It's safe to say most students and teachers have never dreamed about raiding each other's closets-- until now. Fall 2012's hottest trends work so well for both parties that cases of wardrobe envy are bound to hit the hallways come September. Here's how to wear them, whether you're taking the exams or giving them.
A leather jacket is the must-have fall topper, because it looks good with almost anything. Use it to add some edge to a lace dress or floral skirt, or let it dress up a Tee and leggings. Go faux to save big bucks. This Jack by BB Dakota Fernando faux leather jacket is $65, at zappos.com.
Too much leather doesn't exactly give off the teacher vibe. Play up polished pieces with subtle leather trim, like these Tibi leather-trimmed stretch-satin twill pants. Pair them with a jewel-tone sweater or Peter Pan collared blouse and you have a perfectly on-trend yet professional look. These are on sale for $118, at theoutnet.com.
Fierce oxblood is the color of the season, so why not have a little fun with your denim? Pair oxblood jeans with a rocker Tee and studded booties for a tough-girl look, or go with a lace top and riding boots for a more classic take. These Rich & Skinny Legacy jeans are $176, at shopbop.com.
Pencil skirts are nice, but high-low hemlines are the perfect blend of drama and elegance. Balance a bold oxblood bottom with a cream-colored button-down blouse, and accessorize with a thin black leather belt and the shoe of the moment . . . pointed toe heels. This wrap front skirt is $76, at topshop.com.
Every closet needs some peplum right now, and the best casual way to rock this ladylike style for school is with a cute, printed tank. Wear it with skinny jeans and layer with a cardigan in the cooler months. This Lily White peplum tank for juniors comes in floral or polka-dot for $34, at nordstrom.com.
Flattering peplum dresses up a basic T-shirt for work. Pair it with dark jeans and a chunky necklace, or go bold with slim-fit ankle pants in a bright color. This Wyatt top is on sale for $41.99, at bluefly.com.
DENIM TOP: Student
Tying a denim button-down over a printed dress is the perfect way to take your summer clothes into fall. This laid-back piece can also be used to tone down your favorite maxi-skirt for daytime. This BDG Chambray button-down is $59, at urbanoutfitters.com.
DENIM TOP: Teacher
A denim button-down is comfortable with just the right amount of professional. A polka dot pattern is fun to pair with colored pants and oxfords, or tuck it into a pleated skirt. Cuff the sleeves and add an oversized watch. This BDG denim shirt is $59, at urbanoutfitters.com.
Fall 2012 is a very formal season when it comes to fashion, so even public school students should invest in a proper blazer. Keep it playful with a print or fun color, and throw it over jeans and a simple tank to instantly pull the outfit together. Plus, blazers add just enough warmth on cool autumn days. This striped ponte knit blazer is on sale for $25, at charlotterusse.com.
A blazer is the working woman's ideal topper, because it makes almost any outfit look instantly professional. Get one in a vibrant fall color to show you have a fun side, but you still mean business. Put a solid-colored blazer over a printed button-down and tuck into high-waisted jeans, or pair one with riding boots for a perfectly preppy back to school look. This Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel comes in multiple colors and is $198, at jcrew.com.
A delicate lace dress is ready for school when paired with a denim jacket and chestnut colored boots. Keep your hair down in natural looking waves, or loosely braid it to compliment this easy, feminine look. This Lipsy Lace Skater Dress is on sale for $65.57, at asos.com.
A lace sheath dress is ultra-feminine, but wear it in a deep hue and it's powerful, too. Pair it with a dark shade of lipstick and pull your hair into a slick bun, and even the rowdiest of students won't want to mess with you that day. This BCBGMAXAZRIA dress is $238, at nordstrom.com.
GEOMETRIC JEWELRY: Student
Incorporating colorful geometric shapes keeps accessories young and fresh. Add bright bangles to make an ordinary outfit pop. This geo pattern bangle set is $10.80, at forever21.com.
GEOMETRIC JEWELRY: Teacher
A statement necklace in a neutral tone is work appropriate and goes with everything, and this '60s-inspired version is right on trend. It's gold plated with leather detail, from Nicole Richie's brand House of Harlow 1960, $75; at houseofharlow1960.com.
This popular print dresses up a basic long sleeve top. Pair it with colored denim and ankle boots for an on-trend, funky fall look. This blouse by Equipment is $198, at isaay.com.
Use a daring print to add style to a professional tie-neck long sleeve blouse, but keep the rest understated. Tuck it into basic pants that compliment the color scheme of the top and add a sophisticated, skinny belt and simple flats or pumps. This blouse is $49.50, at victoriassecret.com.
CHUNKY KNIT: Student
A chunky knit doesn't have to be your grandmother's sweater. This season's versions are cute, stylish, and oh so cozy. Layer one over a collared shirt with jeans and boots. This painterly stripe cardigan is $49.95, at gap.com.
CHUNKY KNIT: Teacher
A soft, oversized sweater is the best thing to slip on on a cool weekday morning. Choose one with noticeable texture that mixes multiple flattering shades, and let the rest of your outfit just blend in. This Striped Scenery sweater is $98, at anthropologie.com.
Steve Madden loves using nail heads to add style to his shoes, and he's not alone. You'll be seeing them everywhere this season. Use them to make typical black flats stand out, or put them on fall boots for a bit of edge. They work on handbags, too. These Tarnney booties are $149.95, at stevemadden.com.
A thin, studded belt is a subtle way to get in on the trend. Use it to cinch your waist in a dress or wear it with a blazer, and it will add a touch of toughness to normally preppy or feminine styles. This one by Linea Pelle has rose gold studs and is on sale for $66.99, at zappos.com.
1920s-inspired sparkle is everywhere, but a sequin miniskirt doesn't exactly fit the school dress code. Go for a top with pretty embellished details, and you'll look just the right amount of dressed up, even in jeans. This Yoon Pointelle top is $149, at issay.com.
Metallic tweed is the perfect way for teachers to get in on the embellished trend, because it shines while giving off a professional, serious vibe. Feeling daring? Pair it with metallic heels or flats to play up the subtle sparkle. This Rebecca Taylor dress is on sale for $291.99, at piperlime.com.