As summer winds down, it's time for back-to-school shopping. Though your daughter will try to convince you that she needs all the latest and greatest fashions, you don't need to blow your budget or compromise your standards.
Start with staples
When it comes to staple pieces, quality, comfort and durability are most important.
Underwear (10 pairs) - All-cotton panties are the best. They are breathable and easy to launder. Buy her a few new bras as well, if it's age-appropriate.
Socks (10 pairs) - If she wears pants every day, buy more socks. If she usually wears dresses or skirts, stock up on tights or leggings instead. When it comes to socks, buy 75 percent of them in white or black, then let her get funky with the other 25 percent.
T-shirts (10) - Think twice before buying any new t-shirts. If she's going to wear them as layering pieces, she might just be able to wear her summer tees under her sweaters. If she needs some new ones, you'll find tees on clearance as summer winds down.
Sweaters (5) - Before heading to the mall, see if any of last year's sweaters still fit. If not, buy five or more new sweaters -- at least one cardigan, two pullovers and two hoodies.
Long-sleeve shirts/blouses (5) - Depending on what she has in her closet, you might want to buy several long-sleeve shirts and blouses to mix and match with skirt and pants. Look for tops in bold colors and trendy patterns, then stick with solid, neutral bottoms.
Pants (5) - Two pairs of jeans, two pairs of "everyday" pants (khakis, corduroys, etc.) and one pair of dressy pants are must-haves. To make her wardrobe more versatile, buy pants in various cuts and washes instead of five pairs of the same jeans.
Skirts and dresses - The amount of skirts and dresses you'll need to buy will depend on your girl. Some girls go through phases where they rarely wear skirts. Other girly girls wear them every single day. Calf-length skirts are trendy and modest choices for fall.
Shoes (3 pairs) - Kids grow fast, so she'll probably need a few new pairs of shoes. For school, purchase one pair of sneakers, one pair of dressy shoes and a wild card pair of her choice.
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Don't forget outerwear
The weather outside will be cold before you know it. Stock up on outerwear before the end of summer for the best deals.
Coats (2) - Depending on the weather in your area, you should pick one heavy coat and one lightweight jacket (or one raincoat). Before you buy a new coat, check to see if her coat from last year still fits -- coats can be expensive and last a few years.
Boots (1 pair) - For rainy or snowy weather, boots are a must. Though your daughter may want a trendy pair, make sure they are warm, waterproof and have a low heel.
Extras - Hats, gloves, scarves and other winter extras can be bought now. You'll find a wider selection in the fall than you will when the snow hits.
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Your daughter can express her individuality with accessories. Headbands, fashion jewelry, purses, backpacks and sunglasses are all relatively inexpensive and come in fun colors and unique designs. Give your pre-teen or teenage daughter a small budget for accessories and allow her to pick out her own items.
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