The 40 Year Old School Girl

2012-09-11 Not Dressed As Lamb 001

I almost died when Everybody Everywear announced that September’s theme was Back To School.

How on earth was I going to rise to that challenge without looking like a) I’m on my way to a fancy dress do at my school reunion, and b) I’ve lost my 40-year-old mind…?

So I erred on the side on preppy, which has fared me well on many an occasion. The elements of school uniform are all there: gingham shirt, necktie (hmm very Blair Waldorf), loafers and a stripey blazer. As usual for me with EBEW there’s nothing new here, I’ve just discovered a new way of putting existing items together.

You know what? I loved it. I think the touches of orange stopped it getting into serious school uniform territory, and I hadn’t worn the necktie in so long even though I love it so. I felt really rather smart, at least for the office 🙂

Hope you’re all having a great week!!

2012-09-11 Not Dressed As Lamb 003

2012-09-11 Not Dressed As Lamb 004

2012-09-11 Not Dressed As Lamb 002


Shirt: Marks & Spencer, Necktie: ASOS*, Trousers: Topshop, Blazer: Very (old), Belt: ASOS, Loafers: ASOS, Watch: Debenhams, Rings: ASOS*

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  1. 28 September 2012 / 6:26 pm

    I had no idea there was a name for my style! I'm 44 and still like to dress like a school-girl. (In a tasteful and appropriate way of course!)

  2. 17 September 2012 / 2:25 am

    This is such a gorgeous outfit.

  3. 15 September 2012 / 12:43 am

    Love this preppy look and I think you look amazing, Catherine! I have never worn a necktie but it looks awesome on you and paired with that gingham shirt and orange loafers, the look is super chic! Stopping by from EBEW.


  4. 13 September 2012 / 7:52 pm

    I LOVE this outfit. One of my EBEW favorites, for sure. That top is especially amazing; the fit is just gorgeous. And I love the bow tie!

  5. 13 September 2012 / 2:53 pm

    Absolutely blimmin love those loafers. x

  6. 13 September 2012 / 11:27 am

    Love this look – you look fab 🙂

  7. 12 September 2012 / 9:57 pm

    I love it, Catherine! I think you struck the balance very well. Truth be told, I had a "school girl" look styled, but the pics turned out horribly. Bad lighting, wrinkly skirt, etc. NOT cute. But back to your outfit, I'm loving orange right now, and I do think it keeps your look fresh, with just a nod to the elements of school-girlishness. Thanks for posting, Lovely Lady!!!

  8. 12 September 2012 / 9:47 pm

    I like the preppy look, and I agree, you didn't go too far so it doesn't look costume-y.

  9. 12 September 2012 / 9:44 pm

    I think you've done it really well! I would've been scared by that challenge as well.. I really must join in with everybody everywhere!

  10. 12 September 2012 / 8:46 pm

    So sweet. I am in love with the bow. Need one.

  11. 12 September 2012 / 4:18 pm

    LOVE tying bows on collared shirts…it does have some fun school girl charm 🙂 You look gorgeous.

    <3 Cambria

  12. 12 September 2012 / 1:38 pm

    Catherine, you are a vision – as you always are! My favourite elements are the necktie, blazer, and your sleek hairstyle. All of this is probably a redundant comment, but I must say again – beautifully done, my friend!

  13. 12 September 2012 / 10:23 am

    Gorgeous school girl indeed, dear Catherine.

  14. 12 September 2012 / 10:05 am

    I love this look Catherine!
    Your wee bow tie is gorgeous & those pants are a great cut xo

  15. 12 September 2012 / 4:55 am

    Oh, I love this look! Perfect autumn look. (Very sweet bead detailing on the bow, too!)


  16. 12 September 2012 / 2:01 am

    cute, i think you hit the look just right, preppy, men's wear and little fun

  17. 12 September 2012 / 1:11 am

    I think the preppy look is great, and I really like the bow tie.

  18. 12 September 2012 / 12:57 am

    the bow tie is a cool school-girlish touch. Lovely look!

  19. 11 September 2012 / 11:06 pm

    Catherine – that face! You are stunning. I can only hope I look even close as beautiful some day.

    And of course I love your outfit. Anything prep wins me over every time.

    • 13 September 2012 / 11:31 am

      Oh my goodness, Franziska – that's so sweet of you, I'm so flattered!!!! And believe me, you are a stunning girl right now, sweetie! Thank you so much :)))))))))))

  20. 11 September 2012 / 9:53 pm

    Your striped jacket has always been a favorite of mine! It looks great with the shirt and the necktie.

