Back-to-School Already? School Bell Tolls Early This Year

We barely finished celebrating 4th of July Independence Day events when, in mid-July, major chain store retailers and discount shoe chains started flighting broadcast ads to prepare for going back to school and college. Many school systems had finished up their academic year only a month before. Those who track the retail merchandise industry thought this back-to-school horse had jumped the gate a tiny bit this year.But we’re not complaining. Wholesale buyers and sellers of children’s clothing  … apparel resellers who cater to Teens, Tweens and College markets … Dollar Store  value chains who stock classroom supplies and book bags … these merchants are not complaining either.

Here’s a Quick List of what we’ll be seeing in the schoolyard and on the campus quad this year:

· Bring ‘em on T-shirtsThe more layered and overlay T-shirts, the better. Check out the “Pink” catalog from Victoria’s Secret … yes, those folks formerly known as the princess of purple and lacy undergarments. College-targeted fashion spreads show 20-something young women wearing “beaters” – scoop-necked, sleeveless men’s undershirts – before they layer on at least two more T-shirts featuring giant plaids, saucy slogans, seam-shirred scrunchy T’s and candy colored tops.

· Closed Heel and Toe Footwear for the Kids: We covered the Crocs Shoe Fad on this blog last November in Crocs: Biting Back? Or Snapping Fad?) . But school administrators and school nurses started banning all open-toed, open-heeled, wheelie and other skating “shoes” from schoolyards … for trip-and-fall safety reasons. So look for sensible school shoes that meet the rules, but still fake all those forbidden style touches. (Pressure Lights … Adult-looking Athletic Shoes … Strapped-in Bright-colored Clogs that only look like Crocs or Croc knockoff designs, but are built like those old Mary Janes. Just updated.)

· School Supplies: Dollar Stores, with their paper goods and office supplies inventories, are easy places to find back-to-school supplies. Students are searching for just the right Binders, Licensed Insignia Notebooks, Plastic Pouches in see-through bright colors, and Carryalls/ Book Bags. Mom won’t let them pick a book bag that expands to infinity, to carry cargo that exceeds a grade school student’s own weight. (Those are back and shoulder strainers.) Kids and Moms look for bags that sport hidden pockets and zipper cases. The smaller stashes are for house keys, cell phones, emergency money and touch-up cosmetics.