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Back to school

Start school in style

  • Author: McKenzie Richmond
  • Updated: July 31, 2018
  • Published July 31, 2018

Push the summer wardrobe to the back of the closet: New school year means new school threads. Trends this year indicate it’s time to stock up on jeans and jackets.

Alaskans are well aware of the infamous 2012 article by Travel + Leisure listing Anchorage as the worst dressed city. We know they did not take into account our need to dress for the cool weather, and that all the nicest outfits are under our winter coats and Carhartt jackets. This year, don’t let a chill keep cute clothes under cover while keeping up on the latest trends like those from Vogue magazine, Seventeen Magazine and featured on the “Today” show.

Keeping up with the latest trends can be spendy, so it’s helpful to set a budget before getting to the mall. Don’t worry, you can still find great buys within a reasonable budget. Plus, some trending items were popular years ago! Pull those now “vintage” items out of your closet for kiddos, or even you, to revive. For the kids still growing, it may be a good idea to delve into your creative side and try to revive some pieces with a patch or some stitching rather than spending money on something they’ll grow out of within a few months.

Anchorage’s retail industry has brought up a great selection of stores lately, but don’t forget about the consignment shops in town that sell gently-used brand names at affordable prices - even if they may not be on runways this year, some pieces can stay on-trend and are budget friendly! If you can’t find what you’re looking for in stores, hit the web and look online for a wider variety. Yes, shipping and handling fees can be ridiculously high when sending you’re purchases to Alaska; we’ve all clicked checkout only to find the $25 shipping fee and hesitate to confirm the purchase. There’s good news: we’ve found many stores that offer free shipping and there even more that offer free shipping after reaching a certain total.

Long jackets: A long jacket is sure to keep kiddos covered and warm without ruining their style, and can also add class to an outfit for an after-school job or internship. For younger kids, stick to a warm winter coat during colder months, especially if they’re still playing outside during recess.

Where to find: Nordstrom can be a great place to find a long jacket and luckily there is one in the heart of downtown Anchorage, but if you can’t find something that stands out to you in store, there is a broader selection online with free shipping! For the younger kids, GapKids has some great options, as well as REI or North Face.

Denim: Denim has always been a popular and timeless trend, but this fall new styles are in. The “Mom” jean and the flair jean are all the rage this season. They effortlessly add character to your standard T-shirt and jeans look. For growing kids, if buying a brand new pair isn’t necessary and would just put you out a few bucks, try adding some patchwork to a pair of old jeans or stitching them up to create a cropped style instead. In addition to denim jeans, denim jackets are also a hit this year. A denim jacket is a perfect added layer for your kids and teens to keep it cute and casual, but give them a little warmth if its cooler out, without ruining their style.

Where to find: Madewell has a great selection for denim in their “denim bar” for teens and adult, plus they offer free shipping and returns as well as great quality. GapKids at the Dimond Center offers great jeans for younger kids.

Chunky sandals, comfortable sneakers and knee-high boots: Boots, boots, boots! Let’s be real: in Alaska, it’s boot season year-round. Booties during the summer and Xtratufs in the winter. This fall, sub in some knee-high boots to keep your teen’s style up-to-date while keeping warm, although be sure to keep their Xtratufs on hand, too. Other popular shoes styles are chunky sandals and wedges. While they aren’t always ideal for Alaska commutes, keeping a nice pair in their locker to change into indoors may be a great way for your student to dress up an outfit. Finally, comfortable and trendy sneakers are always great trend!

Where to find: Nordstrom and The Alaska Walking Store at the 5th Avenue Mall have lots of options for the upcoming footwear trends. Michael Kors also has some great choices for the comfortable and trendy sneaker, but it’s on the pricier side.

Small sunglasses: Even though it may be chilly outside, the sun can still shine bright. Small sunglasses are a big trend now that you find many celebrities wearing, but the small glasses aren’t protecting your kids, or even your own, eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Yes, small is big, but big is better. Another style that has been trending are round glasses, which offer far more protection for sensitive eyes. Since kids don’t need their glasses in the classroom, grab a stylish case as an accessory and to protect lenses from scratching.

Where to find: The Sunglass Hut has an array of hundreds of glasses to pick from and is located right in downtown Anchorage, but if you’re looking for something yes and online, they offer free two-day shipping on every order.

Cool and neutral colors: Keeping it neutral this season is the way to go! Beige, grey and cream items will be timeless and go with just about everything in your closet. Designers are also favoring subtle cool colors, such as blues and purples.

Where to find: Everywhere. You’ll see these colors in all your favorite shops.

Where to shop online for Teens:



Forever 21→ affordable and in style now!

American Eagle

Urban Outfitters



Where to shop online for Children:



Lands End

Hanna Andersson


Old Navy