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Choose a first day of school dress is a big deal – for both kids and Parents. The pressure is on, especially if your child hasn’t seen friends and classmates all summer or is preparing for new faces. Everyone wants to dress to impress, but you also want to make sure their school items will hold up all year long, from quality backpacks at sustainable lunch boxes.
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The same goes for clothes. It’s best to invest in year-round wardrobe basics that they can always wear, like comfy sweaters, cotton t-shirts, and chunky jackets. Material, size, and fun prints are also all factors to consider. Whether your child is athletic, artistic, or puts comfort first, here are the 13 best places to shop for the perfect back-to-school look.
1. Boden: For clothes that last
Boden is a British company that has become popular in the United States in recent years. Her kidswear line, dubbed “Mini Boden,” features cheerful prints and stellar seasonal collaborations. Mini Boden’s size is generous, so my kids often get two years of wear from the pieces we buy, and since most items are 100% cotton, they wash well and can take a good beating.
2. French Toast: For kids who wear uniforms
If your child is heading to a school that requires uniforms, you’ll definitely want to browse French Toast’s selection. Search for the specific school to see pants, skirts and shirts, then stock up on the styles your child likes best.
3. Primary: For non-gendered bases
Primary was founded by two mothers frustrated with the lack of affordable basic clothing for children. The company specializes in neutral and colored garments in 100% cotton jersey. Simplify your child’s morning routine by filling their wardrobe with clothes that can be easily mixed and matched. Primary’s leggings are a favorite of the 900 women in my local mom’s band, and there’s a good reason: the durable, high-quality fabric and unisex designs mean they can be passed down from brother to brother.
4. Target: For everything your child needs
If one-stop shopping is your jam, it’s hard to beat Target for picking both. school supplies and back-to-school fashion. One of the things we love the most about Target is that they have a great selection of branded merchandise, like superheroes and princesses, as well as non-character lines like Cat and Jack.
5. Splendid: For the softest clothes
My kids are obsessed with wearing only soft clothes, so I did a lot of research to find clothing brands that they won’t call “ouchie” or “itchy”. Splendid is an LA-based brand that makes buttery-soft cotton-rayon pieces that my kids have yet to find fault with. Price-wise, the brand’s clothes are top of the line, but I’m willing to pay a little more if it means less complaints from my children. Sign up for Splendid emails to be notified of sales. The brand usually offers a 30% to 50% discount at the end of the season.
6. Kohl’s: For fashion on a budget
7. Hanna Andersson: For nightwear and school clothes
8. Tea Collection: For clothes that have a cause
9. Maisonette: For the fashionista
If your little one has a taste for stylish designer pieces or you need something special for the first school dance, look no further than Maisonette. The beautifully curated site features high-end children’s fashion, as well as home decor and toys. Esoteric European brands are well represented on Maisonette, but there are also plenty of options from well-known designers. If there’s a fancy party or holiday event in your child’s future (or you just want them to look absolutely fabulous on their first day), Maisonette won’t disappoint.
10. Mabo: For ultra-comfortable basics
If you’re a parent, you may have seen ads on Instagram for Mabo’s organic cotton clothing. The Salt Lake City-based company designs and manufactures all of its parts in the United States; its cotton, linen and wool basics are incredibly soft and cozy. At Mabo’s organic cotton leggings are a favorite in my household both because they are comfortable and because they are durable enough to be worn by multiple children.
11. Nordstrom: For the right pair of kicks
The right pair of shoes can complete an outfit perfectly and take it from good to great; Luckily, Nordstrom started out as a shoe store, which may explain why they still have a great selection of kids’ shoes. Whether your child prefers running shoes or moccasins, there are plenty of options to choose from online and in physical stores. Plus, Nordstrom’s customer service is unbeatable: they offer price adjustments if an item you’ve purchased goes on sale, and kids’ shoe departments usually send little customers home with a balloon. We all know that everything is better with balloons!
12. Zulily: For colorful graphic tees and bold accessories
If your child is a maximalist, they’ll love what Zulily has to offer: from graphic tees and dresses with bright designs you can see even in a crowd to bold and vibrant backpacks and unicorn duffel bagsZulily is your one stop shop for your child to express themselves with all the colors they desire.
13. Polarn O. Pyret: For children in cold climates
Although temperatures could still soar into the triple digits, it’s only a matter of weeks before the first cold snap of the season. If your kids brave snow, sleet and freezing temperatures to get to school, Polarn O. Pyret is here to save them. The Swedish company has been making adorable (and practical) children’s clothes since 1976, and their sweaters and thermal underwear are second to none.