30 Fabulous Back-to-School Outfits for Kids

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back to school outfits universal

The back-to-school supply lists are one thing, but the need for a new wardrobe come September is real. After all, it’s pretty much set that your child needs pencil cases and highlighters and notebooks, but they also grow like weeds, so the chances that last year’s jacket or jeans will still fit is slim. The good news: It’s 2023 and the range of retailers catering creatively to kids is vast. (There’s Primary! Mon Coeur! Tea Collection!) That’s why we did the work for you and pulled together 30 stylish back-to-school outfits. Ready, set, shop!

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For staples, we’re huge fans of Primary—especially their rainbow color palette—but also Zara, Nike and Target’s Cat & Jack line. Want something that’s feels more unique? You’ll want to browse brands like Tea Collection, Barefoot Dreams and Hanna Andersson—all are making efforts with sustainability, but feature patterns, designs and, in the case of Hanna, beloved characters that will make getting dressed before school feel extra fun.

tea collection long sleeve skirted dress
Tea Collection

1. Graphic Print Dress + Colorful Leggings + Sneakers

A cotton dress thrown over leggings is one of the simplest ways to make fashion feel more functional for the playground. Also, who doesn’t love a French kitty motif?

Hanna Andersson polo shirt and dinosaur pants
Hanna Andersson

2. A Polo Shirt + Patterned Sweats + Beanie

Weather-wise, the season can run a bit in-between. This short-sleeve shirt and heavier weight pant combo will leave your kiddo comfy and stylish for this transitional time.

primary long sleeve chambray

3. A Chambray Shirt + Denim Pants

Denim is a fall classic, but when you layer denim on denim together, it’s a throw-on-and-go ensemble that’s relaxed and cool.

janie and jack t rex sweater
Janie & Jack

4. Sweater + Jeans + Utility Jacket

An outfit with a late-September feel: This look is another one that’s all about basics that are layered (denim, a lightweight jacket—you can’t go wrong). Still, when it comes to the sweater, it helps to choose one that showcases a bit of personal style. For example, your kid’s love of dinosaurs. (#TRex4Eva)

hm textured sweater and denim skirt
Westend61/Getty Images

5. Textured Top + Denim Skirt + Patent Loafer

It’s the kind of sweater you might want to avoid wearing on art day—beware those paint splatters while wearing a lighter hue—but as a back-to-school outfit, it’s comfy and cute.

boden pinafore dress

6. Corduroy Dress + Cardigan + High Tops

In corduroy, this dress has a fall feel, but it stays lightweight and practical for any September heat waves. Add a cardigan—kids always seem to run hot, then cold—and the art of layering = perfected.

rylee and cru pant and striped shirt
Rylee & Cru

7. Breton Stripe + Lightweight Pants + Slip-Ons

The French always get fashion right, which is why a Breton stripe—a Parisian signature—is right on trend. Pair it with a relaxed fit pant in cotton and your kid will be comfy and stylish as the school year kicks off.

appaman unicorn dress

8. Unicorn Dress + Long Sleeves + Lace-Up Boot

It’s a dress that comes with seasonal practicality: A built-in long sleeve. Even better, are the nod to unicorns, which we’re willing to bet your kiddo will appreciate.

zara plush pants

9. Sweats + Sweats + Puffer Vest

This sweats-on-sweats combo requires zero planning and is easy to pull on. A puffer vest is optional of course, but it adds a touch of swagger for a cooler afternoon.

tea collection woven dress
Tea Collection

10. Anything Apple-Themed + Hunter Boots

‘Tis the season for picking apples, which is why any attire that’s on theme with that fall ideal is pitch perfect for back-to-school. Case in point: This sweet printed dress. Pair it with a rainboot and you’ll be dressed to impress.

primary long sleeve banner tee

11. A Stripey Tee + A Drawstring Pant

The bright purple stripe adds a nice pop next to navy, but this is also the kind of throw-on-and-go pairing that is perfect for mornings when everyone is running behind.

nununu star pants and hoodie

12. An Oversized Neutral Sweatshirt + A Printed Pant

We love the relaxed comfort of this loose-fitting sweatshirt; also, the star print on the pant. (Insert obvious comparison that your kid is also a star.)

hanna andersson sweatshirt and shorts
Hanna Andersson

13. A Baseball Sweatshirt + Shorts

A baseball sweatshirt (or shirt) always delivers on that nostalgic back-to-school. But, in colorblock, it feels modern and fresh. Pair it with shorts (and a bright sneaker) for a look that’s unique yet relaxed.

