Fashion trends for back to school

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What's on your back-to-class checklist? Notebooks and protractors? Colored pencils? New clothes?

There's no need to sweat about style if the latter has you stumped like a pop quiz. There are several ways to start the school year with a new look, thanks to the arrival of some fresh twists on old trends. More good news -- spending a lot isn't a prerequisite for incorporating them into a wardrobe.

Here are some fashion ideas that will have heads turning once the school bell rings.

See the back-to-school trends
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Girly (with a dose of edge)

Even girly girls have a spunky side. Balance sophistication with sass through clothes that convey both. Some options: flouncy skirt with leather (or pleather) moto jacket, something pink with something studded or a feminine dress or skirt with combat boots.

A go-with-anything bag

Store pencils, tablets and textbooks in style with a backpack, messenger bag or tote that complements clothes every day of the school year. Camo, subtle plaid, neutrals (think gray, tan or black) or a multicolored print are a few choices that will look good with pretty much any trend.

Bright and skinny bottoms

The eye-catching colors that have shaded store racks and windows since spring are combining with another not-so-new-trend, skinny jeans. The result is a rainbow of slender pants in honeycomb, cobalt blue, rust, hunter green and more that girls and guys can pair with a solid neutral T-shirt for an outfit that channels the vibrant hues of autumn foliage.

Preppy cool

The polished collegiate is traditionally dressed in khakis and a crisp shirt with a pullover sweater draped around the shoulders. Have some fun with this look by trading khakis for boyfriend jeans (popular for girls, too, this fall). The relaxed fit and cuffed pant legs will makeover this classic look with an element of cool.

Stackable accessories

Freshening up an ensemble can be as simple as adding a new bracelet -- or five or 10. Mixing and matching multiple bangles or necklaces is a simple way to give a pop of personality to a T, sweater or dress that's already in the closet. New juniors line Princess Vera Wang at Kohl's offers wrapped hoop earrings and bangle bracelets for $16 to $18, above. Charming Charlie and Claire's also sell affordable accessories sets.

Layers lovin'

Ward off the chill of a brisk fall morning at the bus stop by layering separates such as scarves, puffer vests or T-shirts under or over dresses. After the lunchtime warm-up, cool off by peeling away layers to reveal another stylish look.

Retro sneakers

Start the new school year with old school shoes. Throwback high-tops and sneakers pack the vibe of urban basketball courts and playgrounds from the past. They're also a quick way to give your look some funky, fun street cred.

Sporty chic

Athletics and academics share the spotlight with jersey T-shirts and polos that carry the look of a champion from the field to the classroom. Keep it casual with jeans, khakis or cargo pants or layer it with a button-down shirt.


Sara Bauknecht: First Published August 7, 2012 4:00 AM


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