Build a trendy school wardrobe for less


The dawn of a new school year requires restocking school supplies. But for some kids, the most important part of returning to school is making sure they look good walking through the door on the first day of school — and each day thereafter.

The National Retail Federation says the average family with school-aged kids expects to spend $630 this year on school supplies. A large percentage of that money will be spent on clothing. Naturally, parents want their children to have clothing they’ll love and feel comfortable wearing, but do not want to break the bank buying wardrobes for their youngsters. But parents can employ various strategies to ensure kids look good without Mom and Dad going broke.

  • Invest in few essential clothing items.

Ask children what they are most interested in buying. One or two trendy shirts or an expensive pair of sneakers can be paired with seasonal pieces. The result is a trendy, affordable look.

  • Shop thrift shops and consignment stores.

You can find many brand-name items at a deep discount over retail store prices. Gently-used clothing can help budget-conscious families nab some key items at affordable prices.

  • See if DIY will fit the bill.

Girls may be enamored with an oversized hair accessory dubbed the JoJo Bow. They’re big and colorful, but the name-brand, authentic hair bows may be beyond some parents’ budgets. However, there are plenty of do-it-yourself videos online which are inspired by the original but can be made at a fraction of the cost. Parents also may find more affordable DIY alternatives to other trendy items.

  • Choose a size larger.

Children grow very fast, so if you find a super bargain but you can’t find it in your child’s size, it may be well worth the investment to purchase the item one size larger.

  • Share clothes.

Savvy bargain-hunters can swap gently worn shoes or clothing with other families when kids outgrow items.

  • Spread out purchases.

To make purchasing easier on the wallet, grab items here and there throughout the year and put them toward school wardrobe essentials, rather than cramming in shopping right before the school year begins. This approach also helps families shop sales and maintain a variety of pieces that make it easier to transitions kids’ wardrobes throughout the year.

School clothes can make up a large chunk of back-to-school shopping budgets. Smart choices help families save money.