Styles & strategies for Back to School Shopping

Back to School Outfits

Trends for back-to-school clothes include tough-girl fashion for girls and hipster-lumberjack looks for boys. (Sara Dahlquist)

School will be back in session before you know it, especially for the districts that start early this year. To keep the stress of shopping to a minimum, parents, here are some of the hottest style trends to keep in mind, along with some money-saving strategies to help you get your kids’ clothes shopping done before summer ends.

Back to School Girls Outfits

Moody floral prints and edgy, moto-inspired details take girls’ styles to the next level for fall. You can find pieces at any price point; these looks are from Target.

Tough girls

Styles for girls are a little bit feminine, but very edgy, this fall. Dark, moody floral prints will be easy to find, and a faux-leather moto jacket is a must have. Pair the jacket with high-waisted, acid-washed denim and combat boots and you’ll be perfectly on trend with this tough-girl chic. It’s the finishing details that pull a look together, though. Desirable accessories include metallic footwear, fringe details and leopard print on everything.

Boys Back to School Outfits

Plaid shirts, puffer jackets and skinny jeans — like these ones from Target — remain popular for boys. Or consider adding some athleisure to your little guy’s look with a pair of sweats that go beyond the gym.

Little lumberjacks

As for the young man in your life, he’ll still be on trend in lumberjack hipster looks (minus the beard, of course). Puffy jackets and vests will keep little guys warm, while plaids and graphic tees are staples to stock up on. Skinny jeans are still around but you’ll also find that sweat pants aren’t just for athletes anymore. Elastic-hem pants look fresh paired with oxford shirts and leather lace-up boots.

Pinterest App

Prepare your shopping list ahead of time by using Pinterest to virtually window shop and save your favorite looks.

The game plan

Before you venture out to the mall, do yourself a favor and develop a plan.

First, it’s important that your kids have the opportunity to express themselves through their style, so find out what they like or don’t like. I’m always surprised what my boys are drawn to and what they can’t stand. The older they get the more their tastes change —  and they won’t wear an outfit they don’t like, regardless of what you think.

I prefer to browse ahead of time online, using Pinterest as a tool to window shop at my kids’ favorite stores and “pin” the items they like on a virtual inspiration board. Later, when I’m out shopping for real, sans kiddos, I can access the Pinterest boards on my phone and be confident that I’m buying them pieces they’ll love.

Make sure you measure your kiddos before heading out, though. The summer sun can make them grow inches in a few months — and nobody has time to make returns when pieces don’t fit. For help on how to get the measurements you need, check out YouTube for detailed video demonstrations and instructions on how to get your child’s correct measurements, saving you additional trips to the mall.


Shop Savvy App

Shop Savvy

Discounts galore

Next, gather all those loyal-customer emails that are hiding in your bulk email folder, find the ones from stores on your list, and place the relevant coupon codes in a separate email folder. This will make it easy for you to access them while you’re standing in the checkout line. You can save hundreds of dollars by cashing in on such promotions.

I also like to use the phone app Shop Savvy, which allows you to scan a barcode to see if a better deal exists on a desired item. You may find that the retail store you’re shopping at will do a price match with their competitors. The technology is there to save you money — you just have to use it.

And finally, it never hurts to start with the basics. It may take your children a few weeks of school to see what kind of fashion statements they want to make. Take advantage of all the pre-season sales to stock up on the tights, tees, shoes and denim your kids are going to live in, then circle back for the statement pieces later.

Now you’ve got your plan set, get out there and shop your shoes off!

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