Rebooting Fall Footwear: Take a Walk on the Wild Side
By Sharon Mosley
If you can only add one thing to your fall wardrobe, make it a new pair of shoes … or boots. Footwear this fall is an exciting way to change up anything you wear … even that trusty little black suit or dress you wear year after year. So, get ready to take a walk on the wild side this season with these trends.
First, fall is all about the new boots. Tall boots make the biggest fashion statement. Boots that hit right around the knee — or even higher — are the perfect accessory for fall’s shorter skirt lengths. And you don’t have to stick to basic black. These boots are disco-ready in bright colors, patchwork leathers and animal prints. Pick your heels in spikey stilettos or chunky platforms.
Ankle boots are still a must-have in fall’s shoe closet, but this year, designers are making strides in laced-up versions that reflect a new era of Victorian chic when updated with floral patterns and rubber lug soles that give them a touch of combat-ready style.
And if you’d rather stick to the classics, the always-popular Chelsea boot is still a favorite that pairs with both casual and dressed-up looks. In colorful suedes and leathers, as well as animal prints, this ankle boot silhouette will be a go-to in your fall wardrobe. Western boots are always a fashion basic, but this fall, why not try them in white?
But boots aren’t the only footwear getting a reboot this year. Loafers are anything but old-school. Loafers even get Gucci-fied. Tod’s shines up its loafers with jewel-toned metallics. Michael Kors does his slip-ons croc-style. Roger Vivier goes the way of the “Pilgrim” look with big square buckles. And Chanel gives its loafers a sturdy, thick rubber sole. If you want to treat your feet to a little love this fall, opt for a pair of loafers for comfort at its best.
Kitten-heels are another way to ease into fall this year. Also called “micro-stilettos,” these new mid-heels are retro-inspired in strappy Mary Jane silhouettes, spectators and Oxford brogues. Schoolgirl looks are complemented with delicate ankle socks. For more of a wow factor, look for colorful (sometimes neon) mules and pumps embellished with artistic geometric heels and decorative jeweled details.
Sneakers have never been more of a comfort factor when it comes to footwear. The tall stiletto boots may be our Saturday night favorite, but when it comes to hiking around in our everyday lives, sneakers are lifesavers. The wedge sneaker is fall’s trendiest go-to. Platforms are still rising to the style-setting occasion in the athletic shoe category. Watch for the cozy hybrid “sneaker-boot” to step out this winter for the ultimate in sporty style.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Tall boots step into fall and make a major style statement. Check out a wide selection of tall boots at Nordstrom.
Men’s Fall Fashion Favorites
By Sharon Mosley
Get ready to suit up for a new season that makes a return to men’s classics — with updated twists. Nothing ever remains quite the same. As fashion influences from the ’70s and the ’90s take center stage again on the runways, menswear designers make everything old new again. Here’s a shopping list of fall 2019 favorites:
— Sharp suiters. It’s time to dress up again in suits that are elegantly tailored but with a little more ease than in previous years. While suits are still on the slim side, they’re softened up in denim and velvet. Patterned suits are trending in houndstooth, checks, chevrons and the perennial favorite, pinstripes. And if you’re a guy who walks on fashion’s wild side, suit up in the new color-blocked suit — a suit with one color on one side and another color on the other side.
— Preppy plaids. The plaid shirt is a must-have for men of all ages this fall. The flannel shirt is an oldie but a goodie — updated in bold colors. The newest way to wear these plaid shirts is layered with striped T-shirts and rugby shirts and paired with jeans. Watch for the red-and-black tartan plaid shirt to be a big winner this season, teamed with black jeans.
— The new pants. Slim pants are still very much a part of the modern man’s wardrobe, but menswear designers are also experimenting with looser silhouettes this year. Think fuller, longer trousers reminiscent of the 1940s. Then there are the trousers split on the side, flowing into flared silhouettes. But don’t worry, comfy knit joggers are a great way to ease into fall, too.
— Statement sweaters. Another comfort favorite. Slouchy and oversized, the newest sweaters are showing up in artsy graphics, whimsical designs and the all-time favorite, the alpine Nordic patterned knit. Brave the chills of fall and winter with the plush life — sweater coats, fleeces, hoodies — all cozy toppers for the season ahead. In pale pastels or bright neons, these sweaters make an even trendier fashion statement.
— Leather outerwear. Gotta have a piece of leather in your closet this fall! Leather — especially in black — gets the rock star treatment. From oversize trench coats to blazers to cropped jackets and vests, leather is the finishing piece in a man’s wardrobe — and in a woman’s this year, too! Leather outerwear is an investment you’ll wear for years.
