It’s never too early to begin teaching your kids about style. Whether you have a first grader, or a freshman in high school, it’s up to you to guide them in the right direction when it comes to expressing individuality through fashion. Obviously, an 8-year-old boy would have very different priorities relating to clothing choices versus his 12-year-old sister; however, keep reading for some advice and style tips that are guaranteed to help you (and your child) learn all the back to school fashion trends for kids!
Naturally, moms want their kids to look crisp and clean for the first day of school (and subsequent Facebook photos). Although it’s tempting to dictate your child’s first-day-of-school outfit, some moms believe that compromising on what to wear is the best course of action. This can be done by talking to your child about their style preferences and then finding a middle ground. Likely, comfort will be at the top of the list. Even at a young age, your child may also feel strongly about using fashion to express his or her interests quickly to other classmates.
For elementary-aged boys, you may need to lay some strict ground rules, such as no sweats, no gym or basketball shorts, and no stains or rips. A few stylish compromises might include offering a pair of cool camouflage cargo shorts instead of gym shorts, or a soft, jersey knit polo shirt (basically a t-shirt with a collar) instead of a stiff, pique-knit polo. Remember, comfort is key for youngsters. If it’s still warm out when school begins, send him off to class in a shirt that wicks away sweat when he’s running outside on the playground.
In contrast, third and fourth grade girls will likely be more tuned in to their personal style preference. Cultivate your prima donna’s fashion sense by demonstrating how to mix solids, colors, and prints to create unique outfits. Instead of letting her throw on a tee and shorts, teach her how to use basic pieces as a jumping off point to create a layered look. For example, if your daughter picks out her favorite screen-printed tee for the first day of school, help her to choose a few coordinating pieces that play off the colors or pattern. For a casual look, you might suggest she wear the tee under a chambray button-up with the sleeves rolled up. Then, add a pull-on skirt and a pair of contrasting slip-on sneakers.
By middle school, most kids have become more aware of pop culture, and may begin mimicking the styles worn by their role models. It’s likely that the boys are still not caring much about clothes, but for adolescent girls, identity becomes paramount. Between first dances, boyfriends, and peer pressure, there’s bound to be some turbulence up ahead, so take the opportunity on the first day of school to teach your “tween” girl how to put together a tasteful, balanced outfit.
Although your preteen girl may love a variety of statement accessories, glitzy metallic pieces, and loud patterns, it’s up to you to temper her urge to wear all her favorite things at the same time. Instead, have her choose a couple pieces (such as a bracelet and a dress), and then add on the rest of the outfit without overdressing. Keep in mind that although they are fun, accessories can visually clutter up an outfit. If your child insists on wearing multiple accessories, then gently steer her towards a simpler, monochromatic ensemble.
Sixth and seventh grade is also a great time to stress that school outfits should be appropriate (for example, no short dresses or tube tops). A few current trends that your middle school student might like experimenting with include: fun animal prints (such as leopard patterns), stripes and plaid patterned shirts, hi-neck swing dresses, denim dresses, fringe accents, metallic shoes, and quirky graphic printed t-shirts.
By the time your child reaches high school, they are likely very opinionated about their clothing. They may even have an afterschool job that funds their own wardrobe purchases. If your teenager is on a budget, coming up with a new back-to-school style may require getting creative with summer leftovers. For young men, this may include layering jackets or button-ups shirts over tees. For young ladies, it might mean layering a summer dress over a plaid long-sleeve button-up and slipping on a pair of suede booties.
The beginning of a new school year is an exhilarating time for the entire family. When all the planning, preparations, and practice runs are complete, it all comes down to one question: What should I wear? Whether you are responsible for hand-picking the first day of school outfit, or merely providing advice as your child begins to navigate the world of fashion, remember that your style lessons will stay with them well past graduation.