For the typical teen, image is just about everything. But what if you've been too busy vacationing or having other summer fun to keep up with what promises to be hot this fall? You've more than cut it close now that school has started.
Not to worry -- we have the answers for you. Here are five must-have items for every teen boy and girl this fall.
A word of warning, though. Because we know you guys go to far more places than just school, you'll want to check your school's dress code before wearing some of these items to class.
And don't say we didn't warn you.
1. Babydoll tops
These tops feature a tight bustline and loosely drape to the hips.
Some have ruffles or lace at the bottom, and spaghetti straps or cap sleeves are just two styles.
Norma Lopez, a team leader in clothing and accessories at a Target store, says a variety of prints, including stars, flowers and polka dots, are popular.
Babydoll tops flatter most figures and are good for hiding larger waists and backsides, says Shea Melanson, co-owner of a boutique.
Pair with: Tight jeans, capris, midthigh denim shorts.
Substitutions: A tunic, which has a snugger fit.
2. Tank tops
Several tank tops for layering are a necessity, says Meghan Bryan, who works in the marketing department of the Los Angeles-based corporate offices of Forever 21. Melanson recommends pairing two tops with different necklines or those of opposite colors.
Jon Graney, assistant manager at an Abercrombie & Fitch store, says navy blue, gray and white are the preferred choices there.
Pair with: Jeans, capris, shorts.
Substitutions: A tank top with spaghetti straps can be worn under a regular tank.
3. Classic boot-cut jeans
These jeans flare at the bottom and are cut proportionally, which makes them flattering to virtually any figure, Melanson says. The darker wash is in style.
"Denim continues to be hot, but it's going back to a cleaner look," she says. "The tattered thing is just not happening anymore."
Pair with: Just about anything, including jackets, T-shirts, tank tops, dressy tops, flip-flops, tennis shoes.
Substitutions: Low-rise boot-cut jeans.
4. Ballet flats
These shoes, typically leather or canvas, have a flexible sole. Some have a bow near the toe.
Lopez says polka dots, stars and camouflage prints are popular. Melanson adds that these shoes are least flattering to shorter people.
Pair with: A long skirt, capris.
Substitutions: Any type of flat shoe.
5. Necklaces in varying lengths
Fashion jewelry is a must-have, Melanson says. Gold necklaces in various lengths with dangling charms such as lockets, crosses and hearts are popular.
Pair with: Crew, scoop, v-neck or tank tops. Print tops "look too bohemian" and detract from the jewelry, Melanson says.
Substitutions: Silver necklaces in varying lengths with dangling charms.
And more ...
Other hot items: Jean skirt, graphic T-shirt, button-up nylon vest, leggings, hoodie, headband, Castro-style hat and flip-flops.
1. Graphic T-shirt
These are a staple of any teen boy's wardrobe, says David Hacker, vice president of trend and color with Kohl's department stores.
Screen prints, catchy phrases and embroidery embellishments are some of the popular styles for these cotton shirts.
Melanson says teen boys prefer neutral colors such as black, beige, white and brown.
Pair with: Jeans, cargo shorts.
Substitutions: Plain T-shirt.
Hooded sweat shirts typically are made of cotton and zip up the front. They often have a kangaroo pocket. Vintage-looking hoodies with logos or prints across the chest or lower back are most popular, Melanson says.
Pair with: T-shirt, jeans.
Substitutions: A plain hoodie with no logo or print.
3. Classic boot-cut jeans
Jeans never go out of style. Boot-cut jeans flare at the bottom and are cut proportionally. Darker denim is in, Hacker says. At Abercrombie & Fitch, jeans with holes, bleached spots and frayed edges are still the norm, says Jon Graney, the store's assistant manager.
Pair with: T-shirt, jacket, tank top, tennis shoes, flip-flops.
Substitutions: Loose-fitting or relaxed-cut jeans.
4. Converse All Stars
These canvas, lace-up shoes with a flat, rubber sole were first introduced by Converse in 1917. They were available only in black and white until 1966. They now come in an array of colors, including red, brown and purple. They are available in low- and high-top styles.
Pair with: Jeans, graphic T-shirt, Castro-style hat.
Substitutions: Skechers casual shoes.
5. Castro-style hat
These military-style caps with short, curved bills and flat tops are hot now, and the tattered, vintage look is in.
Pair with: Graphic T-shirt, jeans, shorts.
Substitutions: Standard baseball cap.
And more ...
Other items: Cargo or plaid shorts, baseball cap, messenger bag, leather belt with interchangeable buckles, flip flops and button-up nylon vest.