— Utility chic. This ’70s trend is back in full force. From cargo pants to storm field parkas to shirt jackets, the updated utility trend proves that fashion can be functional in the real world. Who doesn’t like having a ton of easy-to-reach pockets? Look for hands-free leather crossbody bags to be big for men this fall, too.
— All the extras. If you just want to add a few new accessories this fall, you’re in luck. Change up your jeans and sweater/blazer outfits with rugged hiking boots or animal-print sneakers. (Animal print is everywhere for guys, too!) Update a sharp suit with a pair of sleek Chelsea boots or a cool pair of aviator sunglasses. And when it gets really cold, channel your inner Harry Potter and wrap up in a thick striped scarf. You, too, can be a fashion wizard!
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
PHOTO CAPTION:Fashion meets function in slim cargo pants for men this fall. From Bloomingdale’s.
By Sharon Mosley
Nature is calling. When the weather turns cooler, it’s all about getting outdoors and soaking up those fall weekends. Time to pull on the cowboy boots, the frayed jeans and denim vests and head for the hills. Think country cool with a contemporary twist.
Here’s a few ways to get the laid-back vibe:
— Reboot. This fall, the boots are big, big, big fashion statements. So there are plenty of ways to step out for the weekend. Knee-high or ankle-high, just make sure you can walk or hike in comfort, and that usually means a flat heel or chunkier lug sole heel. And don’t try to “break in” a pair of new boots on your first fall leaf tour. Those blisters will haunt you until Halloween.
— Get your denim on. If there were ever a weekend uniform, denim is it. Pack up lots of denim vests, denim jackets, jeans and, yes, even skirts, if you plan to go out for a date night. Now that designers are touting the head-to-toe jeanswear look, it’s an easy way to piece together a getaway wardrobe that can be mixed and matched with your other favorites like leggings. Try adding a pop of color to your bluesy basics to keep things interesting.
— Go mad for plaid. A quintessential fall favorite, plaid is another versatile classic that pairs well with denim. Look for lumberjack plaids this season in a variety of colorful styles from vests to shirts and dresses. Cinch it all in with a wide rustic belt and you’re set to go. Plaid wool scarves are another great fall accessory and a great accent to denim.
— Add a great sweater. The knits are it this year. A chunky cable knit fisherman sweater in creamy ivory is always a good “go-with-everything” piece. Ditto for ski lodge-inspired sweaters. Longer, knee-length patchwork jackets and wrap blanket styles in Navajo patterns are another way to give your denim gear instant panache. A serape-style poncho or cape is another weekend winner.
— Dig the big bag. I know. I know. It’s a lot to carry. And you can always stash a smaller tote inside a larger one for those short day trips to the farm stands. But a larger satchel/crossbody/backpack in a lightweight cotton or canvas fabric can be a lifesaver when it comes to schlepping all your electronics and doing a little shopping — a great weekend pastime.
— Finish with a fedora. If you can’t quite pull off the hat look for work, then how about trying one for the weekend? If you only buy one new thing this fall, try a hat with personality, whether it’s a cute knit beanie or a fun and funky fedora. Now you’re set for a jaunt to the country! Enjoy!
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
Photo caption: Combine comfy and stylish by layering a fisherman sweater over a plaid shirt. Sweater from L.L.Bean.
Fall Fashion Forward
By Sharon Mosley
As summer cools off, school starts and vacations fade into memories, there’s no denying that many of us are ready to fall into a new season. But before you go shopping for that new leather jacket and charge up your credit cards with boots and blazers, here are some reminders. Take a few minutes to read these tips:
— Do the big cleanout. It’s always the first thing on the list, right? Let’s face it, summer clothes really don’t last as long as fall staples. So get rid of those T-shirts you’ve been sweating in the last few months and anything white that has a dull, dishwater brown tinge. Ditto for shoes that have broken straps or scuffed heels and swimsuits that have been bleached by chlorine and sun.
— Then shop your closet. After the big cleanout and a few glasses of wine, take inventory. If you store your clothes seasonally, then start swapping out transitional pieces for summer basics. Make a mental checklist of what you already have in your fall wardrobe from last year. Note what your favorite pieces were and whether they’re ready for another season. If anything needs dry-cleaning or a trip to the tailor, take care of it as soon as possible.
