FARGO — It's that time of year again. Soon the hallways will be filled with the sounds of tweens, teens and kiddos greeting their friends while the smell of coffee wafts through the hallways from the steaming mugs of teachers readying themselves for another school year.

Boys and girls sport their latest hauls from area stores — traditional denim alongside fun prints and patterns, all in cozy fall-inspired colors — keeps those kids looking stylish all the way through the last bell.

Style and fashion is something Heidi Moore knows well. As the social media coordinator for Fargo's West Acres Shopping Center, she keeps the community informed about deals and steals at the more than 100 stores at the 950,000-square-foot mall.

With school almost here again, Moore rounded up outfits for every age to highlight some trends that West Acres stores have been seeing for the new year.

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Little misses

Moore says back-to-school fashion for little girls is all about patterns and sparkle.

"Lots of animal print, tons of stripes, plaid, all the classics," she says. "We love basic tees that you can make a capsule wardrobe out of."

Details like sequins adorn backpacks (like this one from Justice), shoes, pants and even water bottles to give young ladies another reason to sparkle their way through the day, while bright colors and fun prints complete the look. Brent Kiehl / The Forum
Details like sequins adorn backpacks (like this one from Justice), shoes, pants and even water bottles to give young ladies another reason to sparkle their way through the day, while bright colors and fun prints complete the look. Brent Kiehl / The Forum

Details like sequins adorn backpacks, shoes, pants and even water bottles to give young ladies another reason to sparkle their way through the day, while bright colors and fun prints complete the look.

"We are loving cropped jackets this season for both little girls and older girls," Moore says. "There's tons of different colors, denim, black, pink, patterned — lots of jackets. But my personal favorite trend that I'm seeing for little girls this year is high-rise jeans. High-rise jeans are super in for all ages, and now they're in for little girls as well."

Moore also says skirts and patterned leggings have made their way into stores for the younger gals — proving clothing can be functional and comfortable, while remaining stylish.

Younger fellas

Little boys also get the chance to strut their stuff with fun patterns and fall colors this school year.

Graphic tees and fun colors shine in back-to0school fashions for little boys. Brent Kiehl / The Forum
Graphic tees and fun colors shine in back-to0school fashions for little boys. Brent Kiehl / The Forum

"For boys, we are seeing simple, patterned tees — like stripes — as well as graphic tees," Moore says. "Joggers, which are pretty much just like sweatpants with elastic at the ankle to make them a little trendier. You can dress them up or dress them down and they're really great for parents who want to get multiuse out of their kids' fashion."

Burnt oranges, navy blues and light-washed denim seems to be the way to go for the younger fellas this fall, with jackets and leather shoes coming in to bring it all together.

"I also grabbed this (dinosaur) backpack from Stride Rite," Moore says. "Stride Rite just expanded their store and are now carrying things way beyond shoes. They have tons of new shoes, of course, but they also have backpacks, winter coats, custom blankets, toys — all sorts of stuff. They have backpacks made from recycled water bottles in patterns for both boys and girls in there as well."

Teens

High school can be one of the most challenging parts of any young adult's life. From difficult classes to extracurriculars, balancing it all can be a real pain.

But fashion doesn't have to be.

"Graphic tees are super, super in right now," Moore says. "You can find them all over. Animal print is really in this fall — there's all kinds of leopard and cheetah print and tons of snakeskin."

Cozy sweaters, cropped jackets and pretty skirts also star in the trendy-teen-girl's wardrobe, while things get a bit of a throwback with denim overalls and "mom" jeans in every shade.

"I know parents think that trend is super funny because they're called 'mom' jeans," she says. "But they're super flattering and really comfortable. It's a bit of a looser, wider fit."

Platform sandals, like these from Steve Madden, are stylish while still being comfortable to wear all day. Brent Kiehl / The Forum
Platform sandals, like these from Steve Madden, are stylish while still being comfortable to wear all day. Brent Kiehl / The Forum

Backpacks in bright colors and patterns round out the modern teen's back-to-school wardrobe, while platform sandals keep even their feet looking great.

Dudes

Like the little guys and older gals, graphic tees are very "in" this year for teen boys. Bright patterns set off dark backgrounds and give a pop of color while the softness of the shirt ensures he's comfortable enough to get that A.

"They're a super easy way to add a little bit of interest to your outfit," Moore says. "Especially if they put it jacket over it, very easy to throw on."

Breezy fabrics can help teens look cool while the temperature is still hot. Brent Kiehl / The Forum
Breezy fabrics can help teens look cool while the temperature is still hot. Brent Kiehl / The Forum

Button-down shirts in breezy, linen and seersucker fabrics can help boys look cool when the temperature heats up — especially when paired with dark-washed jeans.

Helpful hints and tips

All of these trends may seem overwhelming, but West Acre's Heidi Moore says they don't have to be. She's compiled tips to make back-to-school shopping as easy as anything but algebra.

"My first tip would be to make a list," she says. "Coming into the mall to shop is so much easier when you come knowing what you're shopping for. It's easy to get distracted by all the pretty colors and beautiful pieces, but if you know what you're looking for, it gets so much easier and you can get in and out quicker."

Another tip is to create what is called a capsule wardrobe by buying a few neutral, staple pieces that can be mixed and matched and layered to create many different outfits.

"That's a really budget-friendly way to dress your child for school," she says.