This is the time of year when back to school shopping becomes a priority. But consumers beware! The retail clothing industry is passing along a big price hike on its apparel!

Costs have risen 10 to 20 % this year due to increased labor costs and the cost of raw materials. My problem is retail outlets are trying to trick you into thinking you’re getting more for your dollar when you’re actually getting less.

Some outlets are cutting back on the amount of fabric, using cheaper fabric, or adding inexpensive stitching to make it look like a redesigned product.

A popular teen retailer, the one you walk by in the mall with the thumping music, is marketing a jean collection as softer with more stretch. Experts say the material is simply thinner!

So consumer beware! Check the price, but more importantly, check the quality! You don’t want to have to go school shopping again after Christmas break!

Back to school fashions have a lot of different looks! Here's some examples. Happy retailing!