Borrow your dad’s gigantic wooly sweater and wear it over the shortest kilt you can find. Try to get it so the hem only just peeks out from under the sweater.
Thrift an old lunchbox to carry your pencils and other school junk around in.
Style your hair into a nice, big ’60s ponytail and stick your favorite badges in the poufy part.
Wear knee socks with everything! You can cut them from an old pair of tights, or get the slouchy old-lady kind from the drugstore for 99 cents – they look great with a cute skirt and flats. Black knees socks and a leather jacket bring your favorite summer dress into fall, white knee socks give a little plaid jumper a schoolgirl vibe.
Tie an old belt around your schoolbooks like kids used to in the dark ages before book bags. Your brother’s old brown belt will look very classic ’50s Ivy League; bonus points if you can find one of the crazy neon rubber ones they made in the ’60s.
Speaking of book bags, never buy one from a regular store. Army/Navy surplus stores have a million awesome bags that are sturdy and dirt cheap.
Plaid might as well be the official pattern of fall. Go all in and wear clashing plaids like Drew and these stylish ladies.
Have some school spirit for once and get a varsity jacket in the school colors. If you don’t play a sport they can almost always be found in the men’s section of the thrift store for super cheap. They look great when they fit nice and loose, worn with a pair of skinny jeans, and your hair hanging in your face just so people know you haven’t totally gone Spirit Week.
Even if you don’t have to wear a school uniform, you can put together amazing outfits at a uniform supply store (for incredibly cheap). Try wearing a knife-pleat miniskirt with a little shrunken polo, or a Peter Pan-collar blouse with an a-line jumper. You can carry a plaid pencil case as a clutch!
If you have a little brother, definitely raid his closet for the blazer he wore to your aunt’s wedding when he was 11. It’ll look perfectly shrunken and cute on you. Put your favorite pins all over the lapel and wear it with a big scarf, shirt buttoned all the way to the top, and close-fitting khakis or jodhpurs.
Saddle shoes are the cutest and most classic shoe you can wear with any sort of schoolgirlish look. The school uniform store should be able to help you out here, or you can do what I once did in a pinch and take a black Sharpie to a pair of basic white canvas sneaks.
If you’re the arty-crafty type then swap out your regular shoelaces for a piece of yarn. It looks extra cute when the yarn starts to fray and get all fuzzy. You can also tie a same-colored piece of yarn around your ponytail, but only if you want to be the most adorable girl in school.
On the subject of berets, many are deeply divided. To them I say, gaze upon the luscious mohair tam of Bridget Hall, the detention-worthy black beanies of Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, and be won over forever.