August 22, 2013

What's cool – and not – for back to school

New fashions, accessories and electronic gadgets help take the pain out of returning to the classroom.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Locker chandelier, $24.99

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EYES ON THE iPHONE

Think about how often a teenager has his or her smartphone out in public. So the look of it says a lot about that teen, doesn't it? Smartphone cases come in all manner of designs this fall. The ones at Kohl's include a design of blue whales for $24 and a graphic art image of a young girl shopping in a big city for $20. Phone cases on clearance at Kohl's get marked down as low as $4.

Online at Zazzle.com, you can find cases that have the Superman and Batman logos, as well as ones that look exactly like a cassette tape or the dial of a rotary phone for $40 and up.

LOOK HOT IN WHAT'S COOL

L.L. Bean in Freeport says one of its hot items this fall will be a lightweight but warm jacket that kids can actually stuff into a tiny corner of their backpack. The new Puff-n-Stuff jackets start at $59, come in a variety of bold colors, and sport L.L. Bean's famous nature color names -- Deep Orchid, Citron, River Moss and Night Sky.

Bright colors and graphic art as accents is a trend this year too. This can be seen in the hot pink version of L.L. Bean's classic water-resistant suede Chukka boots ($49). And eye-catching graphics are part of the Vera Wang effronte women's shoe at Kohl's for teen and college-aged girls. Priced at $54, the shoes have Internet-related symbols on them, including @ and #

SHOPPING OLD SCHOOL

At secondhand and vintage stores, everything old is new. This has been true for some time, and discerning teens have been shopping at these stores for a while now. Prices can be a fraction of what new clothes cost, plus you get something few other classmates have.

At Portland Flea-for-All (125 Kennebec St.), Erin Kiley says items in the $10 to $30 price range include dresses, shirts, jackets, shoes and sunglasses for both men and women. Whether it's a fluffy dress from the 1950s, a floral print from the '70s or an old Army or Navy jacket, the items in Maine's vintage shops will help teens and young adults express their personal style without going to the mall.

AND IN CASE YOU'RE WONDERING, HERE'S WHAT'S NOT COOL IN 2013

As a point of contrast -- or for kids who seek out the opposite of cool -- here are some back-to-school trends of the past few years that aren't so trendy anymore:

• Silly Bandz -- Two or three years ago, every grade-schooler wanted these rubber bands shaped like animals, or trees, or whatever. The fad didn't last, but the guy who came up with the idea -- selling rubber bands as a fashion accessory -- is probably rich enough not to care.

• Japanese erasers -- Little pencil erasers shaped like everything from animals to desserts were big around the same time as Silly Bandz. But nowadays, stores are selling big erasers kids use with their hands.

• Ugg boots -- The name says it all. Ugly fuzzy boots that sort of look like slippers are finally falling from grace. Trends toward fun footwear have pushed Uggs to the back of the closet.

• Large-print plaid -- Was big in the '80s, and had a resurgence a couple of years ago in shirts and jackets. But it seems only hunters are favoring the style right now.

• Graffeeti sneakers -- When these shoes came out a few years ago, they were a big hit. Made of a dry-eraserable material, kids could doodle on them and then wash the doodles off. The trend has slowed as parents realize kids will doodle on any sneakers, so why pay extra?

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

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Share Timer from Storybots.com

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Flip Coin from Storybots.com

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"Lion on Safari" bento box, $7.99

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Stylish iPhone case, $20

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Puff-n-Stuff jacket, $59

Studio1912

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Chukka boots, $49

Studio 1912

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Uggs? ugh.

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Same goes for Silly Bandz.

 


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