As a child, Back to School shopping was a major event. I, like many kids back then, only got new clothing for back to school and then at the start of warm weather, with the exception of replacing outgrown necessities and perhaps receiving some special extras for a birthday or Christmas. We children would pore over department store catalogues and, later, teen magazines, planning our entire ideal wardrobe for the entire fall and winter, be allowed to purchase about a third of it, and start wearing those items on the first day of school even if it was sweltering on September 1st. Back to School shopping was special, and glorious.
That is not what I do for my own child, nor is it how most of my mom friends look after their children's wardrobes. I make sure my daughter has a few new, well-fitting and weather appropriate outfits to start school, and girls shoes that don't look like they've been through the wars, and of course a new backpack! Especially with the ever-increasing costs and complexity of procuring school supplies and school uniform items, this more measured approach to replenishing a kid's wardrobe at the beginning of school just makes sense. This method prevents a large outlay for clothing that won't be used for a while; the weather now stays frankly hot well into September and even October in my part of the Midwest. Why on earth would I buy my daughter's girls pants and sweaters and long-sleeved dresses now?
Another upside to waiting until school has begun to select pieces is if your child attends a non-uniformed school, is letting them see what other kids are wearing, gauging where their taste is changing, and making more personalized choices about what to wear. Fashion is about expression as much as it's about not walking around in your birthday suit! For example, my own daughter chose to wait to select a lunch bag until after school started this year. We allow very little licensed clothing or accessories, but always let her get any lunch bag she wants, and she was determined to figure out what the next "It Bag" lunch box for elementary schoolers would be before she chose! It may seem silly to us grownups, but it felt important to her.
Children during their growing years tend to need to change their sizing throughout the school year. Delaying the purchase of fall and winter apparel will help ensure there are properly fitting clothes in their closet rather than whatever might have fit two months ago. Shopping for clothing items as they are needed, and at retailers who offer more sizing options, helps ensure your child's comfort.
Back to School shopping as we used to do it was fun, but it was also expensive and could be impractical. Consider back-to-school shopping long after school starts as a way to ease the burden on your family's budget, allow your child to express themselves with their clothing and accessory choices, and to make sure you are purchasing only what they need, when they need it. This measured, practical approach to outfitting your little one (or not-so-little one!) for the school year is a simple, relaxed way to meet their needs and will be so much easier on you!