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Back To School Shopping Tips

By It's My Life on August 16, 2010 5:40 PM | No TrackBacks

shopping.jpgShopping for back-to-school clothes is just plain exciting, filled with fresh possibilities. A great new addition to your wardrobe can help change your habits, your outlook, and your self-confidence. Plus, it's just fun to shop!

It can also be wrapped up in a lot of doubt, too. Times are tight; is there room in your family's budget for that pair of killer new jeans that you don't really need? What if you buy stuff that ends up being out-of-style before Halloween? What if you fill your closet with clothing that's hot and trendy, but just isn't you?

IML asked fashion expert and mom Audrey McClelland of for some advice!

IML: What are the trends for pre-teen and teen clothing this fall?
Audrey: On young ladies we're seeing some updates on classic button-downs with plaids, patterns and feminine detailing. Jeggings (leggings made to look like denim) are extremely hot right now for young ladies!  What's great with jeggings is that they can be worn with longer tops, tunics and dresses. Other popular bottoms options are deconstructed denim, five pocket khaki and mini-skirts. Mixing patterns, colors and materials is also a fashionable statement. Teens can create their own looks and styles with this trend. Outerwear is a fun and easy way to create some unique looks for teens. Leather jackets or ones with a military influence are also very trendy.
On young men we're seeing a lot of dark denim with stitching detail. It definitely creates a more polished look. Layering is a very big trend this fall. Layer a graphic tee, button-down and military style vest and/or hoodie. Even layer a graphic tee over a thermal knit for unexpected look. Vintage plaids are also a strong trend that we're seeing.  Button-downs with western-style inspiration is being seen a lot. Young men should be looking to achieve some classic and modern looks.
IML: Are these inspired by anything? Why do you think they're happening right now? 
Fashion is in a really fun place right now. It's something that young ladies and men are really having a good time with. Trends are usually inspired by something. I feel there are 2 things bringing forth some trend-inspiration right now. First, trends are really being inspired by young Hollywood starlets. We see them on TV and in movies, in magazines and online. Young ladies and men want to wear what these young stars are wearing. Second, we're seeing a lot of trends geared for women and men in their 20's and 30's becoming adapted for younger people.
IML: A lot of tweens and teens are looking to create their own style. For instance, they don't want to conform to a trend, but they also don't want to look totally out of place. What's your advice for people like that? What are some tips for creating your personal look?
Style is all about feeling comfortable in what you have on. If you don't want to conform to certain trends and they want to create their own looks, I suggest:

1. Find some colors that you truly like on yourself. Infuse these colors into your wardrobe. Once you have a color you feel confident and fashionable in, you'll find it very easy to work with styles and trends that are "in" at the moment.

2. Accessorize!  I love accessories because of this very reason -- you can create your own personal look. For young ladies -- necklaces, scarves, bracelets, rings, hair accessories and hats. For young men -- hats, ties and scarves.
3. Layering is a great way to create your own look. Start with pieces that you love -- tanks and tees and then build on them. Do you like button-downs? Cardigans? Vests? Sweater wraps?  Add items that you feel comfortable in and feel good in.
4. Know what works for you. Styles and trends that are "in" don't work for everyone. It's so important for you to really know what works for your body. This can impact your personal style immensely because you're only wearing pieces that you know actually work for YOU.
IML: If you want to buy clothes that look current, but aren't necessarily part of a trend and will last a little longer fashion-wise, what should you be looking for?
Audrey: Oh, I love this question!
For young ladies:
1. Dark Denim
2. White Button-Down
3. Black Sweater Wrap or Cardigan
4. Hoodie (any color)
5. Accessory item -- scarf, statement necklace, etc.
For young men:
1. Denim
2. Graphic Tee
3. Hoodie
4. Athletic Wear
5. Polo Shirt
IML: Do you have any advice for back-to-school shopping on a budget?
Audrey: My advice would be to shop at off-price retailers like TJMaxx and Marshalls. Parents and tweens will be able to stretch their dollar further because the prices are so affordable. My advice once in the stores is to stock up on items that will last throughout the year -- denim, hoodies, sweaters and tees. These are clothing items that can be built on, which is very important when you're shopping on a budget.
IML: Many tweens write in to our site about purchases they end up regretting. How can young people avoid that trap?
Audrey: Tweens can avoid purchasing items they regret by truly knowing the answer to what they need, what they want and what they will wear. This is the 3 part question that isn't easy to always answer, but when you can answer it truthfully, you won't regret purchases. Trends are not created equal. What works for you, will not work for everyone. It's so important to be able to know that what's going into your closet are actually items you will be wearing -- with a smile!

IML: Thanks, Audrey! That's great advice!

You're welcome!

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