School Clothes Buying Guide

Give your kids a great start to the school year with the latest styles, fashions and basics. This school clothes buying guide will help you shop for your child without breaking the bank.

School Clothes 101

Clothing style plays a big role in helping your child feel confident and fit in with friends at school. A school wardrobe stocked with all the basics also helps kids get organized and develop routines that allow them to dress quickly in the morning. Look for quality, durability and functionality when shopping for your child’s clothes. Avoid long drawstrings: they can pose a hazard by getting caught or tangled. Be sure to include classic styles like cotton shirts and denim jeans that are as easy to care for as they are comfortable to wear. It's a good idea to shop with your kids and, within reason, let them choose the styles they like. Shopping for school clothes can be stressful, but with a bit of planning you'll ensure your child is happy with the result, and eager to start learning.

Types of School Clothes


Underwear and Socks for School

Stock up on at least 10 pairs of boys’ underwear & socks and girls’ underwear and socks per child to keep school mornings running smoothly and avoid the last-minute laundry dash. When shopping for socks, look for cotton, acrylic, or polyester fabric. Make sure to buy a variety of colours, however keep in mind that white socks are easy to bleach to recreate that brand-new colour. Let your children choose items they feel comfortable wearing, whether it’s boxers or briefs for your son or a training bra or camisole for your daughter. If you have more than one child, consider sticking to the same colours and styles of socks for all so it's simple to match misplaced socks. For girls, stock up on tights or leggings in a variety of colours and neutrals to make coordinating easy and fast.

Shirts and Tees for School

Add a cache of six to 10 boys’ shirts & tees or girls’ shirts & tees to your child’s closet to start off the school year. They’re comfortable on their own in summer weather, and great for layering under heavier clothes to keep your child warm in winter. Plus, they make it easy for kids to shed layers and avoid overheating in toasty classrooms. Tees are also handy standbys for gym and extracurricular activities, and graphic tees are an affordable way for kids to show off their favourite cartoon characters, music stars or sports teams. Buttoned-shirts (short or long sleeve) are a great choice for younger and older kids alike, especially for picture day or to attend the school play. Keep in mind, white shirts are easy to bleach, but they also show stains the most.

Sweaters, Sweatshirts and Hoodies

Sweaters, sweatshirts and hoodies are practical boys’ tops and girls’ tops. Designed to wear well without wrinkling, they're great for stowing in backpacks, lockers or kindergarten cubbies for use on chilly schooldays. Zippered fronts tend to be easier than buttons or pullovers for put-on and take-off, especially for younger kids. You may also want to avoid drawstrings for added safety on the playground. Consider buying oversized hoodies for fast-growing kids, and to accommodate tees worn underneath for added warmth. During cooler months, sweaters made from acrylic are a good substitute for wool.

Pants and Jeans for School

Kids wear out the knees of their pants quickly, so be sure you’re well stocked for the year with boys’ pants and girls’ pants. Denim holds up best to dirt, scrapes and tears on the playground, so 4-5 pairs of boys’ jeans and girls’ jeans is advised. Cargo pants and khakis are a good option for school events and picture days. You should also pick up some comfy sweatpants for gym and extracurricular activities (2-3 pairs), and insulated snow pants for winter wear (two pairs means one will always be fresh and ready while the other dries). You should also consider pants with adjustable waistlines in case of unforeseen growth spurts, and you can pin leg hemlines and let them out as your child gets taller. For very young kids, choose pants with elastic waistbands to avoid fussing with snaps or zippers on bathroom breaks. 

Dresses and Skirts for School

If your daughter prefers skirts and dresses on the playground, be sure to buy some comfortable cotton, polyester, denim, cotton, or cotton twill rompers for active play. Stock up on lighter dresses and skirts for fall and spring, and warmer ones for winter. To make the most of your budget, you can buy a larger size, shorten the hemline, and just let it out as she grows. And don’t forget to buy snug-fitting cotton shorts or footless tights for use under lighter dresses, and leggings for wearing under heavier dresses. If you’re buying items separately, consider neutral or denim skirts to make it easy to coordinate outfits and reduce morning fuss.

Shoes and Boots for School

Many schools require kids to change their shoes at the start of the day, so be sure to invest in two pairs of comfortable boys’ shoes and/or girls’ shoes. Look for durable rubber soles with traction to avoid slips and falls, dark colours that won’t show dirt, and Velcro to avoid tripping on undone laces. Invest in a pair of warm insulated boys’ boots and/or girls’ boots for winter weather, and waterproof rubber boots for rainy days.

School Uniforms

Before shopping for boys’ school uniforms and/or girls’ school uniforms, make sure the school policy allows you to shop outside the official school uniform store. Be sure to fully read and understand the dress code before you start shopping, as some schools adhere to strict guidelines, and some allow more freedom. Some uniform policies will allow you to shop elsewhere for backup items, from polos to khakis to shirts. With a bit of research, you can significantly cut your child's uniform costs while still meeting your school’s criteria. Be conservative in your purchases, as kids outgrow clothes fast and many kids don’t wear all parts of the uniform on a regular basis.

Gym Clothes for School

When shopping for boys’ gym clothes and/or girls’ gym clothes, consider your child’s activity level and expected participation in extracurricular sports programs. The more active your child, the more gym shorts and track pants you'll need to ensure a clean pair is always available. Athletic pants have a looser fit, rarely go out of style, and accommodate growing kids better than most other styles.

Jackets &Coats for School

Make sure your child is outfitted with sensible jackets and coats suited to the cooler seasons and all types of weather. You can buy one size bigger to last more than one season, and neutral colours are the best as they’ll match most outfits. A hooded fleece or soft-shell jacket should keep your child warm in early fall, and a flannel-lined raincoat offers protection against wet spring weather. When winter rolls around, your child should have a heavily lined coat or down parka to stay warm going to and from school and during outdoor recesses. You can save money by buying a jacket with a removable liner. Be sure to size it right: choose outerwear that’s snug enough to keep your child warm, yet loose enough to allow movement, airflow and layers.

Outerwear (Hats, Gloves and Scarves)

It’s a good idea to stock up on several pairs of waterproof gloves, mittens, hats and scarves early in the school year to ensure that you have enough when pairs go missing and stores start selling out of winter items. Wool and knits are stylish but they tend to absorb moisture more easily than other materials. Keep heads, necks and ears covered with fleece headbands, neck warmers and toques. Keep extra boys’ outerwear and/or girls’ outerwear tucked in backpacks and coat pockets in case they go missing.

School Clothes Pre-Shopping Tips:

  • Set a budget for each child and stay within it
  • Make a list of what you need to buy
  • Read upon your child's school dress codes before shopping
  • Do an inventory of your child’s closet: discard or donate items that are worn or don’t fit
  • Sell gently used clothes at a resale shop and use the money toward new clothing

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School Clothes Care Tips:

  • Follow the garment’s care and washing instructions
  • For younger kids, put labels on clothing like jackets, hoodies and shoes for easy identification at school
  • Get your child into the habit of changing out of their school clothes or uniform after school: it will help school clothes last longer
  • Consider spraying school uniform jackets and ties with a fabric protector to repel spills and stains
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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