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Ready or not, it’s almost time to open the books and greet the new school year!

Whether kids are on campus or online in a virtual classroom, they will want to gear up and look their best when classes begin. To help with this assignment, we scouted Kailua Town and took notes on places to find trendy and affordable clothes as well as backpacks, accessories and other necessities that pass the ‘cool’ test.

And haircuts? Supercuts and Great Clips, both on Hekili Street, provide quality haircuts and other services at budget-friendly prices.

Dress for School Success

HIC Got Poke Boys Tee ($22)

Hawaiian Island Creations (349 Hahani St. Kailua, HI) can outfit kids and teens from head to toes with its impressive inventory of favorite lifestyle clothing and slipper brands, from Roxy and Billabong to Ripcurl, Volcom and, of course, HIC’s own popular label. Extra credit: There is always a great promotion going on, including the ongoing “buy one, get one 50% off” deal on HIC-branded apparel and accessories. Don’t miss the clearance racks.

Mahina Leopard Shorts ($38)

“Well-priced” and “well-made” are core subjects at Mahina (Kailua Village Shops, 539 Kailua Road, Kaiua, HI) where fit and flare dresses in soft pastels and flowery prints are trending now, along with short rompers, jean shorts and skirts paired with simple crop tops.

Native Brand Jefferson shoes at Splash! Hawaii ($35+)

We loved the big selection of cute footwear for kids (and adults) at Splash! Hawaii (143 Hekili St. #140, Kailua, HI). For the elementary set, check out Native brand’s rainbow of colorful and comfy rubber “Jefferson” shoes and the fun Havaiana and Ipanema slippers sporting unicorns, flowers, minions and Avengers.

Accessorize & Organize

Lauren Roth Assorted Pouches ($35 – $42)

Pens, pencils, thumb drives and other school tools won’t get lost at the bottom of the backpack when they’re stashed in a convenient pouch. Fighting Eel (Kailua Town Center, 629 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI) carries assorted Baggu zip sets made of machine washable ripstop nylon and available in cute animal and tropical fruit prints. Find iPad pouches and Quay-brand blue light filtering glasses here, too. Kailua artist Lauren Roth (Merchants Row, 131 Hekili St., Kailua, HI) gives pouches her personal touch. Available in two sizes, each is hand-painted on sturdy denim canvas. iPhone cases made of imitation leather also boast Lauren’s tropical themes and flip open to double as wallets.

On the subject of multi-tasking, Dakine backpacks, found at Hawaiian Island Creations, will keep busy students ultra-organized with a variety of specialized pockets – laptop sleeve, insulated cooler pocket, organizer and fleece-lined sunglass pocket – depending on the style. Dakine’s lifetime warranty scores bonus points.

Essential Supplies

Fighting Eel Men’s Mask Set ($35)

Cloth face masks and hand sanitizer will be everyday essentials for the foreseeable future. Face masks not only are easy to find in stores these days, but they have become fashion statements, too! Like Fighting Eel’s lightweight masks, made in Hawaii from their own fabrics. Women’s prints come in an assorted 3-pack with 3 filters included; men’s prints come in a 2-pack with 2 filters. Global Village (Kailua Village Shops, 539 Kailua Rd., Kailua, HI) carries Kauai-made masks made of 100% cotton prints with an antimicrobial layer. For guys there are neoprene/spandex masks in solid and camo colors, with double breathing valves.

Also at Global Village: assorted glass, metal and bamboo straws and Plastic Free Hawaii’s reusable bamboo “to-go” ware, including a five-piece utensil set and bamboo sporks – perfect for the school lunchroom. 

For basic school supplies, Longs Drugs Kailua (609 Kailua Rd., Kailua, HI) is still a favorite one-stop shop with back-to-school specials to help keep family budgets in check. You’ll want to pick up travel size hand-sanitizer to put in backpacks, too (or check out Lanikai Bath & Body‘s Hawaiian-inspired hand sanitizers). A couple of different brands are available.