Are you thinking about back to school yet?
Does it seem like time is passing by way too quickly? Wasn't it just yesterday that we saw the summer vacation commercials? The airwaves are now flooded with ads for the September rite of passage -- going back to school. It is an annual event, and by now, both parents and students are thinking about what new clothing they need to buy for another school year.
While clothing fads come and go, good-fitting shoes can mean a healthier foot and better performance in school. Kids seem to outgrow shoes faster than just about any other clothing item. Even if they stay the same size, the shape of the foot may change or there is too much wear and tear to get another season's use from them.
NewsUSA says the American Podiatric Medical Association urges parents to have both feet measured when shoe shopping. Few people have identical feet, and shoes should be purchased for the larger foot.
Feet swell in warmer temperatures. Children should be fitted in the afternoon to accommodate slight variations in foot size, wearing the same type of socks or tights that will be worn in school. The shoes should immediately feel comfortable. They should never be bought with the idea of "breaking them in."
Shoe construction is important for a good fit. Toes should be flexible enough to bend and heels should be stiff enough to avoid collapse when pressed. Shoes should be rigid in the middle, with no twisting.
Finally, never pass shoes down between children. The fit may be different, and foot illnesses like athlete's foot and nail fungus may be spread.
Many children attend either parochial schools or private schools with uniforms or restricted dress codes. However, a growing number of public schools have also instituted dress codes.
According to CNN.com, the percentage of public schools requiring uniforms has increased. As of 2005, at least 47 percent of public schools enforce dress codes.
What will those attending public schools wear this season? Denim is a favorite material for both boys and girls. Adolescent girls will wear straight-legged jeans this season, or matching denim skirts with leggings -- in a variety of colors -- for a layered look. Jeans will also cost more and cover less since junior sizes tend to have a lower rise in the middle.
Dark blue denim is passé, and the washed out look is hot. Jeans are popular because they are easily accessorized with wide belts over shirts, tops with bulky jewelry and headbands.
Elementary-aged girls seek comfort by wearing ballet slippers and Croc sandals. Stripes and polka dots complement their tapered jeans.
Teen boys have several choices for school. White T-shirts, collared shirts, tennis shoes, cargo pants/shorts, loose jeans and chain necklaces will be the main clothing attire. Fashion trends for younger boys in grade school are the same, minus the jewelry.
Living near the water impacts the fashions that kids wear in this region. Ocean City resident Barbara Jernee claims that her two children, Jackie, 11, and Steven, 7, only want to buy clothing that may be worn for both school and play.
"My children want to wear comfortable, colorful styles sold in local surf shops that can be worn for both," she says. "The days of different play clothes for after school are over. The materials of brands like Roxy are soft, and the big colors are brown, turquoise and blue. Another popular look for boys is professional sports shirts over jeans or loose shorts with lots of pockets."
Parents, get those credit cards ready because the buying time is now. School bells will be ringing in a few weeks, and your kids will want to look sharp on those first few days.