Behind the Scenes: Buyers’ Picks for Back to School

Our buyers agree: This year more than ever, comfort is top of mind for students going back to school, and activewear is playing an even bigger role this season as many kids continue to attend classes virtually. We caught up with some of our buyers in Kids, Juniors, and Young Mens to discover what their favorite back-to-school products are and what trends they’re seeing in their divisions. See below for the inside scoop.


Trina Hagerman – Senior Buyer, Girls Tops and Bottoms
Graphic tees are not only a closet staple but are also trending big for back to school! The fun part about it is that you can dress it up with a denim skirt and booties or keep it casual paired back to leggings or denim. Rib tees are another trending category, and so is camo and utility! We expect leggings to be especially popular this year with a lot of schools moving to virtual learnings. Our backwall denim, typically displayed on the back wall of the department, is also a great item, as it’s almost always on sale for under $15. That’s a steal for the amount of wear kids get out of them. We’ve relaunched all of our fits to be in a soft and comfy fabrics, and they’re all now sustainable as well!”


Emilio Galvan – Buyer, Boys Sportswear and Uniforms
“The biggest trends we’re seeing right now are ‘buy now, wear now’ products like short-sleeve tops and shorts, and product that provides comfort – lightweight, stretch, breathable fabrics, and elastic waist bottoms. You can’t go wrong with our fashion denim – it’s stretchy, comfortable, soft, and sustainable. As more and more people are staying home during this pandemic, we’re seeing comfort become more and more important. I’d recommend our Arizona knit joggers, which provide quality and comfort and are great during any season. We keep them in stock year round!”


Amanda Kramer – Buyer, Kids Active
“Matchback, monochromatic, and all-over print looks have been trending. Matchbacks, meaning the top and bottom have a matching pattern, are great because it easily allows kids to dress themselves, and parents can have confidence their children will look great! One back-to-school staple fit for both virtual and in-person learning is a hoodie. It’s comfy if you’re not leaving the house and a good way to keep you warm at the bus stop or in the classroom.”



Tessa Depker – Senior Buyer, Juniors
“My favorite trend is the 90s theme, and tie-dye is one of fun things that come with this! We also expect sweatshirts, T-shirts, and leggings will be especially popular, since customers are looking for active and comfy. We’re looking at a different back-to-school season than ever before, so we built an assortment that’s versatile and transitions for all the different seasons and environments – dresses that can be worn with sandals and boots, denim jackets that can be thrown over any top or dress, and T-shirts that can be dressed up with denim or dressed down with joggers.”


Jenny Blotsky – Senior Buyer, Young Men’s
“There are a few big trends that we focused on for this back-to-school season. The first is utility, where we’re seeing a lot of camo prints, cargo pockets, and utility details. Another really fun one is 90s retro. I love how easy this trend is to wear! Pair a really cool 90s-inspired graphic tee with a pair of jeans and sneakers and you are ready to go. I think any guy going back to school definitely needs a new pair of jeans! I personally really like our Arizona Advance Flex 360 jeans – the flex fabric makes them really comfortable for everyday wear.”


Geoff Hill – Senior Buyer, Men’s Active
“Print and pattern continue to be a very important element of the Young Men’s Active assortment, and I love the Nike camo statement for BTS this year. We’ve added new styles and silhouettes that give the customer great choices. There are shorts and T-shirts in great classic camo patterns and lighter-weight performance fleece styles in a popover, full-zip, and pant. One item that will be especially popular this year is the Nike Club fleece short. It’s comfortable, stylish, and easy to pair with a graphic tee. It’s great for learning from home and trendy enough to wear out.”