Even In A Pandemic, September Still Gives Us All The Urge To Do Some Back-To-School Shopping

September = back to business.

Lois Opoku

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

Whether you’re 14 or 40, September signals a return to reality. The halcyon days of summer have almost slipped away, which means it’s time to restock your pencil case or, the grown-up equivalent, redouble your efforts at work. If you’re still WFH, this could be pausing the ‘background’ TV (it’s not background if you’re fully absorbed - and crying - over Queer Eye) or picking up a healthy habit (like reaching for nuts instead of cornflake cakes at snack time).

Good commitments, both, but since it’s also the start of a new season, what about wardrobe changes? Whether you’re gearing up for a cautious office return, or are ready to restart your breakfast meeting schedule, what you need is some soft-launch tailoring. This is tailoring, but not the traditional pressed-trouser-suit-and-starched-white-shirt kind. It could be mixing your workwear (an oversized blazer) with your loungewear (a pair of knitted joggers). Or it could be embracing more fluid, relaxed fabrics such as jersey. It’s tailoring-lite, if you will, and it’s perfect for a gentle re-entry into ‘real life’.

Massimo Dutti
Massimo Dutti, Handmade Wool Coat, £249 ©Massimo Dutti

BUY NOW: Massimo Dutti, Handmade Wool Coat, £249

To make it as gentle as possible, the smart-casual balance is key. ‘You can still be comfortable when working from home, yet have a blazer on hand to throw on for conference calls,’ says Me+Em’s founder Clare Hornby. ‘It’s a way of dressing that can easily translate to the office as we slowly return, [with] versatile pieces that cater to our new, flexible work set-up that will make dressing for both stress-free. As well as specialising in crease-free tailoring made from soft, mid-weight fabrics, the label has cashmere hoodies that can be layered underneath blazers. ‘It’s always been a signature look for Me+Em. It’s the perfect way to make tailoring look more effortless but it’s also, crucially, very practical,’ says Hornby.

You definitely don’t need to put your trouser suits in storage; it’s just about changing your approach to their constituent parts. ‘The suit is no longer the traditional classic two-piece; it has taken on a multitude of personalities over the last few seasons,’ says Libby Page, senior market editor at Net-a-Porter. ‘We expect to see suits continue to evolve – from oversized relaxed shapes to wide leg pants that can be worn as a single item, to collarless styles that don’t feel so ‘smart’.

Arket, Leather Culottes, £225 ©Arket

BUY NOW: Arket, Leather Culottes, £225

Instead of investing in a traditional trouser suit, why not try something in leather? Joseph’s elongated waistcoat and wide-leg trousers will make a hard-working addition to any wardrobe, and can be worn together for ‘means business’ impact or separately with more casual components (a crisp white dress for the waistcoat; a biscuit-coloured jumper for the trousers). Another option is always the blazer dress, as modelled by influencer Lois Opoku at Copenhagen Fashion Week, that adds a little more personality (not to mention leg) into the equation.

It’s not ‘back to school’ as we know it, but that doesn’t mean September won’t still look sharp.


SHOP: The Best Back To School Pieces For September

Hugo Boss, Mock-Neck Sweater In Virgin Wool, £1391 of 10

Hugo Boss, Mock-Neck Sweater In Virgin Wool, £139

Marc Cain, Flared Skirt In Neoprene, £2192 of 10

Marc Cain, Flared Skirt In Neoprene, £219

Aeyde, Jude Shoes, £2603 of 10

Aeyde, Jude Shoes, £260

Emporio Armani, Technical Cady Blazer, £5404 of 10

Emporio Armani, Technical Cady Blazer, £540

Me+Em, Icon Cashmere Box Hoody, £1995 of 10

Me+Em, Icon Cashmere Box Hoody, £199

Zara, Shirt Dress With Darts, £29.996 of 10

Zara, Shirt Dress With Darts, £29.99

Mango, Hoop Earrings, £12.997 of 10

Mango, Hoop Earrings, £12.99

The Frankie Shop, Elvira Crepe Blazer, £3308 of 10

The Frankie Shop, Elvira Crepe Blazer, £330

Reiss, Wool-Blend Pleat-Front Trousers Chocolate, £1509 of 10

Reiss, Wool-Blend Pleat-Front Trousers Chocolate, £150

Manu Atelier, Carmen Bag, £34510 of 10

Manu Atelier, Carmen Bag, £345

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