The Evolution of Schoolgirl Chic

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Whether it was Cher Horowitz or Blair Waldorf who introduced you to the preppy schoolgirl look, it’s been one that every girl has come to know and love. It’s not just the general public that takes an interest in the look, either, but luxury and couture brands that are now adding a modernized twist.

Blaire Waldorf wouldn’t be caught dead in jeans. Always in preppy, tasteful outfits, she knew how to catch the eye of any passerby. Her style was the definition of sophisticated fashion — never without the touch of a headband.

Let’s not forget about Cher Horowitz. Signature trademark: check patterns and plaid. From her skirts to her jackets, she depicted the glamour and charm of a Beverly Hills school girl. These women introduced the schoolgirl trend, which fed girls their inspiration for their next fashion-forward looks. 

Though Blaire and Cher managed to guide the schoolgirl look in the late 90s and early 2000s, the interpretation of this look in the mid-2000s was a fashion faux pas, executed more along the lines of the nerdy girl look within the general public.

With couture and luxury brands, key elements like plaid and check patterns still remained, while spicing up the shoes and adding the element of thigh-high socks, which might arguably also be a faux pa, left to the opinion of the interpreter. Breaching the end of the 2010s and heading into 2020, the schoolgirl look seemed to be momentarily lost. Jumping to the present, society’s love for the schoolgirl look has been reawakened and couture/luxury houses are feeding us their newest interpretations.

Michael Kors

Staying within the family of check patterns, Michael Kors presents clothes stitched with glen plaid, as well as pinstripe. These patterns offer sharper, structured looks that are simplistic, yet fit the body in a way that makes more of an empowering and bold statement than the past schoolgirl look. Though warm tones are the base for most of these looks, bold color choices are being introduced, bringing a sense of vibrancy to the sharp impression these clothes give off. Not too shy from the colorful aspect in Cher’s yellow blazer, minus the plaid.

Miu Miu

Moving away from the full coverage look, Miu Miu’s new Spring 2022 Ready-to-Wear take on the schoolgirl look involves more skin. The basic elements are there: business and collegiate formal wear colors such as shades of blue, beige, grey, and red. Belts are a key component in all of the looks, followed by pointed loafers, flats, and neutral sneakers. A newly welcomed concept introduced to formal wear is comfortability. Heels, though they are the trophy pieces in every tasteful woman’s closet, are more fashion over function, and couture houses are taking a break and leaning towards chic comfort. As far as outwear goes, Miu Miu has strayed from blazers, going for long overcoats and trench coats as the new outerwear. They have utilized very few patterns and going for solid-colored pieces.


Chanel has always been a couture house that channels the true feministic elements of fashion. Their looks center around colorful patterns and textures while intertwining delicate elements. A mix of modern and former footwear, Chanel utilizes both heels and pointy loafers as the shoes of choice. Blazers and skirts come in sets, not unlike Cher’s style. Adding a twist, patterns include tartan, windowpane check and graph check. Colored buttons, knitwear, chain belts and handbags are added elements of detail that make the pieces stand apart. 

Ralph Lauren

The key theme behind Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear line was black and white collegiate prep. Channeling a more masculine appeal, these pieces mimic timeless menswear, working to create a respectful and tailored charm. Pieces such as wool-blend and crepe pants, button-downs and V-neck sweaters were key pieces. Right up Cher and Blaire’s alleyway would be the use of houndstooth, pincheck and glen plaid.  

Let us know what you think about the evolution of the schoolgirl look by tweeting us @VALLEYMag.


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