Eclectic styles take over fall closets

Back-to-school may be a time to buy college-ruled paper, new pens and notebooks, but to most of us, it means more than that.

Back-to-school is the quintessential time to stock up on fall’s must–have items.

I sat down with Arlene Goldstein, the vice president of trend merchandising and fashion direction for Belk Inc. to find out just what to look forward to for the fall.

The style statements for the fall season nicely fit in four categories –– The Highlands, Prim and Proper, Sharp Cuts and Folk Finery.

For the casual looks of homeroom and first period, the trends of ‘The Highlands’ and ‘Folk Finery’ are the best shopping guide.

“Plaid, plaid, plaid,” Goldstein foresees as one of the hot items for the season and key essentials to ‘The Highlands’ look.

Reminiscent of the English country, this look mixes patterns and textures to pull off an earthy chic look. Look for tartan–print items, leather handbags and military inspired jackets.

One of the most affordable back–to–school items and another staple to the “The Highlands’ statement is the scarf. The European trend is just now catching momentum here, but is a simple way to add flair to any look. Pair with a simple tee and skinny jeans to look like you just flew in from London.

When it comes to ‘Folk Finery,’ you must think Bohemian.

“The look is inspired by India, Tibet, Russia and Eastern Europe,” Goldstein says. “But remember, it is as much about the journey as it is the destination.”

Garments in this trend feature embellishments, embroidery and an eclectic flair.

The fringe look seen often in Hollywood is another key player here. “Mixed media,” as fashion world calls it, is an ingredient to the look with patchwork, pattern mixes and playful pairings.

Look for flowing tops, fitted vests, hippie tees, and crochet shawls.

A reemerging trend from last year that is crucial to both of these trends is the boot. Be it brand new or vintage, the worn and weathered leather boot in any height is a must.

Goldstein suggests fine–tuning any back-to-school shopping list by first shopping in your own closet. Worn-out jeans, vintage belts, distressed leather bags pull together the hottest looks for fall.