— Sell it off. Sometimes, we just fall out of love with something in our closet. So before that leopard print velvet coat or the leather leggings go out of style, sell them online or at a consignment shop. Don’t wait until it goes out of style. If you know you only wore it once last year, then it may be time to pass it on — and make a little money at the same time. There are lots of online stores that will sell your past “mistakes” as long as they’re in good condition and still stylish.
— Assess your own style. Before you rush into the fall trend frenzy, do some research on your own fashion personality. Browse your favorite stores online. Or, better yet, do some weekend shopping trips with your best friends to see the newest merch IRL (in real life). Try on cozy coats, new colors and of-the-moment shoes. Collect photos of head-to-toe outfits.
— Then wait a few weeks. While it’s tempting to snap up new fall must-haves the second you see them, it pays to wait. Yes, the new season’s clothes are already online and trickling into stores, but there are still a few weeks of summer left, and you probably won’t be hiking around in knee-high boots just yet. If you can’t live without it, then okay … you have permission to snatch it up!
— Last but not least, budget. It’s not the most fun part of shopping, but it’s reality. Fall and winter clothing is always more expensive, so it’s good to know what you can reasonably spend so that you still have money left for holiday gifts. And then, you never know … by December, that cashmere cape you had on your fall trend list may even be on sale!
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
Teachers’ Top Needs for 2019
Great classrooms don’t happen by accident. Teachers across the country work hard to build vibrant, energizing learning environments for their students, which often means everything from microscopes to pipe cleaners, graphic novels to oboes, class pets to field trips and much more. As a result, teachers spend more than $1 billion from their own pockets each year on supplies.
However, parents and community members can lend a hand. Helping to offset teachers’ expenses can take many forms, from working directly with your child’s teacher to identify needs to participating in school-based fundraisers. Another option is sharing your assistance with a program like DonorsChoose.org, which makes it easy for any individual to address the inequity in schools, one classroom at a time.
Over the past 19 years, more than 3.8 million people have donated to classrooms through the program. Last year alone, nearly 145,000 teachers had projects funded on the site and over 255,000 classroom requests were brought to life. These requests reveal some of the key things teachers across America need for success:
Books, Books and More Books
While books may seem “old school,” teachers know that a single book can change a student’s life. Year after year, teachers request books more than any other resource. Many elementary school teachers ask for leveled reading books to meet their students’ individual needs. Others want to diversify their libraries with books that reflect their students’ identities. “The Hate U Give” and “Wonder” are among the most popular books requested this year, and e-readers have become a popular way to expand libraries beyond what the classroom bookshelf can hold.
Flexible Seating and Classroom Furniture
Many teachers credit flexible seating with transforming the classroom learning experience. Rather than rigid desks, students choose from comfy chairs, bouncy balls, bean bags or wobble stools, all designed to let students get those wiggles out so they can better focus on their work.
Because of rapidly evolving technology, 65% of children now entering primary school will hold jobs that don’t currently exist. Resources like laptops and tablets help students learn at their own pace and practice 21st century skills like coding. For example, coding robots and 3D printers are becoming some of the most popular items requested in high schools.
Back to the Basics
Many teachers simply need basic supplies: paper, pencils and tissues top the list. Last year, teachers requested enough pens and pencils to write the complete works of William Shakespeare more than 2,000 times.
Another popular request is “hygiene closets,” which allow teachers to provide students facing poverty with free toiletries to take home such as deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as laundry supplies and clean undergarments.
An Appreciation for the Arts
There are plenty of extracurricular activities at nearly every school that require care and compassion from the community. Drama teams, for example, require supplies to create music, perform plays and more. Donations often allow students to explore their artistic abilities while learning how to create sets, write their own scenes, use instruments and more while simultaneously building their management and teamwork skills.
Not all learning must take place in a classroom. In fact, teachers across the country often take aim at new ways to engage students, such as integrating practical life into the daily curriculum through an outdoor learning environment like a community vegetable garden. By requesting composters, rain barrels, seeds, gardening tools and more, educators can take their classrooms outside to help make the planet healthier while students learn how to be healthier themselves. It also gives students an opportunity to give back to their community by donating food to local families in need.
Most Requested School Supplies
• Basic classroom
• Flexible seating
Learn more about how you can make a difference for classrooms in need at www.donorschoose.org.
Jean Therapy: Fall 2019 Denim Trends
By Sharon Mosley
Whether you’re going back to school or just want to update your work wardrobe, chances are you’re going to want to want to add something denim to your shopping list. And while you may need to replace some of your old favorites, the newest denim choices this fall are anything but basic. From relaxed carpenter jeans to fringed miniskirts to snakeskin prints, there is plenty of new jean therapy for everyone. Here are a few tips for boosting your denim mood right now.
