Is it back to school season already? I’m hearing rumblings that retailers are gearing up for the annual spending spree so I called Mary, who writes The Recessionista fashion blog. She just outfitted her neice and nephew for fall. We talked about what is worth splurging for, where to go low-budget, and what everybody is going to be wearing when the first bell rings.
What back to school purchases are worth spending a little extra on?
The school stuff is definitely going to see some wear and tear. Khakis that have the better weave don’t rip as easily, they don’t catch or snag. But I’m certainly not going to spend $100 on a pair of khakis. Have you seen the new GAP khaki collection? That’s a great look for a high school girl. Those are under $100. I would go out and buy the more upscale khakis that just came out at the GAP or buy Dickies. I spend more than $20 on those.
I get the kids good backpacks. I cannot believe how much stuff these kids are carrying now. From age 6 through high school they seem to have more gear than I have. I’ll even go for an LL Bean backpack. Things that look cute don’t last. Avoid vinyl and backpacks made of mostly plastic.
Sturdy shoes. That’s an area where I spend a lot because the kids are still developing. They’ve got a long way to go before they reach the final growth spurt. They need a good heel, a good Reebok or PJ Clark shoe. I don’t want them to be getting into bad posture, especially if they are carrying books. Don’t go for flip flops or jelly shoes. When they run really fast they fall down on them, their feet sweat and they get blisters. You do want to get them a nice shoe.
What items do you spend less on?
Shirts. I’ll buy them cheap shirts, t-shirts, tank tops, and pull overs. They tear them and they stain them at an incredible rate. Tank tops and shirts at Walmart are two for $15. Also Old Navy has really has cute stuff for boys, girls and teenagers. You can find cheaper stuff that looks good.
What about accessories?
I bought butterfly hairpins for $1 each at H&M. They have cheap ponytail holders and headbands. I also like Forever 21 and Express for cheap earrings. For accessories I also see that Loehmann’s has some stuff in that area – little pearl headbands for girls to pull their hair back. It looks for upscale than it is.
How much do you spend on back to school shopping?
It varies. Honestly, there were times when I was a good Auntie and did my nephew’s total package, about $800. That’s for shoes, several pairs of pants, a backpack. It does add up. Some years I’ve had to buy him supplies, like an art box, paints and crayons. If I weren’t going to get the high end items I could probably do it for $200.
What’s in style?
The girls want the maxi dress (above). This is like a trend from the 60s that is making a huge comeback. It’s a floor-length dress. It’s loose and flowy, kind of a nice thing for summer and early fall.
Tie-dye dresses where the top is one color and the bottom is another color. Vavartos converse dresses. Target sells them. I think they are $35.
Everybody wants the good jeans. Out here in LA everybody wants the skinny jeans and the distressed jeans. The Fred Astaire hats and white plastic rimmed sunglasses. The preppy look – I don’t see so much of the preppy look. I’m seeing crisp white pants and colored tops for girls, a lot of turquoise or fuschia shirts and the smocked hippy dippy shirt.
Resources from The Recessionista:
Kohls ack-to-School Essentials Under $50
Kohls Back-to-School Trends
Kohls Back-to-School Accessories Under $25