How to Create Multiple Back to School Outfits with a Few Key Pieces

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As a fashion editor, I’d like to think that I know how to buy clothes for my child; yet like most mamas, I have learned more about shopping for mi hijo Nacho through trial and error. Now, as he enters first grade, I’m sticking to the rules I apply to my own wardrobe to help get his back-to-school wardrobe together without blowing my budget. Here are my tips for creating amazing looks from just a handful of pieces.

1. Invest in five key pieces. Think of these pieces as the core of the wardrobe — the root of what your child will be wearing. I see these items as the foundation to what mi niño wears throughout the year. If you have a boy, make sure to have a great pair of jeans, a pair of twill or cotton pants, a baseball tee, a button-down shirt, and a hoodie in his closet. Girls should have a pair of leggings (or jeggings), skinny jeans in a fun color, a jean jacket or vest, a lightweight sweater or sweatshirt, and a sleeveless or shirtsleeve dress.

2. Buy a few inexpensive pieces, too. I shop online at during my lunch break; I know I’ll find great pieces at an affordable price.

3. Incorporate clothes from last year. Mixing in clothes that are still in great condition from last year will help stretch those new pieces that you’ve invested in, as well as the deals that you’ve found, into even more outfits.

4. Let your child wear the same pair of pants a few times a week. Nacho does and this is why jeans or twill pants are great; the fabrics are sturdy and can withstand an energetic child and multiple sessions in the washing machine.

5. Wear the same pieces in different ways. This strategy is key to building multiple looks from just a handful of pieces. For example, a pair of leggings can be worn one day with a long tee, under a dress a few days later, and with a sweater and boots after that.

6. Add some bright colors to the mix. Don’t be afraid to make one of your key pieces a colorful one. You really cannot go wrong when color is added; it’s a no-fail way to give a favorite staple a fresh look.

7. Go with what your kid likes. If your child has definite opinions about what he wants to wear, like mine does, try to roll with it and compromise as much as possible. It’s not worth the stress to you, mama. Our rule is that I pick out the key pieces, but Nacho gets to choose the colors!

*This post is sponsored by Kmart. Thoughts and opinions are my own.