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Back-to-School Cool: Crewcuts' Jenny Cooper Walks Us Through the Season's Trends

Aug 9 2011 - 8:32am

Kids should look like kids not just shrunken versions of adults. That's the philosophy behind J.Crew's tot line of clothing. Led by Jenny Cooper, a Brooklyn mama of two boys — Walker, 9, and Miller, 6 — the company is, "trying to make clothes that feel authentic and vintage and durable and modern at the same time. Clothes that adults would wear, too. Clothes that are appropriate for children."

As the back-to-school shopping season shifts into high gear, I spoke with the purveyor of kid cool [1] to uncover the hottest trends we'll see on the playground this season. Let's just say they won't be subtle! Keep reading for Jenny's bright predictions and some tips for getting kids into the clothes mom wants them to wear!

Fall Trends For Boys

According to Crewcuts' Jenny Cooper:

For boys, we're sort of obsessed with a really bright green. It's sort of a leafy bright primary green, just like a shock of green. We have a vintage, camp flannel [2] ($55) in the bright green, there’s a hoodie [3] ($40) in the bright green, there’s garment dyed pants [4] ($45) in the bright green. Sort of more color than there usually is. We have different shades of the bright green and then shades of the dusty red pants and then bright colors in the graphic tees [5] ($26) as well. So specific shades of bright intense colors that just makes us happy.

Fall Trends For Girls

According to Crewcuts' Jenny Cooper:

For girls, it’s also color, but also print. It's a bright, sort of orangey red. Collectible teesthe drawing of the little girls [6] ($35). And then we have a bright orange-red cord [7] ($43) that just feels so new. And then also girls, there’s a minty green ($25). It’s their version of boy’s green.

Getting Kids to Wear What Mom Wants

It's an age-old problem: Mom wants her tots to wear a specific outfit, but the lil ones have their own ideas. According to Crewcuts' Jenny Cooper reaching that middle ground requires some finesse:

I think the child has to pick it. I think if mom wants to dictate it, she has be very subtle and very clever. I get a little bit sneaky. I will buy things and just put them in their drawer — things I think they need and think they should wear, and I don’t give them a choice. But I bring them over to the computer with me — because they’re boys and they don’t like to shop — and I let them pick out their own things. Or I try to get them to pick things out, because then they’re more likely to wear it. When I bring things home that they haven’t picked, they feel less of a connection and they’re less likely to wear it. They’re boys, so they need a little encouragement.

Keeping Boys' Wardrobes Fresh

Moms of sons often joke that each year they buy the same things — khakis, jeans, and polos — just the next size up. According to Crewcuts' Jenny Cooper, it's easy to get excited about boys' clothes too:

It's so easy. I'm obsessed with graphic tees. Everywhere I go, I buy graphic tees, so pretty much every month I have some crazy new colored graphic tee, and then this Fall we have a lot of colored bottoms — the whole green thing. There’s a green utility pant that was actually modeled after my father’s pants he had when he was in the army in the 50s. The khakis are good to have. I have a stock of three for each boy as the fallback, and they also go so well with the bright-colored graphic tees. Sometimes you need a foil for all of that color, but there’s really so many great color options out there right now.

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