No matter how old you get, chances are late summer and early autumn will always evoke back-to-school vibes. As Tom Hanks’ You’ve Got Mail character said of the season, “It makes me wanna buy school supplies.” But rather than a haul of notebooks, highlighters, and textbook covers, it’s time to scoop up fall’s biggest back-to-school trends when planning your latest shopping lists.
Think of pleated skirts, polo shirts, and blazers with a preppy touch as the cooler-weather take on summer core aesthetics like golf and tennis fashion. And, of course, sweaters of all kinds, from cardigans to collegiate cable knits and super-soft cashmere (vests included). You can even make like the Louis Vuitton runway and cinch a bold jumper around your waist with everything from rugby tees to dresses for instant school-is-in-session cool.
As for your go-to top layer — before the winter coats come out — varsity-style jackets like bombers, half-zips, and windbreakers stood out on designer runways, including Miu Miu and Tory Burch. And when trading your micro-minis for pants, opt for slouchy trousers, whether paired with a button-down, cropped knit, or a hoodie.
If you’ve delved deep into the platform footwear trend (perhaps with a pair from the sold-out Dr. Martens and Heaven by Marc Jacobs collaboration), rest assured that the look is sticking around big time for fall. Yep, chunky loafers, big (huge, even) platforms, and hefty lug soles are the Y2K way to punctuate your favorite fall ‘fits. To take things a step further, ditch your tote bag in favor of a backpack — no, not a middle-school style JanSport, but a sleek leather, artfully knitted, or woven version as seen on the Off-White, Altuzarra, and Gabriela Hearst runways.
Ahead, a comprehensive breakdown of fall’s biggest back-to-school fashion trends for 2022, complete with an edit to shop.
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Pleated skirts are the ultimate preppy piece for every desired length and aesthetic. Designers showed a wide range, from micro-minis at Miu Miu and Rokh to midi and maxis at Altuzarra and larger, full-length pleats at Peter Do. Even asymmetrical cuts at Dior and romantic full-volume iterations debuted at Brandon Maxwell for a more elegant take.
Checks & Plaid
Knitwear is quintessentially autumn-ready, and a staple in any school-inspired wardrobe. Fall 2022 styles run the gamut from shawl collars at Bottega Veneta to argyle seen at Rokh, Tory Burch, and Eytys, and cardigans like at Chanel and Libertine. Take a cue from runways when wearing yours, like the waist-cinched styling seen at Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton and the belted cable knits shown at Brandon Maxwell.
Is that oversized tote weighing you down? Instead, embrace the childhood staple designers reinvented for adulthood, including fuzzy and knitted iterations at Off-White, sleek leather at Gabriela Hearst, and woven baskets detailed with buckles and straps at Altuzarra (the ultimate trans-seasonal take).
Oversized and re-worked button-down shirts have become a modern default for many. Keep your more timeless versions in your fall rotation, as encouraged by Balmain and Palmer//Harding. Plus, consider bustier-inspired styles à la Fendi, bold banker stripes like at Erdem, and buttoned-up with a tie like at Louis Vuitton.