As the fall semester approaches, middle and high school students start to think about what they will wear on the first day of classes.
Grade school students have it easy—they willingly wear whatever mom or dad lays out for them.
But for teenagers, deciding what to wear—and what to buy at back to school sale—is a little more complicated.
“Most high school students are very particular about what they like,” says Tania Richter, owner of , a fashion boutique in Shakopee. “They wear what their friends wear, but they also want to be their own person and show who they are.”
And middle-schoolers: “They look at what’s popular with the high school students and that’s what they wear.”
Complicating the issue even further: the extremes of Minnesota’s climate.
“Minnesota doesn’t follow the standard trends. We have four distinct seasons here, so you can’t wear the same thing year-round here like they do in L.A.”
This can be seen in the layering of clothing, a trend which seems to be keeping its popularity, especially among girls.
“You’ll see a lot of skirts and leggings,” Richter said. Some girls will wear a tank top and T-shirt with a matching hoodie or jacket.
Encouraging teens to layer clothes is also a good way to save money while clothes shopping. This way you can wear the new clothes in different situations and take advantage of what they already own to assemble new outfits.
“It’s good to find clothes that are versatile and can be mixed and matched with other things that you own”
Another money saving tip: “Make sure they’re comfortable in what they wear.”
“I see customers come in looking for a size 5, squeeze into a size 3, and then take it home and never wear it. People do it all the time.”
When asked about what girls were buying for the fall, Richter started out with jeans. Flare jeans are out and boot cut and skinny jeans are in. And say goodbye to plain pockets on jeans. Embellished—or “blingy”—pockets are the way to go. Finally, wearing Uggs with jeans remains popular: “It probably will be forever,” Richter said.
As far as tops go, rhinestone-decorated T-shirts are in, as are shirts with animal, plaid or floral patterns. Stripes, however, are on the way out.
To find out about accessories, we talked to Andrea Rovner, owner of Edina fashion shop Fringe, about what she will be stocking this fall.
She agreed that animal patterns—especially snakeskin and other reptile prints—are showing up on handbags, jewelry and scarves.
Also popular as the colder months of the year approach: faux fur vests and trim.
“What’s not going to be as big this year is the ‘rocker chick’ look,” says Rovner. She says the stud bracelets and necklaces that go with this look do not seem to be as popular as in the past.
For the fall, boys are turning to distressed jeans and more fitted clothing overall said Richter and Courtney Paaverud—a sales associate at Shop Karizma.
While fitted is in for both shirts and pants, too-tight is not.
“I don’t think boys are wearing skinny jeans anymore,” Paaverud said.
Like girls, they are layering their T-shirts with hoodies or jackets. Plaid is also popular: the material can be found in both shorts and shirts.
As different as teenage boys and girls like to think they are from each other, they are similar in at least one respect.
“Boys are a lot like girls: what their friends wear, they wear,” Paaverud said.
When shopping for back to school clothes, make sure sure to keep school dress codes in mind.
“We don’t sell a lot of hats, because you can’t wear hats in school,” Richter said.
Other common prohibitions are skimpy clothing or apparel that does not cover enough of the body.
According to the Hopkins High School Student Handbook, for example, “Cleavage, midriff, back and undergarments must be covered at all times.”
Additionally, schools often limit the messages that can be promoted on clothing.
Hopkins High School policy says, “Clothing that includes words or pictures that are obscene, vulgar, sexually explicit, convey sexual innuendo, abuse or discrimination, or which promotes or advertises alcohol, chemicals, tobacco or any other products that are illegal for use by minors will not be allowed.”