washingtonpost.com
Back to School: Fashion

Laurel Pinson
Online Editor, Lucky Magazine
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 10:00 AM

As the end of the summer approaches, one thing to look forward to is back-to-school shopping. Laurel Pinson, online editor at Lucky Magazine, took questions about back-to-school fashion on Wednesday, August 13 at 10 a.m. ET.

The transcript follows.

Back-to-school week is here with a series of live discussions to get you ready for the new school year. Check out our schedule for more details.

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Laurel Pinson: Welcome! Fall's really the golden season for fashion and there's so many trends we're really excited about at Lucky right now. I'm here to tackle any questions you might have about back-to-school options, and I'd also love to hear what you can't wait to start wearing!

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Reston, Va.: Last year, my sister (who is two years younger than me) began her first semester of college at the University of Maryland. For her "going away" gift, I got her a Vera Bradley bag since all the girls seemed to have them around that time. She loved it.

This year, I'm stuck. I have no idea what the "it" accessory is for girls. She's asked for shoes -- grey Chucks or a pair of Nike Dunks for her hip-hop dance class.

Any suggestions?

Laurel Pinson: We're huge accessories fans here at Lucky - especially for fall, it's a great place to get a lot of look without having to spend too much. Right now, I'm loving messenger-style bags (they're chic but also incredibly functional). If your sister is into shoes, I'd check out ankle boots and lace-up boots - they were big on the runways for fall. Also, take a look at our accessories under $100 guide on luckymag.com - there are some fantastic options on there, all completely affordable.

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washingtonpost.com: Lucky: Fall Accessories Under $100

Laurel Pinson: Click here to see Lucky's picks!

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Anonymous: Are leggings still in style? I've heard mixed opinions.

Laurel Pinson: I agree there are mixed opinions about the whole leggings trend. I think the key here is layering: long leggings worn under layered pieces like long cardigans or jackets with ankle boots could still look completely chic. But I'd say wearing leggings with only a T-shirt is a look that should probably be reserved for lounging at home or working out ...

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Laurel Pinson: Fall's really all about layering: It's easy to take pieces that you already own (like a simple black dress, or dark denim and white tank) and add cardigans, scarves, and belts to create a whole new look.

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Virginia: I really don't have a huge back-to-school budget, but there are a few pieces I really need(jeans, cardigan, etc.). Do you have any suggestions as to where I should look?

Laurel Pinson: Actually, a lot of more affordable stores usually do incredible collaborations with well-known designers for fall (I like H&M and Target especially). Also, Old Navy's fall collection looks really great - especially their accessories!

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Reston, Va.: Can I still get away with wide leg trouser jeans this fall? I found a great pair at an outlet this summer. Any ideas how to wear them?

Laurel Pinson: Wide-leg trousers (and a lot of other retro, menswear-esque styles) are really big right now, and the key here is balancing proportions: If you're going to wear a more swingy shape on the bottom, make sure to wear something super-fitted at the top. I'd try a slim tank and a trim jacket or cardigan. Also, wear the trouser jeans with a high heel for a really slimming effect.

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La Jolla, Calif.: Are skinny jeans with a darker wash still the popular style of the season?

Laurel Pinson: Skinny jeans remain an incredibly popular style right now, especially in the super-dark washes. If you're interested in trying something different, though, try a jean with a more flared hem, or the traditional boot-cut is always incredibly flattering. I think the dark washes are still the best investment, since you can wear them during the day and also out at night.

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Washington, D.C.: Any tips for finding deals on eBay? I've used it in the past and have been disappointed with the quality of the items vs. the description the seller gives. I know it takes a lot of scouring to find something good, but if you have any helpful suggestions, I'd appreciate it.

Laurel Pinson: Actually, one of our editors here at Lucky is so obsessed with eBay that she started a blog about it! She really does a fantastic job of scouring the site and finding really brilliant, on-trend options. Check it out on luckymag.com!

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washingtonpost.com: Lucky's eBay blog

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Pittsburgh: I have a question about boots -- I have a couple of pairs of great boots that come all the way to just below my knee. Both pairs have high heels (one chunky, one more stiletto). Does the popularity of those hideous gladiator booties mean that my classic looking boots are now out of fashion?

Laurel Pinson: Classic-looking boots are never out of fashion! If you're looking for something new to add to your high-heel collection (that isn't too trendy), I'd say invest in a flat, riding-inspired boot: I have a black pair that I literally wear all fall, either tucked into jeans or with a fall dress.

