5 Back-to-School Tips for Kids' Clothing Trends you Can Actually Afford

Last week, I had the opportunity to join a Google+ Hangout with a few blogger moms to ask questions of Nicole Feliciano, Style Expert and Founder of MomTrends.com, about back-to-school fashion on a budget.  While we homeschool, and we don't always clamor for the hottest styles like many publicly schooled kids do, we do like to have some stylish outfits in the closet for when we go to events, participate in co-op activities, and get together with other kids.  (My kids don't' wear PJ's all day, but they've been known to wear some pretty beat-up tees and jeans.)
I knew a few of the tips that were shared, but a few were new to me, as well.  Here is what I took, away from the call, and how you can also dress you crew within your budget:

1.  Purge the closets.  To really know what you need, you have to know what you have.  With 4 boys in the house, I play a game each season of "sort and shift."  I go through everything in their closet, get rid of out of style or irreparable items, and pass along things that won't ever fit to charity.  (I have thick and thin-waisted kids, so hand-me-downs don't always work.)  Then, we take inventory of what we can use and what we need.  This helps us so that we aren't just throwing items into the cart without a plan. And we save big money!

2.  Shop online before you head to the store.  Even if you prefer to buy your clothes in person, taking a look at fashions before you leave can save a major meltdown when you get there.  I had the "appropriate length for shorts" discussion with my daughter earlier this year, and we agreed that looking at the selection online BEFORE we headed to our local Walmart will save her from having unmet expectations and me from having to surprise her with my interpretation of the rules.  The same can be done with anything you want to buy this fall.  If you would like to stay within budget, let your child pick out a few things they really like online, head to your store, and buy those first.  Then fill in the gaps after their dream wardrobe has been fulfilled.

3.  Don't put away those short-sleeves and tanks!  They can be worn over long-sleeved items for a layered look.  Not only is this in style, but mixing up the colors and lengths can give your kids an infinite number of looks to choose from --without having to buy all new tops.

4.  Accessories make the outfit.  If you have a reluctant fashionista (like my daughter) who only sports tees and skinny jeans, you can dress up the look for special occasions by accessorizing with shoes, a sparkly belt, or a cardigan.  There's not need to force a "dress clothes" policy by buying entire outfits you'll only see worn one or two times this year.

5.  Embrace the 80's.  Whether you loved them or hated them, they are back, and most of today's trends are a redux of the styles we wore as kids.  Instead of gagging and lamenting, rejoice that your kid gets to be a kid.  Then check out how today's designers have done a better job with these trends to make them appropriate for today's youth!

How much do you plan on spending for back-to-school styles this year?  Be sure to check out our latest shopping adventure at Walmart to see what we picked out.  These Walmart Moms also have tips to share:
As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I've received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.