Wristwear, always a joy for the accessory-conscious tween or teen, is focused for the moment on a handful of trendy looks that call on some of the most current styles, including bohemian, ethnic and a geometric, primary-toned look that's almost-sort-of retro '60s (not that your kids will know that).
If you make only one jewelry investment this school year, make it a multi one: bangles, stacked high and all mixed up. Mix metals, textures, stones and patterns. Go Moroccan or Indian with jewel-toned gems, gold accents and multicolor seed beads. Go retro with color-blocked, geometric plastic and enamel. The minimum is three. There is no maximum.
Hopefully, though, you can add more than one piece of wrist candy to your child's school-wear collection, and for additional purchases, we have two words for you: leather and cuff.
The thin leather strand is a bohemian standard. She'll want to wrap it in careless-looking rings that lie just a bit twisted and eschew for that "just threw it on on the way out the door" look. The ends may dangle just a bit, and the addition of a couple of beads, either at the knotted-off ends or scattered throughout the wrap, doesn't hurt. (As a side note, a bare one can work for teen boys, too, if they're the jewelry type.)
A bonus here is that this could be about the cheapest piece in the back-to-school wardrobe. Craft and fabric stores sell spools of leather for a few bucks of piece, and you actually want this piece of jewelry to seem handmade.
Other leather possibilities: A single, wide band; multicolored leather strands; flat or pyramid studs.
Finally, and by all means, don't forget the cuff. This piece of jewelry is a real eye-catcher, and makes working the current ethnic trend into the back-to-school rotation a snap. Check out the huge, central cabochons on metal or leather backgrounds for a statement look or the simple, wide, flat-gold pieces for something a bit more elegant and/or dressy. Just make sure it's loose enough to prevent bulging.
A piece of statement armwear could prove to be one of your child's most useful accessories, since a bold accessory isn't just for a bold outfit. It'll add considerable interest to the current neutrals craze, which can seem a bit washed-out without some thoughtfully chosen pop. So pop away. Back-to-school is a great time to take a fashion risk, and bracelets don't take up too much room.
For more information on accessories, style and related topics, check out the links on the next page.