When shopping for a new pair of jeans, it may be best to head to the store. Unless you have a brand you’ve recently worn and know your exact size, it may be difficult to order denim online. As there are so many different designs available now, a morning session of actually trying on jeans may be the best way to find a new favorite.
Don’t be afraid to size up. Not all brands are the same. The goal is to find the most flattering fit for your body type. Maximize your assets. There are jeans for adding curves, for boosting your butt, for slimming your stomach and more. Comfort is key. There’s nothing worse than a pair of jeans that bags in the back and bunches around the knees.
Take several pairs of shoes with you when you shop for jeans. The footwear you wear with a pair of cropped jeans may be different than what you wear with a pair of long boot-cut jeans. Various heel heights will give you a better idea of how the jeans will look in “real life.” If you’re a fan of boots, you’ll want a pair of jeans that easily tuck in.
Denim trends to
try on this fall:
— High-rise takes you to the top. Forget the name “Mom” jeans. These are the hottest jeans hopping into the jean pool right now. There are also lots of “mid-rise” styles. Find the ones that fit you best and that hit your waist in the right place. Then belt them and top off with shirts or tees that barely blouse up over the waist.
— Take the straight and narrow route. Skinny jeans have been around for several years now, and they are still one of the most popular looks in denim. But jeans that are a little looser while still slim from the hips down are taking over their tighter cousins. This is a flattering streamlined silhouette for both men and women.
— Add some flare. One of the best ways to really brighten up your style mood this fall is by wearing a new pair of wide-leg jeans. The flares that start getting wider from the knees to the ankles are showing up everywhere, from the clubs to the office. In lighter washes, they are more casual; in darker indigo, the flares are perfect for more dressed up occasions and even professional settings.
— Make some room for the boyfriend. The roomier look in jeans is definitely a welcome change from the skinny jeans. The slouchier cuffed boyfriend jean is a great date for weekends. Carpenter-style jeans with multiple pockets and loops are another version of this trend.
— Remember to stretch. This may be one of the best things of all about today’s denim. Gone are the days of scratchy jeans. Enter stretch denim. Cotton, polyester and spandex combine for extra comfort for all ages. Pull-on jeggings (jeans and leggings) are an option, too.
— Double up on denim. Wearing denim head to toe used to be a big fashion no-no. But designers have resurrected the “Canadian” tuxedo, and pairing denim jackets with jeans or denim skirts is once again the hip way to go. Thanks to Bing Crosby and friends, who were turned away from a Canadian hotel in 1951, the name stuck. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake reintroduced the trend in 2001, and Jay Leno was also known to sport the denim-on-denim trend. Now you, too, can double up on denim and not make the “what not to wear” list.
— More denim trends. And the fashion news goes on: printed denim, coated denim, colored denim, patchwork details, embroidery, fringed hems, ombre effects, overalls, jumpsuits, side stripes and slit fronts. For whatever ails your wardrobe, get your jean therapy today.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
PHOTO CAPTION: The patchwork boyfriend jean and denim jacket are two of fall’s favorite denim trends. Shown: Pilcro jeans from Anthropologie.
Keep Your Cool for Back to School
By Sharon Mosley
When it comes to those first few days of starting back to school, there’s little time to think about what your kids are going to wear. Those early morning minutes are too precious to waste standing in front of their closets helping them decide if it’s going to be that pair of pink leggings today or the rock-star T-shirt or that holey pair of jeans — which you just bought yesterday but look like they’ve been rolled around in for the last 10 years.
So how do you get wardrobes organized for all those rushed fall days ahead? Here are a few tips to keep you AND your kids cool for school:
— First, do your back-to-school shopping in phases. Yes, I know that most of us just want to get it all over with and then sit back and relax. But as a parent of a daughter who loved hitting the malls (and the internet) every August — and still does, even though she’s in college now — I’ve learned a few things. After I had to confiscate the charge card once or twice, it sunk in. The back-to-school shopping spree would last well into October, when she saw (and wanted) what all the other kids were wearing. And then it was a “have-to-have that coat” in November. So we agreed to space out purchases rather than buy them all at the beginning of the school year. Those Ugg boots she wants now that she’s going to school in Colorado will have to wait!
