From Autumn’s Hero Dress To The Perfect Jacket, These Are The Back-To-School Clothes Swaps To Make Now

Get ready for newness.

new season clothes swaps

by Hannah Banks-Walker |
Updated on

The creaky spine of a brand-new notebook and the smell of freshly sharpened pencils are synonymous with September. That back-to-school sensation never really evaporates, whatever age you may be. It’s the month that heralds a new term, a fresh start – a new beginning. As clinical psychologist Linda Blair says, ‘The 1st of September would be a much better New Year’s Day than the first day of January. By January we’re totally depleted – it’s dark, we’re exhausted, broke from Christmas and it’s not a good time to try and be realistic about what we might look forward to. September is great; it’s also a habit – one you’ll have had since you were five and September was a new start for the school year.’

But can September really have the same feeling in the context of a global pandemic? While those with children may be returning to the school run, many of us remain working from home for the time being. What does this mean for our back-to-school feeling?

Certainly, when it comes to fashion, September really does usher in the start of a new year. Or a new season, at least. Historically, the September issues of the world’s glossiest magazines are the most important of the year, while shops begin to fill with autumn collections and designers gear up to show their latest creations for the following spring/summer. Of course, at present, this seasonal approach is being challenged. But it seems that we still want a fresh approach, sartorially speaking, when it comes to this month.

Emili Sindlev
Swap the tennis skirt for the midi skirt this September ©Getty

‘After months of lockdown and only wearing loungewear, I think women are now ready to transition back to wearing everyday clothes and we’ve definitely seen a spike in this,’ says Heather Gramston, head of womenswear buying at Browns. It seems we’ve recovered our appetite for real clothes as we look to the future – indeed, Google reports that searches for ‘winter coat’ have increased by 86% in the last week alone.

Elizabeth Delphine
Swap the hoodie for the cardigan ©Getty

Not that we’ll all be back in power suits any time soon. Rather, the new season offers an opportunity to reset our wardrobes in a way that works for us, whatever our situation is in the current climate. Fashion may feel like a frivolous distraction in 2020, but now more than ever it’s important to recognise the power it has to change our mood. Happy New Year!


SEE: The Six Back-To-School Clothes Swaps To Make Now

Andersson Bell, Daisy Cut-out Turtlneck Tunic, £225.06 at Net-a-Porter1 of 12

Andersson Bell, Daisy Cut-out Turtlneck Tunic, £225.06 at Net-a-Porter

**SWAP YOUR LINEN FOR A KNITTED DRESS...**There's no escaping the knitted dress for autumn/ winter, which comes in myriad forms. From Andersson Bell's cut-out style to H&M's sculptural design, wear with bare legs and mules while the weather's mild and swap for tights and boots when the time comes.

H&M, Rib-Knit Wool Dress, £79.992 of 12

H&M, Rib-Knit Wool Dress, £79.99

Loewe, Small Balloon Bag, £1,7503 of 12

Loewe, Small Balloon Bag, £1,750

**SWAP YOUR BASKET BAG FOR A BUCKET...**The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us, so it's time to choose more robust essentials. In case you hadn't heard, buckets are the new baskets, seen everywhere from Balenciaga to Loewe.

Next, Material Mix Bucket Bag, £364 of 12

Next, Material Mix Bucket Bag, £36

Zara, Denim Patchwork Skirt, £25.995 of 12

Zara, Denim Patchwork Skirt, £25.99

**SWAP YOUR MINI FOR A MIDI...**Tennis skirts may have had their time in the sun over the past few months, but they're being replaced by a more grown-up, midi-length counterpart. From Nanushka's flared skirt to Zara's denim option, tuck in a polo neck and you're good to go.

Nanushka, Vegan Leather Skirt, £3656 of 12

Nanushka, Vegan Leather Skirt, £365

Arket, Quilted Long Jacket, £997 of 12

Arket, Quilted Long Jacket, £99

**SWAP YOUR DENIM FOR QUILTING...**While a jean jacket will never go out of style, the new quilted recruits feel like a fresh approach for autumn. Wear with straight-leg jeans and a white tee for a 2020 take on the '90s.

Weekday, Nova Quilted Jacket, £608 of 12

Weekday, Nova Quilted Jacket, £60

Lee Mathews, Ribbed Cardigan, £279 at Net-a-Porter9 of 12

Lee Mathews, Ribbed Cardigan, £279 at Net-a-Porter

**SWAP YOUR HOODIE FOR A CARDI...**At the start of lockdown, hoodies were all we wanted to wear. Now, it's all about the elevated cardigan – think ruffle detail, colourful prints and bejewelled buttons – for a stylish way to keep warm.

House Of Sunny, Day Tripper Cardigan, £9010 of 12

House Of Sunny, Day Tripper Cardigan, £90

Hereu, Alber Tread-Sole T-Bar Leather Loafers, £31511 of 12

Hereu, Alber Tread-Sole T-Bar Leather Loafers, £315

**SWAP YOUR FLIP FLOPS FOR SCHOOL SHOES...**Well, not actual school shoes, but rather Prada's Mary-Janes or Burberry's glossy buckled flats. They'll make easing back into tights much more appealing.

Burberry, Patent Leather T-Bar Shoes, £52012 of 12

Burberry, Patent Leather T-Bar Shoes, £520

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us