Friday, August 11, 2006

"Ad"olescent Fashion Savvy

Summer's almost over and I'm just going to go ahead and say it-- where did it go? How many times have you heard that in the last week? But, really. Where did it go? Back to school ads on the tv urge consumers into Target, Office Depot, Macy's, Longs... it seems that every retailer has something that the back to school crowd needs. Articles in the paper discuss the fashion trends for 12 year olds as if they are the biggest target demographic now. Maybe they are. Apparently, fashion designers for pre-teens only need to miniaturize whatever big sister or brother are wearing. Size OOO dark wash skinny jeans. Size 2.5 four-inch platform heels. XXS distressed cotton tees with obscure textual references. They gotta have em. Marc for Marc Jacobs. BCBG Girls. Don't even try to drag your preteen into Limited Too.

Seriously, an article in the NY Times quoted Tessa Sprauer, 13, who will enter the ninth grade this fall: "I’m thinking about something maybe not like so casual,’’ she said as she eyed a selection of dresses last week at Forever 21 in the Palisades Center mall in West Nyack, N.Y. “I never wear anything literally like basic,’’ she said. “Even your jeans have to be great-fitting and stylish, not just the average jeans.’’ Certainly not.

Smartly, Target has opted to bring in international designers to assuage young fashionistas and their price conscious parents. The latest- Tara Jarmon- spins her goods for 90 days. Parents will appreciate the price break but don't expect deep discounts. A silk flutter sleeve top goes for $34.99.

For the young men in your life, here's a comparison of jeans prices as they, too, head back to school.

Kohl's vintage Levi 501 jeans  $32.99

Abercrombie & Fitch the Porter vintage straight-leg jeans are available for $69.50

At Neiman Marcus, Dolce & Gabbana's Western jeans sell for $575 a pair.

(Let's not even discuss Walmart's rollback pricing- $14.88 for a pair of carpenter style Wranglers.

So for those of you who can't believe that summer is almost over AND have to enter the fray of back to school shopping, here's a mantra to be repeated while taking deep refreshing breaths in the 102 degree weather: "In my heart, I know that fashion doesn't have to be so freakin expensive that I'm still paying off the credit card charges when my kids enter the next grade and by the way, these clothes had better be washable so remember to check those labels." I, too, will say a silent prayer and envision a white cloud of serenity that encapsulates the malls of America. Where did the summer go?

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