The key to being fashionable and comfy for kids this fall: layers, layers, layers! Check out our top picks for back-to-school must-haves.
Back in our day, school shopping meant long sleeves, sweaters, jackets-the first-day-of-school look was quintessentially buttoned-up and cozy, perfect for brisk fall days. But it's often still hot when our kids head back to the classroom (is it global warming, earlier start dates, or just that our parents bundled us up regardless?). Layering items of different fabric weights works great with current styles, and helps guarantee your child will be comfortable in the playground heat and in an air-conditioned classroom.
Here are some of our favorite picks modeled by New York City students Taylor T. (age 10, heading into fifth grade) and Matthew B. (age 8, soon-to-be fourth-grader). Mix and match the separates with each other, and with your kids' favorite items from last spring.
Taylor and Matthew show that some things work equally well for boys and girls (see same cap on him below) - so let brothers and sisters swap once in a while. Camouflage hat ($6.50) by The Children's Place. Gray tunic ($11.99) by American Living for JCPenney. "The Starlet" slim leg tie-dyed jeans by Joe's Jeans Kids ($79); www.lollipopguildonline.com or www.joesjeans.com.
Remember: Silly Bandz are not allowed in most schools - so slip them on little wrists for after-school activities only!
When weather gets cooler, add tights and a lightweight jacket to this look. Black sweater with 3-quarter-length sleeves, a great transition piece ($42), chain necklace ($18), and fuschia-and-black skirt ($40), all by Plum; www.lollipopguildonline.com or www.plumpuddingltd.com. Fringed boots ($42.50) by The Children's Place. Pink-and-white gingham sling bag with charms by Paul Frank ($32).
Almost anything works over basic leggings, from simple graphic tees for the early part of the year, to full-on sweaters come autumn. Trade in those favorite summer flip-flops for ballet flats for the first day of class, then for boots a few weeks later. Peace-symbol rayon tunic by Flowers by Zoe ($56); www.lollipopguildonline.com or www.flowersbyzoeclothes.com. Knit snap leggings ($10.50) by The Children's Place.
Preppy casual is a nice way to look cleaned up enough for class, but cool enough for his classmates. Add a bulky sweater to warm up the shorts, or layer the top over khaki pants. Baseball cap ($5.50) and navy cotton polo shirt ($12.50), both by The Children's Place. Cotton patchwork shorts by American Living for JCPenney ($16.99). Adidas Kids adissage Slides Shoes ($21); www.shopadidas.com. Black-and-gray sneakers ($22.50) by The Children's Place.
Nope, those cargos still haven't gone out of style! Dress them up with a light sweater, or down, like Matthew does here with a bright long-sleeved tee. Camouflage hat ($6.50) by The Children's Place. Lacrosse print tee by Wes and Willy ($28); www.lollipopguildonline.com or www.wesandwilly.com. Cotton twill cargo pants by Quiksilver ($42); www.lollipopguildonline.com or www.quiksilver.com.
Boys can get away with jeans just about every day. Layer some basic blues for a laidback monochromatic look. Cotton sweatshirt with retro surfing graphic ($18.99) and plaid shirt ($14.99) both by American Living for JCPenney. Dark denim strait leg jeans by Quiksilver ($44); www.lollipopguildonline.com or www.quiksilver.com.