Back To School 1
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By Linda L. Esterson, Contributing Writer

Give the bare shoulder the cold shoulder this year. Out are the off shoulder cut out sleeves and in are textures, patterns and rich fabrics. Toss aside the unicorns. The new clothing animal is the llama.

This year’s styles for back to school combine a vintage look with a varsity feel, reminiscent of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

“Big ruffles are definitely happening and we’re seeing great plaids coming into fall,” says Bridget Quinn-Stickline, owner of the Wee Chic Boutique in Greenspring Station. “It’s retro, very 1970s, and it comes from women’s and men’s (clothing) lines.”

According to Teresa Borradaile, MyStylist at Macy’s Annapolis, this year’s fall and back to school look will transcend all age groups, combining black and white with color blocking and stripes.

“Retro sport details are key this fall from ringer tees to baseball raglans,” adds Loretta Choy, senior vice president/general manager of adult divisions at Old Navy. “We’re also loving easy tracksuits and conversational pullover hoodies.”

For younger girls, this translates to black and white teamed with bold colors like a radical reds and purples. Look for statement denim jackets, ruffled knit tops, novelty and embellished plaid skirts as well as embellished skinny jeans and t-shirts and printed leggings. For more dressy options, girls will see ruffled dresses and sweaters with embellishments of sequins, tulle, bows, ties, lace and velvet, and the return of culottes and flared bottoms.

Younger boys will find a varsity look with space influences. Quinn-Stickline alludes to planets, asteroids, stars and moons, connecting to a big STEM (science-technology-engineeringmath) influence that will crossover to girls wear as well. This year’s look will also connect camouflage and patch denim components. Popular items for this season include varsity jackets, graphic rugby shirts and corduroy jogger pants. More dressy options include checkered shirts, sport coats and corduroy jackets, all featuring a modern twist on classic looks, Borradaile explains.

Junior/young men’s looks make more of a statement with black/white contrasts resulting in a checkerboard effect and features cuts with an elegant look and bold flair, reminiscent of earlier decades but with a fashion forward focus, Borradaile explains. “It” items include the statement leather jacket, varsity jacket, rugby polo, corduroy pants, desert ankle boot, and new oxford shirt. Fabrics will reflect an authentic luxury with hoodies with Sherpa linings and soft flannel, Quinn-Stickline says, that will “feel luxurious but still be comfortable.”

Juniors/young women will find lots of black with bold graphics emphasizing polka dots, stripes, abstract prints. Key trends for young women will also include the varsity influence with updated denim adding embellishments and detailing for modernization. Lounge wear in soft fabrics like cozy knits and retro velour include retro femme updates feature popular prints, athletic stripes, rainbows, wallpaper florals and track jackets. This season also marks the return of the tube top. This group’s targeted items include menswear jackets, graphic retro t-shirts, flair pants, coveralls, fitted turtlenecks and crew necks, femme tops, printed pants, lightweight jackets and maxi dresses.

Whichever look is chosen, it’s important that the child has a say in what he or she wears.

“Clothing is one of the first ways children exercise their personality and demonstrate power,” Quinn-Stickline notes. •