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12 places to shop for the perfect first-day-of-school outfit

Because first impressions are important.

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Choosing a first-day-of-school outfit is a big deal—especially for kids who haven't seen their classmates in person for over a year. Whether your child is sporty, artsy, or just wants to be comfortable, we've found 12 places to shop for the perfect back to school look.

1. Boden: For clothes that last

On the left: Two young girls standing in a field holding a kite. On the right: A young boy sits on top of a dresser and talk to another boy standing next to him.
Credit: Boden

Boden makes great quality clothes.

Boden is a British company that's become popular stateside in the last few years. Its line of children's clothing—dubbed "Mini Boden"—features cheerful prints and stellar seasonal collaborations. Mini Boden's sizing is generous, so my kids often get two years of wear out the pieces we purchase, and since most items are 100% cotton, they wash well and take a beating.

Shop at Boden

2. French Toast: For kids who wear uniforms

Three boys and a girl walking and talking, and one boy is pushing a bicycle
Credit: French Toast

French Toast is the place to go for uniforms.

If your child is headed to a school that requires uniforms, you'll definitely want to peruse the selection at French Toast. Search the specific school to see a selection of pants, skirts, and shirts, and then stock up on the styles your child prefers.

Shop at French Toast

3. Primary: For gender-neutral basics

On the left: A young girl laughs with her hand over her mouth. On the left: A young boy dances on a front porch.
Credit: Primary

Primary carries organic cotton basics in bright colors.

Primary was founded by two moms who were frustrated at the lack of affordable, basic clothing for kids. The company specializes in gender neutral, colorful clothing made of 100% cotton jersey. Streamline your child's morning routine by stocking their closet with clothes that can be easily mixed and matched. Primary's leggings are a favorite of all 900 women in my local mom's group, and there's a good reason—the durable, high-quality fabric and unisex designs mean they can be passed down from sibling to sibling.

Shop at Primary

4. Target: For everything your kid needs

On the left: A young girl wears a dress and smiles to the camera. On the right: A young boy, wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops smiles to the camera.
Credit: Target

Target offers affordable, stylish basics.

If one-stop shopping is your jam, it's hard to beat Target for the selection of both school supplies and back-to-school fashion. One of the things I like best about Target is that they carry a great selection of both branded merchandise—like superheroes and princesses—as well as character-free lines such as Cat & Jack.

Shop at Target

5. Splendid: For the softest clothes

On the left: A girl sitting in a chair reading a book. On the right: A young boy sitting on the grass with his legs out in front of him
Credit: Splendid

Splendid clothing is soft enough for even the most discerning kids.

My kids are obsessed with only wearing soft clothes, so I've done a lot of research to find clothing brands that they won't deem "ouchie" or "itchy." Splendid is a Los Angeles-based brand that makes buttery-soft cotton-rayon pieces with which my kids have yet to find fault. Splendid's clothes are on the high end, price-wise, but I'm willing to pay a little more if it means less complaining from my children. Sign up for their emails to be notified about sales—they usually offer 30-50% off at the end of the season.

Shop at Splendid

6. Kohl's: For fashion on a budget

On the left: A grey sweashirt with the face of a llama wearing glasses. On the right: A yellow sweatshirt printed with trees and bears.
Credit: Kohl's

Kohl's Jumping Beans brand is inexpensive and fashionable.

If you're on a tight budget or your child is prone to coming home with paint on their clothes, you need fashionable wardrobe staples that don't cost a lot. Kohl's "Jumping Beans" line offers a huge selection of dresses, pants, and shirts all priced under $20.

Shop at Kohl's

7. Hanna Andersson: For sleepwear and school wear

On the left: Two young girls stand next to a tree outside. On the right: A boy and a girl sit on a porch railing
Credit: Hanna Andersson

Hanna Andersson clothes are as durable as their pajamas.

Hanna Andersson may be famous for their organic cotton pajama sets, but the clothing garners rave reviews from parents, too. The durable—and cute—clothes stand up so well to rough and tumble kids that they're hand-me-down worthy.

Shop at Hanna Andersson

8. Polarn O. Pyret: For kids in cold climates

Two young kids in the snow wearing ski parkas and carrying skis
Credit: Polarn O. Pyret

Polarn O. Pyret has the best cold weather basics.

The temperature may still be hovering around 100 degrees, but it's only a matter of weeks before the first cold snap of the season. If your kids will be braving snow, sleet, and sub-zero temps to get to school, you need to know about Polarn O. Pyret. The Swedish company has been making adorable (and practical) kids clothing since 1976, and their sweaters and thermal underwear cannot be matched.

Shop at Polarn O. Pyret

9. Tea Collection: For clothes with a cause

On the left: A girls stands with her hands on her hips and smiles to the camera. On the right: A boy has a jumprope on his head.
Credit: Tea Collection

Tea Collection's clothing features unique designs.

For fashion with global-inspired prints, there's nothing better than Tea Collection. The San Francisco-based company finds inspiration for their designs all over the world—and they donate 10% of their profits to The Global Fund for Children. I like that Tea's clothes are crafted from thick cotton that doesn't fade or tear easily, and they feature prints that aren't especially gendered.

Shop at Tea Collection

10. Maisonette: For the fashionista

On the left: A young girl wearing a bright pink dress singing into an old fashioned microphone. On the right: A tween boy wearing a grey sweatshirt and a sweatband standing with his hands on his hips
Credit: Maisonette

Fashionable kids will love Maisonette.

If your little one has a taste for designer duds or you need something special for the first school dance or holiday concert, look no further than Maisonette. The beautifully curated site features high-end fashion for children, as well as home decor and toys. Esoteric European brands are well represented on Maisonette, but there are plenty of options from well-known designers and brands as well. If there is a fancy party in your child's future, or you just want them to look absolutely fabulous on their first day of school, Maisonette won't disappoint.

Shop at Maisonette

11. Mabo: For clothes made in the U.S.A.

A girls' cotton dress and a pair of red t-strap shoes on a cream colored background
Credit: Mabo

Mabo kids clothes are made in the USA of organic cotton.

If you've got kids, you may have seen ads on Instagram for Mabo's organic cotton clothing. The Salt Lake City-based company designs and manufactures all of their pieces in the United States, and the cotton, linen, and wool basics are outstandingly soft and cozy. Mabo's organic cotton leggings are a favorite in my house both because they are comfortable and because they're durable enough to hold up to wear from multiple kids.

Shop at Mabo

12. Nordstrom: For the right pair of kicks

Four pairs of children's feet and legs wearing different shoes
Credit: Getty Images / PeopleImages

Nordstrom carries a great selection of shoes for kids.

Nordstrom began as a shoe store, which may explain why they always have a great selection of kids' shoes. Whether your child prefers running shoes or penny loafers, there are plenty of options to choose from both online and in the physical stores. Plus the customer service at Nordstrom can't be beat: They offer price adjustments if an item you purchased goes on sale, and the kids' shoe departments usually send little customers home with a balloon.

Shop at Nordstrom

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