— Do let your kids in on the shopping. Unless you have very young kids — though even they seem to have fashion opinions these days — it’s easy to sit down at the computer at midnight with your to-do list and order five pairs of khakis for Joey and five pairs of jeans for Chloe. But chances are your kids will have their own thoughts on what they want to wear, and it may not be what Mom thinks they should wear. Be open to letting them experiment with their clothing choices. Make them a part of the process, even if it’s just letting them choose their favorite color. Pick up one pair of their “must-have” jeans and see what happens. If they wear them every day, then you know you’ve got a winner. If they leave them on their closet floor, then it’s time to talk.
— Start with the basics. Make a list of “needs,” and then feel in with the “wants.” It’s easy to stock up on underwear, socks, etc. when you find a sale. And most kids need backpacks. This can also be a style statement. But durability is also key. There’s nothing worse than a strap breaking on the first day of school. So, buy accordingly. This is one thing you may not want to skimp on. Shoes are another important item on back-to-school shopping lists. If your kids want a pair of the latest and greatest sneakers, you may want to consider negotiating a financial deal where everybody wins and the yard gets cleaned up, too!
— Build from the bottom up. Most kids have favorite brands or styles of jeans and/or chinos. Girls of all ages love leggings and yoga pants. So take a cue from what your kids like to wear every day and build from there. The bottoms may play an important part in their back-to-school wardrobes, but normally, their own fashion personality comes into play with what they choose to wear on top.
— Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors. An all-navy wardrobe is a boring wardrobe. And yes, if your kids wear uniforms, then you can still buy a few new fall outfits for the weekend. Most kids have a favorite color or colors. And let’s face it, there are hundreds to choose from … just look at the racks of T-shirts at your local retailers.
Find a few color combinations that your kids like and let them pick out leggings, dresses, graphic tees and printed shirts. Layering pieces that mix and match with hoodies and cardigans offer even more versatility. Coordinating colors are a smart option for extending the life of back-to-school wardrobes and giving kids an opportunity to put their own personal stamp on making the style grade this fall.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Make back-to-school shopping fun by letting kids participate in the process. Colorful separates and accessories at Target.
Grade-A Fashion Essentials: Back-to-School Trends 2019
By Sharon Mosley
With school starting in only a few weeks, it’s time to start planning that A-plus wardrobe that will give you a head start in making top style grades. There are basic essentials for all ages this fall that make rolling out of bed every morning and getting dressed as easy as ABC. Here’s the short list of the top trends:
— Jeans. This is where you start. Find a pair or two from your favorite brands with a comfortable fit and go from there. Ripped denim is still a popular trend with the younger crowd, but colored denim is also making news in earthy greens, reds and oranges. High-rise “mom” jeans are also a cool choice.
— Cargos and joggers. Jeans aren’t the only choice for back-to-school. Cargo pants (shorts if the school dress code allows them) and sporty joggers are also options. Camo prints are big. The athleisure trend is still going strong, too, especially in the elementary grades, when comfort is key on the playground; try leggings and sweatpants.
— Cropped jackets. A jean jacket is another back-to-school basic that’s a versatile layering piece for all ages. Don’t be afraid of teaming denim jackets with jeans and denim skirts. The denim-on-denim trend is an easy way to dress for every day. Shorter jackets update this look, teamed with T-shirts and even dresses.
— Graphic T-shirts and hoodies. More ageless basics for back-to-school, T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with graphic designs are ways to stretch a wardrobe when paired with jeans and joggers. This fall, the newest basics are printed with colorful ombre stripes, graphic logos, color blocking, tie-dye and florals. Play with color, mix patterns and layer, layer, layer.
— The shiny stuff. How about a new T-shirt sparkling with sequins? Or a metallic backpack? Or a brocade pair of sneakers? It’s all about shimmer and shine — and yes, even at school. Students can add a touch of whimsy to their basics by just adding some glitter to their wardrobe.
— Utility vests. This is another genderless basic that pumps up the cool factor when layered over graphic T-shirts and jeans or even floral dresses. When the weather gets cooler, puffer vests will be making a comeback. In bright colors, these vests are a great alternative to heavy coats.
— Plaid flannel shirts. You can buy these new, or you can scope out your local vintage market. Flannel shirts give back-to-school wardrobes a shot of retro cool, especially in oversize “grandpa” silhouettes that easily morph into versatile layering pieces that can be tied at the waist, around the neck or worn by themselves, buttoned or not.
— Floral dresses. From floral babydoll silhouettes to long maxis, flowers are the print of the season. In dark colors for fall, the florals are blooming in breezy dresses that are dressed down with sneakers and boots and then topped off with cropped jackets or vests. For a totally different spin on the tried-and-true denim back-to-school outfits, try something different by wearing one of the new floral dresses.
