Back To School Fashions

The Latest Looks Will Keep Students Fashionable While Minimizing Costs

Monday July 14, 2008
New York, NY

As the fall season draws near, it is once again time to think about dressing students for the school year. With gas, food and housing costs soaring to all-time highs, it is important to make this year’s wardrobe as transitional as possible and get the greatest value out of each garment. Erin Burke, product trend analyst, Cotton Incorporated, shares the latest on trends that give your kids an A+ in fashion while minimizing cost.

“Historically, fashion trends often mirror the current political and economic outlook,” states Burke. “The current time of political change and economic downturn mirrors the sentiment of the early 90’s. Therefore, it makes sense that we are seeing several trends that have the feel of the early 90’s Grunge look.”

“Layering a cotton button-down shirt under a chunky cardigan with wide legged jeans is a throwback to the days of Nirvana and Pearl Jam; it is a great way to look good while adding versatility to your wardrobe” says Burke. “For the teenaged boy, we see a trend toward flannels and plaid shirts.”

“In the current economy, it is important to think fashionable but also focus on getting the longest wear-life out of a wardrobe. This can often be achieved by layering for a lasting quality; allowing the wearer to take the look from the fall season into the winter months,” continues Burke.

“We also see the early ‘90’s retro look for the teenaged girl; layering is very much the key. Combinations of different cotton pieces, such as pinafore dresses with jersey hoodies allow for a multitude of unique outfits,” explains Burke.

“For the younger set, parents are in charge of clothing choices and purchases. Therefore, we will always see a bit of preppiness in children’s clothing,” continues Burke. “The younger boys stay in fashion by wearing V-neck sweaters over cotton turtlenecks matched with cargo pants or straight legged jeans. Younger girls wear a feminine version of this outfit with printed tops and embellished or flared denim.”

The following is Cotton Incorporated’s overall back-to-school fashion trend forecast:

Overall color

  • grays, navy and dark greens mixing with electric accents
  • icy neutrals for basics
  • bold, vibrant color for dressing up


  • Boys – flannel accents in shirtings, plaids
  • Girls – thermal qualities interpreted into sweater knits; prints and patterns reference art history


  • biker style jackets
  • paneling in denim, button ups and hoodies
  • wide cut and cropped trousers paired with boots
  • chunky zipper cardigans


  • truer waists in mini skirts and pencil skirts
  • layering dresses with jersey
  • simple shifts, t-shirt dresses and pinafore dresses
  • volume jeans with cinched ankles
  • ruffle details on sleeves and shirts

Elementary School

  • sporty turtle necks
  • track pant style denim
  • patchwork hoodies
  • v-neck sweaters
  • utility trousers



  • flared denim pants with a 70’s influence

  • zip sweatshirt dresses and slim sweater dresses

  • voluminous skirts with cotton tights

  • softened volume & vintage influences

  • cropped sweaters paired with printed turtlenecks

Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.


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