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The Only Back-to-School Clothes Checklist You Need This Year

If you’ve walked through a Target lately, you know it has finally arrived: back-to-school season. No, school hasn’t started yet, but now’s the time to start stocking up on school supplies, revamping any lunch ideas Pinterest board you’ve got and, if you’re up for it, purchasing a fresh batch of back-to-school clothing. (Did you shudder at that last item? Because same.)

If you’re planning on a back-to-school clothes shopping spree, chances are the pressure feels real. Not only do you have to keep kids under control while shopping (because no, they may not get solely 20 different Black Panther or Wonder Woman T-shirts), you also have to ensure you’re picking up every essential they’ll need throughout the school year.

To make things only slightly easier on you (because we aren’t here to offer our babysitting services — sorry), we’ve created a whole back-to-school clothes shopping list of every item you could possibly need.

More: Where Parents & Teachers Can Get School Supplies for Free This Year

Tops & bottoms

The clothing you choose will vary depending on your child’s age, gender, where you live and if the school requires uniforms (but if it does, why are you reading this list?). Our biggest tip when it comes to back-to-school shopping is: If possible, get at least one top-and-bottom clothing pair for every day of the week. That way, you’re (hopefully) only looking at doing laundry once per week. Here’s what your kid will likely need in the clothing department.

  • Eight to 10 shirts
  • Four to six long-sleeve shirts, including a dressy top for special occasions like after-school functions
  • Two to four sweaters/sweatshirts (including pullovers and hoodies)
  • Seven pairs of pants/shorts (mix it up with jeans, khakis and leggings)
  • One to two coats (depending on the climate where you live)
  • Scarves, mittens, beanies, gloves, etc. (think ahead and prep for the winter season, again depending on your climate)


Your kid will likely need sneakers as well as sandals/flip-flops, plus dress shoes (see below under “special occasions”).

  • Two pairs of sneakers (one for playing around, another one for school)
  • One to two pairs of flip-flops/sandals/slip-on shoes

More: The Pros & Cons of School Uniforms: Moms Weigh In


As with other clothing items, having extra undergarments will help prevent you from becoming a slave to the washing machine.

  • Ten to 14 pairs of socks
  • Ten to 14 pairs of underwear

For special occasions

Your kids likely won’t need a ton of dressy clothing for school, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few options for any after-school functions that pop up.

  • One pair of dress shoes
  • Two to three dressy tops (including a nice sweater)
  • Two to three dressy pairs of pants/slacks
  • Two to three skirts/dresses
  • One to two pairs of tights

May the odds be ever in your favor down those aisles.

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