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Publish Date: July 25, 2017

Five Back-to-School Fashion Trends

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One of the hottest summers on record is drawing to a close, and while there are still plenty of warm-weather activities to fuel our fun, it’s also time to start thinking about back-to-school and fall fashions. Top fashion designers are pulling inspiration from a wide range of decades this fall, including the grungy 90s and psychedelic 70s. Here are five of the hottest back-to-school trends that, with a little bit of vision and creativity, can be easily emulated with second-hand clothing found at your local Goodwill store.


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Lace dresses, tops and even bottoms were a hot item this spring, and will continue to be popular going into fall. Try checking the dress section of your local Goodwill for this trend, as lace has been a popular fabric throughout the decades. Special occasion dresses can often be belted or shortened to appeal for modern day, and many of these secondhand pieces are donated in excellent condition.

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After several years of bright, bold colors for fall, fashion designers have retreated back to the basics. Several head-to-toe black collections were shown at fashion week for fall, including that of Proenza Schouler, Givenchy and Alexander Wang. Try mixing basics like black jeans and tee-shirts with statement pieces like a leather jacket. Check the coats and jackets section of Goodwill for black leather trenches or bomber jackets. Oversized blazers are also a great option for this trend, and you could even add some studs to the lapels or shoulders to take it to the next level.

Web Graphic Prints

Graphics are back in a big way for fall, following the lead from top design group Kenzo. Since graphic tees and sweaters have been in and out of fashion frequently in the past fifteen years, scoring one from your local Goodwill shouldn’t be too tough a feat. Retailers are selling these hot commodities at a premium with an intrinsic worn-in feel, but Goodwill shoppers know they can get the actual thing for much, much less. Don’t forget: a pair of scissors can take that oversized t-shirt from dull to fabulous when you cut in some fringe, alter the sleeves or open up the neckline.

Web Oversized Coats

Everyone needs a good coat for fall, and this year the bigger the better. Knee and ankle length coats were seen on the runways, and the boxier the better. Trench coats and cloaks are a great option for fall, but a standard peacoat in an oversized cut will also do the trick. Coats are one of the best items to find at Goodwill because they charge just a fraction of the price that a new coat would cost. The hotter the weather when you shop for your new fall/winter coat, the better the selection as well. Don’t wait until it cools off, or all the good styles will undoubtedly be snatched up.

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It seems the designers are always exaggerating something, and this season it’s the hip. Whether achieved with ruffles or boning, the peplum shape was hot on the runways for fall. A classic vintage style, the peplum skirt has most recently been popularized by Kate Middleton, whose sophisticated style always nods at fashion’s past. Peplums enjoyed a short revival in the late 80s and early 90s, so it’s not uncommon for mature women to have recently donated these looks in favor of something a bit more contemporary. The dress section would be a good place to start, but this coveted silhouette can also be recreated with a pencil skirt and a long, loose blouse by cinching the waist of the blouse with a belt.

Lastly, remember that shopping for secondhand clothing at Goodwill helps you go back to school while giving back to the environment. Through its entrepreneurial business model of collecting and selling donated goods in its stores. Goodwill helps communities extend the life of usable items in environmentally sound ways, and prevents items from piling up in local landfills.


Blog by: Stacey Kay a freelance fashion writer residing in Binghamton, New York. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising from Kent State University, and has studied fashion throughout Europe and Asia: specializing in fashion retailing through an exchange program with Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She has produced her own personal style blog,, as well as The Goodwill Huntingg Thrifting Guide, a seasonal fashion magazine for women interested in learning how to thrift the latest trends.


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