Your official back-to-school style inspo for 2022

There are a few things everyone should have in their closet—basics, if you will—but that doesn't mean they have to *be* basic. So how do you reinvent these wardrobe workhorses? Look for fall 2022 updates that feel so right now: cool cuts, eye-catching details, unexpected colors and patterns or super fun embellishments. Fashion class is now in session, because these basics are anything but boring. 

The new black & white

Black and white is a classic combo for a reason, but if feels new when colorblocked or in graphic, all-over prints with a slightly '90s vibe. Top it all off with a chunky sneaker, and you're practically in technicolor.

Dress, Zara, $50 | Bag, A.p.c., $220 | Sweater, Aelfric Eden, $87 | Pants, Cider, $32 | Headband, Shein, $3 | Sneakers, Steve Madden, $100 | Jacket, Jackets Maker, $215 | Hat, Claire's, $25

The new coordinated set

There's so much more to matching than sweatsuits. Eye-popping patterns (think: yellow houdstooth or retro vibes) dress up a coordinating set and make it funky fresh. Craving cozy comfort? A matching oversized sweater and knit skirt look perfectly put together and feel absolutely dreamy.

Brown pants, Cider, $28 | Brown top, Cider, $32 | Yellow top, Zara, $50 | Yellow skirt, Zara, $40 | Sweater set, Chicwish, $86Floral skirt, Something Navy, $95 | Floral top, Something Navy, $150

The new denim

Seasons come and go, but finding ways to reinvent denim is forever. This fall, the focus is on the details—whether that's an interesting waistline (we love the indents on the pair above), intricate add-ons (yes to paisley embroidery or bedazzled hearts) or using the fabric on unexpected standout pieces (cowboy boots, a backpack or a show-stopping duster jacket). Bottom line? Denim is fun again.

Backpack, Pottery Barn, $89 | Lined jeans, Hyley, $70 | Jacket, Cider, $44 | Paisley jeans, Alice + Olivia, $660 | Jacket, Levi's, $327 | Cargo jeans, Cider, $38 | Boots, Light in the Box, $63 | Patch jeans, Hollister, $60

The new crop

Cropping is not just for tops anymore. As the weather gets chillier, we're chopping all our layers, from varsity jackets and cardigans to sweater dresses and jeans. The silhouettes read way modern and polished—in fact, everything just looks better with a couple of inches hemmed off.

Shorts, Frankie Shop, $90 | Cardigan, Cider, $38 | Jacket, Cider, $32 | Sweater dress, Wilfred, $178 | Corduroy top, Topo Designs, $129 | Skirts, Chacha, $26 | White pants, Zara, $50

The new "It" color

One way to make your faves feel utterly reinvented? Grab them in this season's VIC (that's Very Important Color): Kelly green. It looks good on, well, everything, from preppy blazers to edgy moto jackets to jade jewelry to tailored mini skirts. Putting it on something we usually associate with another color (in this case, a normally navy Yankees hat)? Now that's just inspired.

Cardigan, Cider, $30 | Hat, '47, $39 | Pants, Zara, $70 | Earrings, Petit Moments, $35 | Skirt, Sunday Best, $48 | Jacket, Chouyatou, $42 | Boots, Steve Madden, $230 | Bracelet, Kendra Scott, $68

The new sneaker

Sneakers have officially crossed over to wear-anywhere shoes—and fall's latest versions just prove it. The metallic/glitter/rhinestone studded pairs look so fancy, you could probably rock them with your homecoming dress (actually, you really should), while colorblocked and neon styles are outfit-makers all on their own. Those skater-inspired ones with the handprints on them? A work of art.

Green sneakers, Cruise, $168 | Black sneakers, Revolt, $120 | Gold sneakers, Skechers, $130 | Colorblock sneakers, Nike, $110 | Checkered sneakers, Vans, $151 | Bedazzled sneakers, Vintage Havana, $125 | Pink and white sneakers, Veja, $115 | Beige stripe sneakers, Adidas x Ivy Park, $116 

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our August/September 2022 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

What back-to-school fashion trend are you *so* rocking this year? Tag us in your looks on Instagram for a chance to get featured @girlslifemag!

Credits: Photographed by Sean Scheidt. Styled by Lo VonRumpf. Hair by Phillip Nathaniel. Makeup by Maurie Davidson. Mood boards by Laine Napoli. Story edited for digital coverage by Elizabeth Gregg and Kathleen O'Neill.


by Sara Gaynes Levy | 8/7/2022