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Denim is cool for going back to school

Even if math isn’t your favorite subject, you can still follow this simple equation for acing back to school style.

Update your look economically by investing in a few key pieces such as blazers and ruffled cardigans that will ease the transition from fall to winter, and follow the true recessionista mantra of accessorizing to put a new spin on an old look.

There’s no reason to get the back to school blues. Unless you’re talking about denim, of course. This perennially popular fabric is de rigueur as you trade in your bathing suit for your backpack this fall, according to Jenn Michael, a stylist for Queens Center shopping center in Elmhurst.

“Denim seems to be the fabric du jour this fall for three simple reasons: It offers wearability, durability and tons of mixing and matching capability,” she said. “All of which are essential to buyers during a recession.”

Skinny jeans from past seasons are still a fashion “do,”but the more comfortable and forgiving boyfriend jeans are gaining popularity, said Michael. She suggests pairing jeans with a crisp blazer, such as those found at Macy’s and H&M, or a fitted sweater for a flattering look.

Michael said that tweens have more latitude than just wearing the standard-issue basic blue denim.

“Tweens will have fun wearing denim in brighter hues than just plain old blue,” she said. “Distressed and even acid-washed finishes will also spice things up.”

Skinny jeans in blue, black, light and distressed washes are the style staples for back to school, according to Macy’s fashion director Russell Orlando.

Michael suggests wearing a denim jacket over a dress or purchasing a denim dress or romper from retailers such as Forever 21 and H&M at Queens Center, located at Queens and Woodhaven Boulevards, for a new twist.

“Complete with ruffle details, these looks are ultra feminine,” she said. “Denim bags, hats and other accessories will be popping up in the hallways.”

One universal fashion staple this season is the black blazer, said Michael. Girls can pair the blazer with jeans or shorts for a dressier look or throw it over a feminine dress.

“Guys can sport (a blazer) too with a pair of jeans for a more pulled-together look,” said Michael. “And they come in handy for a last-minute interview or for the first day on the job.”

For a retro-cool look that’s always in fashion, Michael suggests Chuck Taylor shoes, which were all over the runways this season.

“This classically cool look is an inexpensive way to stay in style,” she said. “And, for the low price point, you can get a few pairs in different colors.”

Another fall must-have are plaids for both sexes, said Orlando.

“Whether classic plaids, buffalo checks or popped with bright color (think fuchsia or electric blue), plaids make a bold statement for fall,” he said. “Plaid is picture-perfect matched with denim or leggings for her first day of class. And he’ll look sharp layering a plaid flannel shirt over his favorite, well-worn tee.”

To give your old wardrobe staples a makeover, Michael is a firm believer in the powers of accessorizing.

“Pieces that students have from last year can get a quick face-lift just by adding on some current accessories,” she said.

For girls, she suggests adding a statement piece necklace, scarf, hat, bag, cocktail ring, chunky bracelet or chunky heels to update an existing outfit. Guys can get the most out of their wardrobes by adding scarves, hats, gloves or new shoes to their closet rotation.

“This season, true recessionistas will know that it’s not about throwing away old pieces, but reworking them into current looks with a few simple tweaks,” said Michael.

Make your wardrobe transcend the seasons by layering your standby summer staples with cooler weather attire to extend your closet and your budget.

For girls, Orlando said leggings are always an easy way to add weight to an outfit. He advises guys to pile on the long-sleeve T-shirts to maximize short-sleeve T-shirts or button-down shirts.

Michael suggests adding a ruffled cardigan to your favorite summer dress to ward off drafts and style dilemmas. That sleeveless top that’s been your uniform this summer? Layer a lightweight, long sleeve T-shirt under it, said Michael.

“Your favorite full skirt that you wore all summer with a race tank need not be forgotten,” said Michael. “Pair it with some textured tights and a belted sweater.”

Hipster guys can pair their beloved vests with a long-sleeve button-down shirt and scarf for a stylish back to school look. Plaid summer shirts can be winterized by adding a long-sleeve thermal underneath, a la Kurt Cobain, said Michael.

Bargain hunters can partake in various promotions offered by merchants at Queens Center to get the look for less this fall. Visit the Queens Center websiteshopqueenscenter.com. Shoppers can download coupons under the Visitor Info tab.

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