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Back-to-school looks echo trends from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, kids and teens know what they like. They have their favorite colors or characters – or their preferred style of jeans. They may prefer to wear skirts and dresses instead of pants – or may choose to live in joggers both at school and on weekends.

Whatever the case, the back-to-school shopping season has begun.

Like many students, high school senior Ally Gray of Williamsville has been picking up a few new items for school while counting on some old favorites.

“I bought myself Birkenstocks for back to school. They are a comfortable and supportive sandal while also being stylish. I also like short rompers; I find a lot of them at Forever 21,” she said.

Ally said she prefers dresses to pants. “I think that for back to school most teen girls my age – I’m 17 – should have a few casual dresses that they can wear to school,” said Ally, who finds pants “annoying.”

Besides, she added, “you never know if you are going to have one of those mornings when you wake up and say ‘I don’t know what to wear.’ You can just pop on a dress. It looks like you tried hard but you didn’t.”

In addition to such timeless staples as tees, polo shirts and classic jeans, some back-to-school styles reflect those of the 1970s again this season. Colorful leggings worn with Converse sneakers (and maybe a side ponytail?) feel a little ’80s. And ’90s-inspired fashions appear as well.

Here’s what Macy’s writes in its back-to-school trends report: “Junior girls channel the ’90s, sporting casual looks with plenty of attitude, inspired by the grunge style of plaid shirts, distressed denim and overalls. Denim in all silhouettes is bigger than ever this year, from dresses to shirts to wide-legged jeans. Paired with chunky platforms and booties, these iconic ’90s pieces get a fun and fresh update perfect for the classroom.”

For guys into the ’90s look, Macy’s suggests cuffed jeans paired with high-top chukkas updated with athletic soles. For young girls, think flannel dresses. For boys, graphic trees with gaming and skateboard images.

That’s just the beginning. Here are a few top trends we’re seeing:

Bomber jackets: These are everywhere – and for everyone. You’ll find these easy-to-throw-on jackets in toddler sizes (Old Navy shows one in Dark Red or Ink Blue in machine-washable polyester); prints for juniors and women (the GUESS brand has one in printed satin) and updated colors for guys (American Rag shows one in a shade of olive called Greenbrook, from Macy’s).

Button-down A-line skirt: This isn’t the first season this 1970s-inspired style has been brought back but it’s still kicking. Look for it in denim, corduroy, faux suede and other fabrics. Today’s styles often come in fabrics with a bit of stretch. One option: a skirt in a cotton/spandex blend in black or dark wash denim from the Arizona juniors’ collection at J.C. Penney. The short skirt is fashioned with six buttons down center front. Skater skirts remain popular, while the new Cat & Jack collection at Target includes girls’ maxi skirts, toddler girls’ tutu skirts and other styles.

Patched jeans: If you’re ready to give those ripped jeans a rest, you may want to check out some of the patched jeans out there. These come in a variety of designs including jeans covered in denim patches in different shades of blue. Other jeans have an assortment of actual patches on the upper leg, such as Arizona’s Limited Edition Patched Skinny Jeans at J.C. Penney. Forever 21 shows a pair of jeans with moto-themed patches. Patches and badges of various sorts also can be found on T-shirts, denim vests and jackets – for girls and guys.

And could this be the season to add a pair of flared jeans to your wardrobe? These easily pair with pretty “boho” blouses. In its Fall 2016 Look Book, Old Navy shows its “micro flare” jean and boho blouse with T-strap clogs and a small saddle bag. Very ’70s.

Graphic tees: There is an endless selection for kids and teens with themes ranging from animals to sports, video games to TV shows, space to ballet. Messages on tees include one in the new Cat & Jack collection at Target that reads “Future President.” Another tee at Children’s Place reads “Who Needs Luck With Skills Like This?”

Plaids: Of course fall and back-to-school fashion call for plaids. And, as mentioned earlier, grunge-style plaid shirts are making a comeback. For early September days, you can layer one over a tee or lightweight top and jeans and, when the day heats up, tie it around your waist. They also layer nicely with graphic tees. Plaid also shows up on shirtdresses, tunics and hooded flannel shirts.

Smaller scarves: Instead of losing yourself in a big billowy scarf, you can downsize a bit for a new look. American Eagle sells diamond-shaped bandanas in a selection of colors that can be knotted neatly at the neck as well as worn as a headband or bag embellishment.

A quick finishing touch on busy school mornings.


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