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Columnist Esther Walker celebrates the joy of September with her tips on how to perfect school-run style


September is the January of fashion,” said fashion brand consultant Candy Pratts Price in the Vogue documentary, The September Issue.

Right and wrong, Candy. In fact, September is the September of fashion. Because, as everyone knows by now, September is the beginning of everything. January’s association with newness is wrong.

January is the armpit of the year, full of bills and streets strewn with old wrapping paper and sad bits of tinsel. Just because there’s technically a new numerical year

(which we will all get wrong on forms and cheques until March anyway), doesn’t mean there’s anything ‘new’ about it.

The tax year doesn’t even flip over until April. It’s just grey skies and no more chocolate until Easter. But September,
 you make my heart skip a beat. If you had an Instagram account I would stalk you. If you were on Snapchat I’d... do whatever it is people do on Snapchat.

The feeling goes right back to childhood – like so much in life. Until I was 18, September was the official new start of the year.

Six whole weeks since I had seen my classmates (except the one lone friend I saw in the holidays). There would be a new classroom, new teacher, different desk. Maybe the blackboards, dusty with chalk, had been given a new lick of blackboard paint. Maybe your most hated teacher had been fired and replaced with someone nice.

For me, it was extra thrilling as one of my parents’ many ace qualities is their extreme parsimony. I salute them – it has made me the thrifty penny-counter you see before you – able to survive for a month on £8 and half a bag of Tate & Lyle.

But the one thing my parents would splash out on was books, paper and stationery supplies – so every September my sisters and I would go berserk in WHSmith, poring over pencil cases, ring files, hole reinforcers and maths sets. These were actual new things of my own, not hand-me-downs.

So, September is a powerful watershed in my fashion year – if it isn’t yours too, why not?

[Continued below]


Belt up this
Autograph trench
Go hands-free with
a cross-body bag
Line up for
striped joggers
These trainers will
be your go-to


Team basics with an eye-catching coat for easy school-run style


You can genuinely re-invent yourself in this month. If you have school-age children, you can verily re-present yourself at the school gates with a new bag or new trainers – perhaps a daring new style of jeans. It’s like having your school days all over again, without the school dinners (alas).

But it’s not just about updating your wardrobe, for example with an oversized checked blazer, a splash of animal print or a pair of high-waisted jeans (all of which should definitely be going in your shopping basket, by the way), it’s about reviewing your autumn and winter clothes that you put away earlier in the year and seeing what needs refreshing.

Funnily enough, with all this talk recently of fast fashion, the bigger-picture trends aren’t turning over as fast as they might be: the long, printed dress isn’t going anywhere, neither are black ankle boots or ice-white trainers.

And, on the slim chance that you are not inspired by this revamp of your outerwear, then make September your month to overhaul your knicker drawer. Get rid of any underwear you haven’t worn for the last year and set aside an entire morning to visit your favourite underwear department (which, come on, has got to be Marks & Spencer, am I right?).

For my money, the best pants in the world are the M&S no VPL microfibre range and it will be a cold day in hell before I give up any of my cotton-rich strappy crop tops. I might even dabble in a matching lingerie set from Rosie for Autograph.

In theory I’m not really a matching lingerie kind of girl. But I might be. After all, anything’s possible in September.



Add interest with textured animal print
Turn-ups available in three lengths
Increase ooh la la with a Breton
Add options with a multipack of belts

Editor: Sophie Hines / Photographer: Jonty Davies

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