School Clothes That Stand the Test of Time and Budget

This post is part of the and Carter’s | OshKosh and #CartersOshKosh #Kidsentials sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.

Who remembers the knee patch your mom ironed on over the hole on your favourite pair of jeans? The jeans you chased your grade school crush around in. The jeans you would wear until your mom would literally force them off of you to wash. The jeans you fashioned for every occasion. We all had our favourite pairs!

Somehow, those amazing jeans, that had been through everything, lost their cool the minute your mom “put a patch on it!” (pun intended) They lost their edge. The cool factor of their worn out look was gone with that fresh, clean patch.

This is a real memory for me as a child. I remember when I became a mom, I swore I would never patch my kids’ jeans.  Funny enough, my husband has the same memories and made me promise I would never buy a patch… ever. 

This patch-free pact we made seemed very doable, until it’s your kid and you swear they must be dragging their knees across the playground cement. We barely make it to Halloween before our son’s pants start to wear thin.

As moms, we get it. We know the pain of out-grown, over-worn clothes, that don’t even make it to the hand me down pile!  We both also know the challenge of incredibly “fashion independent” children, who have their very own, unique style. We both have girls who have been dressing themselves since they were two, and boys who might just be future fashion bloggers themselves. 

My husband swore he had the answer to our dilemma when he purchased some shall we say “affordable”, okay cheap, jeans for our son. They were literally splitting at the seams before the 2nd week of school.  

So we had to come up with a game plan to make sure our kiddies had their clothing and fashion needs met, while still staying within our budgets. Having little ones in SK to grade 2, we have done the back-to-school shopping dance a handful of times. We can confidently say that we are mom-experts in this field. Okay, maybe not experts, but we’re pretty good. Although, last year during one of our back-to-school shopping days, within the first twenty minutes there were tears, complaints, looks of disgust and pure frustration over the selections we were making. 

This year we have a new game plan. Our goal is to keep the tears and frustration on the down low, the kids in check, and our shopping time to a minimum.  


1. Shop in the morning

Have a hearty breakfast and while everyone’s spirits are high, hit the stores.  Bring snacks and take breaks if the kids are showing any signs of frustration.

2. Have Fun 

This should be fun! Let your little ones make choices. Recognize their style and listen to what they say. Ask them their opinions before you send them into a change room with a bunch of items they do not want to be trying on. Choose a store such as Carter’s | OshKosh where you know you will find clothes that provide quality and durability, but are still stylish. This is a win win for everyone.

3. Keep It Simple – One Stop Shop

This is a big one. Find one place that carries the things you need. As we mentioned, we both love to shop at Carter’s | OshKosh because they specialize in young children’s apparel. From newborns to size 14 (our kiddies age ranges from 5 months to 7 years old), this is perfect for us! Not to mention, this is a brand that we wore as kids. We just love that history!  

4. Have a Game Plan and Involve the Kids

Start your shopping experience with a game plan and check list of what you actually need. Make sure you involve the kids with the plan, so expectations are met. That way neither of you gets lost in buying things you do not need.  Let them know what they should expect and make sure you stick to your own plan. Do NOT DEVIATE! Take it from us, they will be the first to let you know if you start spending too much time in one area. 

5. Give Them the Check List

Below is a handy check list for back-to-school items. Give your little one a copy, so you can both stay on track and within budget.*  *This is a common theme. 

(Purely for our own sanity, so we don’t have to do laundry multiple times a week, we think it’s best that the littles have a fresh outfit to wear every day of the school week. Plus one or two extras just in case…)

  • Shirts: 8-10 - If they like T-shirts more, then get a few of those to pair with a zip-up hoodie.
  • Pants: 7 - Go for a variety of jeans, khakis, joggers or tights and one dressy pair or a dress for the girls.
  • Sweatshirts/sweaters: 3 - Mix it up with pull-overs or hoodies and one nice sweater for special events.
  • Long-sleeve shirts: 5 - Add in a dressy option as well.
  • Girls may opt for a couple of shirts/dresses as well depending on preference.
  • Shoes: 1 pair for indoor/ 1 pair for outdoor / 1 dressy pair –Try them on in-store and make sure your kids can get them off and on.  We have purchased amazing shoes, only to have a child in tears over not being able to get ready fast enough at school, requiring us to buy a new pair.
  • Socks: 10-15 pairs
  • Underwear: 10-15 pairs

Want to see what we got? Here are some of the items our little ones chose:

Hockey themed long sleeve shirt

Tulle skirt with matching top

Sparkly shoes

OshKosh fleece jogging suit

6. Let Them Take a Break

Kids will be kids. Don’t get frustrated if they are tired or over the shopping experience faster than you expected.  Again, another reason why we just love shopping at Carter’s | OshKosh is our kiddies can take much needed breaks, play with the toys or watch the in-store movie, all while we show them clothing options and outfits … with either a “yah or nah’! 

7. Have a Special ‘Treat’ After and Make It a Special Back-to-School Day

This is a special day. Going back to school is exciting, but also scary for some kids. If you have time, take each child separately. If you can’t, don’t sweat it. Make it a family activity. This can be a special day out with Mom and/or Dad. Grab a yummy treat out after or have a picnic in the park post shopping. Or if your kids are anything like ours, you’ll be treated to a full fashion show when you get home. Whatever your back-to-school shopping includes, have fun and try to enjoy it. 


Vanessa + Melissa


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