How do you do school clothes?

When I was growing up, the beginning of the school year was a BIG DEAL. It was the only time of year when we got new clothes, aside from a dress at Christmas time and maybe a new pair of pants or boots as needed. I personally liked to have at least five new outfits so I could wear something brand new every day that first week back.

So as a mother myself, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to buy my kids a new wardrobe once back-to-school season rolls around. But this year I noticed something unexpected: My kids don’t seem to expect a lot of clothes. Maybe because I don’t buy much during the rest of the year, they seem to think I won’t be buying much right now either? Or are they oblivious to the fact that I’ve always stocked their closets with new things each fall? I don’t know. But they truly seem content with what they’ve got.

These photos constitute most of the clothes I’ve bought for back-to-school this year.

Case in point: My sister tipped me off about a good Old Navy sale online. So I shopped the site and ordered one or two outfits per kid. When the clothes arrived, the kids acted like it was Christmas or something. The only one who asked for more was my oldest, who thinks he needs a new backpack. No one said anything like, “Is that all you got?”

I also hate to admit this, but I’ve had a case of “keeping up with the Joneses” when it comes to school clothes. I’ve wanted my kids to look cute and have at least a week’s worth of new things like I did growing up. Now I’m realizing all that shopping in the past has been meeting my need, not theirs.

So here’s my question: How do you handle back to school? Do you buy new wardrobes for your kids, or do you buy just a couple new things and call it good? My kids will each need another pair of pants or two, and one son will need boots once it snows, but what if that’s all? Man, think of all the money I’ll save! More to spend on flowers and bills, I guess. •

6 thoughts

  1. Okay so I’m new to school, but I’ve noticed when school starts it’s too hot for the fall clothing anyway. So I buy 2 shirts, new shoes (always needed) and maybe one bottoms. Backpacks are lasting us 3 years, we buy pottery barn totally worth it and size appropriate! I may put some fun patches on Vivian’s this year to change it up a bit, but that’s it. I buy winter clothes on clearance a bit the year before, and get those out when the weather changes. But no new full wardrobe. They honestly just don’t need it in my opinion. At least my kids don’t. So I buy things as needed throughout the year.


    1. I am not at all surprised that you are very organized when it comes to kids’ clothes. I sprung for PB backpacks for the twins for their bday, and I’m excited to see how long they last. Cute idea to add some new patches on Vivi’s this year—that’s easy and cute and fun for her too.


  2. Oh my goodness. We must be from the same mold. My parents would buy school clothes exact same way and that was pretty much it. It is hard to break a cycle or tradition but I also found my kiddos had more clothes than it was necessary. They would wear the same things over and over. Sent from my iPhone



  3. I usually take a trip to Las Vegas to visit my parents every January or February. While I am there I hit up the thrift and consignment stores. So many big brands just dump last seasons clothes that I can find brand new things like Gap for less than a dollar. For $50 total I can usually buy all three kids clothing for the following year including shoes. I then have three bins in my garage each with clothes for my kids to grow into. Every 6 months I rotate out what doesn’t fit or has become worn and pull from their bucket. It’s fun because I forget the treasures I’ve found.


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