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Stretch your back-to-school budget: 1 top, 5 ways

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

How to extend your budget

You don't have to spend a small fortune to build a back-to-school wardrobe for your daughter. Pick solid foundation pieces that can mix and match and be worn with a variety of different outfits.

v-neck pocket tee

The top

Start with a fabulous v-neck pocket tee (Old Navy, $13). This top comes in terrific colors and can be worn five (or more) ways.

Simply sweet

A T-shirt and jeans is a basic outfit that can be worn at school and at play. Choose the v-neck tee in a fun color, like Equator Blue or Brink Pink. Partner the top with a pair of dark-wash skinny jeans and cute sneakers or ballet flats. This look is simple and sweet -- and ideal for back-to-school time.

color-blocked jersey skirts

Colorblock fun

Team up the same tee with a ruffled skirt or skort. We love these adorable color-blocked jersey skirts (Old Navy, $12) that are popular right now. Color-blocking is one of the hottest fashion trends of the season. If the weather is warm, she can wear shorts underneath. And if it's more mild in your area, she can add tights or leggings. This outfit would work with any pair of shoes -- from flats to boots to sneakers.

Hello Kitty ruffled tank dress

Tank you very much

Many schools don't allow tank tops and dresses -- which might eliminate some of your daughter's favorite items from her wardrobe. That's where layering comes in. You can layer a tank dress right over a cool tee for a look that's school appropriate and a whole lot of fun. Check out this Hello Kitty ruffled tank dress (Old Navy, $17). It's on sale now in your choice of red or navy. She can wear this dress with leggings underneath or without. Complete the outfit with a cute pair of slip-on sneakers or ballet flats.

hooded cable-knit sweater ves

Get invested

Vests are back in a big way for fall -- for moms and little girls, too. This hooded cable-knit sweater vest (Old Navy, $27) is fantastic. Slip it on over your tee and add a pair of pop-color skinny jeans (Old Navy, $25) for a trendy look that can't be beat. Finish off this outfit with fun accessories such as a cool headband, funky tote bag or fringed boots.

Graphic fleece hoodies

Layers upon layers

When the fall weather is cool in the morning but warms up nicely in the afternoon, layers are essential. The tee can be worn with jeans as the bottom layer, and then your daughter can add another layer (or two) when the temperatures dip. Graphic fleece hoodies (Old Navy, $15), cardigan sweaters and pullovers are all great options. She can also add the extra layer under her tee instead of on top. A fitted sweater or long-sleeved T-shirt will work nicely.

Quick tip

To make your kids' clothes last longer, wash them in cold water and hang them to dry. Heat causes fabrics to break down more quickly. And don't worry -- today's detergents work just as well in cold water as they do in hot.

More about back to school

Tips for a stress-free back to school season
Secrets of smooth school mornings
Tips for beating back-to-school blues

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