School uniforms become all grown-up

Top-of-the-class: Cream jumper, �69; denim shirt, �45 and red scarf, �29, all Lands' End Canvas (0800 617161/www.landsend.co.uk/canvas
Top-of-the-class: Cream jumper, �69; denim shirt, �45 and red scarf, �29, all Lands' End Canvas (0800 617161/www.landsend.co.uk/canvas
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School is definitely not ‘out’, but well and truly ‘in’ for this season.

As we head into a new fashion term, grey-pleat skirts, blazers and brogues will be on your shopping list, not just your children’s.

Style swot: Red jumper, �12; leather skirt, �20, Primark (0118 9606 300/www.primark.co.uk)

Style swot: Red jumper, �12; leather skirt, �20, Primark (0118 9606 300/www.primark.co.uk)

Shirts and boyish shoes feature in autumn/winter’s mannish look, skirts and woolly cardigans hit the spot for the heritage trend and satchels and block heels give a nod to Seventies fever.

Or you could add them all together and equal a look with a fun and youthful spin.Preppy is one look that’s sure to leave you looking top of the class. All the better for anti-ageing your wardrobe and giving the kids a run for their pocket money!

STYLE SWOT

No matter if you detested your school uniform back in the day, now’s your chance to re-write the rules. There’ll be no detentions for experimenting with this quirky look.

Preppy style: A model on the  catwalk at the Paul Smith show at London Fashion weekend.

Preppy style: A model on the catwalk at the Paul Smith show at London Fashion weekend.

Pick out one traditional school-inspired piece, like a grey circle skirt, and transform it from drab to fab with clashing bright block colours in the form of a blazer, pullover or tights. You could even add ankle socks for a prim-and-proper take.

To go down the tomboy route, add a statement accessory with on-trend brogue flats or Harry Potter-style thick frame glasses.

PREFECT PERFECTION

If you love being immaculately turned out, present your inner prefect.

Choose a pristine white shirt with crisply-pressed collar and cuffs and team with a ladylike pencil skirt – or do away with tradition and opt for classy tailored trousers.

Think anything but provocative Hit Me Baby One More Time Britney-style uniforms, though. This look is all about minimalism with clean lines and a monochromatic palette.

Introduce a flash of preppiness with a blazer featuring a school badge proudly emblazoned on its chest. Try adding block-heeled brogues and a smart tie.

VARSITY GRADUATE

If you feel like you graduated from school long, long ago, work a university-inspired preppy look instead, with not a dash of grey polyester in sight.

Think Kate Middleton at Edinburgh University with chunky knit jumpers and tweed blazers – a look that helped her bag a prince.

Accessories are all-important for showing that you’ve made the grade. Add a pop of brightness with a block-coloured scarf – in primary school shades, of course. And opt for a Seventies-style leather satchel, slung nonchalantly over the shoulder – the more battered and weathered, the better.

For an off-duty look, try this season’s all-American two-tone wool varsity jackets.

You’ll soon have a mini team of cheerleaders chanting compliments about your school of thought.