Every kid knows that what you wear on the first day back to school sets the tone for the whole year. And tiny trendsetters can be pretty stubborn about their style choices. Bigger kids, ‘tweens and teens are fierce and fearless at sticking to their guns, so don’t fight fashion. Study what’s hot and what’s not, work in a little practicality, compromise on color — not comfort — and celebrate that student’s excellent, if not always impeccable, taste from head to toe. Here’s our back-to-school guide to keep you in-the-know!
Little Fashionista Style
A mini-fashionista is all about the glam and glitter, and she gets that details make the outfit every time. A gathered skirt, all pink tulle and ruffled flounces, puts her style stamp on the message T-shirt and rainbow-crocheted sneakers that sparkle as she taps her way into the cafeteria. Add a little cheek with a challenge — MAKE ME SMILE, scribbled over an industrial-gray, flower-printed cotton T-shirt. Slip on a classic jeans jacket and a silver satin shoulder bag for extra hair clips and pencils. Swap the skirt for star-spangled black-on-white jeans on cool days but keep the jacket and bag. Switch it up with bright turquoise or hot pink lace-up mesh running shoes and a matching sweatshirt and broadcast “Girl Power!” with a pink, black or silver hair crowning hair bow.
Boys Will Be Boys
He’s going to love that Angry Birds T-shirt with the slingshot almost as much as he’s thrilled about a long-sleeved swamp-green cotton pullover with the gaping alligator mouth. Boys will be happy in jeans and khakis to wear until it’s time for cords and flannel-lined denim in winter. When those pants end in all-terrain Reebok sneakers with showy outsole lugs that give him the schoolyard advantage, he will skip to the bus in the morning. For gym class or after-school activities pair the Nike Air Max Run Lite with gym shorts and a splashy zip-up pullover. But opt for just-as-cool Velcro-tab shoes if the bow-tying thing hasn’t happened yet. A baseball jacket in quilted sweatshirt fabric looks tough but wears soft, and the plastic-snap baseball cap is just as cute worn front-to-back as back-to-front. Let him choose his own backpack — if he likes it, he may remember to bring it home!
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
The mini is a winner this season but only if it provides enough coverage. A-line patterned mini-skirts — checks, plaids and brights — have a little more grace and give. Complete with solid over-the-knee socks that lengthen legs and keep them warm on chilly mornings. In summer-concert T-shirts or lightweight sweaters, broken-in jeans and beautiful tone-on-tone fabric flats she’ll rock setting up the science fair or presiding over the yearbook meeting. A white button-down shirt goes over black skinny jeans, and under a rust, purple or pink curvy jacket left open. The same shirt, buttoned to the collar and layered with a chunky necklace, tucks into a skirt. Exchange the mix and match outfit for a dash-to-class-on-time chambray dress and patterned oxblood Vans sneakers.
Faded-blue or midnight-black jeans pair easily with a pull-on-and-go knit polo or a sharp-looking T-shirt. But don’t skip the jacket. Outerwear in muted olive, tan, pewter — or that classic wardrobe default, black — are the confident, style-conscious way to advertise guy fashion cred. Unbuttoned or unzipped, with rolled-up sleeves, a jacket projects cool nonchalance. Get him some traction with a low-rise casual adidas NEO Raleigh sneaker in smooth gray or black leather. Trendy Vans canvas kicks with solid or print uppers and a pop of color on the rubber sole — black canvas with red soles, or gray canvas and ocean blue — grip school stairs two-at-a-time and after-school skateboards. A blazer takes him from the classroom to a meet-up at the library, but he’d probably prefer a short black leather moto jacket for stylin’ at a serious weekend social scene.