It's that time of year again: style-conscious teenagers are scurrying to score that perfect book bag -- one that'll carry a hefty load and look cool per their pack's rules, without a Prada price tag. Adults who regularly haul a load (gym clothes, magazines, beauty products, extra shoes), are well advised to follow the kids for unexpected deals.
Yellow Rat Bastard carries an extensive selection of the kind of techie backpacks coveted by boys who consider a trip to school an expedition -- or just need to pack piles of books, gym stuff, and snacks. This inexpensive source for rugged downtown teen clothes and accessories has a wall overflowing with these, at prices from $40 to $60. Our fave: the orange pack from Triple Five Soul ($50).
Never accuse Urban Outfitters of missing out on a trend. The shop carries every imaginable variation on the sling pack -- most with the increasingly necessary cell-phone pouch. Choose from tons of solid colors as well as styles with reflective stripes or camouflage prints. Many brands are on offer, but the best is still the original square Yak Pak ($48) -- in fall's hot color, red.
Downtown schoolkids looking for edgy street style are trading in those ubiquitous Manhattan Portage messenger bags for Utility Canvas's sharp canvas shoulder bags and small duffels. A good bet: the company's "Urban Field Bag" in natural, black, or olive ($54).
It's the rare preteen who'll turn to Barneys New York or Henri Bendel for a book bag. But for sleek, uptown-chic carryalls, private-school girls swear by Hervé Chapelier's totes. And the two-tone nylon shoulder bags double as perfect weekend shopping satchels ($95).
Yellow Rat Bastard, 478 Broadway, near Broome St. (212-219-8569); Urban Outfitters, 628 Broadway, near Houston St. (212-475-0009); Utility Canvas, 146 Sullivan St. (673-2203); Henri Bendel, 712 Fifth Ave., at 56th Street (212-247-1100); Barneys New York, 660 Madison Ave., at 61st St. (212-826-8900).
Picks of the Week
Jim Kempner Fine Art is taking up to 40 percent off a big stash of contemporary master prints (artists include Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and Helen Frankenthaler). Prices are from $400 for James Rosenquist's 1973 Horizon Bar lithograph with collage to $4,000 for Jasper Johns's 1971 Hinged Canvas lithograph to $6,000 for Christo's 1989 Ponte Sant' Angelo, Wrapped (Project for Rome) lithograph with collage. 501 W. 23rd St. (212-206-6872); M.C., V., checks; Tues.-Wed., Fri.-Sat. 10-6, Thurs. till 8, Sun. noon-5; 9/1-9/12 (closed 9/5).
Oroblu's Italian neutral-tone panty hose and tights come in basic opaques and sheers as well as fashion textures and patterns. The line's usually sold at places like Saks and Bloomingdale's. At the sample sale, prices are $1-$15 (usually $15-$34). Sizes S-XL. 37 W. 39th St., Suite 1002 (212-768-7424); cash only; Mon.-Thurs. 10-4; 8/30-9/2.
Malia Mills's ingeniously cut, ultrastylish swimsuits (pictured) and cover-ups, all the rage on Hamptons beaches, are 45 to 75 percent off at the designer's sample sale. Top picks include bandeau, triangle, underwire, and tube; pair with briefs, bikinis, or string bikinis on the bottom. Prices are $20 to $60 per piece. Sizes 2-12. 150 W. 28th St., Studio 1003 (212-645-5222); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.- Fri. 10-7; 8/30- 9/3.
The Keith Haring Pop Shop, the original purveyor of the kind of graffiti-splashed T-shirt that showed up at Daryl K this summer, is clearing a huge selection of stock at up to 75 percent off. Stock includes Haring posters, tees, sweatshirts, umbrellas, puzzles, and home items. Prices are from $5 for a kid's T-shirt to $20 for a lacquered place setting to $70 for a canvas jacket. 292 Lafayette St. (212-219-2784); A.E., M.C., V.; Tues.-Sat. noon-7, Sun. till 6; 9/1-9/12.