hanna andersson sweatshirt and skirt
Hanna Andersson

14. A Sweatshirt + Skirt  

About that colorblock sweatshirt… Truly, any sweatshirt will do, but we love the laid-back femininity of pairing an athleisure top with a skirt.

tea collection double stripe pocket cardigan
Tea Collection

15. Cardigan + Collared Shirt + Shorts

Back to school pics? This is a stylish and grown-up look. Keep the collared shirt lightweight, then add the cardigan as a layer. Just don’t be surprised when your child wants to strip off the cardi and button-down and run around in a tee once the photos are over.

mon coeur pocket kid dress
Mon Coeur

16. Pocket Dress + Leggings

You know your child always has treasures to carry around. This sustainable sweatshirt dress—in a beautiful and earthy tone—gives her just the spot to put them. Add a patterned legging and you’re good to go.

barefoot dreams bomber jacket
Barefoot Dreams

17. A Faux Fur Bomber Jacket + Leggings

For the kid that wants to step things up come fall: This bomber jacket is cozy, but also dressy. Keep it relaxed with a legging and you’ll transition straight from school to snuggle time.

hanna andersson rainbow multi dress
Hanna Andersson

18. Rainbow Dress + Sneakers

It’s the ultimate one-and-done ensemble, and the rainbow skirt gives it extra panache for back-to-school. You can almost picture your kid twirling around in it at the playground, then—thanks to the sneaks—sprinting to keep up with her friends.

gap flannel shirt
Old Navy

19. A Flannel Hoodie + Skirt

There’s nothing more quintessentially fall than a flannel, but this one has an update: It comes with a hood! Wear it untucked with a skirt (any neutral tone will do).

j.crew rugby shirt and pants
Abercrombie Kids

20. A Rugby Shirt + Chino Pant

Chinos don’t have to be boring, which is why we love this style in a blue and black check. Add a patterned shirt with a collar and it’s a mix-and-match look that shows effort, but also individuality.

rylee cru top and skirt
Rylee & Cru

21. A Matching Shirt + Skirt + A Boot

A skirt-and-shirt combo in the same hue is another one-and-done ensemble that will delight your kid as much as the parent. Add a bit of edge with a lace up boot. (Or slip on…because you have to get out the door some time.)

deux par deux sweatshirt
Deux Par Deux

22. A Zipper Pocket Hoodie + Fleece Pant

Colorblocking adds interest to anything, even something simple in its design like sweats. So does a zippered pocket. (See above note about how our kids love to carry things home.)

tea collection cat sweater
Tea Collection

23. A Playful Sweater + Cargo Pant

J’aime les chats—in other words, we love a cat motif. This gender-neutral sweater is playful and stylish, but also delivers an ode to French culture. (#TBT to your family’s summer vacation—oh la la.)

little chicken snacks t shirt
Little Chicken

24. A Shirt with a Message + Jeans

The reality is that your kid’s favorite part of the day is the breaks for food. So, why not let them wear it on their sleeve? This graphic tee spells it out—and pairs with nearly any pant (denim, a chino, corduroys, etc.).

lewis is home tulip sweats

25. Matching Sweats + Rainbow Sneaks

It’s a pattern explosion, but one that feels tasteful and bright. And all kids love sweats, especially when they come with a super stretchy waistband and in the softest-ever cotton.

all small co belt bag
All Small Co

26. An Embellished Shirt + Leggings

Is it a fanny pack? A bonus pocket? That’s up to your kid to decide. Bottom line: It’s playful and something special that her friends will absolutely remark about. (Mission accomplished.)

old navy flannel
Old Navy

27. A Neutral Flannel + Chinos

Vive le fall staples. Another outfit that’s great for school picture day, but comes with layers that can be added or discarded as needed, depending on wherever their back-to-school adventures take them.

crewcuts j.crew shirt dress

28. A Denim Dress + Oversized Bow

We love the polish of this denim design, but also the flexibility when it comes to dressing it up: For example, an oversized bow feels elegant and studious all at once. Pair with a patent shoe or Mary Jane and she’ll love it.

cat and jack polo shirt
Target Cat & Jack

29. A Polo Shirt + Khakis

You can’t go wrong with a polo, but in a unique hue—like this berry purple—it feels fresh and fun for fall.

barbie cat jack sweatshirt

30. A Barbie Pullover + Denim

Hey, it’s been trending all summer. This particular design also comes with a collegiate feel.

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...