Making a comeback: Retro back-to-school clothes

Jul 31, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. ET

If the clothing racks for teens and tweens seem like a blast from the past, it's not just your imagination. The fashions you love from the 80s and 90s are making a comeback — just in time for back to school!

Throwback looks for a new generation
Retro school clothes

Retro fashions have made their way into stores once again. These styles are a must-have for any kid’s back-to-school shopping list!

Bright colors, bold prints

Retro clothes for girls

Muted shades are a thing of the past. This year it’s all about vivid, eye-catching colors — think neons, bright reds and festive jewel tones. Bold prints like stripes, polka dots and large floral designs are making a comeback as well, and these wardrobe staples from Crazy 8 (above) are no exception.

Goodbye boring blue jeans

Retro jeans for girls

Expect to see denim in a variety of prints and colors this year. Ordinary blue jeans are replaced by denim in bright hues and exciting patterns like leopard, hearts and polka dots. Justice offers an array of prints and colors for tweens and teens to choose from (above).

Graphic tees

Retro graphic tees for girls

For a more laid back and casual look, shop for graphic tees. The Children’s Place offers a great selection of graphic tees in retro themes — including throwback comics like Wonder Woman and Spider-Man.

Retro fashions — not just for girls!

Retroclothes for boys

These back-to-school retro styles aren't just for girls. Everything from graphic tees to high-top sneakers are back in style for boys as well. Guys can add some extra retro flair by styling up an outfit with a patterned neck tie and a fedora hat.

All about the accessories

The right accessories can take any ordinary outfit and give it a retro vibe. If your back-to-school budget doesn't leave much room for extra accessories, check out these great DIY ideas to make your own!

Easy sequin headbands

Easy sequin headbands

What you'll need:

  • sequin elastic trim
  • scissors
  • hot glue
  • 3-inch lace trim

What you'll do:

  1. Wrap the sequin elastic around your head to determine what size it should be. Cut the trim so that it is 1 inch smaller than your head so that it stretches a little when you wear it.
  2. Heat up the hot glue gun, then overlap the ends of the sequin trim and glue them together with a small dab of hot glue.
  3. You can wear the sequin headband plain, or add a retro lace bow. To make the lace bow, cut a piece of the lace trim that is 12 inches long.
  4. Fold the lace over so that the two ends of the lace meet in the middle.
  5. Cut a separate piece of lace that is 2 inches long. Gather the center of the bow and wrap the 2-inch piece of lace around it.
  6. Secure the lace in the back with a dab of hot glue, then glue the bow to the sequin headband.

Stretchy neon bracelets

Stretchy neon bracelets

What you'll need:

  • stretchy neon cord
  • pony beads
  • scissors

What you'll do:

  1. Wrap the neon cord around your wrist three times, give yourself an extra inch for tying, then cut off the rest of the cord.
  2. String pony beads onto the neon cord, then tie the ends of the cord together in a knot.
  3. Wrap the bracelet around your wrist three times for a cool retro look! Don't be afraid to layer with multiple colors.
Image credit: Amy Vowles

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