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!
Man in a Can, 57th & Madison. - Because we all need a break now and then.
5 years ago