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Expert tips: Back to school shopping on a budget

Fall trends from Dots.

Fall trends from Dots. Credit:

Everyone wants a fresh start for a new school year, but transitioning wardrobes from summer to fall can be expensive. Rose Hopkins, a district manager at affordable fashion chain Dots, has provided us with a cheat sheet of tips on how to get school ready without going over budget.

1. Look for versatile pieces.

Items like cardigans, denim jackets, polos and maxi dresses can all be worn a varity of different ways and can be mixed and matched into different looks. For example, a cardigan can be layered under a denim jacket, paired with a skirt, added to a business casual outfit or layered over a tank with jeans.

2. Buy things you can wear all year.

The right dress can be worn with sweaters, leggings and boots during colder months, or by itself in warmer weather. Ankle booties, a hot shoe style of the moment, can be worn with jeans through the winter or with shorts and dresses in the summer. Colored denim will continue to be in style for the rest of the year. Wear it with boots for fall and roll up with sandals for spring. Knit blazers make great outerwear in warmer months and act as an extra layering piece in the winter.

3. Don't splurge on trends.

Go for lower priced options when shopping for super trendy pieces, because next year they might be out of style. Save your splurge for the classic staples you know you'll wear again and again.

What styles are back to school shoppers at Dots stores loving most?

1. Prep

Key pieces: Colorful knit blazers, printed cardigans, polos, denim shirts and boat shoes

2. Southwestern chic

Key pieces: Plaid shirts, fringe purses and belts, cowboy boots and crochet details

3. Feminine

Key pieces: Sheer button-down shirts, lace skirts and flowing fabrics (Pair lace with leather for a tough girl feel.)

4. Detailed denim

Key pieces: Jeans with sequin trims, embellished pockets and colors ranging from bold red and cobalt blue to pretty pastels 

For a full list of Dots locations, visit

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