Back-to-School Fashion Trends on a Budget

Caitlin is a 17-year-old from Simsbury, CT. She likes to write, make things with clay, and really wants a dog. Her two favorite subjects are Art and English.


It’s that time of year again; time to restock on pencils, notebooks and folders. It’s time to set the alarm clocks to an earlier hour and to scarf down breakfast in order to catch the bus. The start of a new school year can mean many things, both good and bad, but it also means a time to restock the wardrobe with new essentials. While this can be expensive, stores are recognizing that parents and kids can’t spend as much on clothes as they used to. That is why several are offering new deals and steals families can take advantage of this school year.

For girls, several new trends are hitting the stores while many remain from last season. Defined shoulders on jackets are still popular and can be found on jean jackets and over-sized blazers. The over-sized blazer trend, a remnant of the menswear craze, can be worn with colorful shorts and a sheer blouse when the weather is warm. To transition the blouse to cooler weather, it can be worn with a loose dress, tights, and ankle boots. A leather jacket would be a good investment piece, but prices can range upwards of $200. Some stores such as forever21 and Old Navy offer alternatives to leather that still have the distressed, laid-back look for less. The more textured jacket options have the look of real leather.

If girls are looking to spice up their closet with just a few new items, it is smart to buy some statement tanks and skirts. Tribal patterns are cropping up all over the mall and can add life back into an old pair of jeans and flats. Patterns can be mixed for a more eclectic, bohemian look, and mixing will also give girls more outfit options in their closet. To find deals on these items, search your favorite stores online for coupons and promotional sales. Many websites offer coupons or free shipping if you order on a certain date, and others have in store offers on select days of every month. No matter where you shop, do research beforehand to make sure the store has the items you are looking for and has them for a reasonable price.

Guys looking to update their wardrobe this year should consider adding some “preppy” pieces. The word preppy brings to mind boating off the coast of Nantucket and eating lobster at a fancy restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard. This year, however, preppy means loose cardigans, bright colors, and leather accessories such as belts and wrist ties. The cardigans can be thin or chunky knit, and can be paired with dark jeans and a loose t-shirt. Popular shoes include boating shoes, moccasins, and distressed leather sneakers. In terms of colors, red and blue seemed to be most popular.

No matter how much kids are looking to change up their look this year, it is necessary to keep the family budget in mind. Stores such as Marshalls and T.J Maxx offer trustworthy brands at lesser prices. While these clothes may be a season old, you can still find good pieces there to mix and match with clothes you find at higher end stores. Investing in one statement piece, such as an over-sized necklace, watch, or a pair of nice leather shoes, is a smart thing to do. These pieces become a signature and can make an outfit seem more personal. A new perfume or cologne can have the same effect. This school year is not about emptying the back on designer duds, it’s about being smart and knowing what trends to invest in and what trends to skip over.

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