IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Great looks that’ll make you cool for school

Bare midriffs be gone! Today’s students are the apple of their teachers’ eyes in styles that are both neat and practical.
/ Source: TODAY

For the hottest back-to-school looks, say “buh-bye” to Britney and “hello” to the new, um, “classy” trend (spiced with a touch of retro appeal).

Tweens and teens have rediscovered cleaned-up fashion — please don’t call it preppy — and are hot on the trail for plaids, argyle and tweed.

Throw in a salute to the ’70s and ever-popular denim, and the words “But mom, everybody’s wearing it!” should make back-to-school shopping a breeze.

As always, the best looks are all right here in the latest edition of our weekly fashion and beauty report. (Coming next week: Hot looks on campus.)

First stop on your shopping trip? The attic — for anything with a ’70s feel. But no need to remain true to the decade — add vintage accessories like sparkling brooches, snap top coin purses or a tweedy newsboy cap to the mix. You’ll find a full ’70s-inspired selection at most major retailers:, the Gap and Old Navy are hot on the trends.

The stylish shrunken jacket and snazzy message tees can also be found at most major retailers in addition to fun fashion brands like Urban Outfitters, J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez and Juicy Couture. For the ultimate in schoolboy chic, you also have the option of Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica and J.Crew. And for polos, Lacoste or Abercrombie and Fitch is the way to go.

Should your teen or tween be lucky enough to wear a plaid, pleated skirt as part of her school uniform, you’re all set! Those with a less strict dress code will find their must-have skirts just about everywhere from trendy junior brands to Polo, Lands’ End, Target and JC Penney. Tiered knit minis are also hot. When attached to an under layer of shorts, they’re called “scooters” and you’ll find them from XOXO, Necessary Objects and American Eagle Outfitters.

Like, ladyFor the ultimate compliment, call your daughter a “young lady” and hand over one of your most feminine accessories as a back-to-school good luck charm! Most of the current ladylike trends have filtered down to the teen and tween level, and they’ve embraced the style with a passion. Like all of this season’s trends, they won’t stay true to any one era or look, but will mix things up with the fresh eyes of trendistas-in-training. Hot looks include pretty, colored tweeds in coats, jackets, skirts, pants and accessories, jeweled brooches (the bigger the better!), ladylike bows and flowers on everything from sweaters to shoes, and the glamorous touch of faux fur on collars, cuffs, handbags and boots.

You’ll find fab faux-gemstone jewelry organized by color family at Claire’s, and we love the sparkling, vintage-inspired styles from Carol Dauplaise, Kenneth Cole and 1928 as well. For great tweed handbags and shoes, head straight to Old Navy (before they sell out!), then make a side stop at your favorite department store to check out the flirty pink tweed Mary Janes from Chinese Laundry.

You’ll find wonderful slippers and moccasins from Steve Madden, and the must-have tights are from Hue. PS — Leopard is hot even for the littlest ones. Plush leopard-printed faux fur coats and jeans with leopard patches in the shape of butterflies (too adorable)! can be yours at The Children’s Place.

Judy Gordon is a New York-based style consultant and the “Today” show’s style editor. She has been covering the fashion and beauty beat for the past decade. To learn more, you can visit her Web site,, which highlights style trends in America.

firstVIEW is the primary supplier of photos to Fashion Friday. Go to for the latest pictures from top fashion shows around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan, Brazil, New Zealand, South Korea and more.