It's that time of year again/when we give thanks to all those men (and women)/who take the kids back into the class(es)/to get them off their lazy a**(es)//No more six hour video games/No more sleeping 'til noon days/Just lots of books and pens/and if they're the cool kids that all depends...
It's back to school time!
The summer after I graduated from sixth grade, Clueless was still all the rage. One of my childhood friends was going to be starting my middle school as a sixth grader than upcoming September, and I wrote for her, what I deemed then to be the Ultimate Middle School Survival Guide. It was the type of document that held more clip art photos of lipstick and beepers and big earrings than actual words to depict was "cool" or "in" at the time and in that place. I wrote it half in sarcasm, hoping she would find the irony in the so-called appeal of applying dark brown lip liner with nearly white, shiny lip gloss just to go with the masses in our Brooklyn neighborhood. After all, I wasn't nearly practicing what I preached, as I much preferred to walk around with a pen hanging around my neck like the team on Ghostwriter!
These days, however, a lot of young girls don't have an older sister or friend to tell them what they need to stock themselves with in order to avoid the Mean Girl style bullying. Many look to stars who are really just fellow children themselves-- children who may be making fashion or lifestyle mistakes but doing so in the public eye and with an army of followers who may ultimately make the same mistake, too. Are these so-called mistakes ones that will bring on regrets? Or merely ones that will provide for some really amusing "nostalgic" photos down the line? Let's look at a few of these "Must Haves" for Back To School and see if we can make a (pre)judgment about that, shall we??
When I was in middle school, Jansport backpacks were all the rage. We opted for the size small ones-- usually in black or a dark blue-- and worn tight and flat against our backs (keeping not more than a notebook and a portable CD player inside so they wouldn't puff up too much). Now, though, it appears novelty backpacks will have your kids showing up to school in style. Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers are of course the frontrunners when it comes to favorite faces to have plastered in plastic across your back (at least according to what I saw at Century 21 this summer)!
There were years when friendship bracelets (or "Buddy Bands," per Saved by the Bell) were all we wore around our wrists, too. Sometimes they were the plastic, lanyard kind in stitches that we learned during the summer away at camp (snake was the easiest but box was the most popular!), and sometimes they were the split-in-half-heart kind purchased in a special sale at Claire's. The celebrity-endorsed Myzos (Alison Sweeney and Brittany Curran have designed them; Ashley Tisdale, Tori Spelling, and Boo Boo Stewart have been seen sporting them) appear to have revamped the trend, though, featuring intricately woven rope bracelets with a charm of your choice. You can buy the same one for you and your best friend and wear them in synergy on the first day back...or, if pop culture is as much your best friend as it was mine, you can just wear one to show off your favorite Disney or High School Musical character's face.
For the slightly older crowd, though, concert tees are still a good choice (though it helps if you actually attended the concert and didn't just pick up a faded recreation of a vintage classic rock show!). And just like the red lumberjack plaid of my awkward teen years in the nineties (we wore ours with Timberlands), the checkered pattern is back. This time around, bright colors and blues and purples are special hits. However, worn with skinny jeans, this look, though unisex, is not going to prove to be timeless. You may get one semester out of this look at best, so spend wisely!
Finally, for anyone entering a particularly pivotal year in their school (senior year of high school, freshmen year of college, etc), digital photography has stepped itself up to supply you with the most technologically enhanced optioning for creating lasting memories to post on your Facebook pages. Samsung has a remarkable 12 mega pixel point and shoot camera with HD video capacity, a 5x optical zoom, rear and front LCD screens (for when you're taking one of those arm-out self-portraits), and still fits in your pocket. It also comes in multiple colors for a touch of personalization.
And for music lovers of all ages-- whether you have a long bus ride to class or even a long drive to work-- Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3" drops on September 11th, eight years after the first time in the (now trilogy) became an "instant classic," despite the tumultuous and untimely events of that day.
The weather may still be sweltering, making students dread the idea of sitting in sticky classrooms for hours on end, but suddenly the 2009 school year just got a whole lot cooler!