Trends are bold this back-to-school season
BY EMILY MORRIS Staff Reporter August 6, 2012 9:26PM
A hot item for back-to-school shopping is this High-tech backpack, Shaun White Smooth Tech Checks Backpack at Target, $49.99
Updated: September 8, 2012 6:04AM
Fashion for girls and boys of all ages is bright, loud and patterned. The blinding neon jeans and T-shirts popular this summer are following kids into fall.
“Color is going to be king,” said Marshal Cohen, chief analyst for market research company NPD Group. “And you’re going to see a lot of color make it into the classroom this year.”
Age defiance is a theme, too, with teenagers sporting shirts with owls and angry birds while the younger kids try to look more like adults with blazers and layered skirts, said Eden Gelt, marketing director of Harlem Irving Plaza in Norridge.
Some stores are offering kids’ supplies geared to the more sophisticated, mature youngster, said MJ Tam, editor of local blog Chicagonista and mother of three children.
“I notice in Target they definitely have gotten to that point where it’s not all cutesy backpacks anymore,” Tam says. “[They’re] more simplified.”
Girls and guys are trying on some of the same trends, such as sporty shirts, bright colors and prints that make a statement.
Boys prints are heavy on checkers, stripes and plaid, while the girls are finding plenty of animal print.
A popular look for girls, all the way from kindergarten to senior year in high school, pairs bright jeans or “jeggings,” super tight-fit stretch jeans with a light-colored shirt or a bold top in a different color to achieve a color-blocking look.
For boys, pants in colors like teal, yellow or green can pair with a neutral button-up or polo shirt. Another fashionable pairing is a neon graphic T-shirt with a standard pair of blue jeans.
Most of this year’s trends can be found at department stores, discount shopping centers as well as teen apparel retailers. A few hot trends cited by Cohen and the other fashion experts are:
Stores’ fall collections are proving that for teens, it’s fun to be a kid again. Cuddly forest friends are featured in graphic tees for high schools as well as the younger crowd. You’ll be seeing plenty of clothes with Angry Birds, bunnies and owls for boys and girls of all ages.
For her: Owls of the Nile by Rachel Caldwell at Threadless, $20.
For him: Angry Birds T-shirt at Kohls, $18.
Athletic and sporty
This year, both genders are sporting comfy track pants with athletic T-shirts. It’s “traditionally a boys trend for back-to-school, but this year it’s migrated over into the girls side as well,” Cohen said.
For her: I Make This Game Look Good girls T-shirt at Kohls, $22.
For him: Kohls Adidas Sticker boys T-shirt $16.
Sneakers with bold neon colors are brightening the aisles. The neon shoe is one way for guys to get in on the bright-colored trend while keeping things simple up top, said Lisa Stricker, marketing director for Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg.
For her: Adidas ClimaCool Modulation High-Performance Running Shoes-Girls at Kohls, $64.99.
For him: New Balance 913 Athletic Shoes-Boys at Kohls, $49.99
Flying alarm clock
For kids who hit the snooze button one too many times and for parents tired of having to yank them out of bed, this clever clock makes waking up a highly irritating, yet effective, game. The alarm clock is fitted with a traveling key, which flies away from the clock when the alarm rings. To make the grating noise stop, sleepers have to get out of bed, retrieve the key, and bring it back to the alarm base. Karl Volkman, chief technical officer at SRV Network in Chicago recommends this clock in his must-have gadgets for the school year.
ThinkGeek (thinkgeek.com), $19.99.
This year, it’s all about having a backpack with “lots of bells and whistles,” Cohen said, which allows today’s tech-savvy kids to tote their latest gadgets, such as tablets, e-readers, laptops and smartphones. For Tam’s 12-year-old son, having the coolest backpack tops his list of must-haves. “Very high tech, that’s definitely the look that I think my tween son is going for,” Tam said.
Shaun White Smooth Tech Checks Backpack at Target, $49.99.
Kids and teens are swapping their lightweight earphones for bulky, mammoth headphones that block out surrounding noise. Some ideas: Bose QuietComfort 15, recommended by Volkman, $299.95. Beats by Dr. Dre Studio, $299.95. Sony MDR-NC200D, $199.99. The Audio-Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC1: $129.95.
Supplies with pizzazz
Kids can match this year’s clothing trends to their school supplies, and office supply stores are carrying notebooks, locker décor and backpacks that feature some of what’s hot in back-to-school.
Consumers can expect to see plenty of Angry Birds, superheroes, glitter, and gem-adorned supplies in stores this summer. Just like in the clothing aisles, animal prints are “totally in this year,” as well as embellishments, said Beth Cleveland, spokeswoman for OfficeMax. Some examples:
Angry Birds collection: $3 to $24.99.
Animal print: $1 to $7.99.
Superheroes: $1 to $6.
(Listed are full retail prices.)