One might easily imagine young co-eds wearing both maroon and mustard as they stroll across a sprawling green campus, autumn foliage bursting around them. The two hues wouldn’t be out of place on a striped rugby shirt either, or on the crest of a very prestigious boarding school. And, as any Harry Potter fan worth her salt knows, they’re also Gryffindor’s signature shades (although Hogwarts students refer to them as "scarlet and gold"—whatever, potatoes, po-tah-toes). This combination screams back-to-school! Friday night games! Uniforms!
Even still, if academia style isn’t your thing, there’s an easy way to shake up the look: go for slightly muted, more earthy versions of the colors. A mix of greenish goldenrod and rusted brown feels special and sophisticated and grown-up in a way that straight-up burgundy and deep yellow never can. Finish the look with black and bronze accents, and I promise it’ll feel way more Prada (Fall 2011, especially) than prep school.
Small Snakeskin-Printed Leather Satchel, $2,540, Simone Rocha, modaoperandi.com; Verity Mules, $425, sigersonmorrison.com; Wool Pencil Skirt, $625, Nonoo, shopbop.com; Chunky-knit Sweater, $34.95, hm.com; Rose Gold and Black Diamond Stud Earrings, $2,375, Lauren Wolf, loveadorned.com