Get your kids ready for fall with a new back-to-school wardrobe. Whether your child is in elementary school, high school, or anywhere in between, these tips will help you put together a practical, stylish fall clothing collection they’ll love.
A good place to start when shopping for back-to-school clothes is with the basics. Choose undergarments in lightweight, breathable cotton for comfort — and don't forget to check for an elastic waistband! When it comes to socks for your child, you really can’t have too many. Girls’ and boys’ socks come in classic ankle and crew styles in neutral colors — along with brighter hues and novelty print styles.
Thermal underwear is another good thing to have for back-to-school. They can be layered under fall and winter outfits for extra warmth and are a must for cold-weather outdoor activities. From there, you’ll want to stock up on short-sleeve and long-sleeve kids’ graphic T-shirts and solid styles. White, black, navy, and gray are neutral colors that go with everything, although you might also want to add some fun and bright colors.
Then there’s the button-down shirt, another part of any back-to-school boys’ or girls’ capsule wardrobe. It can be worn over a T-shirt for a casual look or under a sweater for a dressier style. Button-downs also go well with turtlenecks for chilly days.
Speaking of turtlenecks, they’re another wardrobe staple for boys and girls. Stock up on neutral colors and your child’s favorite hues and prints for plenty of fashion versatility. Boys’ turtlenecks pair well with boy’s jeans in any fit and cut, or they can be worn with athletic pants, such as boys’ sweatpants.
For girls, turtlenecks go with everything from girls’ jeans to skirts and even leggings. Choose a tunic-length girls’ turtleneck to wear with leggings for plenty of insulation and a balanced look.
When it comes to the best back-to-school clothing fabric, Supima cotton leads the pack. Look for Supima cotton T-shirts, tunics, and turtlenecks for boys and girls. This cotton species is prized for its long-staple fiber, which is twice as durable as regular cotton fiber. Supima cotton clothes, bedding, and towels can be used and laundered repeatedly without wear or color fading.
Some cotton/polyester blends are also a good option for back-to-school. A lot of kids’ activewear apparal is made from this fabric and enhanced with a small percentage of spandex for a gentle stretch. No matter what type of cotton or cotton blend clothing you choose, it helps to know more about knits. Cotton jersey is a smooth knit that’s light and easy to layer. Then there’s cotton flannel, which is brushed for an ultra-cozy feel.
Boys’ and girls’ flannel shirts are a must for fall, as they’re incredibly versatile and seasonal. They can be worn over T-shirts or turtlenecks buttoned or unbuttoned, depending on the preferred look. Flannel shirts coordinate with any type of boys’ or girls’ jeans — they also go with dressier pant styles like chinos and khaki cargo pants.
As mentioned, comfortable fabrics are a must when shopping for a back-to-school wardrobe. Also, look for features such as elastic waistbands or adjustable waistbands that can grow with your child. There are kids’ jeans equipped with IronKnees® technology, which reinforces the knee area to prevent pesky holes from running and jumping. Choosing the right size is another way to ensure clothes are comfortable for your child to wear. Take their measurements and refer to apparel size charts when shopping. If you’re ever unsure about which size to choose, go for the larger one so your child can grow into it.
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of neutral apparel that can be mixed and matched to create many looks. Capsule wardrobes can be unisex, or you can build one for boys or girls. The key is choosing versatile pieces — like jeans, slacks, skirts, leggings, and sweatpants — in neutral colors that go with virtually any other colors. Bright colors and fun prints can be added to a capsule wardrobe; the neutral pieces are simply a foundation you can build on.
All kids have a favorite color, or more than one. Consider your child’s preferred hues when shopping for school clothes. Choosing kids’ tops and sweaters in prints that reflect their personality is a good idea too. The best way to know what your child prefers is to offer them a choice between several pieces that you’ve preapproved. That way, you’re both happy with the chosen apparel piece.
A sturdy pair of shoes is a must for back-to-school. Athletic shoes with slip-resistant soles and cushioned footbeds are sufficient for most school days, as they can go from the classroom to the gym. For dressy days, there are ballet flats for girls and boys’ dress shoes in brown and black to coordinate with dress pants. Boots are another fall essential that kids can wear with everything from jeans to leggings. Choose from calf-high styles to shorter ankle boots.
Make a list of the back-to-school items your child may need before shopping. You’ll also want to pick up a few accessories, such as a backpack and matching pencil case. Don't forget about lunch boxes and water bottles!