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Last-minute fashion tips for well-dressed back-to-schoolers

By Staff | Aug 21, 2015

School isn’t intended to be a fashion show, but for many students, fashion counts.

Retailers in the Edison Mall in Fort Myers recently got together to put on a fashion show at the Back-to-School Fall Fashion Preview and Community Showcase.

Stores such as Dillard’s, The Icing, Love Culture and many others teamed up with the young models of Southwest Florida Modeling and Talent Agency at Dillard’s Court and showed off the latest fashions for back-to-schoolers 5 and 18.

Kids who really want to look “cool” may suggest to their parents that they buy lots of denim and plaids for this school year.

Donna Matthews, owner and booking agent of Southwest Florida Modeling and Talent Agency, said those are two of the four hottest trends going as the new year begins.

“Everyone has their own personalities, but there usually three or four big items from fall that the manufacturers come out with,” Matthews said.

One of the hottest things going, particularly for girls, is fringe, Matthews said, which can be part of anything you wear or carry.

“It’s great whether it’s a vest or top or handbag or shoes, but you can’t wear all fringe, just one or two pieces are fine,” Matthews said.

Plaid is always a classic look, Matthews said. Big plaid in flyaway jackets is a new look, and teamed with denim it’s always a good thing and a testament to the grunge look of the early 1990s.

“Black with plaid and plaid pants are a big fashion statements. The looks change every year and sometimes they recycle,” Mathews said.

Of course, denim goes with just about everything and is as huge as ever. Go into any store and they are all filled with denim, and not just blue jeans.

“It’s denim in shorts, appliques, with holes in them, in black and colors and light and dark. It’s what your style is that you gravitate to,” Mathews said.

Lace and nude colors are the final “it” items. Beiges in tops and vests are hot, even hotter with fringe. You can have an entire dress in a lace or crocheted look, Matthews said.

That being said, there are some who may not like all those looks. Matthews said people need to be comfortable in their own clothes, but most people wear denim to start with, as do most adults.

“Some people may like Army green denim or the crocheted look. It’s about what you like,” Matthews said.

It is also important to accessorize, especially if the school you go to has a dress code or uniforms. There are lots of plastic and metal bracelets and rings for any age group. The fringe handbag is in, but finding the right one can be a tricky thing because most women are picky.

“Uniforms can be specialized. They can be sparked up by the color socks they like or sneakers or hairpieces to make them look individualized,” Matthews said.

When it comes to kindergarteners, many of the fashions go out the door, since the kids are usually too young to know what fringe is.

They still have their interests, whether its Disney or any other popular trend kids love. That is usually where to start, Matthews said.

“They all have a mindset of what they like, even at 6 years old. My models know they have to wear what we tell them to, but whether they like it or not, you don’t know,” Matthews said. “Some like it frilly with little dresses with flowers. Some are tomboyish, and some like variety.”

Matthews’ sense for fashion is pretty much right on the money, though there is some dispute regarding color.

Teen Vogue also has denim, fringe and plaids on its hot list, with wooly coats and oversized cardigans more for those in the northern environs. They say pastels are the way to go.

The fashion experts at Crocs also say it’s good to mix it up, with bright colors and bold patterns like plaid to be mixed in with neutrals such as brown or beige for boys and girls.