5 Must Haves for Back to School 2013 – On Trend and On a Budget

5 must haves for back to school

Every year, I do a Back to School Must Haves post. This year’s is sponsored by Collective Bias. They’ve asked me to give my 5 Top Trends for BTS 2013. 

As a lifestyle expert and once NYC stylist I’ll start here:

Follow these rules and you’re 1/2 way there. Plus, I’ll show you what you need, and (as always) how to get it at a bargain. I shopped at Sears which is perfect for back to school … so my examples will be from there and I’ll compare those items to the designer versions, so you can see why you DON’T NEED TO SPLURGE — No matter which store you choose to shop at.

That said, here are my 5 picks for fall:

Trendy Denim:

Don’t confuse trendy denim with classic denim (blues, grays, blacks, whites, skinnies, flares, bootlegs … ) Feel free to splurge on those (I usually do), trendy denim is where you want to save because frankly, these jeans could be out of style faster than you can button your fly…

1.  Neons and brights:

Yes, the 80’s throwbacks to day-glow have not left the scene quite yet, if you find jeans in colors that could almost burn out your retina, you’re on the right track. Hot Colors This Season: tangerine, hot pink, aquamarine green, rose, and titanium.

bongo colored skinny 1999

Bongo Skinnies at Sears $19.99

Joe’s Jeans Jeggings $59.00

Revolt Jeggings at Sears $11.99

2. Patterned and Floral Jeans:

What I love about the patterned jeans these days,is that you can mix them with other patterns in similar color schemes and it looks awesome and fashion forward … not like you dressed in the dark.  Also, they’ll give us a much needed break from graphic tees. Because frankly, I can’t look at another cutesy saying silk screened onto a crew neck!

Canyon River Blues Printed Skinnies at Sears $17.99

true religion big kids jeans 10800

True Religion Big Kids Jeans $108.00








7 For All Mankind $89

Toughskins Floral at Sears $14.99

3.  Ugh! You guessed it – GRAPHIC TEES


I wish I could say this trend has seen it’s day, but well, it’s as big as ever. I really can’t think of anything that can be said on a tee shirt that hasn’t already been said, but apparently someone can. And though I abhor the glitter and sparkles that I find all over my washing machine and laundry room when those offensive items come out, I buy them anyway. (I avoid as much glitter as my 8 year old daughter will allow.) What I do love? Rather than the sayings — some of the arsy drawings of trendy girls or funky graphic designs or this adorable laser cut overly tee and tank I found.

I also like that I paid no more than $7 for the tees I picked up.

Toughskins bow shirt 699

Touchskins Bow T at Sears $6.99

Owl Tee at Sears $5.99

Benetton Tee $24.90



4.  Chic tops:

Something to wear with leggings, jeggings, classic or patterned jeans. Something a bit more sophisticated … FINALLY. I’m loving stripes, and boho styles.


I love Splendid Littles, Ella Moss Girls, and Milly Minis, but compared to these alternatives, I feel kinda stupid!

Amy’s Closet Top at Sears $16.99

ella moss 5499

Ella Moss Top $54.99

Self Esteem colorblock top at Sears $14.99

Self Esteem Colorblock Top at Sears $14.99







Preppy Stripes:

milly minis stripe 8000

Milly Minis was $140 now $80.00

Preppy top at Sears was $26 now $4.99 (My fave find)







Boho Chic:

Amys Closet dolman boho 3800 now 1899

Amy’s Closet Dolman Boho Top $19.00

Juicy kids boho top 9800

Juicy Kids Boho Top $98.00



5.  Patterned Backpacks:

How cute JanSport in fuzzy zebra ... on sale!

How cute JanSport in fuzzy zebra … on sale!

Of course when we’re talking back to school we can’t forget the ultimate accessory — the backpack

(This is where you can splurge a bit, because you want something that will last all year and you know it won’t be “handled with care.”)  Neon, patterns, stripes, plaids, batik, geographic, and animal prints are hot!

In my town, it’s JanSport or bust, so I was thrilled to find those puppies on sale (which is not easy.)

For my son: a plain charcoal gray and for my little girl the pattern that goes with everything: –> Zebra (fuzzy, no less).


“Honorable” Mention:

GIVING BACK – Another great trend for fall (and anytime of year): Helping those in need.

If you’ve already forgotten my #2 rule was to save and spend the money elsewhere. Yes, I was

beyond tempted to put the dough I saved towards a hot new pair of boots, ahem, I mean in the college fund, but I first had my daughter pick out the perfect backpack and graphic tee to donate to someone in need.

We “Backpack it forward” every year and we like to fill the backpack with extra school supplies.


Last year we collected enough supplies and backpacks to keep an entire class set for the school year!

Most children don’t realize something as simple as a backpack and supplies can make such a huge difference.


Backpack and shirt to donate.

Live So Fab Magazine for more BTS ideas and my  Shop Your Way Catalog to see all my picks for Back To School and sign up for Shop Your Way while you’re there to save on every purchase from a long list of stores. I saved about $10 and received $20 in giftcards to spend at a later date – NOT BAD.

Feel free to ask me any back to school questions that don’t involve math and pass this on to any Moms who like to be on trend and on a budget


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