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Students ready to head back to school in style

Popular trends point to longer hems, natural hair color

POSTED: August 4, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Emilie, left, and Veronica Bruce browse through the dresses Friday at the clothing store Dress Up in downtown Gainesville. It will be Emilie's first year to attend Lanier Tech. Assistant manager Hailey Giudici said the lace shorts, shown at left, are among the popular items this year.

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The seasons may not be changing, but boutiques and hair salons of Gainesville already are seeing a bevy of pint-sized customers who want to shake up their style before the first school bell rings.  

At the annual back-to-school sale at Dress Up boutique on the square, students queued to pick up discounted shoes and dresses ahead of the first day of school. While most students may be more concerned with comfort (or adhering to a dress code) than trendiness, many ways exist to remain on trend and still play by the rules.

Hemlines are one aspect of fashion moving in a direction teachers and administrators will appreciate.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of tea-length skirts, which come down below the knee, with a really cute top tucked in,” said Hillary Harper, Dress Up’s director of marketing. “If you wanted to go for a more casual look, choose some skinny denim with a cute tank top and then a layered cardigan for a good fall look.”

Dress Up’s current most popular seller among young women is Piko tops. The soft, free-flowing cotton shirts come in various cuts and colors. They often come down below the fingertips and can be paired with leggings or jeans.

Comfort is the ultimate concern for young customers at Plato’s Closet, a reseller of gently used teen clothes on Dawsonville Highway.

“The middle school and high school-aged (customers) buy more denim and short-sleeved shirts,” said Alayna Yarck, an employee at Plato’s Closet. “We sell a lot of jeans, mainly. That’s our biggest back-to-school seller.”

Yarck said the most popular style of denim she sees students purchase is dark skinny jeans. While distressed denim is still a popular look among students, any distressed holes must be below the knee to comply with schools’ dress codes.

“(Students) will buy the ones with the knee holes, but not above,” Yarck said.

Most young customers are also interested in tops similar to the Piko variety.

“Flowy kinds of materials and styles are popular, and lace details are really big,” Yarck said. “So are feminine tops and ones that are kind of peasant-style, sort of a bohemian look.”

American Eagle is currently the most popular brand sold at Plato’s Closet.

While school dress codes may place some restrictions on hairstyles, the bright, unnatural colors popular a few fashion cycles ago are no longer in demand. Braids, long blunt cuts and the ombré-style hair color are popular among young clients at the Twisted Salon on Washington Street.

“Everybody is wanting a braid put in, one that’s woven into their bangs and comes down like a waterfall braid,” said Kyle Miller, a stylist at Twisted. “They also want ombré or natural color. The chunky, edgy color is fading out and everybody is wanting a natural, soft look.”

The ombré style of coloring hair, where a natural color is left on the roots and the ends are lightened, is popular among the young customers at Princeton Salon and Spa on Washington Street. Master stylist Chelsea Gravitt recommends the ombré style for young people who want to try coloring their hair but don’t want to make a huge commitment to the change.

“The ombré is still very popular, but there are a lot of variations of it,” Gravitt said. “If they’re older and they’re interested in highlights, that’s a better option to go with if you don’t want a lot of maintenance, which a lot of parents don’t want.”

An easy yet on-trend hairstyle Gravitt would recommend for students is a top knot.

A top knot can be created by pulling hair into a ponytail, teasing it, wrapping it into a bun and securing the bun with bobby pins.

Twisted Salon and Priceton Salon and Spa reported more young men are interested in having a defined hairstyle than in years past. One popular style involves leaving the top of the head long and keeping the sides short, creating a faux-pompadour.

“I’ve actually seen it in younger boys, where they have (their hair) really long (on top) and then it’s tight on the sides and in the back,” Gravitt said. “That’s the biggest haircut I’ve seen lately. A lot of guys are wearing the pompadour, too, but in very different variations.”

Originally made famous by Elvis, a subdued form of the pompadour has experienced a resurgence of popularity among young men.

While some young style-seekers are choosing to go with a more drastic look for fall, it’s not recommended. 

“Younger girls will do (a portion of their head) shaved. It’s kind of a peekaboo effect, but it’s not very popular because it’s so hard to grow out,” Gravitt said.

Once North Georgia students have all the pieces of their look put together, nothing can stop them from succeeding when they enter the halls of local schools when the semester begins Friday.


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