Back-to-school fashion is on everyone's mind this time of year. With kids and teens wanting the latest fads and parents wanting to save money, school clothes shopping can be quite stressful. LoveToKnow Kids turned to Scott Hoffman, General Merchandising Manager of Steve & Barry's, for tips on outfitting kids in the hottest styles... without going broke in the process.
About Steve & Barry's
Although Steve & Barry's University Sportswear recently became a well-known retail outlet, the stores actually had a modest beginning back in the 80s. Friends Steve and Barry first opened their doors at the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. The guys sold high-quality college clothing at bargain basement prices and quickly developed a loyal following. Soon they were selling their apparel at colleges around the country.
In the 90s, the stores began opening in malls. By the mid 2000s, there were over 100 stores in malls across the nation. To this day, the company has stayed true to its roots, continuing to sell high quality clothing at reduced prices.
Scott Hoffman Discusses Fashion
LoveToKnow (LTK): In buying clothing for young kids, what is the most important consideration?
Scott Hoffman (SH): Clothes for young kids need to be durable and comfortable enough to last through the rough housing on the playground, and still look good enough to wear in the classroom or elsewhere. And, possibly more importantly, parents need to consider how much they want to invest in clothes that small kids will grow out of in the blink of an eye. With everything costing 50-90 percent less than other mall stores, Steve & Barry's offers the perfect option for parents who want their kids to look fashionable, but realize that, within a few months, their kids will need a new everything in the next size.
LTK: In recent years, there has been a movement towards provocative clothing for very young kids. Do you see that continuing?
SH: While some clothing retailers have been offering more provocative styles for kids, Steve & Barry's has found that kids love our fun and trendy -without being provocative- basics. As a trend, there will always be an age where teens want to look older and more mature, which sometimes equates to provocative clothing, but I don't think this trend among younger kids is prevalent. That is why we offer women's and junior clothing with sharp, stylish designs in fashion forward cuts and keep our kids clothes classic.
LTK: What are the "must have" items for the coming school year?
SH: This coming school year, denim, polos, and thermals are the "must haves." Denim is perfect all year round and for every age. Polos, thermals, and hoodies are the ultimate "must-haves" for back-to-school. For boys, polos in the classic shades of green, blue, orange, and red, in short and long sleeve, are in high-demand as the weather cools.
For girls, we have a whole array of pink, white, blue, black, and print pattern thermal henleys that can be matched with their jeans and outerwear. We also have rugby style polos - polos with two-tone large horizontal stripes and a white collar - that are popular with both boys and girls.
LTK: Jeans are an all-time favorite-- what's new in denim this year?
SH: "Skinny" jeans are the new trend for denim as well as embellished jeans. Women and girls are wearing denim with jeweled, studded, and embroidered patterns on the back pockets. Its all about the back pocket with jeans right now.
LTK: Steve & Barry's is known for its great t-shirts. What new styles are being offered?
SH: We have literally thousands of t-shirts, and this year we are thrilled to have several more licenses to help round out our showcase of some of America's favorite brands. Perfect for kids, we will be featuring graphic t-shirts with Marvel characters including Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, and X-Men, as well as Hershey's brands like Hershey's Kisses and Reese's Pieces and General Mills brands such as Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, and Trix, among many others.
We are also introducing graphic t-shirts with thermal long-sleeves. They are great for the graphic tee addicts who want to freshen their wardrobe in preparation for Fall and Winter.