When my daughter was little, back to school shopping meant heading out to a store of my choice to pick out her first-day-of-school outfit. Sure, I let her choose which outfit she preferred, but ultimately I was in control. I don't need to tell you that by age 10 (or sometimes even younger), our kids' fashion tastes are already deeply influenced by pop culture and social media. The problem is what they may want to wear, based on the lack of great online role models, may not be appropriate for their age and stage.
"Mom, can I get the crop top that Kim Kardashian wore on the red carpet for my first day at school?
"Sure," SAID NO MOM EVER.
The result is a back-to-school shopping nightmare where kids and moms disagree on what to buy. Yes, you can be a dictactor and respond with "listen young lady, I pay for your clothes and you will wear what I think is appropriate. End of conversation." News flash! That may not end well with your potentially hormonal pre-teen. My solution to maintain a smidge of control over what your tween actual ends up purchasing is to choose which stores you agree to shop at very carefully.
There are a few chains both my daughter and I always feel comfortable in. Triple Flip and Ivivva focus on chic, practical gear specifically for athletic girls that are on the pricier side. But for back-to-school clothing, our go-to retailer is definitely Justice. Added bonus? They're easier on the wallet plus they have super cute athletic wear.
Justice is a fashion heaven for girls like my daughter who want to be on-trend and have their own sense of style.
The shelves are stocked with clothing that reflects what's hot in pop culture and resonates with girls today: sporty, girly, fashionista, or just casual. It's all about inspiring girls to be individuals and to define their own sense of style. And, the best part for me? The collections are age-appropriate.
This weekend I brought Jessie (12) and her BFF Bridget (13) to do some back-to-school shopping and beat the rush. I figured they're old enough to pick out all the outfits themselves. They got to work shopping while I snapped a bunch of photos of them in action.
So, if you're wondering what's hot for tweens this fall, these are some of the looks Jessie and Bridgette loved.
My daughter Jessie describes her look as trendy and in-style. She feels she's moving away from her girlie wardrobe filled with bright colours and sparkles to a more boho vibe. She assembled this look which consists of a jean skort ($29.90), a white short sleeved tee ($7) and gorgeous long boho-chic striped sweater ($29.90). She finished it off with comfy tan booties ($44.90). For the record, I'd wear this outfit myself with jeans.
Bridget describes her style as cozy sporty. She likes wearing darker solids like blacks and grey. She loved these black sweatpants ($16.50) because she says they look like leggings and are incredibly comfy.
My daughter's style is getting pretty sophisticated. She paired this peasant blouse ($26.90) with her jean skirt and booties.
Bridget likes T's with cute designs and numbers and there were so many for her to choose from. I was happy to see that all the sayings are positive, reminding girls to be strong, independent and fearless.
Bridget is attracted to sporty style like this soccer tee ($24.90) and is hoping to make the team this year at school.
My daughter says she likes a stylish mix and match look, but will only buy an outfit if it's comfortable. These stretchy distressed jeggings ($32.90) and long sleeved "Love" shirt ($17.50) will be perfect at school.
When you're taking your tween clothes shopping, look for stores like this one that have a wide variety of styles. It was interesting to watch my daughter and her friend navigate the various sections and put together very different looks. Bridget loved this long-sleeved striped tee ($10), which she layered with a flannel shirt ($20) and jeggings ($20) which she says were incredibly comfortable. Another thing to note about Justice is their sizing is true. Both girls fit in size 12 even though they have slightly different body types.
I was also impressed how practical the girls were when they were putting together outfits. Each of them looked for warmer outfits to plan ahead for the upcoming fall chill. Bridgette looked adorable in this blue and white sweater ($36.90).
And my daughter rocked this striped dress with a khaki jacket ($39.50). Can you tell she loved those khaki booties. She wouldn't take them off.
All in all, I spent over two hours sitting on my "mom stool" watching the girls do their back to school shopping together. It was easy, it empowered them, and it didn't break the bank.