Wardrobes influenced by pop culture

Sunday, August 22, 2004


Back-to-school shopping is a whirlwind affair, with more than half of the families polled in a new survey saying they buy a season's worth of clothes in a single week.

One in five mothers reported spending more than $350 per child on fall school clothes, and more than half spending more than $200.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct the survey of 453 mothers with children under age 18.

TV shows are the biggest pop culture influence on what children wear, followed by fashion magazines and movies, but friends and peers remain the biggest influence on what's cool, moms said.

Retailers and manufacturers predict the following items will be among the hottest of the hallways:

Butterfly belts on whiskered denim jeans, and graphic T-shirts and sweatshirts (Old Navy)

Corduroy skirts in psychedelic prints paired with equally funky butterfly-motif shirts (The Children's Place)

Ballerina wrap sweaters with satin trim (Jacadi)

Varsity jackets and rugby shirts (Rocawear)

Rip-stop satin skirts with self-tie bow belt paired with tie-sleeve polo, and short-sleeve, western-style shirts in plaid prints (Mossimo for Target)

Double-brushed flannel pants, and pants with six cargo pockets, two deep front pockets and two zipper pockets (L.L. Bean)

Wheeled backpacks in vintage colors such as desert and camouflage, and pumpkin animal prints (Kipling)

Sherbet-stripe, zip-front hoodie sweaters with five-pocket jeans with embroidery and flower appliques (Mini Boden)

Classic short pleated plaid skirts with grommeted rock 'n' roll belts (Mervyn's)

Galoshes reminiscent of English Wellies in bright crayon colors (Ralph Lauren Childrenswear)

Personalized T-shirts, jeans, bags and jackets using iron-on embellishments (American Eagle Outfitters

Corduroy jackets, blazers and pea coats (Gap Kids)

Cheerleader sweaters (Barbie Style)

Short, multicolored boucle jackets and faux-fur trimmed cardigans (T.J. Maxx)

Denim jumpers and scooters (Sears)


When it comes to fashion trends, the class of 2004 is an eclectic mix.

Cotton Incorporated, a marketing and research organization for the U.S. cotton industry, offers this primer on making the most of mixing and matching:

Layer color, pattern and texture together for an individual look.

Create your own customized T-shirts.

Jazz up denim with interesting washes, finishes and embellishments.

Pair classic cotton shirtings with chunky cableknits.

Use surf, scout and sport-inspired colors and silhouettes for an outdoorsy look.

Wear cargo pants -- with full pockets -- to the mall and leave bags and purses at home.

Add interest with three-dimensional elements, graphic prints, contrast stitching, embroidery and trims.

Embrace vintage-inspired cropped blazers and feminine dresses.

Reintroduce delicate lace, floral motifs and sepia tones into a modern wardrobe.

Create a little romance with capes, shawls, ribbons and bows.

--Samantha Critchell, The Associated Press

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