Skip to main content

Layers and graphics headline fall fashion


Apparel and accessories continue to be the largest spending category for the back-to-school season with $7.6 billion expected to be spent this year and 95.4% of shoppers planning on purchasing apparel and accessories items for their kids, according to the latest survey data from the National Retail Federation. On average, each family will spend approximately $230 on apparel this fall, which is about on par with what they spent last season.

The layered look will be important this fall for both boys and girls, according to fashion experts at leading children’s retailers. “It’s all about…putting short-sleeved graphic Ts over long-sleeve Ts,” said Nina Miner, chief creative officer for The Children’s Place. “Second layers are an important part of any child’s wardrobe.”

Key items for boys this season include cargo shorts, hoodies, cardigans, pullovers, zip-front sweaters and denim. Graphics on everything from polo shirts to sneakers will be in style.

“From pop culture to crests, [graphics] are depicted on T-shirts, button-up shirts, polo collars, hoodies and sneakers,” said Sara Rogers, a trend specialist for the Mall of America. “Generally, you’ll see the designs in contrasting colors with artistic flair. They are sometimes punctuated with foil detail.”

Hot items for girls to layer this season include embellished graphic T-shirts; denim in boot, flare and skinny fits; leggings; and skirts in corduroy and denim. Babydoll dresses, embroidered denim and ballet flats are also included on GapKids Web site under “trend shop” for girls.

In addition to layering, mixing and matching patterns is also a key trend, according to JCPenney’s back-to-school fashion alert. “Hoodies, Ts and babydoll tunics with sporty patterns [like] hearts, skulls, flowers, polkadots, plaids and stripes are the latest take on back-to-school statement making,” according to JCPenney.

“Girls can mix and match the patterns and styles to create a unique look, while boys can layer solids, stripes and add a touch of plaid for good measure.”

With so many items hot this season, a number of overall looks are popular. “Glam rock” is still a cool look for girls, with embellishmentsrunningfromhead to shoe. The ’80s revival look has also trickled down, with leggings, long tunic tops and patent shoes.

Classic sportswear pieces (polos, cargos and denim) continue to be must-haves for boys, but the neo-grunge look is resurfacing with the popularity of graphics on classic items.

The preppy look is still a safe bet for both girls and boys. “The theme this year has an all-American vibe that’s grounded by basics that are functional,” said Betsy Thompson, Talbots Kids fashion spokesperson.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds