A friend of mine who has four children once told me that you can only dictate what your child wears to a certain point. It doesn’t necessarily come at a particular age, but instead there comes a moment when your kid will tell YOU what’s in style, or what their friends are wearing. So, whenever I’m pulling together a back to school items for a child- focused photo shoot, I try to think like a kid does. I take into consideration the influences that children are exposed to everyday, and I try to incorporate that into what I bring to the photo shoot. Then like any smart adult, I give them some choices. Kids are very vocal about what they like, and what they don’t like – it’s as simple as that. So, when they actually like what I have for them to wear, I feel like I’ve hit a home run!
Allowing your children to have a say in what they wear to school, or for play, will not only make them happy, but it will make the lives of parents much easier too! Giving options instead of saying “no” is a way for the child to feel that he or she is really calling the shots. Following is a list of items that will make back-to-school shopping with your child easier. And, by utilizing what our Goodwill stores have to offer, it’ll be easy on your budget too!
Separates are the best way to let your kid express individuality. Let them help you pick out a variety of long and short sleeved t-shirts to start with. T-shirts are the layering piece that you simply can’t live without when it comes to school clothing. All kids love to wear their tees! You should also be looking for button up blouses and shirts in both lightweight and heavier fabrics like denim, corduroy, and flannel, which can help during that transitional period when it’s not cold enough for a coat and not warm enough for a t-shirt alone. Sweaters and lightweight jackets are also a great back-to-school basic. Two or three of these pieces of your child's choice will add to their ability to “style” themselves before school!
No matter what, the biggest must-have for kids of all ages are jeans. Whether your kid prefers skinnies, boot cut, or classic, having a wide range of these hearty fashion icons is a given for a fuss free “getting ready for school” routine. Make sure your child tries on the jeans as you may want to make sure they’re not too long or conversely too short for them. Cuffing is always a good option, but too short just won’t ever do! In the realm of separates are also skirts, blazers, vests, leggings, and all the other items that make clothing more fashionable.
Accessories should be practical and fun, too. Allow your kid to pick a couple pairs of sneakers, as well as some sturdier shoes like lace up boots, flats, or oxfords. Choices, but not too many choices, are what will make them feel empowered to “own” their look! Bright backpacks, purses, hats, and other cool items will put a smile on your face, and theirs, as they confidently navigate the fast-approaching back-to-school routine.
As you can see by our photos of these great kids, what’s in style is all about how THEY put it together. We see bright colors, distressed denim, sturdy work clothes, blazers worn casually over a t-shirt, and of course, the bright smiles of happy children, which is perhaps the best look of all! With a little help from your child, and the Goodwill store nearby, you can fill in all the back-to-school wardrobe gaps you have. At the same time, you’ll also be teaching them the value of your purchase by sharing Goodwill’s mission of helping those in need.
Photos by John Grant of John Grant Photography.