Color & comfort: Fashion trends for teens and tweens

Erika Enigk

It’s time to pack away the swimsuits and sandals, and get out the notebooks and backpacks. But middle school and high school students can still have fun. With fashion trends for every taste, this fall is bound to get every student’s creative juices flowing.

Make a statement with color

Retailers everywhere are stocking up on big, bold patterns and bright colors. Hollister’s Avalon skirt, priced at $49.50, boasts a Hawaiian print in bright blue, and Aeropostale has a variety of big floral print shirts for around $20. On the bottom, there are Twill Skinny Pants from Forever 21, $15.80. The bright look isn’t just for girls. Glow-in-the-dark is back with the Angler tee from J. Crew, and boys pants are getting colorful, too. For the fashion-forward music lover, Lyric Culture brand has big, bold designs for everyone from the peace monger to the rebel.

Footloose and fashionable

Footwear is likewise colorful. Converse has a design-your-own sneaker feature on its website, and TOMS has an array of glittery colors as well as colorful canvas classics. For a humanity lesson outside of school, TOMS has what it calls its “One for One” program. For every pair of shoes purchased, the company donates a pair to a child in need. To dress up or down, wedge shoes are in, according to blogger Kathryn Finney, the Budget Fashionista. “We’re fully convinced that wedges are one of the best things that has happened in the history of fashionable (wo)mankind,” the blog says.

Uniforms and ruffles — an unlikely mix

For skirts and dresses, this year’s look pairs a conservative top with a flouncy bottom. Uniforms get a comfortable, feminine twist this season with cotton jumpers and pleated dresses from Gap Kids. Ruffly skirts are big this year, with offerings from Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. For boys, the uniform look is age-old with uniform pants from JCPenney and Walmart.

Dressing for comfort

PajamaJeans as seen on TV may not be cool, but the idea is a good one. Designers everywhere are making comfort fashionable. New York label Rag & Bone offers its Racine Pant in a variety of colors and patterns. Made of 100 percent silk, the pant retails for $475. For a more affordable alternative, Old Navy has fold-over yoga pants retailing for $12.94. Worn with a long, flowy top, they’ll look just like nice slacks. Champion also has yoga-type pants in a variety of sizes, fits and colors, available at Target for around $15 and up. For the boys, Old Navy has the pull-on canvas pant for $14.94.

Practical accessories

Kids who spent their summers watching superhero blockbusters may enjoy the personalized superhero backpacks from Personal Creations, while lovers of more classic fare may enjoy the R2D2 bag from Glee fans may enjoy this messenger bag, available at Target for $19.99. For the overachiever who doesn’t want a sore back, LL Bean has rolling book bags for $80-100.