— Fun footwear. Picking out a new pair of shoes for a new school year may be one of the best parts of shopping for back-to-school essentials. This fall, slip-on sneakers make the top grade in a host of colors and styles. Think bright neon colors and shining metallics. Lace-up booties update last year’s favorite cowboy boots. And utility combat boots are still marching around campus for guys and girls who are really serious about making those A-plus style grades.
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Leading the Pack: Backpack Trends Fall 2019
By Sharon Mosley
From mini backpacks to high-tech bags, there’s a backpack for everyone this school year. And now’s the time to shop for just the right carryall to make that study “haul” not only a fashion statement but a functional one as well. Here are some of my favorites for all ages from the lineup of backpacks available this year.
— For the preschool set — Yes, preschoolers are toting their own backpacks now. Many retailers are offering small “mini” backpacks that hold lunch bags, water bottles and more. Young kids love whimsical graphic designs in bright, bold colors and glow-in-the-dark options. Fit and comfort are important for this group, so look for adjustable straps. Check out all the possibilities at Pottery Barn Kids.
— For the elementary kids — Backpacks are a great way for this age to express their fashion personalities. So, parents, make sure your child gets to participate in the back-to-school shopping experience. There are plenty of fun themes out there, from space-age galaxies to superheroes to flower power to 3D glitter and glow looks. Monogramming is also available for even more personalization.
— For high schoolers — The older crowd always has an opinion on what brand they are going to tote around for the school year. Fjallraven Kanken, a label developed by Swedish doctors, is a hit at Urban Outfitters. North Face offers classic bags with a lifetime guarantee. Other options include Off the Wall backpacks at Vans (the Old Skool black-and-white checkerboard is a big seller) and the always classic JanSport in new iridescent holographic colors such as mocha gold. Corduroy backpacks are hot at American Eagle Outfitters. And if you love the iconic Hello Kitty, you’ll love the 45th anniversary collection of backpacks at Herschel.
— For college students — It’s all about high-tech for this group. Functionality is key when you’re lugging your laptop, your phone, headphones, thermos bottle, clothes and maybe even a bike helmet around with you all day. And of course, you’re going to want to charge all those devices with built-in USB ports. Waterproofing is critical, too, as are anti-theft hidden zippers. Check out the fully loaded tech backpacks and crossbody chest bags at GizModern. Want Bluetooth speakers with a solar-powered battery? The Lifepack backpack is a little pricey at $179. There’s also the fashionable Vandra by Casten Design at $109. Both can be found on Amazon.
No matter what backpack you or your kids choose for back-to-school, first think about what the bag will be used for and then buy accordingly. Make sure that the straps are padded and adjustable, the size is appropriate and you’re not overloading the backpack, which can cause back and posture problems. If you do have a heavy load to carry, consider a rolling backpack. The National Safety Council’s website has more tips on lightening your backpack load.
PHOTO CAPTION: Backpacks go back to school in style this fall in a myriad of styles, sizes and colors. Colorful designs lead the pack at Lands’ End.
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Ease Kids Back into School with Confidence
There’s nothing like a major milestone in a child’s life to test a parent’s confidence. Big changes like a new school or classroom can be trying for kids and adults alike, but tackling the transition a little at a time can make it easier on everyone.
Most parents agree that being confident is important, but only about 1 in 3 parents feels confident on a typical day, according to KinderCare’s Parent Confidence Report. However, experts say your own feelings can impact youngsters.
Whether your child is making a big change like stepping up from pre-K into kindergarten or entering a new grade in the same building, there’s likely to be some trepidation. However, each child is different, which means reactions to change can vary.
Some kids show up ready and raring to go, eager to explore and meet new friends, while others can be a little clingy, tearful or even refuse to look at the teacher or take a step through the door.
If you think your child might have trouble making the transition, consider these strategies from the experts at KinderCare to help ease both of you into a more comfortable place and build confidence for a successful school year.
1.Set up classroom visits before school starts. Sometimes fear comes from the unknown. By visiting ahead of time and seeing firsthand, your child can become familiar with the layout of the classroom, meet the teachers and know what to expect, which can help alleviate some of the anxiety and jitters.
2.Talk with your child’s teacher about the transition. Your child’s teacher should be your partner, so be open and honest from the start. Talk about how your child handles change, what causes stress or what behaviors the teacher might expect. Don’t be afraid to call and ask for updates on your child to see how things are going. Set up regular check-ins over the next few weeks to talk about any additional support your child may need.
