Back-to-School Trends and Savings in Sonoma County

It’s time for one of America’s most beloved and, for some, dreaded traditions: Back-to-School shopping.

It’s time for one of America’s most beloved (and, for some, dreaded) traditions: Back-to-School shopping. This year’s Back-to-School spending is predicted to be the second highest on record and, according to a yearly poll by National Retail Foundation, 57% of this year’s shoppers will be headed to department stores to outfit their children. If you’re one of the Back-to-School shoppers, click through the gallery above to see local fashion finds and trends, and read below for more shopping tips. 

Sonoma County Back-to-School shoppers can find many major retailers at the Santa Rosa Plaza, Petaluma Village Premium Outlets, and Coddingtown

“It’s an exciting time of year,” says Jessica Burnett, general manager of Petaluma Village Premium Factory Outlets, calling the Back-to-School ritual the “kick-off” of the fall season, with new lines and trends being revealed. 

Retro is back in many ways, according Burnett and Kate Hudson, representing Santa Rosa Plaza mall. From “Bohemian” (floral and flowing festival-type wear) to acid wash jeans, tropical prints, gingham and plaid, even paisley, this year’s styles bring a parade of past looks back into circulation. It’s as if the last half-dozen decades called and said they want to meet you at the mall.

The dressed up tennis shoe, known as “sneaker glam,” will also make an appearance this year, according to Hudson. And the dressed down “Athleisure” look is also back for more time in the trending sun.

Many families in the county also shop for school uniforms, and a number of retailers have changed their offerings to accommodate that need, says Burnett.

But Back-to-School shopping isn’t all frilly, fancy fun and games. With the average family spending a predicted $688, budgets are a big piece of the puzzle. 

Burnett cites a VIP shopper club as an option for saving money, available at the Petaluma Outlets’ website, and also mentions sidewalk sales happening the first two weekends in August.

In addition to checking the Santa Rosa Plaza’s website for sales, Hudson suggests shoppers make a list before coming to the mall. That way, she says,  “You don’t get distracted by bright, shiny things – making a game plan saves times and money and helps you set boundaries with your children.”