Back to School: Personalize the Dress Code

But I want the Frozen backpack and all Elsa notebooks!!”

“Who cares if this shirt has swear words on it, it’s who I am!”

You know this struggle all too well. Another school year means another year of phases and crazes that kids and teens just HAVE to have for their back-to-school gear.

You can’t blame them for wanting to express themselves, but balancing their latest passions with dress code requirements or uniform restrictions can cause a battle.

The secret to winning is all in the details.

Don’t think of the dress code as an obstacle, restricting your kid’s personal style. Think of this as an opportunity for your student to think creatively and find subtle ways to express themselves within the rules.  We’ve got some ideas to get you started:

Rather than dressing them head-to-toe in their obsession of the week and risking a visit to the principal, go for small unobtrusive accent items that show off their current tastes.  Pieces like socks, bracelets, shoelaces, and even underwear offer less risky ways to indulge their latest fixation.  Plus, those little pieces can be fairly inexpensively changed out as their style evolves. So next week when they are “so over” Ninja Turtles and all about X-Men, you can easily and affordably accommodate.

Another option is to use colors and patterns that are reflective of their current craze or style.  So, if Minions are the must-have this month, try yellow tops, blue or black pants, even play with denim and polka dot accents for Minion-themed flair that will still be totally wearable in 6 months when they’ve moved on. Belk, Buckle, Justice, and GapKids have a ton of fun designs and unique accessories that will add personality to any outfit.

Compromise on the little stuff. Keep big-ticket items like backpacks simpler and code-compliant, with solid colors or subtle patterns, and let your kids think of those as a canvas.  If your dress code allows, patches, buttons, and key chains are affordable and less committal ways to humor the latest trend or phase.

Water bottles and travel mugs are also routes to inexpensively show off their personality and interests, and typically don’t come under too many code restrictions.

Instead of buying a whole fad-focused lunch box, try using fun party napkins, stickers on sandwich bags, and decorated Tupperware to flair up their school lunch.

Claire’s, Lauren & Elizabeth and Michaels offers a variety of ways to personalize gear and add style.

Now you’re ready to shop!
Remember – your best weapon is to make sure you’ve studied your school’s restrictions and requirements. Have some fun tossing around these ideas with your kids to brainstorm together on how to tackle the shopping.

In the end, if your kids can feel like their interests are still being expressed, and you get to focus the budget on purchases that won’t get sent home, your usual battle can quickly become back-to-school bliss.

Happy shopping!

Story by Paige Somervell

About the Author: As you can see Paige loves all things fashion, but she is also passionate about football, with the Carolina Panthers being her #1 team and rightly so, they made it to the SuperBowl. Whether she is at work or at play she is always in style.