3. Avoid sneaking away from your child at drop-off. Talk about what will happen ahead of time and create a consistent and predictable drop-off ritual, such as two high-fives, a hug and a wave from the window, to ensure your child feels secure and safe. Continue this routine every day to help your child get used to the classroom environment and make sure the process is a quick, happy one. While you’re typically welcome in most classrooms, lingering too long can make it harder on your child once you do leave.
4. Be enthusiastic. Just like laughter, excitement is contagious. Rather than focus on nerves or uncertainty, share your own memories from school including how you felt at the beginning of a new school year and the excitement of learning and meeting new friends, which can help your child get hyped up, too.
5.Set up a work station at home. Creating a designated space at home for your little learner to do homework, read, write, draw and complete art projects can help set him or her up to develop good study habits. Stock this station with colored paper, crayons and markers, pencils, glue sticks, scissors, books, stickers and other necessary tools, and leave room for stowing a backpack. Encourage your child to spend time working on educational endeavors in the space each night.
View the full Parent Confidence Report and find more advice to help ease your child’s way into the school year at KinderCare.com.
Sweating Out the Work Week
By Sharon Mosley
When it’s time to shake off the sand from your flip-flops and get back to the office, take a few sips of iced coffee and relax with these styling tips. And remember there are still plenty of sunny beach days left in the summer months ahead. Here’s a day-by-day guide to cool off your workweek.
— Monday — Start a “back from vacation” week with a new warm-weather outfit. Consider adding shorts to your professional wardrobe. Bike shorts were a runway hit for spring, with celebrities embracing the trend in droves. But even if you’re not sure your boardroom is ready for the skinny short look, you can still team a pair of longer, knee-length tailored shorts with a silk tank top and blazer. In black, the combo looks chic and office-appropriate.
— Tuesday — Ease into the workweek with a breezy dress. One-piece dressing is key in the summer. Leave the jacket at home and slip into a cool cotton dress. Plaid may be a traditional fall pattern, but this summer, candy-colored patterns are cropping up in sleeveless shifts and maxi dresses. Pearls are perfect for these pastel dresses. And if the AC is too chilly at the office, toss a cashmere cardigan over the dress.
— Wednesday — Brighten up the midweek blues by trying out new accessories in mellow yellow, fiery red or sky-blue turquoise. Circle handbags will lighten your workload. There are even lots of summer boots to wear to work in bright colors. Think hot pink! Add these pops of color to freshen up those classic black-and-white pieces you already have in your work wardrobe.
— Thursday — Beat the heat in skirts with slits (not too high) that team with all kinds of summer tops and jackets. Team a ruffled floral skirt with colorful blazers and T-shirts for the office. Skorts (skirts with shorts attached underneath) and longer culottes are other ways to stay cool at work. Dress them up for work and pack them later for a versatile travel wardrobe.
— Friday — Make it a casual day and get your blue denim out. Dark denim “suits” are now de rigueur in many workplaces, so take advantage of wearing your “double” denim outfits when you can. Otherwise, if more “creative” fashion is encouraged, then mix and match your jeans with other summery trends such as floaty hippie blouses, peasant tops, kimonos and babydoll dresses. Or skip jeans altogether and don another trend, the loose caftan, dressed up with a belt.
— Weekend — Start making plans for your next summer getaway!
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PHOTO CAPTION: One-piece dressing is one of the coolest ways to dress for the office this summer. Silk crepe de chine midi wrap dress from Diane Von Furstenberg.
Spruce Up for Summer
Make your backyard the perfect outdoor space
To make the transition to summer season effortless, there may be some backyard upgrades and prep to be done to ensure your outdoor space is in tip-top shape. From your pool and patio to the grill, these tips can help get your backyard summer-ready.
Overhaul the Patio
Patios and decks are often considered the hub of the backyard, so consider sprucing yours up by power-washing the stone to remove any winter buildup or use stain for a complete refresh. Adding a pergola or umbrellas can help protect you from the elements and, for added comfort, consider installing an outdoor ceiling fan for humid days and a fire pit or patio heater for cooler nights.
Upgrade Outdoor Furniture
To ensure your backyard furniture lasts, invest in materials such as teak wood, redwood, cedar or stainless steel, which are typically durable and low-maintenance. If you want to add a personal touch, consider colorful cushions, throw pillows or an area rug made of weatherproof fabric.
Smarten Up Your Pool and Backyard
With smart homes on the rise, today’s tech-savvy homeowners are not only looking to automate appliances and gadgets inside the home, but now want smart controls in their outdoor spaces, as well. For example, Hayward’s OmniHub smart pool control offers pool owners the convenience and customization of complete pool, spa and backyard lighting automation from smart devices.
