90’s era clothes, accessories and ‘transitional eclectic’ are THE thing for fall school fashion


By George White, Public Relations & Communications – Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region

Look out America! Just when you thought your kids’ closet was ready for that first day of school, there’s more to be done. The 90s are back, along with selected greats from the 50s, 60s and 70s, as “transitional eclectic” style and accessorizing dominate the fall school world. But please, don’t drive your middle- or high-schooler to that first day wearing your own 90s stuff.

Fresh from high school in their very early 20’s are Andrea Davidson and Whitney Adams, South Hill (Tacoma) Goodwill fashion merchandisers with a keen eye and passion for young women/men’s school attire. Davidson is all about the clothes, fashion and brand, while Adams specializes in bags, shoes and accessories – our dynamic duo. Lucky for Goodwill, the South Hill store is sandwiched between two high schools creating the largest parent and student high- and middle-school shopping crowd in southwest Washington. So thanks to Davidson and Adams, please enjoy our first annual “Back-to-school fashion forecast” – from the trenches:

“Literally style from every era from the past is being modernized. Styles from different decades are becoming really popular because, for whatever reason, kids now days are thinking they were born in the wrong era. They want clothes from the 50s, 60s and 70s. That said, just hope the early 2000s don’t come back again,” said Adams.

Back to school in style: (Clockwise from bottom left) Raven Ruggero, Isaac Arnal, Whitney Adams, Isaiah Johnson, Angelina Gallardo, Andrea Davidson, Madison Laverty and Connor Laverty. Photo by Samantha Oritz.


A lot to cover, but bell bottoms, ringer shirts, motorcycle and leather jackets, and hippie trends for young girls (lots of fringe) are the headliners.

“Peter Pan collared dresses, lace dresses layered with tights for the fall and winter months,” said Davidson. “Fall fashion is toughest in September, the awful month, because it is super cold in the morning then hot in the afternoon. You just cannot dress comfortably for the weather, but at least with such a broad range of what is hot in fashion and style, you have many more options. Don’t be afraid to branch out but always be comfortable – mentally and physically – in what you are wearing.”

Thrifting is the answer, but you have to work for it. With the depth and breadth of school fashion this fall, the average wallet cannot cover even the basic bases. Enter the student and parent crowd at South Hill Goodwill. But these visitors fill their closets thanks to a specific mindset.

“A lot of what discourages students in thrift stores is coming in and not seeing what they want right away. Unlike a regular store, 15 styles in all sizes and a display mannequin do not greet you at the door,” said Adams. “You have to be in the mindset to find those gems. Know the styles, the trends, and your favorite brands then enjoy the thrill of the hunt. You have to dig into the rack to find what you want.”

“Talk to staff at your favorite thrift store to find out the insider tips, but as far as Goodwill, mid-mornings and mid-afternoons are best after some major restocking for the day has occurred. That said however, all the time unique stuff is coming out from the back so you can’t lose, particularly if you count on several shorter visits over several days verses a long one,” said Davidson. “Best days are Tuesdays to grab the best of the 99-cent deals, which run Tuesday through Thursday. The new stuff coming out Thursdays is the best bet because you have three or four days of new stuff hitting the floors ahead of the weekend. New stuff is coming out every day but generally the weekdays, with less crowds, beat the weekend. Prime time on any day is mid-morning after staff has had several hours to restock. And check the “go-backs” rack over by the dressing rooms – lots of good stuff that just didn’t fit someone but might be perfect for you. And finally, “Fan Friday” is on our Facebook page with a great coupon, and Sundays are student discount days (10 percent) if you are coming on weekends.”

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