There are some fashion pieces we’ll forever associate with back-to-school shopping: plaid shirts, leather loafers, backpacks, and, perhaps most of all, pleated skirts. But while once the exclusive territory of prep school girls, this feminine cut has gotten an elevated (and elongated!) makeover recently by way of big name brands. Gucci put a eclectic, granny-chic spin on the design with a foiled gold midi at its Resort 2016 show; Fall 2016 fashion week saw the folded finish on pencil skirts at 3.1 Phillip Lim. At Balenciaga, the autumn offerings included calf-grazing cherry red versions anchored by punky platform boots.
To ensure your own pleated skirt feels just as fresh, avoid expected pairings, like button-up shirts and plaid pullovers. Instead, look to the catwalk for inspiring ways to mix and match—think metallic material worn with printed knits, or silky pleats offset with oversized outerwear—or simply play up the silhouette's inherent femininity with a casual T-shirt and bomber jacket. As the temperature drops, layer with chunky cable knits and tights for a coed-cool look.
But first, you’ll need the right style to start with. Below, 10 worth checking out now.