3 Tips to get Your Favorite Back-to-School Style for Less

Dollars & Sense on 08.10.11
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My chosen statement pieces for my two year old. Photo Credit: Mini-Boden

When I was pregnant with my daughter I was a children's wear buyer for a high end boutique. As you can imagine it was nearly impossible to resist all of the adorable lines, especially when I was in the manufacturer's showrooms. While I picked up a few fabulous items for her (even a few that don't fit her yet at two years old), I stopped working at that job right after she was born, and the visions of her dressed to the nines were quickly replaced with the harsh reality of our new budget and that paying retail prices for these items wasn't going to happen. Most days I'm lucky if she puts on a hand me down dress which I'm so thankful to have, but often she's in her brother's old t-shirts and a pair of leggings. I love seeing little kids that show their style by mixing and matching funky patterns and bright colors, and when the Fall Mini-Boden catalog arrived, I wanted one of everything for my daughter. It just screams fun and funky kid style. Considering there are only so many years that you can get away with dressing this way and she's only growing up, I wanted to figure out a way that I could get the look I love without breaking the bank and I think I've got a pretty good idea on how to do so.

Pick Statement Pieces- While I could easily create a multitude of outfits for her out of the catalog, the pieces I love are the really unique ones in patterns or styles that I can't find anywhere else. There is no need for me to buy her a plain blue t-shirt for $28 and so I will limit myself to only the super fun and fabulous pieces.

Get Your Money's Worth- The last time I checked, there were still only seven days in a week. There is no need to buy her 20 items of clothing from a catalog. If I'm going to spend the money, she might as well get as much use out of them as possible, and there is no reason she can't wear the same five outfits to school each week.

Mix & Match- You only really need one statement piece to make an outfit fun. A twirling polka dot skirt will still be fabulous with a basic t-shirt and fun leggings or tights, and a cute cardigan can be paired with basic jeans or corduroys all from Old Navy, Target or other well-priced chain stores.


The combination of five items I'd like to get total $216, but I have a 15 percent off coupon which would bring it down to $183.60 and the shipping is free. Plus Ebates offers a 3 percent cash back from Boden (and lots of other popular stores) which I think will work at Mini Boden too so that knocks another few bucks off the total and brings the average price per item to about $36. A number that certainly doesn't seem totally unreasonable, especially when you know you'll be filling in the wardrobe with items that are probably less than $10 apiece and can still stay within a budget of under $250.

No matter what your favorite children's stores are (or even your favorite stores for you), their looks don't have to be completely unattainable if you follow these steps to get the look you want without going on an expensive shopping spree. Pairing select pricier items with low cost basics will have the whole family looking stylish.

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