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Back to School: What's hot and what's not: Fashion trends for back to school

May 26, 2024

Gone are the days of the Covid pandemic lockdown when students rolled out of their beds and over to their computers to start the school day.

During the lockdown, parents didn't have to bother with the extra expense - and frustration - of trying to buy back to school supplies for their children as pajamas were the going trend.

Now that kids have returned to their classrooms, keeping up with fashion trends while staying within the family's budget can be a bit of a challenge, but hang in there. The news is surprisingly good.

This year, parents are scratching their heads while trying to decipher the different trendy fashions their children most desire by the outlandish names the fashions are given.

For instance, should you see "balaclavas" on your child's most wanted list, chances are you will find yourself googling what the heck this fashion is. Balaclavas are the traditional Russian headwear which has found its way to the hearts of our children and is making a play in the world of back to school fashion.

According to fashion experts, this is the short list of what's hot and what's not this year:

In addition to balaclavas, micro-trends have fallen to the wayside as the pandemic's minimal wardrobe no longer suits us. Instead, fashion experts suggest purchasing your child's new school duds as a "capsule wardrobe."

Capsule wardrobes are basically achieved by hanging onto recycled, quality items and adding neutral pieces that you can easily mix and match with these pieces for a whole new look.

Another fashion trend this reporter had to google to understand is preparatory clothing. Last year, tennis skirts and sweater vests made the what's hot list. Again, keep those good skirts and vests and add layers to them, and shazam! You're on point.

Other trends include the return of the "big bag" to carry all your supplies in versus using a backpack.

Also, Flashdance has made its way back into our closets with the return of leg warmers and ballet slippers. By buying these items in, again, neutral colors, you can stay in step with the prep movement.

If your child asks you for a Tabi, they are not talking about a species of cat. Maison Margiela Tabi’s are the newest rave in footwear. Meow!

Power suits have caught the attention of older kids, and plaid is at the top of the what's hot list! But, not necessarily power suits cut from plaid cloth. Ahem....

Ugg boots have also returned to the want lists, but in slipper styles. Who knew?

Finally, skims are taking the fashion world by storm as lax, stylish loungewear that was once best worn inside the home but is seen more and more these days as popular street wear.

For younger children, athleisure wear has also carried over from the pandemic and is another example of comfortable clothing worn outside the home.

Another trend from the 1980s that has been brought back to life is the colorful clothing worn 40 years ago. Two distinct color palettes are making their way to the top of the list with grunge (pink hues, acid yellow and greens, flaming orange) and heritage classics (rich crimson reds, grapey-purples, grass-greens), according to Leslie Ghize, the executive vice president of Coller Davis & Co. and Doneger TOBE, a New York City-based fashion insights and forecasting group.

Once we ride out the Barbiecore obsession, silver and metallics will also return as will color blocking.

“Kids felt the brunt of lockdowns and color reflects their need for connection, socialization, and happiness,” said Ghize.

Another fashion trend you will probably have to google is Sartorial mini-mes. This is the term used for mixing the grunge colors with clothing that mirror the parents' wardrobe such as turtle necks, denim and even pinafores.

Buying gender neutral clothing is the going thing and so is organic materials.

Otherwise, think vintage, think ruffles, think warm and cozy then add a few party pieces and you're done... for now. On to the boys...

Young men these days are gravitating towards denim and leather.

Think street styled, military casual, and you are almost there.

Add bomber jackets, T-shirts with pop art, stripes and pastels, and don't forget the rips in the knees when buying boys' jeans.

So if you find yourself hunting for rainbow sneakers and cargo pants this year, remember your local thrift stores and consignment shops offer affordable pieces at rock bottom prices and kids will appreciate a reprieve from Garanimals.

The best news of all is that most of the clothing your child will actually wear to school is inexpensive, easy to find and can be handed down again and again as long as they are quality items in good condition.

Go forth and shop, but keep it simple. The bells and whistles we once sought in back-to-school clothing are now muted, neutral and best understated.

Have a great school year!