Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Back-to-School Shoppers Are Browsing More before They Buy; Style Matters

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Back-to-School Shoppers Are Browsing More before They Buy; Style Matters

Article excerpt

Back-to-school shoppers are being more practical this year, tempered by sobering economic factors. But it hasn't dampened the enthusiasm for new beginnings and an opportunity to shine on the first day of school.

"It's an important start, because what you wear on the first day of school says a lot about you," said Noah Harrison, 15, of Fairview Heights, who attends Belleville East High School, which has a dress code of approved, subdued colors: maroon, blacks, grays, blues and the dreaded khaki.

"I don't believe in pants that are khaki," Noah explained as he stood wearing fluorescent pink skinny jeans, a black and neon graphic tee and slim-fit navy cardigan.

He said that even with a dress code, there are ways to stand out - and most importantly, ways to not look like a rookie freshman.

The cotton cardigan he was wearing was the only thing he'd be able to repurpose for school, but there were ways to still be an individual, he said. Even in the dead of winter, Noah wears khaki shorts, not pants.

"It's a good conversation-starter," he said.

When we spoke to him at the St. Louis Galleria in July, Noah said he was browsing, not shopping. He was waiting until the back-to- school sales started in earnest this month.

Noah is part of a back-to-school shopping trend - mall surfing. That means patiently heading out to stores more often to coast through racks, waiting for the perfect sale items.

Karen Wilkerson of New Baden was doing the same as she shopped for her daughter Delaney, 9, and son Austin, 16.

"Paycheck-wise, it makes sense to take your time and buy a little bit this paycheck and a little bit next paycheck," Wilkerson said.

Her daughter, who is heading into fourth grade, said that what she wears the first day of school is important. You only get one shot to make a first impression, and surprisingly, Delaney said that she was more interested in impressing her teachers.

According to the National Retail Federation's 2012 Back-to- School spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average person with children in grades kindergarten through 12 will spend $688. …

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