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Published: Sunday, 8/8/2004

Dressed to impress

BY VANESSA WINANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Think the first day of school is stressful for you as a parent? Try being a kid. They worry more about the impression they make on that day than they do about anything else associated with school.

A survey released last month by Levi Strauss Signature indicated 42 percent of teens aged 13 to 17 think selecting the right Day One outfit is more stressful than homework (29 percent) or being called on in class (19 percent).

But Day One Dressing can also be viewed as an opportunity to show everyone how you've changed, or that you haven't changed at all, depending on your goal. In fact, with classic colors and shapes remaining popular for all kids, dressing for school can be a snap. A few trends to watch:

Clothes for teens appear strongly aligned with adult fashions. Retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters and Gap include structured jackets for girls among their lines for fall. Ponchos, especially small ones, and T-shirts worn over long-sleeved shirts are a couple of other up-to-the-moment looks.

In jeans, waistlines may have inched up a bit, but most retailers continue to show low-rise fashions. In slacks, however, waistbands fall at the natural waist. As for color, pink looks especially strong this fall for females of all ages.

Not much has changed for teen (and younger) guys from last year: Preppy shirts and sweaters still reign, as do cargo pants, carpenter pants, and athletic looks. Guys can t go wrong with the classic neutral colors such as khaki and navy, but patriotic motifs, such as stars and stripes, or even red, white, and blue combinations, are another look as America heads into election season.

Jeans for both genders continue to feature different washes, from whiskers across the front hips to lightened areas on the thighs.

Clothes for younger children share many of these looks, although plenty of color always pops into clothes for girls. Look for a continuation of last year s preppy styles, plus some camouflage prints for boys. Jean jackets remain popular for boys and girls, with traditional blue hues for boys, and brighter tones for girls.

One final thought: Be sure to check with your child s school for rules it may have regarding students attire. Many schools require uniforms, and some prohibit certain styles.

Contact Vanessa Winans at: vwinans@theblade.comor 419-724-6103.



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