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Too Cool for School

Fifteen hot items trendsetting teens can ’t live without this fall.<br><br><br><br>Back-to-school is usually a happy time for apparel retailers,but this year sales are off to a slow start.While stores remain optimistic about the final outcome...

Fifteen hot items trendsetting teens can ’t live without this fall.

Back-to-school is usually a happy time for apparel retailers,but this year sales are off to a slow start.While stores remain optimistic about the final outcome — claiming,it ’s too early to tell whether b-t-s styles will ultimately make the grade —kids heading off to junior high,high school and college seem to have much more on their minds than T-shirts and jeans,as this list —ranked by price — makes abundantly clear.

1

iPOD for PCs

$299

Manufacturer: Apple Computer

Now PC users can take advantage of the digital music revolution and transfer songs by A.R.E. Weapons and Super Collider with the new iPOD MP3 player.

2

Logitech Digital Pocket Camera

$129

Manufacturer: Logitech International

As thin as a credit card, this digital camera is perfect for recording high school and college memories, or catching teachers’ most embarrassing moments.

3

Razor Punk 180 Bike

$104

Manufacturer: Razor USA

A lightweight, adjustable stunt bike from the makers of the Razor scooter for the Evil Knieval in all teenage boys.

4

Nike Presto Backpack

$85

Manufacturer: Nike

A sleek backpack made of waterproof neoprene, the Nike Presto looks like something Elroy Jetson would carry to school. It even has a pocket for audio equipment and a cord portal to thread headphones through.

5

Puma Mostro Sneakers

$80

Manufacturer: Puma

Look mom, no laces! This slipper-like shoe with Velcro closures should appeal to home boys and girls and suburban wannabees alike.

6

Todd Oldham for Target Kitchen Set

$49.99

Manufacturer: Todd Oldham Dorm Room for Target

Fashion’s aging whiz kid, Todd Oldham has channeled his style for Target with a starter set of kitchen necessities that comes in four colors for most every campus “type,” from Gym Blue for jocks to Geek Blue for engineering majors. Sorry, nothing for potheads.

7

XAct Communications Walkie Talkie Wrist Watch

$40 to $50

Manufacturer: XAct Communications

Overgrown spy kids can keep in touch with friends on campus — or “surveil” on rivals — without wasting valuable cell phone minutes with this Maxwell Smart-like invention. The watch’s 22 voice-activated channels have a one- to two-mile radius.

8

JournalTEK It’s My Diary

$29.99

Manufacturer: JournalTEK

This electronic diary allows users to enhance their memories with photos, video clips and music. Now you can pine over that cute guy in homeroom or vent over how strict mom and dad can be in living color.

9

Pinkie Swear Cutie Pie Color Wheel Makeup

$24

Manufacturer: Pinkie Swear

Makeup designed to be applied with the fingertips, Pinkie Swear’s Color Wheel is perfect for pre-class primping at your locker before he walks by.

10

Old Navy rugby shirts

$22.50

Manufacturer: Old Navy Clothing Co.

The preppy classic is back. Old Navy’s TV commercial is a takeoff on “The Brady Bunch” called “The Rugby Bunch,” with the requisite nerdy children and a sexed-up Morgan Fairchild.

11

Urban Outfitters Skinny Scarf

$22

Manufacturer: Urban Outfitters

The co-ed look à la Ali MacGraw in “Love Story” is back with jeans and long striped scarves in demand for fall. If you can’t afford Marc by Marc Jacobs’ multi-wool scarf for $168, stay warm with this budget style from Urban Outfitters.

12

Fred Flare Composition Notebook

$8

Manufacturer: Fred Flare

Gwen Stefani, Kelly Osbourne, Drew Barrymore and Parker Posey are all fans of hip stationer Fred Flare, whose flashy composition notebooks have a certain je ne sais quois.

13

Masterlock Reflective Backpack Lock

Price $5.99

Manufacturer: Masterlock

An example of the theory that even the most mundane objects can benefit from good design: this resettable lock, which comes in four reflective colors, looks cool and keeps belongings safe as you tool around on campus.

14

Krylon Chalkboard Paint

$4.99/spray can; available in black and green

Manufacturer: Krylon

Here’s the ticket for resurfacing that beat up old ping pong table in the frat house basement. Get Martha Stewart points by making your own chalkboard for writing notes to roommates.

15

Health Snacks

$4.99 for box of three

Manufacturer: Cold Fusion

A grueling cheerleading practice calls for one of Cold Fusion’s protein pops. You’ll regain your energy in time for your date with the B.M.O.C.

SOURCE: YOUTH INTELLIGENCE, A NEW YORK-BASED MARKETING, CONSULTING AND TREND FORECASTING FIRM FOCUSING ON THE YOUTH MARKET, PUBLISHES THE CASSANDRA REPORT, A SYNDICATED YOUTH STUDY, AND TRENDCENTRAL, A DAILY E-MAIL ON MICRO TRENDS