Shop by the seat of your pants 

Throughout the year we’re encouraged to buy stuff. In spring we buy flowers, at Christmas we buy toys, but in the fall we can buy just about anything and call it a “back-to-school” purchase.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent eager to get rid of your kids, a student or teacher dreading another nine-month sentence, or just an average Joe who works so much that seasons just blend together — you must buy things in the next few weeks.

The most obvious and dreaded part of the whole back-to-school process is shopping for clothes. Today, people complain about third-graders being designer-crazy fashion mavens. But hasn’t that always been the case? If you are older than 25, think back to the days when everyone wore stiff blue jeans. All the jeans may have looked the same, but your social position was determined by a tiny label. Were you a poor Kmart jeans kid, a middle-class Levi’s wearer or a trying-to-be-upper-class Jordache gal?

If you want to relive the glory days or at least appear “old school,” the Levi’s Traditional Fit 517 Boot Cut Jeans are a safe choice ($29.99 at Even better, and more aptly named for this time of year, are the Akademiks button front denim jeans ($64.99 from Also available is the Akademiks Assemble the Truth T-shirt with Velcro sleeve pocket ($29.99) for those looking for pretentious urban wear.

Tom A’Hearn pays attention here every other week. E-mail

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