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Rockville, Md.: What is the best skirt length for this fall? I saw a lot of maxi-dresses this summer, but I don't think those work for really petite girls -- we look ridiculous in them! Can I still get away with mini skirts/knee length skirts/pencil skirts?

Laurel Pinson: Sweeping maxi dresses are still really popular right now, but the most flattering skirt remains a simple pencil shape that hits right at the knee, especially worn with a great pair of heels. The slim pencil is actually very in style for fall, so you can't go wrong investing in one right now ...

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Washington, D.C.: I love scarves, but I'm never sure how to wear them! I want to try them for work, but I worry about looking either too young or too old (I'm 28, if that helps). Are there any guides or websites out there that you would suggest with suggestions on how to incorporate them?

Laurel Pinson: I love scarves, too, and they're a really clever piece to use in transitional weather--perfect for early fall. There's actually an amazing round-up of some great options in the September issue of Lucky. Bright patterns--either florals or tribal-inspired prints--really keep this look youthful and fresh, not at all old-fashioned. We have a great how-to section on luckymag.com that includes styling tips on fall trends, and I'd say a really eye-catching scarf draped casually around your neck translates into instant glamour.

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washingtonpost.com: Lucky's How-to Section

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San Francisco, Calif.: Hi Laurel! I love your magazine. I'm starting my junior year of high school this fall and feel like I've grown out of wearing a back-pack to class. It looks so dorky! Can you suggest a different type of bag that would fit all of books and still look stylish?

Laurel Pinson: Hi there! I'm completely obsessed with messenger-style bags for fall, and you can find a lot that are roomy enough to fit all your back-to-school essentials. With its cross-strap style, it's more comfy than a traditional shoulder bag, and a lot of the new ones this season have a great cargo-style look with tons of pockets and zippers for pens, calculators, and more.

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New York, N.Y.: I am completely inept when it comes to belts! I love the different looks on other people, but never seem to know where to start buying and wearing them myself. Please help!

Laurel Pinson: We really do obsess over belts at Lucky, and right now we're loving a skinny style in black or brown, though a vivid color like red can actually prove surprisingly versatile. These are usually most flattering cinched at your natural waist--they provide a really trim look paired with dresses and cardigans.

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Baltimore, Md.: What are the hottest trends for fall? Anything that you would say is a can't miss as far as updating a wardrobe? I don't have tons of money to spend but would like to look relatively in style.

Laurel Pinson: There are so many great trends for fall, it's hard to know where to start! In the September issue of Lucky, we highlight some really great new designers to watch, as well as romantic pieces (lace-up boots and floral dresses), great flats, Bohemian-looking dresses, classic American preppy looks, and more. I'm planning to invest in a great pair of ankle or mid-calf boots (probably flat or low-heel since I walk everywhere!), as well as a military-inspired jacket.

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Fairfax, Va.: I really like the ankle boots I've seen lately, but they seem impractical for running around campus. I've seen girls with high heels on for class and I think they look sort of silly. Are there any flattering alternatives that are still stylish?

Laurel Pinson: Living in New York, I really do have to walk everywhere, so high heels aren't always practical. A really great flat riding-inspired boot never goes out of style (and looks chic tucked into jeans or with a longer skirt), or if you're feeling more daring, a lot of boots for fall have a hidden platform to take some of the height out of the heel. They're surprisingly comfortable, but still have the dramatic look of high-heeled boots.

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Alexandria, Va.: What are the big colors for fall? I've been seeing a lot of purple -- like Banana Republic has a cool looking purple trench coat. Anything else? And are any colors seriously out? Thanks!

Laurel Pinson: Purple, dark blue, and dark green are incredibly popular this season, as are vivid prints--from floral to more graphic patterns. Plaid is also a big trend--there are a lot of great jackets in plaids ranging from blue to red if you're looking for an eye-catching coat.

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Laurel Pinson: Thanks so much for all the fantastic questions! If you're looking for more great new looks or styling tips for what's already in your closet, pick up the September issue of Lucky or head to luckymag.com for great blogs and shopping guides, all shoppable online!

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washingtonpost.com: Thanks for chatting with us. Be sure to join us tomorrow at 1 p.m. for a discussion with author Helen Johnson about how to loosen your grip on your kids as they leave for school.

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