Back-to-school outfits have to walk the line between being cute, comfortable, and durable. If they aren't durable, they won't last long. If they aren't comfortable, they will remain in the closet. If they aren't in style... well, outfits can affect self-perception. You want your child to feel confident in what they are wearing. That confidence communicates itself to the world and sets your child up for success in whatever class or school setting they find themselves in. So finding a good combination of the three is the trick.
On top of that, there is the weather. It is just transitioning into spring, so temperature swings are a distinct possibility, and classrooms may still be a bit cold. Put that together with how hot and sweaty kids can get running around during recess, and you have a tall order for good back-to-school outfits.
Here are some outfit ideas that meet all of the requirements for a great school impression while still allowing your child to express their own sense of style.
This look is for kids who like to look put together with an impish undertone. If your child is the kind who likes to be intentional about outfits or your child's school is a bit more high-end, this is the style you are looking for.
Tops include a collared polo peeking over a sweater made for spring weather swings and a play t-shirt for going hard during recess underneath a more formal button-up long-sleeve for class. Vests for boys could also be an interesting addition to keep your child warm without limiting the arms.
Boys can play all over the jungle gym in boys' husky pants, and girls can look adorable in skirts with optional tights for those chilly days, or try a girls' skort so your little princess can climb the monkey bars with confidence. Sneakers or flats with Mary Jane-style straps will keep your child on the go.
This look is for a more laid-back public school setting. If your child is worried about being "cool," check out some of these ideas!
For tops, it's hard to go wrong with a t-shirt. They are built to last (longer). Try a white tee underneath an unbuttoned, carefree flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up or a zip-up, solid-colored hoodie over a funny boy's graphic tees to make their friends laugh. Jeans are the rule here with a long john internal layer for a little extra heat.
A nod to the charming girls' dresses and jacket combo for girls is a must in this style. Pair it with tennis shoes or sneakers and shorts to keep it playground-friendly.
This look is for kids who like to be center stage. Full of zany rainbows and fun patterns, this style will definitely make your kid stand out.
Colorful cardigans and patterned leggings are a must for girls. If the outfit needs a little balance, try simplifying the undershirt to a more neutral solid. Throw on a kids' headband, and she is ready to go!
For boys, play with plaids or stripes on top with cargo shorts or bright corduroy pants on the bottom. Having a cool boys' backpack is also an easy way to add an interesting, eye-catching accent if your son is a little more reserved in his outfit choices.
Something else to keep in mind is that kids' fashions tend to follow their young adult and college counterparts, just with some modifications, so active playing is still possible. With that in mind, take a look at the outfits of your local high schoolers or middle schoolers if you need more inspiration. It can help to give your child confidence in their styling choices to wear something that the older kids are wearing. Not all outfits will work for younger age groups, but some will, possibly more than you think.
If your local high schoolers aren't into the kind of fashions you would like for your child, consider taking your child people-watching and see which outfits catch their attention. Or ask how your child feels about the outfits of friends or schoolmates.
With all of these ideas and the help of your child's own preferences, there's no reason to be shy about back-to-school outfits in this new semester. Make your choices with all the confidence you hope to impart to your child as the new year begins.