By Sharon Mosley

May 20, 2013 4 min read

When it comes time to head back to school this fall, there are plenty of ways to make the top fashion grade. From Ivy League prepsters to denim divas, the halls will be a colorful place to get educated in all the style trends.

Here's a heads-up on the latest trends from Sofia Wacksman, vice president of Kohl's department stores, to put on your fall back-to-school shopping list:

*Double Up on Denim

And what is usually at the No. 1 spot on that shopping list? A new pair of jeans! But this year, there are so many more ways to wear denim for guys and girls, no matter what age.

"We love denim for back to school -- from chambray shirts and skinny jeans to the must-have denim jacket or vest," Wacksman says. "Mix the look. Try a dark-rinse skinny with a pretty feminine top and leather biker jacket, or go classic with a tailored blazer."

And the trend expert suggests the newest way to sport denim is to layer jean pieces all in the same outfit. "We love to see it head to toe," she says. "Don't be afraid to mix light and dark washes together. Make it fun."

*Join the Ivy League

The preppy classics have always been a back-to-school favorite. But Wacksman suggests making all-American style new this fall by giving those basics a twist.

"The must-have chambray shirts are paired with fun intarsia sweaters and patterns that are borrowed from the boys, such as foulards and herringbones," she says. "The classic tuxedo slipper is reinterpreted in new materials and prints. The look can be casually fun or unexpectedly cool."

*East Meets West

Global warming in the study of fashion is another big trend topic for back-to-school wardrobes this fall. Exotic prints get an A-plus.

"Our East meets West story is about the traveler who loves to explore new ideas and cultures, taking inspiration along the way and mixing them together in her own way. She's an individual -- and every day is a new adventure," Wacksman says. "She loves combining prints and textures in unexpected ways, like topping a luxe tee or mixed-print dress with a faux fur-trimmed vest."

*Building Blocks

Graphic design is another winning course that will be trending on back-to-school shopping lists this fall. Think colorful and bold abstract ways to put your clothes together.

Wacksman suggests starting with a great black pant and a smart tailored blazer to pull off one of the strongest messages of the season, colorblocking. To these basics, add color. "From bold stripes and fun dots to pop art graphic prints, this trend adds a modern twist to classic pieces."

*Back to the Future

One of the most eclectic trends of the school season, "back to the future" is a playfully rebellious trend for fall back to school, says the Kohl's trend expert. "It's mixing soft atmospheric prints with studded embellishments and coated denim. Top a galactic printed tee and colored skinny jeans with a distressed moto jacket. Or wear the must-have printed sweatshirt with a denim mini and colored tights."

*Top Items for the Back-to-School Shopping List

--Plaid shirts for guys and girls.

--Distressed denim frayed in all the right places.

--Graphic-printed tops and tees.

--Skinny pants -- from leggings to jeans.

--Vests to layer over everything.

--Leather biker jackets.

--Slouchy beanie hats.

--Bold, neon sneakers.

--Printed messenger bags.

--Headbands, headbands, headbands.

Sharon Mosley's weekly column, "In Fashion," can be found at

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