If you're going to purchase one essential item for this back-to-school season, it can be blue or faded, zippered or buttoned, flared or form-fitting; however, it must be jeans with a name brand label.
Being a teenager isn't as easy as it looks. Their clothes are scrutinized more than their schoolbooks when classes start this month.
Linz Shelton, fashion consultant at Anniki on Main Street in Los Altos, said those in the know go for Citizens of Humanity Jeans from designer of Seven and some are bondage-inspired with zippers and chains.
"Kids in Los Altos have good taste and know how to put things together," Shelton said. "They know how to dress their age, but keep it contemporary and fashion forward."
Lily Lozon, Anniki employee who goes to Gunn High School, said there are lots of cool moms who help their daughters with back-to-school shopping. "Cool moms look for trendy but tasteful clothing."
There is one accessory that all students must have for a fashionable fall and that's a good book bag with room for a cell phone.
"It's 100 percent important to look your best on the first day of school," said Courtney Gump, entering Los Altos High School as a freshman this year. "I'll be wearing my jeans and a dress sweat shirt. Sweat shirt hoods are hot."
Other LAHS entering freshmen said jeans that are different like Brianna Nelson or Mudd shorts and tank top are good.
Lisa Templeton, another entering freshman, said, "I'll be wearing either a denim or a corduroy miniskirt."
Lawrence Mandini, in his fourth year as owner of Anniki, finds teenage fashions an experience. "One day they love a style and the next day they hate it," Mandini said.
Monica and Crissy, Homestead High School students, said jeans are important for returning to school. While they try to look good, they don't pay much attention to what is in or out of style.
"Just wear what you want. You decide on something nice and tell the others what you like and they follow."
Elementary school children visit Marion Jackston's and Young Villagers for their back-to-school fashions. High school and college students visit Anniki for their fashion choices. There are other clothing stores in Los Altos, but these are specialty back-to-school retailers.
Separates are big this year, with kids mixing, matching and layering outfits to make their own fashion statements. Young girls will be mixing schoolroom classics like A-line jumpers and plaid skirts with ruffled shirts and trendy denim jackets.
Teen trends this year at the Los Altos clothing stores:
Layers in different textures and sizes to pile on when the weather cools, or peel off as the temperature increases. Tank tops and dress shirts can be worn over or under clothing.
The '80s are back with its stripes, mesh accents, Puma shoes and turtlenecks. Short skirts, heavy fabrics and fall colors suit those with a tendency toward punk-style. Deep warm tones such as plum, cranberry, moss and olive greens and oatmeal are being selected ahead of whites.
Fabric adds to the fashion statement: tweeds, corduroy, satin and velvet in tops and bottoms, outerwear and accessories. They can all be mixed.
Mixing up the closet's leftovers is a good look this year because it's all about you.