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Fit check: Collegiate fashion with an edge is the look for fall

Punk and preppy.
clueless thumb
Clueless and other 90s icons are providing a blueprint for the preppy fall fashion trend of 2022. But don't forget to add a punk twist.

This may be my overwhelming love for stationery talking, but I think back to school is the perfect opportunity to totally reset your life. To me, the transitional period between summer and fall is like spring cleaning meets the new year. It's a time full of possibilities and creative energy.

It's also the time of the great closet swap.

Every year around now, I haul the giant plastic tub that houses my fall/winter wardrobe out from the crawl space and proceed to pack away my spring/summer clothes. It's one of my favourite yearly rituals because I'm always surprised to pull out the pieces I've forgotten about over the last four months and look at them through the lens of what's currently popular and trendy. I get to envision how I'm going to style or add to my existing collection in the coming months and maybe determine what no longer makes the cut.

And even though the weather forecast calls for an unseasonably warm September, it won't stop me from breaking out the sweaters and tights because, for Fall 2022, fashion and my love of stationery collide. The style police have called for the return of preppy collegiate chic but with a fantastic punk twist.

What's hot for Fall 2022?

Pleated skirts, vests, and tartan have been seen on more than one runway previewing fall 2022 looks but they also come with buckles, leather details, chunky jewellery and shoes. The whole vibe reminds me of the 2007 film St. Trinian's (which isn't a bad thing). The combination of opposing influences also offers an opportunity for people to choose which side they gravitate to more. Are they going to play up the preppy or the punk?

Now punk is obviously its own subculture with a history of running counter-cultural to the mainstream but the resulting aesthetic has been broken up and divorced from its original context over the years and those elements inform merging microtrends like this one.

The latest trend isn't one to be mistaken for light or dark academia which has a much more straightforward identity, the preppy collegiate look pulls in additional influences like varsity, tennis outfits, and naval fashion thanks to its attachment to members-only country clubs, yacht clubs and rowing societies. To contemporize the aesthetic and stop it from getting too stuffy people have added edgy elements and accessories.

  • Learn more about the 'dark academia' aesthetic here.

The online clothing resale marketplace, Poshmark Canada, found that Canadian searches and sales of tennis skirts, sweater vests, Mary Jane shoes, and tennis shoes have all increased between 14 and 86 per cent in the last year as people get ready for collegiate fall. Artizia's recent Sunday Best collaboration with Emma Chamberlain also follows this trend with tartan micro skirts and cream knit sweaters.

The combination of punk and preppy is also extremely reminiscent of the 90s with looks from Friends and Clueless providing somewhat of a blueprint. Cynthia Erivo's cover shoot for the August issue of British Vogue is also a great example of what mixing elements of punk and preppy can look like: a crisp cream shirt with a collegiate-looking tie tucked into leather pants with chunky straps, topped with a jacket that looks like a bomber and a military blazer had a love child, all in neutral colours so the mixing of genres looks cohesive.

How to get the look in Vancouver

Vancouver consignment store Front and Company is currently hosting an academia pop-up at their 3746 Main St store which will run until November and features foundational pieces like white button-downs, oversized blazers, sweater vests, plaid mini skirts, loafers, trench coats, and layerable turtle neck sweaters. It will also have items like leather pants and accessories which help build a fall wardrobe into something that can navigate between trends and complement existing items in your closet.

They are also be hosting a 90s pop-up at the 3772 Main St store which will fill in the gaps even more while perhaps providing inspiration for people who don't love this take on the fall. Another amazing fall aesthetic option is "whimsigoth" which plays with the same concept as edgy collegiate but in a more ethereal and witchy way. Think vampy instead of punk. The term first rose to prominence in June of this year but it's sure to be something we see more of come October.

  • Learn more about the whimsigoth aesthetic for fall, here.