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Return to in-person learning driving the latest looks
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Return to in-person learning driving the latest looks

With school starting soon, it’s time to assess what clothes still fit, what doesn’t and, the favorite part for students returning to the classroom — what’s the newest and trendiest apparel.

Though saying goodbye to summer and going back to school might not top anyone’s list of fun, who can say no to new clothes?

“Unisex clothes are really in,” says Tammy Wendland, owner of Plato’s Closet in Valparaiso. Or more specifically, gender neutral kids clothing is a game changer with  such brands as Nike, Adidas, Patagonia, North Face, Lululemon and Gymshark, all big time in athletic wear.

According to Wendland, monochromatic colors such as gray and white are favorites.

“Yellow has been a good color; girls really like yellow. And denim is always in for girls and guys,” she says, noting that popular denim brands include American Eagle and Levi. “Retro styling and vintage jeans are big with girls as well. We can never have enough denim in the store.”

In warm weather, fishing and/or baseball hats are hits. What’s the difference? Fishing hats have brims all the way around, and baseball hats have flat front bills. Girls like to put their hair up in a ponytail and pull it through the back opening of snap-back baseball caps. 

For cooler weather, fleece or flannel-lined trucker jackets are popular and, when designed for girls, tend to be oversized.

College wear also is big this year. 

“If we get Champion-brand Harvard University sweatshirts and/or T-shirts they sell out almost immediately,” says Wendland. “Almost everyone loves Indiana University and Purdue University gear, but it doesn’t need to be a local school to be popular.”

Shoe styles are just as important when it comes to completing the back-to-school look. Skater shoes, developed for skateboarders, are definitely cool, says Kim Pappas, co-owner with Yvonne Shofroth, of Barney’s Hub Bootery of Crown Point.

Skater shoes are known for their distinctive patterns, with the biggest seller a black-and-white checkerboard design. Canvas with white bottoms are popular too

Barney’s carries not only the latest in shoe brands but also lines of clothing made by the same company. For example, Under Armour makes athletic wear that typically is at the top of school kids’ wish lists along with shoes, all available in children's sizes. 

“We carry Saucony and Skechers that come in sizes for infants to big kids,” says Pappas. “We also carry New Balance in part because they come in extra wide sizes.”

When it comes to sandals, Barney’s lines include Keene and Birkenstock. For rugged footwear, Merrell, a top ranked maker of hiking, running and other shoes for outdoor adventures, is another of its big brands.

“Darker colors such as black, brown, navy, taupe, and even dark red are the most in demand,” says Pappas. “We also always carry all black and all white shoes, too.”

Barney’s also sells parochial school shoes such as Mary Janes, those low-cut classics with one or more straps across the instep. For guys, it’s black tie shoes. Barney's carries brands including Hush Puppies and Stride Rite.

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