12 Beyond Cool Ways to Do Collegiate Prep

Fiorelli
Photo: courtesy

There are three times a year that truly feel like a fresh start: January 1, the first real, warm-enough-for-flower-buds week of spring, and back-to-school shopping season—yes, even if it's been longer than we'd care to admit since our post-Labor Day schedule included homeroom. After all, as stores around the world fill up with preppy-chic offerings, how can you not want in on the fun?

And what fun it is when you no longer have real classes to worry about! Instead of adhering to cumbersome uniform guides or strict dress codes (hemlines past your fingertips anyone?), we have the freedom to give collegiate-inspired style a fashion-focused update; think crisp new denim in an of-the-moment shape, or a pleated plaid skirt with something more subversive, such as over-the-knee boots. As Coach showed us last February by mish-mashing classic co-ed silhouettes—button-downs, letterman jackets, loafers—with high shine finishes and tapestry prints, there are a myriad of wonderful ways to take this style when we're heading somewhere exciting than study hall. Nail the look all autumn with the 12 key pieces below.

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Wood Wood

Wood Wood
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All the utility of a white oxford blouse, twice the cool factor.

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J. Crew

J. Crew
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Such a quick and easy way to smarten casual fare, like floral dresses and slouchy tees.

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Coach

Coach
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With the help of playful appliqués and a high contrast color scheme, the old school letterman jacket gets an It girl upgrade.

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Gucci

Gucci
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Keep the conservative design in check with at least one bolder element—we love the idea of a floral pant or metallic skirt—mixed in.

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H&M

H&M
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The button front skirt: your bodysuit collection's best friend.

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A.P.C.

A.P.C.
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For a casual twist on your party-ready LBD, throw this on top.

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Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor
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High rise, slim cut, and flared above the ankle just so, fashion's new wave of baby bell jeans instantly update the rest of your basics.

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MSGM

MSGM
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The most sophisticated take on school girl skirts? A structured wrap cut with an abstract argyle graphic.

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Chloe

Chloe
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Velvet smoking slippers with a stacked heel make every outfit read more expensive—even if it's just a T-shirt and jeans.

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Dorateymur

Dorateymur
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In glossy patent leather, slide on mules feel polished enough to pair with office attire (but still work wonderfully with denim, too).

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Dolce Vita

Dolce Vita
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Step one to achieving Ali McGraw's iconic '70s era style: suede over-the-knee boots in warm autumnal tone.

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Fiorelli

Fiorelli
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A mini knapsack in powder blue leather may not hold many books but, man, is it cute.

Updated by Ann Jacoby
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