Washington County students may be headed back to school to hit the books, but fashion magazines are what many area students really want to study.
Summer Mason, store manager at Peebles in Marietta, has already seen an uptick in back-to-school clothing purchases at her store.
Must-have items for junior girls at Peebles include tops with banded bottoms and slit sleeves, tops with zigzag, striped and patterned designs, and woven, crochet-look sweaters stitched with an all-over pattern of holes.
"Juniors are more focused on what the top is this year, (while wearing) a plain bottom," said Mason.
"Ripped denim is still in" in jeans, as well as distressed jean looks, she added.
According to Teri Ann Pfeffer, partner at Teri Ann's in Marietta, young women are wearing sweaters, flowy print blouses that might be cut shorter in front and longer in back, and straight or skinny jeans.
Back-to-school spending 2012
According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, sales for back to school may total $40.4 billion in 2012, a 2.5 percent increase over last year's spending.
The National Retail Federation's (NRF) yearly back-to-school survey reported that those with children in grades kindergarten through 12 will spend almost $90 more on shoes and school supplies this year, or $688.62 compared to $603.63 in 2011.
The NRF also forecast a 22 percent increase in back-to-school shopping, or $83.8 billion.
Uber retailers are offering incentives to get parents to spend bigger this school season: J.C. Penney ads promote free haircuts ($10 million worth); Old Navy lured customers with backpacks and coupons from OfficeMax for those forking over $50 or more; and a giveaway of 1,000 iPads was the back-to-school draw for Abercrombie & Fitch shoppers.
Jump on the never-ending jeans trend with skinny jeans, jeggings (jean leggings), distressed jeans, and dark blue or black jeans.
Look sharp in prints featuring florals, geometric patterns, stripes, plaids, polka dots and more.
Keep it manly with skinny jeans for guys in dark washes.
Button it up with button-down shirts for guys in plaids or solids.
"I'm seeing some colored jeans, in terra cotta, brick red, gold and dark turquoise," said Pfeffer.
Junior girls shopping at Becky's Casual Boutique in Beverly are buying Bermuda shorts, layered shirts, tights, jeggings and Western-style wear like plaid shirts.
"I see a lot of plaid going out the door," noted Rebecca Douglass, owner of Becky's Casual Boutique.
Bright neon tank tops are often paired underneath plaid tops, Douglass added.
According to Douglass, solids will be big this year. This includes pairing a solid-colored top with denim or over a patterned tank top.
"They're mixing (solids and patterns) in any way they can to make their own fashions to fit their personality," Douglass noted.
Kady Johnson of Waterford, 15, who will be a cosmetology student at Washington County Career Center this year, said she plans to wear a pair of jeans and a tank top to school.
"I'll probably wear a jean jacket too," she said.
Johnson said she also likes sundresses with flowery prints, feather earrings and dark-blue jeans that are bootcut or flared.
The return of the color black, shoulder keyholes in tops and pointed handkerchief vests are also trending with Becky's Casual Boutique clients, Douglass added.
For junior boys, plaids and stripes are top sellers, said Mason.
"Plaid woven is a big part of our woven line for young men," she said. "They're very western, with pockets and a button that comes up on the sleeve."
Martin Orr of Marietta, 18, a senior at Marietta High School, said he usually wears slim or skinny jeans and shops at online outlets to find "different shirts that don't have details on them."
"A lot of people shop traditional stores like Hollister and American Eagle, but I don't really like wearing stuff like that," he said.
Instead he opts for v-neck or button-up shirts or those with a little pocket.
According to Mason, boys are favoring belted jeans. Girls are going for the layered look of a longer tank top under a shorter top and striped shirts decorated with peace signs and sequins, she added.
When it's time to accessorize their outfits, bangle watches are a "hot accessory" at Peebles.
Scarves will remain a fashion mainstay, too.
"Now, scarves are part of our wardrobe," noted Pfeffer.
Girls of all ages continue to clamor for Vera Bradley products like those sold at Twisted Sisters Boutique in Marietta. Popular styles include messengers, backpacks, regular and mini hipsters and backsacks, said Debbie Cline, store partner.
Sought-after Vera Bradley color patterns are Vava Bloom, Indigo Pop and Paisley Meets Plaid. On Aug. 30 Ver Bradley will debut three new color patterns: Canyon, Portabello Rose and Provincial.