librarian chic
( sheek) n. A fashion style that uses elements of, or is inspired by, the styles stereotypically attributed to librarians.

Example Citations:
When Natalie Merchant was a twenty-something chanteuse fronting 10,000 Maniacs, she was every nerdish schoolboy's crush. With her unadorned voice, intelligent lyrics and librarian chic, Merchant broke a few million hearts and spawned the Lilith Fair generation in the process.
—Geoff Harkness, "Natalie Merchant," Kansas City Pitch Weekly, June 27, 2002

At Luella Bartley they came in fifties-inspired black and white, reminiscent of gym sneakers, and at Miu Miu, the look was sexy librarian.

The trend got a boost from Nicole Kidman, who made anti-fashion de rigueur in her Oscar-winning performance of The Hours. It's also linked to the changing tastes of an aging demographic, and a collective longing for the honest and down-to-earth.
—Deborah Fulsang, "Dorky shoes step out What's the latest runway look? Librarian chic," The Globe and Mail, April 5, 2003

Earliest Citation:
It is time for afternoon tea. He settles down and pours; she brings the biscuits. Domestic bliss in the housing estate outback of south London? Not quite.

There is something surreal about the very normality. East End born-and-bred Tim Gane, 31, and his Parisian girlfriend, Laetitia Sadier, 27, look like right-on Londoners in their librarian chic needlepin cords and Marks & Spencer cardies. You wouldn't guess that they are, respectively, the multi-instrumentalist and the cryptic Marxist wordsmith of an experimental lo-fi pop outfit called Stereolab.
—Veena Virdi, "Marx and sparks," The Times of London, September 20, 1997

Related Words: