How to Master Back to School Cool 7

They’ve already group chatted about the new school year. They are excited about making new friends and seeing old ones. You want to make sure they feel confident in their skin when they finally look up from their devices to make eye contact with you or anyone else. Summer is closing and it’s time to refocus all energy on education, but not without a little style and some creativity. Here are a few tips to make this school year the best school year in fashion and the best school year in spending.

Layer Up. It’s easy to buy for Winter and Summer, but it’s the seasons in between that create fashion woes. Layering is a good way to keep up with the temperature and its spontaneity inside and outside of the classroom. Adding layers instead of bulky outwear creates the opportunity to sprinkle in a little creativity. Whether it’s a graphic tee under a button down or a cool sweater that can easily be thrown in a backpack midday, the ease of peeling off a layer of clothing will be more appealing than dragging around a jacket they won’t need after noon.

Bag it Up. Let’s face it, we carry more than one bag and if we don’t, we have all used our cars as storage for those just in case items. Our kids don’t have that luxury and it seems as though our kids’ lives are becoming as busy as ours. Make sure that their backpacks keep up with their lifestyle. Compartments and durability is the key. Does it hold their electronics in a safe, protected place, while making room for lunch or a change of clothes? Are the straps on the bag durable enough to hold up to all their AP textbooks? Sometimes, you may have to opt for different bags for different needs or opt for an additional collapsible bag that holds, say, smelly footwear away from their snacks – which is a savings in the long run.

Size it up. Keep in mind that the cut of the clothing factors into the longevity of it for more than style. It’s not a matter of whether skinny jeans are in or out but rather if they still fit six months later. A looser more forgiving fit can help increased the life of the item and lessens turnover. But this is no excuse for baggy, ill-fitting clothing.

Plan early. It’s easy to get creative with your shopping needs when you have time to do so. If you have a list of items you know you need to buy for the school year – shop early and often. Don’t let a sale go by without some forethought. No one likes shopping in crowded stores and waiting in long fitting room lines. Also, don’t forget about cashing in discounts, loyalty rewards and coupons when you’re making large purchases or electronics.

Check the dress code. Whether your children attend public or private school, make sure you know the requirements. Check with the school to determine what is needed for the new year. One of the most annoying phone calls to get is a call from your child’s school saying that your child is out of dress code. It’s a completely preventable interruption that can be avoided if you have all the correct information. 
Don’t be afraid to contact the school to ask for any changes in the dress code policy. And if your child likes to push the boundaries of the dress code, have a conversation with the school upfront to confront the issue before school starts. Keep in mind that creativity should be rewarded, but it shouldn’t also be a distraction.

Restock the basics. Does he need new shoes for choir? Does she need new athletic wear for gym? Are there leftover supplies from last year? Take inventory of the well-loved and make a list of what needs to be replaced. It’s easy to overdose on the trendy. Your kids want what they want, but what’s the point of buying something that they won’t want merely three months from now. And, if you happen to be shopping in advanced, steering away from the basics means wasting money in the long run. Keep your trendier items to a minimum. However, don’t deny your kids all the fun. Apply the 80/20 rules to the needs/wants list. Spend 80 percent of your back to school budget on necessities and let your kids have some fun with the rest. Assure them that their prime picks need to last them for the rest of the year. That should settle their little minds until the holidays because they don’t NEED the Apple watch before school starts.

Stick to the list. It’s tempting to veer off the list as a parent. We can be easily sidetracked. We can fall into the trap of “he probably needs that” or “she should have that” or “isn’t that cute” and throw it in the shopping cart especially if your shopping cart is virtual. In the heat of the moment of moving through our checklist, we buy things sporadically and realize later – surprised by its delivery or the credit card bill – that we spent more money than we intended.

Monitor online shopping. Avoiding the lines at the local stores before school starts is easy thanks to Amazon and your favorite stores’ websites. Delegating a duty to your teenager like ordering their school supplies and back to school necessities teaches them responsibility and how to budget. However, make sure that kids are shopping based on their needs and their age. Make sure clothes and supplies are age appropriate and not offensive. Again, no surprises in the principal’s office.