It doesn’t matter what else is happening in fashion—there’s always going to be some version of a prep school trend come September. If you wore a uniform to school, you probably complained bitterly about it, but they can actually be a great source for style inspiration. Just think about the fitted blazers, the classic plaids, and the shiny loafers. While the prep school fashion trend can be great, you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a school uniform when you passed your last math class ages ago. You want to channel prep school style, you don’t want to look like you’re ready for back-to-school.

(Related: The 11 Best Fictional School Uniforms You Would Have Gladly Worn)

Check out these outfit ideas for how to pull off the prep school trend:

1. Chambray ShirtPrep School Cambray Shirt

A blouse and a flared skirt are quintessential prep school pieces. To take inspiration from the look without looking like you’re wearing your old uniform, choose pieces in different fabrics. Instead of the itchy polyester, try a chambray shirt, and a suede skirt. Then wear whatever color shoes you like. There is no dress code here.

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2. Plaid SkirtPrep School Plaid Skirt

Instead of the usual plaid mini skirt, choose a midi length for a more sophisticated look that works for the office. Pair it with a turtleneck and loafers to keep the preppy feel.

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3. Bow BlousePrep School Bow Blouse

A bow blouse is either associated with schoolgirls or retro secretary outfits. In most cases, it is often paired with a skirt. To make it look like you’re not wearing a costume, pair your pussy bow blouse with skinny trousers and chunky shoes. Choose a black and white color palette for a modern finish.

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4. Classic Cardigan

Prep School Cardigan

We’re going to need some layering pieces soon and you need different ways to style them so they don’t become boring. Take inspiration from schoolgirls with a classic fitted cardigan but swap the skirt for shorts. When the temperatures drop, add tights.

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5. Navy BlazerPrep School Navy Blazer

The navy blazer is a uniform classic. Some schools may have fancy printed ones but the navy one is the most popular. Resist the urge to pair your blazer with coordinating bottoms otherwise it will look like a uniform. Layer it with your favorite t-shirt and jeans to dress them up.

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6. Jumper DressPrep School Jumper

If you’re a fan of overalls, you’ll like jumper dresses. They’re not just for schoolgirls and they’re not just meant to be worn with white blouses and bows in your hair. You can wear yours with a bow blouse but add boho accessories to make it look more age-appropriate and less twee.

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