Back to School Fashion returns to 1980


Brace yourself moms, the 1980s are back in school fashion. Go grab your AquaNet hairspray and your Bananarama cassettes and get ready to go “Back to the Future.”

Leggings, skinny jeans, and stirrup pants are back. Bright neon accents and shiny colors have returned, and ankle boots and wide belts have resurfaced.

“We’re seeing a return of the early ’80s influence that you wish we had forgotten,” says Jacqueline Burris, assistant professor of Fashion and Product Design at the University of Cincinnati, “but it’s back with a 2009 twist.”

The Converse high tops and sneakers, a hot commodity during the ’80s, continue to be popular for boys and girls. They are now in eye-catching patterns and designs.

Burris says not to lace them all the way up to get that “just running out the door” look. Or change the color of the laces. Burris also says it’s okay to mismatch polka dots with plaids and other bright colors for fun.

Fashion isn’t just about decades ago. It also reflects the current social and economic times. This season, Burris says it’s all about utility and ease, and getting that extra bang for your buck. For example, all jackets, knits and shirts should have few buttons and be “easy on and easy off” for kids.

Layering is a great way to stretch your children’s summer wardrobe into fall while keeping your kids comfortable with the changing weather, Burris said.

For boys, Burris suggests layering graphic T-shirts over long sleeve shirts and adding even another short sleeve shirt on top to get an updated and modern look. Another way is to layer two different colored polo shirts, one on top of another with the sleeves turned up, to pop the colors and patterns, such as horizontal stripes.

“For button down shirts, we’re seeing some light embroidery detailing and the retro cowboy shirts in plaid. The T-shirts have lots of graffiti-inspired patterns such as skull and bones and griffins (think Harry Potter). Wear them with faded, ripped jeans,” Burris says.

For girls, there are shirt and sweater-dresses with exposed zippers and buckles.

“We’re seeing lots of bold colored plaids, quilted looks and bright mustard yellow colors for accessories,” she says.

When it comes to neck scarves, Burris says not be afraid to mix and match colors and patterns and advises against having one be too “matchy-matchy” with an outfit. In addition to the light and dark wash skinny jeans, a Crayola assortment of colors such as grape purple and hot pink are popular.

With jewelry, Burris looks for oversized clustered necklaces or those with lots of trinkets and charms. Shoes include highly decorated Mary Janes, open-toe boots and ankle boots.

So if parents are feeling a big nostalgic for the ’80s, they should get out “Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink,” and watch them again, this time with their kids. Mom may warm up to leggings and stirrup pants again.


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