The Local's guide to back-to-school style

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The Local's guide to back-to-school style

Kids back to school this week? Need some new ideas for school essentials? Fret not for The Local's self-proclaimed style boffin Victoria Hussey knows just how to solve your school style problems.


With autumn upon us and a new school year already beginning for some, I've composed my top tips for great school style. Not to neglect the fashion needs of my lovely adult readers, I've also considered autumn wear for adults including what to wear on the school run. Here is the style ABCs for the new school year with adult alternatives underneath.

Efficiency always was one of my top skills.

Anoraks and associated waterproof clothing

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail, hey parents? Despite my mother frequently reminding me to take a jacket and a brolly with me when the clouds are in the sky, I'm still, at the ripe old age of twenty-seven, often caught out in the rain with naught but a magazine or handbag to shield myself from thunderous downpours.

With autumn quickly approaching (some would already say it's here) it's time to sort out your waterproof wear.

IN PICTURES: Check out our gallery of back-to-school cool

Check out Elka's two-piece rain suits for kids. They're made from Oeko-tex certified materials with high tearing strength and durability and excellent waterproof qualities and, more importantly, are available in dots, checks, stripes and loads of punchy, pretty colours.

Mums, when it's wet outside and you're secretly regretting encouraging your children to walk to school, don't fret. You can still look stylish even when it's chucking it down outside. Trench coats might very well be the answer for mums on the run; cool with jeans and also great for a work cover-up with upturned arms, in black or beige, a mac or trench is perfect for transitional summer to autumn style.

Dads, check out Stutterheim for the slickest waterproof jackets made by Stockholm-based Alexander Stutterheim. His minimalist take on the fishermen's raincoat is available in primary colours, greys and blacks and has double welded seams. That's welded. Manly (*wink).

Church's is a British brand but they've recently opened a store in Stockholm's exclusive fashion district, Bibliotekstan. It would be rude therefore, if you're in the capital and require a nice, proper British umbrella, to not stop by. It won't be cheap but boy it will do the job. We Brits know about brollies.


One of the most important accessories a youngster needs for a new school year is a sturdy but cool backpack to carry school essentials and keep homework safe away from paper-eating dogs and mathematic-pinching baby siblings.

Fjällräven is the original and unbeatable top dog when it comes to children's knap-sacks and I wouldn't want to argue against an almost cult classic item. The Kånken mini is compact, has a removable seat cover and a reflective logo to make sure your little tikes can be seen as the daylight fades. Very cute, very practical, very Swedish.

Work-age not school-age?

Backpacks with their innate nerdiness are for that reason always cool. Over the age of fourteen? You might decide to go for a cute little leather rucksack or perhaps one in denim? Sandvist is the ultimate go-to for bags of the highest quality and come in wondrous shapes and sizes.

The Converse alternative

I've commented many a time on Swedes' love of the All-Star but could the ubiquitous canvas sneaker be losing its edge? My fella's ultra-cool eleven-year-old Swedish sister, for one, is so over Converse, instead favouring another - for now at least - much cooler brand. Vans, my friends, are the only conceivable next step for sub-zero cool, casual footwear. Why? Vans are deck shoes popular with snowboarders, skateboarders and BMXing types - possibly the coolest people on the planet.

In fact, if a pair of Vans and a pair of Converse got into a fight, the Vans would probably laugh uproaringly then jump on a board and skate away doing ollies, nollies and other such tricks in the air. They are that cool.

Doc Martens for colder days are a great alternative and make perfect puddle-splashing kicks. And we're going for colour here. Pea green, egg-yolk yellow and bubblegum pink are the best colours for DMs whether you're six, sixteen or twenty-six.

Grown-ups - it's time to step aside from the canvas pumps and embrace schoolish brogues, polished to perfection. In fact, men, women, children, the brogue is top of the class, always. Learn to lace-up and you'll never go back.

Need a heel? Sensible, clunky mary-janes and ankle boots are A* material.

Those were the ABCs but what about 1, 2, 3? Here are my final three tips about autumnal colour for this season.

1. One colour is never enough

Whilst Sweden's adults may have an innate fear of anything brighter than beige, the youngsters of this beautiful country care not for tepid tones and boring black. For kids - who for the most part don't care about looking cool (thank heavens) - the more colour the better. Clashing prints, all the colours of the rainbow and the more motifs the merrier. Kids are busy creatures, they have a lot going on. It makes sense their clothes should have too.

2. Grown-ups: Everything's looking rosy for autumn/winter; Lanvin, Jonathan Saunders and Topshop Unique all showed coats, sweaters and silky dresses in soft pinks. If you're back to work in August, get ahead of the fashion pack and soften military trench coats and masculine brogues with the prettiest of pinks.

3. If black is always your uniform, try mixing up the textures – suede, leather and denim as seen at & Other Stories - for a subtle play on the most wearable of tones or try fir-green for an alternative dark, edgy colour alternative. Back to school or back to work, whatever your age gives you the perfect time a style reinvention; first and foremost because it means you'll deliver maximum impact.

Hussey's How To: Polish then buff. There's no excuse for scuffed or dirty school shoes. Learn it young, learn it well.

Victoria Hussey

Follow Victoria on Twitter here


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