The calendar may still read summer, but in a matter of days, kids will be heading back to school, and September will arrive. While I love summer and the easier laid-back routine that accompanies June, July and August, as a retailer and fashion fiend, I welcome the arrival of fall with open arms. To me, September has always signaled the OK to pull out sweaters and cozy fall items, as well as shop for the season’s newest trends. Just thinking about it gets me excited for some closet updates.
And as much as I love what the change of season means for my wardrobe, I get even more excited to break out fall fashions for my 6-year-old daughter and mini-muse, Elizabeth. For the wee ones, fall 2013 presents a great mix of fun and colorful, dramatic styles that mimic adult trends.
Back to school rings in with great color, from jewel tones and deep watery blues to superhero orange. Look out for embellishments from toddler to tween that will flash Mom and Dad back to the luxe ’80s and early ’90s — think faux leather patches, studs and trims and feminine lace touches.
But girls can’t have all the fun. Boys’ clothes get smart with collegiate looks and an emphasis on primary colors. Big-boy dress-up looks steal tweeds and plaids directly from Dad’s closet, and mighty lightning bolts make casual play clothes super.
Buying in the children’s market is fun for many reasons. The best part is that children’s designers often take dramatic and outrageous liberties with styling and color. After all, if you are going to wear rainbow plaid mixed with polka dots, what better time to do it than when you are 5?
Keep an eye out for tailored riding caps and feminine fedoras for tween girls. Toddlers get fun fleece jackets in bright hues perfect for transitional weather, and big kids will see a great selection of real-deal coats such as my favorites from the weather-tech geniuses at Marmot.
But back-to-school style doesn’t have to be sacrificed for functionality. One of my favorite accessories this fall is MadPax backpacks. They come in a variety of colors with wild spikes or bursting bubbles and are sure to be a carpool show-stopper.
Boring has no place in this season, so have fun with your kids’ clothes, involve them in the process of selecting a wardrobe, and enjoy shopping together.
Here’s a tip that I give parents each fall as they think about the re-emerg-ence of the dreaded morning routine. Start by giving your little one three top and three bottom options that mix and match well. Agree on the choices and set the options out the night before. It’s a win-win without the you-cannot-wear-your-shorts-in-December fight. Your child feels a great sense of independence, and you are reassured that your mini-me looks good and is ready for their daily activities, too.
Most importantly, invest in pieces that are well made. Most disagreements about what kids want to wear are really about their comfort. Kids want to wear clothes that will move so they can run, play, jump and simply be kids. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself this September, they just keep growing, and you’ll get a chance to do it all over again next year.
Bridget Quinn Stickline owns Wee Chic Boutique in Greenspring Station. Visit weechic.com.