It’s no secret that back-to-school shopping will be making an appearance on countless to-do lists in the next couple of months. For some, it’s an annual ritual almost as a trip. For most, it’s yet one more chore during an already chaotic summer. To both groups, we present this guide—a compilation of must-haves and accessories. Whether you live for the hunt or are intimidated by it, these picks will give you and your kids something to smile about.
With the pant that has become a staple for boys of every age—and the fact that many of those boys are growing like weeds—gently used jeans are wonderful options. Numerous brands are available, but can vary from visit to visit. $10.50–$50. Turn Style Consignment Store, 763.694.6173.
Because every guy needs to have a “go-to” shirt for those special dates or occasions, this classic Polo (in a variety of colors) offers style and comfort for every one of them. $85+. The Foursome Clothing & Shoes, 763.473.4667.
Let him channel his inner rock star with these red-black-and-white-striped shoes that were inspired by none other than Eddie Van Halen himself. $52.99. Down in the Valley, 763.544.0033.
Warm It Up
Fall is just around the corner, and you’ll need something for those chilly nights at the game. This quarter-zip fleece number by The North Face will do just the trick. Layer it up with a classic button down and khakis for extra style, or pair it with your favorite jeans for a comfortable, casual look. $60+. The Foursome
These organic tights are made from cotton, nylon and Spandex, and are the perfect accoutrement for those fun sweater dresses and ensembles. With numerous colors and patterns to choose from, your little fashionista will be hitting the books in style. $12 solids; $14 patterns. The Foursome
OK, we know it’s warm now, but we also know it will get cold again. UGGs, those sheepskin warmer-uppers, are the perfect way to keep your tootsies toasty when that cold weather makes its return—unless it’s another winter like last (which will be fine, because these boots look cool in almost any weather condition). Many sizes available. $110+. The Foursome
Long Live the Legging!
It’s no surprise that girls love wearing leggings with oversize shirts, sweaters and tunics, because they’re easy and oh-so-comfortable to wear. And when these seamless, stretchy Spandex dandies are paired with a pair of flats or favorite boots, the effect is tres chic. $5.90. Heartbreaker 763.231.2223
Whether they’re lightweight or made of wool, zip-up or pullover, hoodies always seem to hit just the right note. And you’ll find an assortment of styles and prices (and sizes, too!) at ReSale 101, a nonprofit secondhand store run by Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners; all proceeds benefit IOCP programs. “We have a nice selection of children’s and teen clothing,” says Nancy Holden, IOCP development co-director. $1–$15. ReSale 101, 1605 County Rd. 101; 763.489.7500; iocp.com
Pretty in Pink
This Fuchsia Libby handbag will hold all of those important things you need to get you through the day, and in a color that will make others take notice. It even has a special pouch perfect for your must-have accessory—your phone. $38. Patina, 763.546.1497.
Books, Books, Books
A Good Read
What better way to help your kids with their first day of school anxiety, their middle school uncertainty, their high school drama, their college preparedness, than through the pages of a book. First Year Jitters by Julie Danneberg is a great place to start for those who have little ones just embarking on their academic journeys and experiencing a bit of trepidation; Fiske Guide to Colleges is perfect for the older set. ($6.95; $23.99) The Bookcase 952.473.8341
Imagine the cover art of those instantly recognizable classics like Moby Dick, The Color Purple and Madame Bovary; now imagine those classics miniaturized and crafted into a tiny classic bookmark, complete with adorable hand-painted cover art and coordinating velveteen ribbon. Would you like your favorite page-turner turned into a personalized bookmark? Custom orders are welcomed. Choose from an assortment of classic book covers or bring in our own art, and they’ll make the bookmark in the store just for you. $14.95. The Bookcase
This and That
Being on time is essential to a wonderful education. Ice Watch, the hip new timepiece that is as fashionable as it is functional, will help you make it to every class on time; and will have you looking good in the process. Available in a cornucopia of colors that include blue, green, orange and purple, these watches are known for their versatility and their bling: Many styles feature Swarovsky crystals, and all come in an ice-cube inspired box (some versions even double as a bank). Check out the new glow-in-the-dark varieties. $85–$250. Tesa Jewellers, 763.537.3144.
The Eyes Have It
Whether you need a pair of stylish new glasses so you can see the teacher more clearly or are in need of a pair of sunglasses to keep the sun out of your eyes, Plymouth Vision has some of the hippest, trendiest spectacles and shades out there.
With brands like Lafont, Oakley, John Varvatos, Coach, Burberry and more, there is a frame and style for everyone. Prices vary. Plymouth Vision, 763.559.4669.
Who says you need to have drab, boring page markers to keep your favorite passages easily accessible or your important paragraphs marked? These Santika page-marker packages come complete with five different designs, 125 individual markers, and have never met a book (textbook or otherwise) they didn’t love. $3.95; Patina
Pack it Up
Whether you like the traditional backpack, the hip messenger bag or some combination in between, these pieces of arm-saving luggage are essential in toting books, notebooks and folders. Local consignment shops offer a few of each, which are available late summer. Prices vary. Turn Style
New and Noteworthy
Brown Bag, Be Gone!
Recycle your tired old brown paper lunch bags, and give lunch some new digs! This adorable lime-green polka-dot lunch tote is made of marine-grade nylon, has twill handles, and is fully insulated to keep your cold things cold and your hot things hot. $16.95. Patina
Protect your laptop with an array of laptop sleeves, carrying pouches and coin purses, designed by the creative genius/style gurus at Coelacanth. With Moroccan-inspired designs and a nod towards functionality with extra-thick neoprene for maximum protection, these classy carryalls will keep your laptop/iPad/netbook/folders pristine and protected all school-year long. Best part? They’re all made from 100 percent recyclable materials. $3.95–$19.95. Patina
BIO: Nancy Eike is a staff writer for Plymouth Magazine who recently experienced her last back-to-school shopping trip with her two kids. Send her story ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org.