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The notion that only Ivy Leaguers can carry off plaid jackets is as well-worn as prep culture itself. In other words, they're not just for the college campus any more, as the many men's-wear designers courting collegiate cool this season have proven. Here's a lesson on suiting up for the boardroom.

1. For a timelier interpretation of prep-school chic, keep in mind that class has long been dismissed and opt for dark denim or wool trousers over khakis as a partner for plaid or check blazers.

2. Considering topsiders? Refer to the previous point and stay away from making the look too literal, especially if you work in a strict corporate environment. Stick to slick dress shoes instead, but punch them up with a pair of colourful socks, as was done at Tommy Hilfiger (above left).

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3. If you want to be taken seriously, make like teen tycoon Chuck Bass of Gossip Girl and always wear your blazer with a crisp button-up and tie. Bow ties are also acceptable, but only for the very brave.

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