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Students Shop Latest Trends Tax Free

Sales Tax Holiday Spurs Students to Shop

Desiree Waters sat between boxes of shoes and bags of clothes in the Nordstrom shoe department Sunday, Aug. 5. She tried on everything from boots, to flats, to open-toed pumps, in preparation for the 2007-2008 school year.

"This year, it’s all about skinny jeans, skinny belts, lots of bangles and accessories," she said. "Go bold."

Like the majority of shoppers at Dulles Town Center, Waters utilized the sales tax holiday, Friday, Aug. 3, to Sunday, Aug. 5, to shop for back-to-school clothing, shoes and accessories.

According to the Department of Taxation, a sales tax holiday is a temporary period when retail sales taxes are not collectible or payable on a specific class of purchases, like back-to-school clothes and supplies. The General Assembly unanimously approved a sales tax holiday to help families with children in school and to boost the retail economy.

Sales tax was suspended on school supplies costing $20 or less per item, and clothing and footwear costing $100 or less per pair.

POTOMAC FALLS High School students Pratika Appaiah, 17, Prarthana Appaiah, 17, and Renee Tyler, 17, prepared for their senior year by shopping over the sales tax holiday.

"It’s just a good excuse to shop," Tyler said.

For twin sisters Pratika Appaiah and Prarthana Appaiah, it is easy for them to find comfortable and appropriate clothing for school.

"Parents always have something to say about clothes," Pratika Appaiah said.

Wayde Byard, spokesperson for Loudoun County Public Schools said, while the school system has a basic dress code, it is up to the individual principals to enforce their own regulations.

In order to keep their parents happy, the Appaiahs said they stick to stores like the Gap and American Eagle for tank tops, long T-shirts and jeans.

Waters received a notice in her Potomac Falls High School "Panther Newsletter," that the length between shorts and skirts, and a student’s knees, must be equal to the length of an index card.

"It used to the finger rule, now it’s an index card," she said. "That’s new this year."

Tyler said she likes to layer tank tops over T-shirts and dresses her outfits up with headbands, scarves and a lot of jewelry.

"Accessories are in this year," Tyler said.

"I love chunky jewelry and big glass beads," Pratika Appaiah said.

Like Tyler and the Appaiah twins, Justin Muir, 14, shopped for clothes for school. Muir, a student at South Lakes High School in Reston, shopped for zip-up jackets and slip-on, low top shoes.

"I’m pretty laid back," he said. "I like my Vans."

ELEMENTARY-SCHOOL students Emily Rivers, 10, and Jordan Rivers, 8, walked around the Dulles Town Center with Limited Too bags in their hands.

This year, Emily said she is going with a theme: animal prints.

"I got a cheetah dress, cheetah pants, cheetah backpack and cheetah leggings," she said. "I can’t wait to pick out my first outfit."

Their mother, Lori Rivers, said the sales tax holiday is an ideal time to shop for back-to-school clothes.

After a long day of shopping, the girls’ mother said it was easy to find comfortable and fashionable clothing that adheres to Loudoun County Public School’s dress code.

"There are clothes out there that are definitely inappropriate, but you just have to say no," she said.

IN ADDITION to clothing, sales tax was suspended on school supplies costing $20 or less over the weekend.

While the majority of students said they wait to buy school supplies until the first week of school, Tyler said she is stocking up on binders over the sales tax holiday.

"Binders are big in high school. Every year, I need a bunch of them," she said. "And a calculator."

Waters decided to ditch her backpack from sophomore year and go with something a little more fashionable.

"Instead of a backpack this year, I bought a big tote from Target," she said. "It’s bright red and looks like alligator skin."