Fall shopping secrets for kids

Whether your child wears a school uniform or an outfit of their own choosing, those growing bodies often necessitate new clothing for the start of school. I am a newbie at the school clothes shopping game and have one child wearing a uniform to kindergarten and a headstrong 3-year-old who just wants pink glitter EVERYTHING.

To help me stay sane and on budget, I turned to fashion and style expert/national media personality Lilliana Vazquez who frequently shares her style secrets on the TODAY show.

Where should we start when school shopping?

Sneakers usually need to be refreshed because they can get worn out fast, and feet change sizes often. This is an ideal item to start with because the style can guide the rest of your shopping. Is your child heading toward athletic sneakers paired with athletic apparel? Or are they interested in a more trendy shoe?

How do we let our children express their personal style while still buying clothing that can be worn on multiple occasions? 

Clothing is a way for children to express their personal style, and they are much more fashion-focused than we were. Trends are more available to them because of their access to online resources. My rule is one trendy piece for every two classic pieces. This allows for a versatile wardrobe — they can be trendy one day, but get dressed quickly and practically on other days. This is an excellent rule of thumb for parents as well! If kids see you following your own rules, it is easier for them to abide.

How do I save time when school clothes shopping with my children?

Opt for an all-in-1 store like Sears — they offer everything from shoes to backpacks to accessories. This way, you won’t be hitting up multiple stores and can cut down on the decisions. Another way is to let kids look at the website of the store you are heading to prior to the visit. They can pick out items they might like to try and create a list of what they need.

What styles and patterns are on trend for kids fashion this fall?

We are seeing a lot of pattern/print mixing right now. This can be a difficult trend to decode for parents, so my tip is to make sure the patterns have one color in common to pull the look together. In terms of pattern types, I like the look of mixing one abstract print like watercolor with something more geometric like stripes or polka dots.

How do we make hand me downs more enticing?

Create a rule with your children: one new item for every two hand-me-downs. You can also customize and personalize pieces. For example, if your child was handed a denim jacket from a sibling, head to a craft store and grab some patches to sew on. If they are given a winter coat, swap out the buttons or add a new belt.

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