How to Pick Affordable and Trendy First Day of School Outfits


Dressing yourself (or your kids) for the first day of school isn’t always easy. For many people, this is a big photo-op day. It is also a good way to start the year off with a positive vibe and a sense of style. From kindergarten through high school, though, things change. For young children, it’s fun to dress up in cute looks. For high schoolers, being trendy is critical.

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we want to ensure you have every tool you need to compile the perfect back-to-school look. There are plenty of ways to dress the part (and you’ll find a lot of what you need to do so affordably right at our location!)

For the Kindergartner

Most often, the first day of school will be a warm, late summer day. Make sure kids are comfortable enough to run, play and jump. You want them to be willing to be active when playing with their new friends. You also don’t want them to have too many distractions when it comes to things like paying attention in class or fidgeting to get out of complicated outfits to use the restroom.

In kindergarten, go for the cute look. A fun printed pattern dress, denim jacket or jumper may be the ideal choice. You may want to keep the look a bit more playful with a fun pair of shorts, a comfortable t-shirt, and tennis shoes, especially for the young male in your life that needs to run, jump and play hard.

To keep kindergarten clothing affordable, consider:

  • Choosing looks with fewer pieces. A full outfit keeps costs down.
  • Don’t choose something for just one day. Make sure it’s something that your child can wear throughout the year.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t need designer fashions here. Kids are going to wear these clothing items out.

At the same time, you’ll want to choose items they love. Bring your son or daughter in to let them pick out an outfit or two, that way they feel included in the outfit choice. You want their outfit to be a type of self-expression whenever possible. That is going to keep them happy and help them to relax a bit on this big day!

For the Middle Schooler

Middle school is a time when young teens are just trying to fit in. Although high school seems like a tough time for fashion and trends, middle school can be just as challenging. When searching for the right back-to-school outfit, be sure to browse different looks for inspiration. Once you’ve got an idea of what you want to wear, head to your nearest Goodwill store to piece everything together.

Need more help deciding what to purchase? Start with clothing that’s going to be functional for more than one day. Things like jeans, shorts, and leggings are going to be items that kids and teens will wear throughout the year. You’ll also find that most people this age want clothing that’s simple. A plain colored shirt can be worn with just about any style of shorts. Even overalls are coming back in style.

Another trend that teens are getting into is creating a unique style all their own. To some, that means cutting a pair of jeans into Bermuda shorts. Or wearing vintage band shirts with biker shorts. Or even wearing mismatched socks.  Some teens may prefer clothing that’s loose-fitting during this time as their body grows and changes so rapidly. Other kids may want to go the opposite as they start wearing makeup and experiment with hair colors, trends and styles.

Here are some ideas to consider when shopping for a Middle School outfit:

  • Keep costs low by shopping at Goodwill for top name brands and fashions. Many times, the pieces here are the latest fashion trends and remain affordable as well.
  • Choose clothes you love or those that help showcase what you think, believe in, or feel good about, including in areas of everything from music to sports.
  • Pick items that will make you feel confident. Clothing should make you feel good about yourself. Don’t force an outfit if you feel uncomfortable wearing it.

Middle school first day of school looks can be dressed up or casual. Depending on where you or your child goes to school, there may be expectations for what to wear. There’s no risk when you can purchase clothing you will love at a low price.

For the High School Student

There may not be a more important time of a student’s life than high school to express themselves. From empowered views to new ideas, high school kids often want to look their best and show off their confidence. That’s easy to do on the first day of school.

Trendy fashions for today’s high schoolers tend to be everything from dresses to dressed-up shorts and t-shirts. Look for clothing that’s fitted properly and comfortable to wear because that helps you to engage more freely.

For many girls, it is all about the accessories. From hair pieces to fabulous jewelry, you may be all about picking out items that help you stand out. Even the best watch could be an important choice, especially for those with packed schedules.

From peasant tops to wearing a varsity jacket, be sure to wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Many high school girls will want to dress up with a fun skirt or jumper. Others are after a more setback and relaxed look. For guys, do not overlook the importance of simplicity.

High school fashions change all of the time and, more so than ever, they are not always what’s available in the malls. That’s why a thrift store is one of the best places to look for the perfect back-to-school outfit for students of all ages.

Overwhelmed with the process and costs? Take a step back. Instead of worrying about the high cost of clothing, visit Goodwill for better peace of mind. Check out the wide range of on-brand pieces that you will love in excellent condition and perfect for the first day of school.

Happy teenager wearing oversized denim jacket, white t-shirt and nerdy black eyeglasses pointing with pencil at copy space. Smiling female high school student standing against blue background.

Exciting Events this Week!

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