DRESS FOR RECESS
Fall fashions are a study in unorthodox layering
By Sharon Mosley
Copley News Service
Open your fashion books and get ready for a stylin' new school year with back-to-school essentials that make getting dressed for class as easy as ABC. It's all about taking great layering pieces and mixing up patterns and colors to wear with new jeans - the always popular uniform for the back-to-school crowd. The good news for fall - there are no rules when it comes to putting it all together. Just use your imagination and think outside the fashion book.
BOYS AND GIRLS
For girls, it's all about color, according to the buyers at the Children's Place, who suggest that kids start collecting those sweaters. Knits in stripes, dots and florals are key trend items to have for endless mix 'n match options and looks that are unexpected and not too put-together. The skort is the look for fall in muted plaids paired with playful bright layers on top. Dresses, jumpers, cardigans and sweater coats are all new in stripes, solids and all-over prints. And it's time to bring back the new stirrup pants for girls that shine in ultra-cool sateen fabrics.
For boys, expect rugged outdoor looks and new utilitarian silhouettes. Topping the list are new carpenter pants in slub canvas that boys can wear in and out of the classroom. Woven shirts in glen, buffalo and tartan plaids are also among the latest additions to this collection. They look great paired with fall's ultimate transitional piece - the rugby striped puffer vest, reversible and new this year for girls and boys. Also fresh this season, updated and ultra-cool athletic graphic tees, thermals and flannel shirts.
The Children's Place is also having fun with denim this fall, with the latest fits and washes kids will want to wear all year long. For boys, there is a new boot cut and a straight leg fit in dark gray and black denim. Girls have a lot of fun options with a brand-new wide-leg jean in the season's most stylish colors - dark denim and light gray; some with embellishments that take plain jeans to a new level.
This season, girls can find looks that range from feminine to edgy with fun designs in every style. Ultra-cool and brand-new is this season's "it" shoe, the high-top. Or for a little shine, girls can try a shiny boot done in this season's hottest metal, silver. Hiking boots and utilitarian work-boot styles are making the back-to-school hot trend list for boys. Cool screen prints are popping up on sneakers in slide-on or high-top styles.
The classic styles are returning for young men, says Steve Cardino of Macy's. "But it's not all about dad this time around," he says. "There's definitely a new twist to the way these guys dress now."
Think "American Idol" and the young guys who take to the stage in woven or knit vests worn over T-shirts with jeans and sneakers. Cardino predicts that skinny ties will make a statement when worn with woven plaid shirts. "Let's face it, these guys have been in T-shirts for a long time. They want an alternative."
Young men also want something different than the fleece outerwear that's been ruling the school hallways for so long. Cardino sees the zip or front-button sweater jacket becoming more popular.
And, of course, jeans continue to be a staple, according to the Macy's expert who sees a return to lighter washes and more distressed denim. "From the runways in Milan to the clubs in the city, there was a lot of abrasion in denim," he says. The straight or narrower legs also continue to set the trends for younger guys.
Cardino expects cargo pants will once again make their mark in the back-to-school wardrobe.
"Kids just have so much to carry these days," he says, "they really like pants or jackets with lots of pocket details." Backpacks and messenger bags will also come in handy.
As for shoes, younger guys will be checking out the colorful athletic footwear in checks and tweeds. "Fall is all about patterns on sneakers," says Cardino.
When it comes to the trendsetters, teen girls are the ones that usually make the most fashion noise. And this fall will be no different as they head back to school. But first, there are all those shopping trips. So here's a checklist from Dena Stokes of Macy's East:
- The skinny jean is still a favorite for the young girls who love to use them as the basis for everything else they wear. It's the No. 1 back-to-school item and the school year starts with dark denim that goes with tops and jackets in every color.
- The vest is the perfect layering piece worn over T-shirts and shirts. Guys aren't the only ones getting vested this fall.
- The one shirt to put on that back-to-school shopping list? Something with ruffles of course!
- The fitted blazer is another must-have item for teens this fall. It's easy to dress this classic up or down.
- Knits are hits on the teen scene with long "boyfriend" cardigans stealing the spotlight.
- When the weather calls for something a little warmer, go for the bomber jacket that has lots of sporty style.
- Dresses are not just for spring and summer this year. Look for the shirtdress and the screen-printed T-shirt dress to be making the fashion grade right into fall.
- Accessories are fun ways to personalize teen wardrobes. Look for moccasin boots and scarves to perk up all those jeans and jackets.
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