The Cool School Crowd: Trio of Celebrities Drives Must-Have B-T-S Items

Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan are the role models for schoolgirls this year, with buying up at the high end and off at mass.

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Liz Sweney, executive vice president and general merchandise manager for women’s apparel at J.C. Penney Co. Inc., said she was pleased with b-t-s business. “All categories — juniors, young men’s, girls’ and boys’ — performed well for back-to-school. These areas had a big impact on our 8 percent increase for July and 3.8 percent gain for August.

“In juniors, our best-selling categories were polos, sheer layering tees, ponchos, lightweight and chunky sweaters, corduroy, belted denim and premium denim washes, track pants, and career suitings and shirts,” said Sweney, adding the store has done well with its Arizona Jean Co. brand as well as with such national brands as L.E.I.; Bongo; Energie, and Levi’s and contemporary labels like Bisou Bisou, Mixit and Parrallel.

Specialty stores in the Southwest said b-t-s sales were ahead over a year ago with most reporting gains of at least 10 percent.

Armhole, a women’s and men’s contemporary store in the Lakewood Shopping Center in east Dallas, is selling lightweight boot-cut denim jeans in darker washes and lower rises from such labels as Miss Sixty and Rock & Republic. Open just over a year, Armhole is charting gains of at least 10 percent compared with last August.

Krimson & Klover, a women’s contemporary store in the hip Uptown neighborhood of Dallas, has already sold out of Image’s cropped pants made of ultra-soft T-shirt cotton, at $69, while other bestsellers include Miguelina’s jewel-tone dressy tops, at $220, Tracie Reese’s Plenty line of separates that have a strong Asian-Indian feel, with prices varying depending on styles, Lucca Blue’s brocade jackets with rhinestone brooches, at $325 and Hudson Jean’s fitted and flared jeans in destroyed washes, at $135. Sales at Krimson & Klover are up by at least 8 percent compared with a year ago, said Kathryn Anderson, who owns the store along with her sister Kristin Anderson.
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