  21. 11 September 2012 / 9:30 pm

    I think you look amazing! Such a classy, preppy look. 😉 And I love those loafers – awesome! 😉

  22. 11 September 2012 / 9:06 pm

    Catherine – just found you through EBEW and am your newest follower! This outfit really is stunning, and you have such great style overall. I'm a 30-something blogger and PhD student, and I understand the challenges of trying to look cute and put together, while staying age- and job-appropriate. You nailed this look!

    • 13 September 2012 / 11:24 am

      Thanks so much sweetie – and welcome to my blog, it's nice to meet you! I'll pop over and say hi on yours :)))

  23. 11 September 2012 / 9:04 pm

    That blouse is SO cute, and you are rockin' those pants…love this outfit!

    The Other Side of Gray

  24. 11 September 2012 / 7:32 pm

    You look awesome. I like the whole outfit and the bow is excellent.

  25. 11 September 2012 / 6:25 pm

    I had a similar reaction when I saw this month's theme – I didn't trust myself to pull off the preppy look, so sat this one out, but I knew you would rise to the occasion, and I was right: this is fantastic! I LOVE the bow at the neck – genius!

  26. 11 September 2012 / 5:20 pm

    This is an OUTSTANDING outfit! And I think it could totally work for back to school. I agree with you, when I think back to school, I think preppy 🙂

  27. 11 September 2012 / 5:04 pm

    I absolutely LOOOOVE this outfit! The pattern mixing of the stripes and gingham is genius. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  28. 11 September 2012 / 4:58 pm

    I love it! The stripes, the gingham, the loafers- perfect!

  29. Gray Skies
    11 September 2012 / 4:35 pm

    You do look very preppy, and very cool with the blazer tossed over your shoulder 🙂 I love that bow-tie so much, and wish I had snapped it up from Asos when I had the chance.

  30. 11 September 2012 / 2:55 pm

    By far the coolest back to school outfit. Love how creative you were with this challenge. Adore the necktie! You totally knocked this one out of the part. You would definitely be the best dressed on the first day of school.

  31. 11 September 2012 / 2:11 pm

    see i thought of you as soon as i saw the challenge as i immediately thought of preppy which is soooo you! Love this whole outfit, including the bow, infact the bow is my favourite, it adds prettyness to the masculine preppy look which suits you so so well!xx

  32. 11 September 2012 / 2:11 pm

    It's so funny, I was actually thinking the same thing! What do I wear for this EBEW theme without looking like I lost my mind? 🙂 Great look, I would wear this outfit in the office too!

  33. 11 September 2012 / 2:04 pm

    oh my gosh you look amazing!! and you are rocking that gingham shirt and necktie. so fabulous! hopping over from EBEW! <3

  34. 11 September 2012 / 1:40 pm

    You are so on point with this look. I recently joined the world of employment and I'm leaning heavily on your style for work wear inspiration. I hope you don't mind!!! Love this look and even though I'm late for the EBEW submission I'm going to try it!

  35. 11 September 2012 / 1:34 pm

    Gosh, so glad to be reading blogs again! And yours especially. The little bow on this shirt is just the most lovely thing in the world. I've been wanting to try a bow like that! ASOS had some cute ones, but I couldn't decide. Anyway, love the outfit (again). I'm in love with it all. Also your hair color. And your face. What is your skin care routine?! It's flawless!

    • 13 September 2012 / 11:17 am

      Welcome back, Olivia (I wondered where you'd gone)! Oh and thank you SO much for the lovely compliments =she blushes=!!

      I do take care of my skin as much as possible: I never, ever sleep in my makeup, and have a very basic cleanse, tone and moisturise routine. I make sure my day moisturiser has SPF in it, and I have improved my diet a lot over the last few years to include lots of fruit and veg and less of the crap we all eat… at least 3 pints of water a day too. Oh and I swear by Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream for all sorts, from dry patches on your face (my skin hates the winter) to healing nicks on your legs. It's expensive but lasts a long time – you only ever need a teeny tiny amount.

      All sounds very goody-two-shoes but all of that (plus sleep) is the best thing for skin! Hope that helps sweetie xoxo

  36. 11 September 2012 / 1:12 pm

    Wonderful interpretation of the school uniform – so modern, fresh and chic. Love the orange mocs.

  37. 11 September 2012 / 12:55 pm

    I really love this look Catherine! I love the preppy elements mixed with the classic pieces. The neck tie is so chic and the splashes of colour add quirky and unexpected detail! A favourite look for sure, love love love preppy-chic 🙂

    Take care,

    Daniella xox

  38. 11 September 2012 / 12:34 pm

    Amazing! I love your photo's they are beautiful!

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