Back-to-School Must-Have Fashions and Items for 2012

by Laura Sussely-Pope

Back-to-School Fashion 2012The last days of summer should be a glorious time full of ways to be lazy, running and playing, vacations, barbecues and counting stars. It might be wishful thinking, but it sure sounds nice. But it also signals something else.

What could that be? We'll give you a hint. The end of summer means our wallets just got a bit thinner and lighter. Why? Because it's time to begin your back-to-school shopping spree. Are you ready?

We're encouraged to be savvy bargain-hunters. We bet you've probably already been saving and scrimping to get your kids what they need for school. Beyond cost and quality, what should you look for in school stuff?

Although you might want to sigh and roll your eyes, you'll need to consider what's popular or on your kid's, "Please mom I have to have this" list. We don't want our kids to stand out like a sore thumbs, right? Here's a quick peek at what's trending for the upcoming school year.

Check your school's policies on what is and isn't allowed to bring or wear to school. Nothing's worse than getting something your child's totally excited about and can't use. Avoid the tears.

School Supplies

Super heroes have always been a popular theme for the kindergarten and elementary set, but thanks to movies like "The Avengers" and games like "Angry Birds" they're even bigger this year.

You can pass on the themed stuff if you add glitz, glitter and unique animal prints to notebooks and other school supplies. Have your child pick out patterns and art supplies. Work together to create a set that's unique and personalized.

Lunch Boxes

Since the government's ban on BPA, manufacturers are offering kid's thermal containers, water bottles and containers made from stainless steel. They cost a bit more, but last longer and don't retain odors.

Tech Goodies and Gadgets

Kids of all ages clamor for high-tech gadgets like smart phones and tablets (even those too young to bring them to school). Avoid misunderstandings by setting a firm budget and making a list before heading out. Organize the list into "needs" and "wants."

Clothes

Kids need to move and play freely -- think comfort. Test outfits for softness and flexibility. Ask your child what he or she wants. Boys can be every bit as fashion conscious as girls. Have fun planning with your child, grab that list and head out.

For girls, skinny jeans prevail this year. Summer's neon colors are morphing into an array of pinks, purples, greens and grays for the school season. We expect to see the skinny jeans stand aside for leggings. You'll see puffy sleeves and tiny floral print dresses and blouses. At the opposite spectrum, colorful tribal prints and thin stripes can be seen on tops and dresses.

Does your daughter wear a uniform? She can still make her fashion statement with a flowered headband or other hair accessories.

For boys, look for checkered plaid and camo patterns. Try out a contrasting color theme. Your child might wear a red-blue-white checkered top with a solid colored bottom. Cargo shorts and pants, collared polo or plaid button-down shirts over a graphic t-shirt are "in" for boys.

Here's your quick run-down on the popular school fashions:

• Hot colors like tangerine, hot pink, ultramarine green, rose smoke, titanium
• Skinny jeans for her; bright colors and classic prints for him
• Neon sneakers and ballet flats in shiny colors or leopard prints
• Chunky platform shoes
• Knit beanie hats and flowered headbands
• Chunky bracelets and flower rings
• Multi-layered necklaces

When will you (or did you) do your school shopping? Will you shop online or locally in your area? We'd like to hear your tips and secrets!

Photo courtesy of istockphoto.