Back to School Fashion Essentials (Kindergarten to 5th Grade)


I have always gotten a little thrill when I think about back to school shopping. When I was teaching elementary school, the idea of creating the perfect back to school wardrobe excited me to no end. Now that I have my own daughter and son, the excitement is magnified! Both my kids have grown tremendously over the past few months (more sleep, maybe?) and I can’t wait to fill their closets with fun and functional pieces that help them express their awesome spirits.

I’ve rounded up my favorite products from some great online retailers to help you in your search for the best back to school wardrobe. I hope you find your little one’s happy mix of colors and styles for a fresh start.  

The Perfect Pair of Stretch Jeans

Let’s face it. As moms, we love the denim look on kids. However, every time we buy a pair of jeans they get worn once and then passed over for cozy leggings or sweatpants. The perfect compromise is this pair of denim leggings by Boden for girls ($34) or these stretch cotton jersey slim jeans with an elastic waistband for boys ($42). Both pairs have enough stretch for the pull on feeling and enough denim look for those adorable autumn sweaters.

The Warm and Fashionable Jacket

Back to School has our kids up at early hours playing in the cool San Francisco fog before the bell rings. They need a snuggly jacket that will make them feel like the coolest kid in the yard. For the girls, the North Face Mossbud Swirl Reversible Water Repellant Jacket fits the bill. At $110, this jacket is a bit pricey, but since it reverses to a plush silky soft fleece it’s really a two for one!

For the boys, try this Helly Hansen Hybrid Midlayer Jacket ($80.00). This midweight jacket is breathable for running and jumping and warm for standing still. The bright two-toned color will make them easy to spot on a crowded playground and in the snow later in the winter.

The Perfect Backpack

We all want durability in a backpack, but what about self-expression? We choose our bags carefully, so let’s help our kids express their individuality through their bags too. Here are three backpacks that will stand out in the hanging closet at school.

The first backpack ($45.94, has a rolling handle for those heavy homework days and a front pocket bedazzled with pink sequins for your little superstar. The padded shoulder straps are comfortable and the side pockets are perfect for a water bottle on one side and the ever popular ‘squishee’ toy on the other side (we won’t tell the teacher!)

The MacKenzie Navy Solar System Backpack ($49.50 for Large, comes in Pre-K, Small, Large, and Rolling so all the kids can match! This super durable backpack can be personalized with your child’s name, so your cutie will never go home with the wrong bag.

For a more minimalist backpack, try the ‘Pop Quiz’ Backpack by Herschel Supply Co. ($75, This retro style is clean and modern, with enough space for a laptop required of the older kids. This one is a great choice for parents too!

The. Best. Leggings. is an online-only retailer of kids clothing started by two moms with the goal of providing awesome basics at reasonable price. As the name suggests, Primary specializes in colors, and more recently, stripes! The leggings ($65 for five or $14 each) come in vibrant colors, are prewashed, and have smooth, flat seams for a comfortable, no pinch fit.

Primary also has heathered French terry joggers ($20) in twelve colors with a more relaxed fit and a functional drawstring.

The Softest Tee shirts and Polos

Swedish born children’s brand Hannah Andersson has the goal of making “soft, indestructible cotton clothing that lets kids be kids.” The brand sells baby, girls, boys, family matching pajamas, and boasts a comfy costume shop. Hannah tee shirts are my go-to for my two-year-old and six-year-old.

Give your little one a boost of confidence on the first day of school with this Wonder Woman Sueded Jersey Art Tee ($32). For your little rock star, try this Discover Tee ($24) in organic cotton. The fun print is sure to inspire greatness!

If your little one wears a uniform, Hannah Andersson has some super soft long sleeve and short sleeve polos ($30, on sale for $12.99). The sueded jersey fabric feels like a lightweight blanket and is easily washable.

Now that your back to school shopping is done, kick back, relax, and enjoy these precious last few days of summer!

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Laura is the founder of Merry Styling, a mom of two, and a former teacher who lives in San Francisco. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio and relished the changing of seasons because it meant revamping her wardrobe! After completing graduate school at The Ohio State University, Laura relocated to San Francisco, where she taught elementary school for nine years before having her two children Noelle (6) and Lucas (2). When her youngest was six months old, Laura started working as a stylist with jewelry and accessories company Stella and Dot. Since then, she has earned a Fashion Merchandising degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, styled with nonprofit Dress for Success, and done various merchandising projects for different retail organizations. Laura knows that style is more than clothing and accessories. She has found it to be an amazing confidence booster. Finding the perfect outfit on a bad day can turn it into a great one. She is especially passionate about working with moms Laura started Merry Styling because she wants to help other moms and anyone else who feels "left behind by fashion" to feel confident, empowered, and beautiful through personal styling, closet detox, and personal shopping sessions. Follow her at @merrystylingsf on Facebook, @merrystyling on Instagram and check out for more!


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