Back to School Clothes

Save and Get Organized

School supplies are expensive. The stores start selling supplies in July, which allows us to shop earlier so we can spread out the funds working up to the day school starts.

Here are some tips to help you save and prepare for shopping for school clothing.

Shop at home first. 

Now is a good time to separate play/summer clothes that can be worn and used in school. Perhaps your child outgrew the pants but still fit the shirts. Try on garments that were left behind in the spring or when summer started. Don’t forget about socks and undergarments. Get those replaced as needed. 

If you have multiple kids, perhaps start packing or bundling clothes that can be passed down to siblings. Prepare in advance and shop for clothes that can be worn for the next six months. Winter comes with a quick bang. 

Budget the school supplies first. 

Since clothing can be purchased at any time, it just makes sense to put the school supplies first — budget what you have left after shopping supplies.

If your budget is super low by going to Thrift shops, swap clothing, and shop clearance. I always check the sales and clearance before I purchase anything. Why spend more when you can pay less?

 Try shopping for places that give you cashback for things needed first. I just got a five-dollar cashback from Target when I did the self check out. 

If your child is required to wear a uniform, check eBay and other places for gently used outfits before buying new again. Donate or resell uniforms that no longer fit.


Until your child is mid preteen to teen, you will go through a lot of shoes. It is recommended to buy shoes that fit correctly; I prefer to buy shoes 1/2 size bigger, allow them to grow a little more before and while school starts. Any parent with elementary kids knows that shoes get used a lot and often replaced throughout the year. Keep winter in mind; don’t spend a bundle on shoes that will only get worn for a few weeks or months. I typically buy a pair of tennis shoes and one dressy pair. 

This is a good time for clothing spring cleaning to get rid of clutter. Wash and pack clothing for winter and prepare fall because the weather is bound to change soon.

Some stores start putting out winter clothing such as hats, gloves, and coats before the snow season starts. Stock up if they are discounted to help save money.

Ideally, it is best to start shopping in July. I recommend starting with school supplies and do most of the clothing shopping early to mid-August.

See the School Clothing Preparation Check List Below

Tops & bottoms

The clothing you choose will vary depending on your child’s age, gender, where you live, and if the school requires uniforms. Our biggest tip when it comes to back-to-school shopping is: If possible, get at least one top-and-bottom clothing pair for every day of the week. Here is what your kid will likely need in the clothing department.

  • Eight to 10 shirts
  • Four to six long-sleeve shirts, including a dressy top for special occasions like after-school functions
  • Two to four sweaters/sweatshirts (including pullovers and hoodies)
  • Seven pairs of pants/shorts (mix it up with jeans, khakis, and leggings)
  • One to two coats (depending on the climate where you live)
  • Scarves, mittens, beanies, gloves, etc. (think ahead and prep for the winter season, again depending on your weather)
  • A few dresses for girls that want to get dolled up


Your kid will likely need sneakers as well as sandals, plus dress shoes (see below under “special occasions”).

  • Two pairs of sneakers (one for playing around, another one for school)
  • One to two pairs of sandals/slip-on shoes


As with other clothing items, having extra undergarments will help prevent you from becoming a slave to the washing machine.

  • 10 to 14 pairs of socks
  • 10 to 14 pairs of underwear

For special occasions

Your kids likely won’t need a ton of dressy clothing for school, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few options for any after-school functions that pop up.

  • One pair of dress shoes
  • Two to three dressy tops (including sweater)
  • Two to three fashionable pairs of pants/slacks
  • Two to three skirts/dresses
  • One to two pairs of tights

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