CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- From the runways to the street, denim is the No. 1 single most important trend for the back-to-school fashion season.
Denim, in 50 shades of color, instead of trusty blue skinnies, is the bang-on trend for fall. The pencil leg is newest. The fit is slim and trim -- but definitely not tight. Denim jeggings and cropped above-the-ankle bottoms show up in a kaleidoscope of colors for the season.
Distressed denim, in blues and black, return to the fashion front for fall 2012. Torn, frayed and blotchy bleached denim will be popular for teenagers who missed this look the last time around. And remember Levi's jeans? Well, they're back. For girls and boys.
Right up there with denim in color is punky, patterned denim -- ditsy prints, large cabbage-rose designs, patchwork, stripes and checks -- sure to attract the attention of that cute guy in English class.
Neons will be cool -- but you'll have to love it, or forget it; there's no in-between here. A single pop of bright neon is the easiest way to wear this trend. You can go small (as in accessories or shoes) or you can go screamin' (as in pants, shirt or blazer). But let's face it; neon is a "look at me and look at me now," entrance-making, upbeat trend.
Electrifying, highlighter shades of hot pink, tangerine, ocean blue, raspberry red, citrus yellow, chartreuse green and purple passion are back in the school hallways. This trend finds its customers all the way down to the grade-school set and runs the gamut from ready-to-wear through accessories and shoes. Neon colors have style edge for girls -- and boys. They are a great way to express personal style and a sense of humor.
Daughters and sons of disco divas will be wearing pieces usually reserved for uniforms -- white button-down oxford shirts and khaki shorts -- but with enthusiasm for individual style. Boys don knee-length cargo shorts with lots of pockets, while girls' shorts will be a little shorter, but not so short as to stumble into trashy.
Add suspenders to the shorts or pants for some fashion attitude, and sport Chucks in the brightest color you can find. Girls add sparkly hair accessories for a dash of flash and a show of defiant independence.
All those looks were spotted earlier this month when Charleston Town Center Mall staged its annual back-to-school fashion show.
Teen board models were bangin' on the key trends of denim in color and print, small ditsy florals, structured satchels and clutch handbags, messenger and cross-body bags, knit beanies, Chucks and ballerina flats in color -- and lots of flip-flops.
Amelia Edmondson, winner of the 2011 Project Style, had the lesson plan for an A+ regarding mixing patterns and textures. She said the trick is to have one item be a larger print than the other pattern being worn. She's exactly right.