You've been saving your money and now it's time to go back-to-school shopping.
What to buy?
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For guys, it's more of the same: jeans, hoodies, T-shirts and polos mixed and matched to create looks from skater guy to prepster.
For young women, the fall fashion forecast is a lot more interesting. You'll find clothing inspired by menswear, including vests and tuxedo-style blouses that have been girlied up with ruffles and bows. In fact, you'll find ruffles on just about everything, from T-shirts to dresses. Sweaters are also super important this year, in a wide variety of lengths and styles.
Also big: influences from the 1980s, including — gasp! — high-waist jeans.
Plus, everyone's favorite color: plaid!
The trick is to combine individual items into specific looks. And to understand that not everything suits everyone's style. As a nouveau hippie girl, you may be all about flowing tops while your best friend, the queen of prep, is all about clean classic lines with an edge.
A word of advice before you shop: Make sure you know your school's dress code before you buy anything. Most schools forbid midriff-baring tops, super-short shorts or skirts, super saggy pants, and clothing that promotes drugs, alcohol, sex or firearms.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's check out some of this season's looks.
HIGH AND MIGHTY
She was the first girl in school to have skinny jeans, now she's going in a new direction with her denim. The high waist on these super-flared, four-pocket white jeans makes them slightly 1980s-esque yet oh so current. Show them off with a tucked-in T-shirt, otherwise no one will notice the waist. $209 by Rich and Skinny at www.neimanmarcus.com. Too pricey for something so trendy? Check out the offerings at www.urbanoutfitters.com, where high-waist jeans are selling for $48.
THESE RUFFLES AREN'T PRISSY
She's wearing ruffles around the neck of her cute shirt, but she's no prudish pushover. Paired with a cute short-sleeved jacket and trim-cut jeans, she's ready for whatever the semester brings. Check out Elle at www.kohls.com and Kohl's.
LOVELY IN LAYERS
Some people might call her indecisive. But really, all the layers — a T-shirt under a strappy flowing baby doll top and then a cardigan over that — make her super stylish in a hippie kind of way. Plus, she'll be set for whatever the weather brings. What makes this cardigan especially current is its elbow-length sleeves. Look at the Decree line at www.jcp.com and JCPenney.
PRETTY IN PLAID
Plaid never goes out of fashion. Dresses are a must-have this season and this shift with banded sleeves has lots going for it. It's corduroy, one of the season's popular fabrics, and it's plaid, one of the season's popular patterns. Remember: Plaid never goes out of style. $34.99 from Go International, available Aug. 31 at www.target.com and Target. Pair it with colorful tights and you'll give the outfit a super fresh twist.
NOUVEAU PREP SCHOOL
She's the queen of prep, yet there's nothing stuffy or Muffy about her or her uniform of choice. A festive blouse and striped tie give her look an updated edge. Best source: www.oldnavy.com and Old Navy.
I'VE GOT A BOYFRIEND!
Cut longer and made to look like it was borrowed from you-know-who, a boyfriend-style sweater is comfy without being sloppy. Pair with skinny pants or jeans and pearls and you'll give a feminine and preppy edge to a menswear-inspired look. Look at www.ae.com and American Eagle Outfitters.
NOT TOO TIED UP
Yes, she's dressed for business, a smart thing since she's class treasurer. But she looks anything but dowdy. The slim cut of this striped blouse with banded sleeves and ruffled placket and tie at the neck is what keeps it from looking old-fashioned. Paired with skinny jeans, it's a sure thing. $44 by Trixxi at www.macys.com and select Macy's stores.
PATTERN OF SUCCESS
Calculus? Advanced Placement English? She's not afraid of anything — including mixing prints and patterns, in this case a plaid skirt with a dotted shirt. Both by Juicy Couture. Skirt, $295; blouse, $158 at www.juicycouture.com
THE SUPER FASHIONISTA
She's destined to win the prize for best dressed — especially in this up-to-date, plaid-fringed, draped-collar blazer in purple (one of the season's signature colors) and a black leather miniskirt with an exposed zipper. Both by L.A.M.B. Blazer, $425, skirt, $298 at www.nordstrom.com and Nordstrom stores.
He might be a high school sophomore but he'll look like an upperclassman in a classic V-neck and jeans. Sweater and jeans, $39.50 at www.ae.com and American Eagle Outfitters.
MAYBE HE'S NOT SUCH A GEEK
He's on the chess team and thinks learning Latin is fun. So a classic, studious-looking vest with short-sleeved shirt is just perfect for him. But you didn't expect a punky skull-and-crossbones tie, did you? Tie, $16.50; short-sleeved dress shirt, $19.50; cotton sweater vest, $19.50 all at www.oldnavy.com and Old Navy.
Georgea Kovanis wries for the Detroit Free Press. Contact her at kovanis(at)freepress.com.
© 2008, Detroit Free Press.
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