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With students returning to school soon, the push for a few new wardrobe items has begun.

A 2017 report from the National Retail Federation states that families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $687.72 on back to school shopping this year. That total includes school supplies, technology and clothes.

The NRF survey also predicts that back to school shopping will total about $83.6 billion in the United States. About $10.2 billion of that will be spent clothing for elementary, middle and high school students.

Families with a student in college plan to spend around $969.88 per student, according to the report, and back to college spending will reach about $54.1 billion, with about $8 billion spent on clothes.

Those numbers are eye popping, but there are ways to cut costs. The Peninsula area is home to many consignment and thrift shops that cater to students from preschool to college. These stores can cut your back to school budget if you buy trendy clothes that are new or gently used at a discount.

We teamed up with Act II Consignment, Plato’s Closet and Pea Soup for Kids Consignment to find outfits for students that are less than $50. Our local models range from a first grader to a first year college student all of whom are aiming to look good on a budget.

Plato’s ClosetPlato’s Closet offers designer and second hand clothes for 70 percent off their retail price. The store offers outfit options for teens and young adults including clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories. It buys and sells girls 0/1 18/20 and guys 28 40 waist items. Located at 12233 Jefferson Ave. in Newport News.

Hope Powell, college freshman, 17 years old

College students should expect to walk a lot once they get to campus. Powell, an incoming freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University, will be a double major in psychology and art, making her schedule very busy.

Plato’s Closet picked out a pair of boyfriend jeans, T shirt, flannel shirt and sneakers to create a comfortable and versatile outfit for a new college student.

“I loved the flannel because I love the convenience of tying things around my waist. It wasn’t flashy,
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but also made me feel trendy,” Powell said. “In college you’ve got to walk everywhere with comfortable pants and shoes so this outfit is perfect for me starting college.”Flannel shirt: $8

T shirt with embroidered pocket: $5

Jeans: $10

Black sneakers: $8

Total: $31

Morgan Powell, Bethel High School sophomore, 15 years old

Morgan Powell is a slender, petite 15 year old who loves to wear Converse shoes with trendy, modern looking outfits.

Her outfit, also from Plato’s Closet, involves her favorite brand of shoes at a discount price, a stripped skater dress and a sleeveless jean jacket to cover up the dress’ open back, a perfect way to change a piece of clothing to comply with school dress codes. The pink choker is trendy accessory that has become increasingly popular for women this year.

“I like the dress because it’s my favorite colors and it’s a suitable length for me the wear to school,” she said. “Most schools, you have to have things at a certain length and can’t show your back or go sleeveless. This is perfect because it won’t get me in any trouble.”

Skyler Brown, Poquoson Middle School eighth grader, 13 years old

Skyler Brown, sporty girl with a girly side, tried on two outfits from Act II Consignment.

An avid field hockey player who practices before and after school, Brown first tried on a dress with accessories that she can wear in any situation and is appropriate for the classroom.

The second outfit included a flowing lace top and jeans that she can transition easily out of for practice or a game. She liked both outfits because they gave her what she is looking for comfort.

“My favorite part of the outfit are the boots. I like them because of the color, the fun print and they are also comfortable. The jeans are also comfortable because I’m sporty and play field hockey. I think I could play in these,
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” she said.