While for many of us September means nothing more than crowded buses, falling leaves, and longer lineups at the deli at lunchtime, for others it’s back-to-school season.
It’s the one time of year when it’s acceptable—encouraged, even—to talk at length about yourself: what you did over the summer, where you went, and, perhaps most importantly, who you saw.
Not surprisingly, all this time spent talking about oneself coincides with fashion’s prime time, when Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar publish tomes that are too heavy to lug around, yet too important to leave at home.
This year, these industry bibles (guided by designers’ runway shows, of course) suggest a resurgence of a number of trends, some of which haven’t been this big in over a decade.
Thankfully, the looks presented here are available in a range of prices and can be worn in multiple configurations. So if your class schedule demands a slew of new textbooks, it just might all be possible.
Everything’s gone plaid
Kurt Cobain’s grunge era has returned, and while Doc Martens have made an appearance (and are being rocked by the more stylish—or just more daring—few), plaid is definitely the most wearable part of the trend.
According to Kathy Sinclair, buyer for Hills of Kerrisdale (2125 West 41st Avenue), “Plaids take us back to Nirvana and when the whole grunge thing was happening out of Seattle, when Marc Jacobs was designing for Perry Ellis.”
This season, high-end fashion house Dolce & Gabbana is showing head-to-toe checks, though Sinclair says, “We don’t want to see people do that; inject just one or two pieces into your look.”
Pair a plaid skirt with bright, contrasting tights and a tweed jacket for textural appeal, or slip on Quiksilver’s button-up ($70) as a light fall jacket.
Think all plaids are the same? Try Googling buffalo plaid, Glen check, and the traditional tartan, then imagine them in unconventional colours such as purple and turquoise.
All kinds of knits
Knits are a main attraction this season, available in everything from fine, soft-gauge weaves perfect for layering under other pieces, or fabulous, chunky sweaters.
Sinclair is particularly fond of the Vince cashmere Ombré cardigan ($390), “a piece in every major American store—Intermix in New York, Barneys—that has some interest to it”.
Traditional intarsia and Fair Isle knits also reappear this season, and a key piece to try is the snowflake cardigan by Ba&Sh ($325).
“Boho hasn’t really gone away, especially on the West Coast,” Sinclair says. “It allows for a lot more individuality in a look—that’s the great thing about it.” For fall, modern bohemians can combine slouchy pieces, embellished details, and rich colours such as teal and burgundy, plus jewel tones like emerald and jade.
“The whole idea is to totally mix it up,” Sinclair suggests, listing braided trims, faux furs, menswear-inspired details such as vests and boyfriend blazers, and contrasting fabrics and textures as starting points.
Try pairing Free People’s mismatched-fabric Bird of Paradise dress ($192) with a faux-fur swing coat by Kersh ($135) or Juicy Couture ($355), then finish off the look with a cozy knit sweater and a pair of Docs.