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What's Cool for Back-to-School? Ruffles, Plaid and Layers

We asked Parisian for advice on kids fashion for fall.

While most of us love to hit the stores, back-to-school shopping with the kids can offer it's own unique set of ... well, let's say challenges. 

That's why it's nice to be able to turn to the expertise of Lynn McCabe, special events coordinator at , for some advice to get us focused and keep us on task.  McCabe is in charge of the annual Parisian Back To School Fashion Show so she knows her stuff. 

Her first recommendation is simple and emphatic. "DENIM, DENIM, and DENIM is always in for back-to-school," McCabe said.

She explained, "Even kids want to be comfortable — who doesn't? — and that's why denim is always so great."

McCabe added that the low-riding denim is going out (parents: rejoice). For girls there is more of a flared leg and scarves are replacing the traditional belt.

For the girls

Here's what you might want to focus on for the girls:

  • Columbia fleece
  • Shirts and sweats with appliqués
  • Anything purple, pink & blue
  • Ruffles on tops and skirts
  • Tulle as an accent
  • Plaid and double layering, especially with jeans

Sales associate Pat Byrne added, "If it's got glitter or sparkle, the girls want it." 

With nine back-to-school seasons under her belt at Parisian, Byrne has seen plenty of both.

For the boys

If you can peel them out of their Star Wars graphic t-shirts, here's what's in for the boys:

  • Plaid
  • Double layered t-shirts (with long shirt underneath)
  • Thermal  
  • MAMBO - graphic designed shirt/hoodies that originated in Australia

Why waiting might work

A couple of moms have told me they usually wait until after school starts to do their big back-to-school shopping. 

The reason? To see what everyone else is wearing.

"Those are smart moms," McCabe said. "At this age, and especially middle school, the kids don't want to stick out. They want to blend it."

Perhaps that is why the classic look of Ralph Lauren is always in. 

"Tailored shirts and pants are always popular with the boys, and dresses for the girls," McCabe said.

The proof is in the pudding, or this case, an 11-year-old girl

As things wrapped up with McCabe, I saw a girl enter the Kids Department. After all this talk of fashion, I was curious to see what would catch her eye. 

Her first stop, a yellow Ralph Lauren dress. Next stop, a Columbia fleece. Then, the applique shirts.

I had to laugh because it was almost like she was working her way down McCabe's list.

I asked the young shopper, Alli Cronin from Metamora, what she was looking for in her back-to-school shopping.

"Really cute shirts," jeggings and mini-skirts were the top three items for this soon-to-be sixth grader.  

Fortunately for Alli, her mom, Debi, was there to help make it happen.

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