and how her personal style is in general. For someone who has good legs, I'd say go ahead and wear patterned tights paired with something "age appropriate", maybe a caftan or tunic in a solid color, or even a short one-shouldered dress.

    If you like something and it looks good on you, then wear it! I just like to remind myself that less is more, even more so as we age... A fashion faux pas can look cute on a 20-year-old, but not really on a 30-year-old!

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  9. Fall is my favorite time of year. You have so many more fashion options with layering and jackets - I love jacket weather! Now, if only I could get my hands on a Balenciaga blazer...

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  10. Thanks for the tip. I'm looking at patterned tights but I want more subdued patterns. And I always wear caftans or tunics with my tights.

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  11. lov ethe picture at you rheader, the model just looks fantastic

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  12. AsianCajuns: I know, right? I layered up a little yesterday and almost died in the heat - can't wait to put away my summer clothes and start dressing for fall. Balenciaga would be nice... I might need to go on a consignment shop tour on my next day off to see if I can find one that I can afford. :)

    Leah: Oh, absolutely, you're welcome! I loved the patterned tights that Couture Carrie featured on her blog the other day, I'm just not sure if I could pull them off myself!

    Lluviaschick: I know, I love that image too.. the dress, the location, the model. Everything just works.

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  13. Any look with red tights makes me giddy - Blair Waldorf instilled that reaction in me! :)

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  14. Thank you so much! You're so sweet! I just read your comment on my blog and I really appreciate your kind words!
    Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!
    I'll put your blog on my blogroll so I can come back more often :)
    Thanks!!
    xoxo
    Giovanna
    www.bohomarket.blogspot.com

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  15. Erika: Oh, absolutely, I love most of Blair's looks on the show. Red tights with flats are magic... I am dying over that Kate Spade ad right now. :)

    Giovanna: Thanks, hun! You are such a doll! Have a lovely weekend, and that goes for everyone of course!

    xoxoxoxo

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  16. Great tips!!! I definitely need some ballet flats. And a whole new wardrobe, while I'm at it!

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  17. Who doesn't?! :) Isn't it funny how you can own a closet full of clothes, but still feel like you have nothing to wear?

    I'm getting new ballet flats too; I like Valentino and Chanel but might have to go with something cheaper for now. Some of my favorites at Delia's are the Kyra Patent, the Lacey Floral Skimmer and the Lara Folk Print!

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  18. Those jackets from Balenciaga are my favorite! I've been in love with them for the past year and a half!

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  19. Me too! Especially the one with the gold trim, but I'll take whatever I can get if I get the opportunity!

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  20. I love what Blair and Serena are wearing in that Gossip Girl picture, and the Balenciaga jackets and jhodpurs- adored that collection.
    The ballerina shoes are so pretty!!

    Florrie x

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  21. Everyone seems to agree on Balenciaga... not exactly shocking. :)

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  22. howdy, your sites are better than average. I welcome your work. hairstyles for women over 50

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