What's hot for back-to-school

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This school year, Angel Burns' daughters, ages 3 and 6, want Justin Bieber bookbags.

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With the economy continuing to be in a fragile condition, many parents are budgeting their back-to-school purchases carefully, Still, children want adequate supplies and fashionable clothes when they return to the classroom for the new school year.  Special
Special
With the economy continuing to be in a fragile condition, many parents are budgeting their back-to-school purchases carefully, Still, children want adequate supplies and fashionable clothes when they return to the classroom for the new school year.

"They love Justin Bieber," Burns said.

Other items on the Augusta resident's back-to-school shopping list include paper, pencils and a jump drive for her 6-year-old, per her list of required school supplies.

"As far as clothing, I like to keep them in the girly stuff -- cute skirts, nice shirts, sandals, tennis shoes, nice accessories," Burns said.

Jeanine Bell, of Augusta, said her son wants shoes and a bookbag with his favorite character, Lightning McQueen, from the films Cars and Cars 2 .

Bell hasn't started her back-to-school shopping yet, but she plans to buy clothing and school supplies for her three children, ages 7, 8 and 10, and her sister's two children. Her sister, who is in the military, is serving a tour of duty in Iraq.

Bell's daughters will probably want items based on popular children's shows, such as Shake It Up , and her nieces will probably want Justin Bieger merchandise, she said.

Rebecca Riley, an Augusta mother of three boys ages 6, 8 and 10, said that she is bargain shopping for back-to-school items this year.

"With the economy being the way it is ... I've learned how to budget a lot," Riley said. "It gets really expensive when they start asking for specific things. Even clothing, I've learned to be a bargain shopper on. I got their entire wardrobe for $60."

For parents wondering what's ''in" this school year, several major retailers have offered their take on back-to-school trends and hot items for the new school year.

Angry Birds merchandise, based on the popular smartphone app, is a hot trend this year, according to Panjiva, a company that tracks global shipments to the U.S.

Shipment of Angry Birds goods, including toys, backpacks and blankets, have surged 500 percent in the past five months, indicating that Angry Birds items will be hot sellers, according to Panjiva CEO Josh Green.

The prep-school look is the fashion trend for clothing, said Eugene Ramirez, media relations manager at Macy's.

"For both boys and girls overall, you're going to see a lot of prep academy-chic. That means varsity jackets, collegiate sweatshirts, that kind of thing," Ramirez said.

J.C. Penney spokeswoman Kris Anderson, agrees that fashion is returning to the American heritage classics, such as preppy attire with plaid or the collegiate look with cardigans and rugby stripes.

"American heritage is the dominant trend for kids and young men," Anderson said.

Parents can always count on denim as one of the constants for back-to-school, Anderson said.

"Trends come and go, but denim will always be a staple for any kid's wardrobe, Anderson said.

''The great thing about it is you can dress it up or down because it keeps being reinvented with great new washes and finishes."

For juniors and younger girls, color denim paired with bright, colorful tops will be popular this year, she said.

"Color denim has been all the rage for spring and summer, but it's still going to continue to be a hit for the junior customer for back-to-school," Anderson said.

According to Kohl's officials, head-to-toe denim will be trendy this year, from denim dresses, shirts, vests and skirts.

Other fashion trends for the school year include graphic T-shirts and hoodies, military-inspired jackets and cargo pants, ditsy floral prints and skinny jeans with embellished accents, according to Kmart.

Screen-print tees with sequins and stripes on the sleeves and hemlines will be popular. For younger girls, skirts with tulle are stylish, said Tiffani Yarborough, junior sales manager at Dillard's at Augusta Mall.

Another trend for boys is the "work wear, military" attire, which includes woven shirts, badges and cargo pants, Anderson said. The rock 'n' roll look will also be popular with black and grey denim and retro band T-shirts, she said.

For footwear, ballet flats continue to be a big trend for females of all ages, Ramirez said. Kmart officials agree that ballet flats, as well as slip-on sneakers, will be popular this year.

"For girls who want to look maybe a little classier in school ... these ballet flats are a great option because you can still be very stylish and they're not as casual as a sneaker," Ramirez said.

For bookbags, Kohl's officials said that school satchels are trendy. According to Macy's,

Fossil brand bags in bright colors such as purple, teal and orange will be popular and allow girls to accessorize with their outfits, Ramirez said.

Sling backpacks, Cross-body vintage bags and backpacks with sequins, glitter and graphics will also be popular, Anderson said.

Sales Tax holiday

Find savings on back-to-school items during South Carolina's 2011 Sales Tax Holiday. The three-day sales tax holiday weekend starts at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ends Aug. 7 at midnight.

ITEMS TO SAVE ON

South Carolina's 6 percent state sales and use tax, and any applicable local sales and use tax, will not be imposed on the following items:

- Clothing

- Clothing accessories (hats, scarves, hosiery, handbags)

- Footwear

- School supplies (pens, pencils, binders, notebooks, books, bookbags, lunch boxes, calculators)

- Computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software

- Bath wash cloths, blankets, bed spreads, bed linens, sheet sets, comforter sets, bath towels, shower curtains, bath rugs and mats, pillows, pillow cases

Source: South Carolina Department of Revenue


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