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Reworked menswear suits boys, girls

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Published Sunday, August 12, 2012, at 10:19 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, August 12, 2012, at 10:19 p.m.

Boy meets girl for back-to-school fashion. Both are borrowing from classic menswear, reworking it in younger ways. Wall Street plaids and herringbones migrate to skinny pants and miniskirts. Brogues and boots abound, sporting unusual soles or metal details. Adding a “Wild One” edge, motorcycle jackets top preppy looks for boys. Denim and military-inspired shirts are staples for both, but with twists — a contrast collar for him or jeweled embellishment for her.

One gender-neutral trend continues to build momentum: “Denim isn’t just about the blue jean — it’s all about bold patterns and colors for back to school,” said Karen Tweedie, a senior vice president at Kohl’s.

Teens are taking cues from street-style blogs, peers and their own mirror.

“Girls are photographing themselves daily and cataloging their outfits on their own blogs and websites,” said Mary Kate Steinmiller, senior fashion market editor for Teen Vogue. “People love to peruse these sites to see how the average girl or guy is dressing.”

On her

•  Military and embellishments: “An easy accessible way to conquer the militaristic glamour of the fall runways is with a refined army shirt,” Steinmiller said. “It can be worn tucked into a skinny black jean for the tough girls, or over a flirty white lace mini skirt for more feminine shoppers.” Military shirt with embellished detail, $79 at zara.com.

“It’s not easy for the average girl to sport a rich brocade party dress with crystals,” Steinmiller said, “but she certainly can add a shirt with an embellished collar, a crystal necklace, bejeweled bracelet, metallic shoes or embroidered bag to her outfit.”

Opulence in the form of gems, crystals, sequins and regal fabrics starred on the fall runways of Dolce and Gabbana, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton.

•  Hardware: Metal details add a modern edge to shoes and boots this season.

“Ankle boots are key and can be worn with anything, including skirts, shorts, skinny jeans and dresses,” said Tweedie said.

•  Bright denim: “The selling point for denim trends has become color,” Steinmiller said. “Brands keep shoppers coming back for their favorite cut, but in different brights, neons, pastels or even patterns. Oxblood, the biggest color for fall, feels rich in a skinny jean, and brocade prints on denim skirts and jackets is on trend.”

On him:

•  Motorcycle jacket: “Some of the must-have pieces of the season – khakis, colored denim, military shirts, motorcycle jackets – are closet staples for girls and boys,” Steinmiller said.

•  Denim on denim: The denim-on-denim trend continues to defy naysayers.

“The easiest way to indulge in a trend but not commit to it fully if it’s a bit risky or very fashion forward is to pick an accessory that reflects the trend and work it into your current wardrobe,” Steinmiller said.

•  Safety pin as tie clip: “For guys, a small accessory adds character and personal flair to an outfit,” Steinmiller said. “Pins, watches, a pocket square or friendship style bracelet all are personal pieces that make a look his own.”

•  Old-school shoes: Brogue shoes come in hip colors like gray, or with new details like rubber soles.

•  The chino in color: A natural extension of the colored-denim trend: colored chinos.

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