Prep Your Grill
Get ahead of barbecue season by building in ample time to prep your grill. Scrub or season your grill grates to avoid rust, stock up on charcoal and wood chips, check gas grills for leaks and fill up your propane tank. For safety, make sure your grill is at least 10 feet away from your home, outdoor structures and any trees or bushes.
Convert Your Pool to Salt Water
For the ultimate in pool luxury, consider switching your traditional chlorine pool to salt water. It’s a surprisingly simple project that can transform your pool experience. Salt pools offer owners soft, clean and clear water that won’t irritate eyes, dry out skin and hair, give off harsh odors or cause bathing suits to fade. Designed to be a convenient alternative to conventional chlorine, Hayward’s AquaRite system gently dissolves salt into the perfect amount of chlorine to sanitize your pool without harsh chemicals while creating velvety-smooth water.
Keep the Bugs at Bay
Mosquitos and other bugs can put a damper on outdoor entertaining, so be sure to stock up on repellents to ensure a bug-free backyard. Keep citronella or eucalyptus candles and torches on hand to maintain a pest-free space.
Whether you’re planning a family barbecue or pool party, or just want a space that offers the ultimate in tranquility, visit hayward.com for more tips to help jumpstart your home improvement project.
Beauty and the Summer Beat
By Sharon Mosley
When summer turns up the heat, it’s time to chill a little in the beauty department. Get out of the office, unplug the electronics and take a break from the heavy-duty makeup. Lighten up. Whether you’re heading to the beach, strolling through big-city museums or just doing a little people watching at a local cafe, here are a few ways to survive summer in style.
— Waterproof everything. Of course, the heat is on, and the sweat (or perspiration, if you’re a little sensitive) will definitely get to you at some point — unless you insist on sitting in front of an air conditioner all day long. And who wants to do that? It’s summer. Go ahead, get out there and sweat. The latest sunscreens and tanning lotions are all about helping you achieve that “non-sticky” look while protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. Spray-on mists will keep you cool and dry. Check out Banana Boat’s Sun Comfort Clear Ultra Mist. And don’t forget to hydrate, especially your face. Try Neutrogena’s new Hydro Boost Water Gel. (Products available at mass retailers and drugstores.)
— Go for the bronzer. And skip the tanning bed, even if it’s only for a one-nighter. New wash-off formulas will give you a healthy glow at the last minute, such as St. Tropez One Night Only. For a more subtle “little by little” tan, use a product like Jergens Natural Glow lotion — one of my personal favorites. But here’s a suggestion: Always experiment with any self-tanner to know exactly how it reacts on your skin — and to those new white shorts you just bought.
— Pump up the volume. When the heat is on, hair can suffer. You can always rely on the ponytail trick if you have long hair, but when you need some “pouf,” don’t be afraid to grab some help from the beauty experts. A new product to try: Garnier Fructis’ Full Plush Root Amp root-lifting spray mousse. Forget the sticky beach hair that feels like it has sand in it. Not a good thing.
— Lighten up on the makeup. Whew, when summer rolls around, it’s a pleasure to wipe away the heavy pancake-like makeup and enjoy bare skin. Just apply a little sunscreen, right? Well, most of us have to rely on a little more than that — at least, get a great concealer. A little dab under the eyes and wherever else you may need it is definitely better than giving up all makeup for the summer. Tinted moisturizers work well, too. And of course, if you’re at the office, a more polished, professional look is critical. A swipe of a sandy swish of eyeshadow or a tinted lip gloss may be all you need.
— Experiment with nail polishes. Summer is the perfect time to get a little edgy with your colors. The pale icy hues look great when contrasted with darker skin tones. Matte formulas will give you even more of a trendy look. Try Peach Side Babe by Essie or Eclectic mint green by Revlon. Or try a new nail art technique. Check out Madeline Poole’s book, “Nails, Nails, Nails!” for lots of creative DIY nail art projects.
— Find a new fragrance. The warm season ahead calls for a lighter fragrance. Most of us have favorite perfumes that we wear all year. But those musky scents we wore last fall may not feel quite right for summer. So when you’re browsing through your summer magazine reading, rip out a few pages with samples of the newest fragrance launches. Then shop the fragrance counter of your favorite store or boutique and gather a few more samples. You’ll more than likely find a new scent that you and those sea breezes will love.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Lighten up for summer with a new ocean-inspired scent.
Distillery General Eau De Parfum in Sea Salt at Anthropologie