Polos, tees, jeans top back


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Jul 07, 2023

Polos, tees, jeans top back

Becca Todd, store manager of Plato’s Closet in Merrillville, shows girls' clothing options for back to school such as American Eagle jeans and Lululemon tops.. Becca Todd of Plato's Closet says Tommy

Becca Todd, store manager of Plato’s Closet in Merrillville, shows girls' clothing options for back to school such as American Eagle jeans and Lululemon tops..

Becca Todd of Plato's Closet says Tommy Hilfiger jeans and T-shirts are popular with Back-to-school shoppers.

Khakis, Polo shirts and hoodies are selling well at Last Chance Overstock.

Matt Bien of Sharp School Services, in Hobart, says school supplies are again plentiful this year.

As summer break fades, a new wave of back-to-school clothing and accessory trends are emerging at Northwest Indiana retailers.

Some may look a little familiar, especially to parents making the purchases.

“Right now Crocs are a huge trend going on,” said Becca Todd, store manager at Plato’s Closet in Merrillville. “We have Jibbitz, which are like Crocs charms, which sell really well for us.”

As more parents and their children come into the store to pick up a few staples for the upcoming school year, Todd notes other trends.

“Mainly people are looking for jeans with no holes and long-sleeve shirts for the winter,” she said. “When it comes to jeans, it’s going to be styles like the mom jeans, the baggy jeans, the cargo pants as well as athletic clothes. Lululemon is a huge trend.”

Graphic tees, T-shirts featuring nostalgic bands and athletic shoes such as Jordans are also in demand, she said.

The retro revival is in full swing at many retailers across the Region, with national stores including Kohl’s featuring utility cargo bottoms, denim outfits and platform shoes.

At Last Chance Overstock in Highland, assistant store manager LA McGill says khaki pants, Polo shirts and hoodies are popular heading into the new school year.

“We sell a lot of Levi’s jeans also, as well as backpacks,” she said. “We carry Nike and Adidas backpacks. It seems like the bigger ones trend more because they can hold more school supplies and books, especially with the higher grades.”

Many parents look to get a jump start on buying fall clothing, even as temperatures remain warm.

“We have lightweight jackets that sell a lot, too, at this time,” McGill said.

There are trends at even stores that sell school uniforms, said Dave Cohen, co-owner of Brady’s This Is It in Gary.

Popular items include pants, Polo shirts and sweaters, he said. Particularly this year, the biggest trend involves value.

“With inflation, I think people are looking for value, and I think that’s why we’re doing well,” Cohen said. “Some schools don’t require uniforms, but we’ve always had the basics, and for some parents, it’s easier to just get a quality pants and shirt.”

It may seem like just another year as parents navigate their kids’ school supply lists, but for retailers, it’s been a relief to see supply chain issues easing.

“The biggest news for us this year is that supply chains are calming back down so we should have everything in plentiful stock,” said Matt Bien, retail manager at Sharp School Services in Hobart.

For teachers, new licensing agreements and product lines mean additional items that are hitting store shelves for the 2023-2024 school year, he said.

“Some of the publishing houses have gotten back into creating lines,” Bien said. “There’s a lot more licensing going on where it’s not just that stock flower that you’ll recognize. There’s more of a connection with popular brands and the classroom.”

Minecraft, Star Wars and the Marvel brands are among the classroom collections available.

While the store sells common school supplies found across many schools' lists, Bien says one product is in high demand among young students.

“Stretchy erasers are big with elementary kids this year,” he said.

Though every school district, school and grade has its own supply list, here are some staples that will help get your student through the year. Though many of these supplies are found on area school websites, it’s important to check your child’s school and grade level for specifics:

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