Marissa Ruschil is debating between a pair of dark cherry red patent leather flats and Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes. Both options fit the closed-toe shoe dress code set by St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, CT, where she’ll begin her freshman year in a few short weeks.
Marissa, 14, walks around Squires Family Clothing & Footwear in Katonah staring at her feet while her mother, Christina, watches. The Sperry shoe on her left foot, which has become a classic for teens embracing traditional preppy styles over the last year, looks to be the winner.
“The pink one might be it,” says mom, throwing another Sperry option into the mix. Chloe, a Bearded Collie and the unofficial mascot of Squires, cuddles up next to the girl. Back-to-school shopping is about to hit full swing and while styles will seem familiar, fall’s moody hues and textures offer shoppers something new.
“What you see is [a small fraction] of what we have,” says Lloyd Kushner, owner of Squires’ Katonah and Chappaqua locations. It’s a fact hard to believe as you navigate the maze of pastel-colored Vineyard Vines shirts, fleeces by The North Face, and mounds of UGG, Merrell and Hunter shoe boxes. But a tour of the storeroom with product jammed 15 feet high proves you should always ask for your size if it’s not on the floor.
Parents flock to Squires at the start of the school year when its sidewalk sale is still in bloom and the window sign “UGGs In Stock!” delivers on its promise. “Parents don’t want to run around from place to place,” says Kushner, who expects the Classic Short Sparkle UGGs in black and silver to be a big seller. To satisfy all needs, he carries wardrobe staples like khakis and the coveted Volcom graphic hooded sweatshirts.
In response to the wildly successful neon colored denim craze of spring, Don Healy, who owns Out of the Blue Clothing in Mount Kisco, is stocking J Brand’s skinny jean in aubergine and black cherry for fall. “Most people are wearing skinny cut jeans because boots are still big,” says Healy, whose store serves 15-22-year-olds and their moms. Sugarlips tank tops priced just under $12 are one of Healy’s customer staples.
If not much has changed in bottoms other than color, tops have crept their way up past the waist in cropped ponchos and hooded shirts. Southwestern-inspired patterns adorn Vintage Havana tops at Out of the Blue Clothing, where teens can experiment with the new wider and shorter volume. Healy recommends keeping the look simple and not layering.
Nordic accents pop up in sweaters by Alicia Adams Alpaca at Bubble & Tweet in Bedford Village. Most of the store’s fall selections haven’t made it to the floor yet, but Mimi Freund, a Pound Ridge resident and frequent Bubble & Tweet shopper, already began stocking up on back-to-school looks for her twin girls, who will turn 4 in October. “Kids clothes get trashed,” Freund admitted, but doesn’t let that fact guide what she buys. “They wear smocks.”
“A little dress with a legging is comfortable for kids—it’s cute and they can play in it at school,” Stephanie Schneider, who helps her sister-in-law Julie Zegras run Bubble & Tweet, says of the store’s go-to style. A tiered skirt by Pink Chicken in a paisley green print accented with gold flecks along the hem pairs easily with a matching top or more basic cotton shirt by LAmade. Rich jewel tones have replaced summer’s brighter yellows and nautical blues. As always, Bubble & Tweet has Joules fleeces for girls and boys in stock.