WORCESTER — Back to school isn’t just about reading the books and checking TikToks trends on social media.
The latest trends are also top of mind for many high school students, which means wearing the right styles for comfort and self-esteem.
Based on random sampling, it looks like sneakers and retro clothes are trending. And that goes hand in hand with a keen eye for spotting cool clothes at the local thrift store.
“Savings are all the rage,” said Jean Gomez, a senior at Doherty Memorial High School.
Morgan Granger was styling as she left school recently after the closing bell. Granger, a 15-year-old sophomore at Doherty Memorial, wore a new pair of retro Air Jordan 1 high-top sneakers, ripped jeans and a zip-up sweatshirt that fell off her left shoulder.
“They’re very popular,” Granger said of her Jordan sneakers. “Everyone matches their outfit to it.”
1990s fashion is all the rage, Gomez said. That includes the high-waisted jeans, which 17-year-old Gomez wore. He also pointed to his Converse Chuck Taylor canvas high-top sneakers, a popular look from the 1970s.
“They’re shiny, which means more quality,” Gomez said of his Chucks. “They are vintage in design.”
Graphic t-shirts are also all the rage, and Gomez wore one that had a motorcycle graphic with the words “Destiny. Look fresh. Dynamic.”
That’s the term Vanessa Ansong, a Doherty Memorial senior, used to describe a fashion she credits. The aesthetic dress features baggy jeans, a “cute” crop top – half-shirts that show a lot of midsection – and a chunky belt.
Just before taking a walk with her mom after school ended for the day, Ansong stopped to model her outfit that day: a pair of crisp Tommy Hilfiger sneakers. Plus, an oversized, stylish sweater in a black and white pattern, along with a pair of black pants.
“I don’t have a particular style. I like to mix things up,” Ansong said.
Just about any store in the nearest mall that caters to high school shoppers will have the latest craze on full display.
At the H&M store in the Solomon Pond Mall in Marlborough, oversized hoodies, t-shirts and jumpers are on display. Blazers over crop tops are another popular look.
While trying on a smart blazer at H&M, Westborough High School student Miguel DaSilva said the sweatpants and oversized hoodies are rocking him this fall.
“Skater” is another look popular with younger people, said Brian Diaz, a 20-year-old Worcester resident who bought several colorful t-shirts at H&M.
“Urban style,” with Lil Wayne’s packaging fashion sense mixed in, is how Diaz described the kind of skater who showcases oversized t-shirts and shorts. In addition, Vans are part of the dress, popular skate shoes.
In fact, Diaz looked like he stepped straight out of a skateboard catalog, dressed in Vans, a Nike sweatshirt, ripped jeans and a tight-fitting black beanie on his head.
One pairing that many high schoolers demand is a crop top with high-waisted, straight-cut denim pants, said John Donahue, assistant store manager at the Solomon Pond Mall’s Old Navy store.
“Athleisure” — casual athletic attire with an emphasis on comfort — is also popular in the high school scene, Donahue said.
At 39, it’s been a while since Donahue was in high school, but he knows fashion and said he sees certain 1980s trends — especially crop tops — resonating with the high school crowd. today.
Cropped shorts with pulled-up socks are another popular retro look — for both boys and girls — Donahue said.
Decked out in her Air Jordan 1 sneakers, Granger summed up what might be this season’s biggest fashion item in the high school world.
“Nice shoes are in. People like to have nice shoes,” Granger said.
Contact Henry Schwan at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @henrytelegram