Summer vacation is over. It’s time to deal with all the sadness and, let’s admit it, relief that comes with sending your children back to school.
We all remember that first day back.
You’re seeing friends you haven’t seen for three months. You’re wandering the halls getting used to your new route between classes, the lunchroom, and after-school activities. And all the while, you’re a developing human with all of the flowing chemicals and hormones that growing entails, which means you have a great deal of self-consciousness about the process.
We all know how crucial that first-day outfit is, but a good back to school clothes checklist involves more than the spiffy duds your child rocks on day one.
Read on to find a comprehensive list of all the factors you’ll need to consider when it comes to your child’s sartorial needs for the new school year.
Back to School Clothes Checklist Starting Point: Dress Code vs. Casual Clothes
Before you begin your shopping, it’s wise to check the dress code of your child’s school.
Does the dress code require adherence to a structured code when it comes to colors and styles? Is there an actual uniform? If so, you may have one part of your shopping basically done for you.
Or are the suggestions looser, allowing for more creativity? This option may be the more time-consuming one to shop for, but it’s also a good chance to let your child in on the process. Ask them how they want to present themselves this school year.
No matter what, even if your kid attends a school with a uniform, they won’t be in that uniform all the time. It’s imperative that you find comfortable casual clothes that they can move around in, even if just after school.
Don’t Skimp on the Basics
Before we get to the fun stuff, let’s deal with the less glamorous aspects of your child’s wardrobe. Yes, we’re talking about socks and underwear.
When purchasing these items, keep in mind your capacity for doing laundry during the week. If you work full-time, you may want to purchase a few extra pairs of these undergarments to ensure your kids have clean items all week long. If you’ve got a lot of free time, fewer pairs may suit you and your budget just fine.
Recommended Checklist: 10 pairs of underwear and eight to 10 pairs of socks, leggings, or tights. Don’t forget at least one pair of dress socks!
Stock Up on Everyday Garments
These are the items that come to our mind first when we think of what to buy for back to school clothes.
Jeans, pants, shirts or tops, and even dresses fall under this category.
Since you know your child’s school’s dress code, you can set some bumpers on the lane of the school clothes shopping list, but we recommend letting your kid go bowling within those bumpers. Kids can have a lot of fun picking out their own clothes, as long as you remind them they’ll be wearing these things the whole school year and need to be comfortable moving around in them.
Recommended Checklist: Three to five pairs of jeans; two to four pairs of slacks or skirts, including one dress pair; four to five short-sleeved tops; three to five long-sleeved tops, including a dress option.
Prepare for All Weather
It’s important to remember that back to school means the whole year, not just the fall. You’ll need to prepare your child to dress in every kind of weather. That means those unseasonably warm days in October as well as the extended cold spells in March.
And that’s not to mention winter items.
This is another area where kids can have fun picking out their own clothes, but they may need a bit more guidance. You know the warmth level of the clothes they need, so guide them to the areas of the store that will meet those needs.
Recommended Checklist: Two sweaters, two hoodies, one raincoat, at least one windbreaker or fleece, one heavy winter coat, one pair of rain boots, one pair of snow boots, at least one warm winter hat, and two pairs of gloves or mittens.
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes
An essential element of not just style but comfort is footwear.
Shoes make an outfit pop, and they also keep your child ache-and-pain-free when walking between classes. This allows them to focus on their work and the business of being social.
Recommended Checklist: Two pairs of sneakers (one for school and one for after-school activities), a pair of dress shoes for recitals and other official events, and a pair of casual sandals if you live in warm weather.
Accessories often get overlooked when planning that first-day-of-school outfit.
This category is all about customizability. Jewelry, watches, and other small parts that tie an outfit together are all fair play.
Let your kids go a little crazy with how they tailor their outfits to themselves, as long as they stay within your budget. Learn more about the fun part of their style.
Don’t Forget Eyewear
Glasses go beyond mere accessories.
A good pair of glasses will make your child more than stylish. It will aid in the learning process!
As your kid grows, so does their head. And prescriptions can change as well.
Make sure you visit the optometrist before school starts to keep that prescription up to date and get your child a size that fits.
Fortunately, many stores offer optometrists’ offices inside them, so you might not have to travel far.
Get Those Hairs Cut
A fresh haircut will boost your child’s self-esteem come picture day. It will also give them the confidence they need to make new friends and enjoy the fun that a new school year has to offer.
Get your kids’ haircuts a week before school starts to ensure they are comfortable with their new ‘dos. This can mitigate any potential disasters if you happen to suffer an unfortunate stylist with all thumbs!
Enjoying Peace and Quiet
You’ve done the shopping. Now it’s time to let your kids enjoy the fruits of your labor and for you to enjoy a little R&R yourself.
Once you’ve made the back to school clothes checklist that works for you, you can refer to it for future school years. And once you finish resting, you can follow our tips on organizing your kids’ closets.