Before the classroom bells toll next month, parents will be scouring the stores in search of the latest back-to-school gear.

Fashion experts reveal certain styles will reign supreme in the schoolyard, and offer their tips for putting together your child’s updated wardrobe.

“Kids often get really excited about what they are going to wear for the first day back at school, so it’s a key time to have all of the latest trends available,” said Karen Richter, H&M Canada’s showroom manager.


For those just starting to pick out pieces, Richter said it’s important to keep layering in mind.

“This way kids stay warm, but can also easily shed pieces once inside,” she said.

Prior to venturing into the malls, take stock of what your kids have and create a shopping list.

Suzanne Timmins, fashion director for the Hudson’s Bay Company, said there are certain back-to-school must-haves for boys and girls.

“It’s all that Rock Band style, punk rock, and grunge mixed with jeans that are slimmer and slimmer,” said Timmins of boys’ trends. “It’s Jonas Brothers style. Very rock ’n’ rolla.”

That means graphic-printed tees, grey-black skinny jeans, the modern plaid shirt, 1980s-influenced colours, and high-top sneakers are all on the top of the list for guys.

For girls, Timmins said the 1980s trends continue.

“Key for all girl age groups are leggings,” said Timmins. “They can be layered under skirts and T-shirts.”

Also popular for girls are skinny jeans in juicy-toned bright colours, long cardigans, hoodies, and preppy accessories like ribbon headbands.

Even today’s fashion-conscious tweens are taking back-to-school style cues from upper years.

“Tweens often like to dress more like their older siblings, so customers will find that many styles from our adult department have trickled down into the kids department,” said Richter. “Leather motorcycle jackets, distressed denim and graphic rock tees have been quite popular.”

Frances Gunn, an assistant professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Retail Management, said that in this year’s economy, parents are more likely to spend conservatively when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

On the upside, she said parents looking to stay on a back-to-school budget will notice retailers giving them a break.

“You’ll probably be looking later in the season for the best deals,” she said.

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