This post is sponsored by Woodfield Mall. All opinions are my own.
Can you believe summer vacation is coming to an end? It’s bittersweet because I love having the kids home from school and being free of a schedule, but the excitement of back to school shopping helps soften the blow a little. A couple of weeks ago I took my niece out for a one-on-one back to school shopping trip. We had so much fun ditching the boys and having a little girl time. But don’t worry, my boys weren’t totally left in the dust – we hit up Woodfield Mall for my family’s annual back to school shopping trip. With more than 2 million square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly amenities, there’s so much do, shop, and eat at Woodfield Mall and we got everything we needed.
I always loved back to school shopping when I was a kid and it’s still fun now as a mom. I now have a second-grader, a first-grader, and a preschooler! But with three growing boys, I try to do it smartly while still having some fun style-hunting. Here are a few back to school shopping tips:
1. Have your child try on last year’s clothing. Make a mental list of what needs to be replaced either because they have outgrown it or it’s in bad shape. Hand me downs are your best friend but make sure your kids get to pick out some fun new items for the school year themselves, too! We love these super comfy stretch camo jogger pants from Abercrombie Kids. Our favorite retailer at Woodfield Mall!
2. Buy backpacks with prevention in mind. We love the old skool checkerboard backpacks from Vans at Woodfield Mall – they have wider, padded shoulder straps and a padded back (recommended by pediatric doctors to prevent injuries) so they’re super comfortable for my kids. I always feel so bad seeing the teeniest kids shouldering giant backpacks so it’s important to make them as comfortable as possible!
3. There are plenty of great sales to take advantage of during the back-to-school rush, but that doesn’t mean all deals are the best deals. Try to stock up on summer items on clearance and remember that fall apparel are priced their highest when they first hit stores in August. If you can, layer on the summer t-shirts for the first few weeks of school, buying you time to shop for fall and winter clothing during holiday sales.
Happy back to school shopping, mamas!
This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. All opinions are my own.
As a boy mom, it’s not every day I get to go shopping for girl stuff, so when I get the chance to take my niece Elia out for back to school shopping – I grab it by the horns and then we finish with what else, ice cream. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved this time of year and there’s something about getting your school shopping done early that always makes it feel like the school year is starting off on the right foot. We headed straight to Kohl’s, where you can get everything for you, your family and your home, all designed to fit your personality and budget – including all your back to school must-haves in one place.
Elia had a blast shopping with her super fun, super cool auntie (me!). We ditched the boys at home and upgraded her school wardrobe for the incoming year. When you’re a growing girl and trends change all the time, Kohl’s makes it super easy to send them back to school in style without breaking the bank. And you know us girls, our tastes change from week to week!
There are always the staple basics every teen girl needs, like denim jeans and hoodies, but I think it’s also important to get some fun, trendy items that give them something to look forward to. We discovered an awesome Juniors’ brand at Kohl’s called SO designed for girls ages 13 to 24. It’s SO fun and youthful – see what I did there? Here are a few cute SO shirts and jeans that we love for back to school!
SO Cropped Hoodie in Sugar Glitter Tie-Dye: Because tie-dye never goes out of style and is forever young. We also love this colorful graphic tie-dye side knot tank guaranteed to “bring on the sunshine” to school days.
SO Off Shoulder Smocked Plaid Midi Dress: Because girls don’t want to live in jeans every day! Try on this adorable smocked midi dress – perfect for study dates or shopping at the mall with your girlfriends.
SO Paperbag Waist Vintage-Style Mom Jeans: Take the mom trend back to school this year. Bonus: these paperbag waist jeans come with a cute bow belt.
SO High Rise Vintage Bermuda Shorts: These vintage Bermuda shorts definitely pass the “fingertip” rule for school-approved dress code.
SO Solid Zip Front Hoodie: Comes in many colors including one with a varsity stripe down the sleeves – great for battling the classroom tundra or for Friday night lights.
Back to school prep with Elia was so fun! I wanted to show her how planning your first day of school outfit (and styling it with fun accessories) can jumpstart the school year. And really, what’s better than a shopping spree followed up with a sweet treat with your cool aunt?
Don’t forget, the Kohl’s Back to School offer runs from 8/2-8/18 and can be used on all SO apparel – receive $10 off $50 BTS purchase! Run, don’t walk!
Do you remember shoe shopping at Payless as a kid with your parents? When I was little, my parents always bought our back-to-school shoes at Payless because it was affordable and a one-stop shop for the whole family. Later as a teenager, I saved up my own money to buy “fun fashion shoes” from there, which is what I used to call any shoe that wasn’t a sneaker. (Even then I appreciated the power of high heels!) Now as a mom myself of three boys, I carry on that back-to-school shoe shopping tradition at Payless. But I’ll be honest, I haven’t shopped there for myself in years, so when Payless reached out to me to try some of their new women’s styles, I was game.
With fall approaching, I’ve been feeling all sorts of heart eyes for cognac shoes. I love this Havana Huarache Block Heel, which has a woven upper design reminiscent of the traditional Mexican sandal. This shoe from Payless has an updated huarache caged design and 3.5” block heel. I walked all day in these when we took the boys into the city by train to eat at Chicago French Market downtown – and my feet didn’t hurt once! I’m pleasantly surprised to find that Payless has upped their style (and quality) game for women’s shoes since my teenage years, and I wouldn’t mind also adding these lace-up block heels or these red wedges to my current “fun fashion shoe” collection.
My oldest boy, Roman, is wearing the Boy’s Rieder Mid-Top Skate, his first pair of “big boy shoes” (aka it has legit laces) – and he’s as excited as can be to learn how to tie shoes! I love the Boys’ Toddler Benton Boat Shoe for my three-year old, Rhys, because it has a Velcro tab which makes it super easy for him to slip it on and off by himself. (Though he was a teeeeeny bit disappointed to find that this shoe doesn’t have mini side pockets like the KangaROOS) And finally, baby Cole has on the Boys’ Toddler Preston Casual, which comes in a preppy dark gray with brown accents – the perfect neutral go-to shoe for anything he wears!
*created in partnership with Payless ShoeSource.
Pausing life to indulge in a #mommoment over here. Roman’s first day of back-to-school was yesterday and needless to say I might have gotten a wee bit choked up – my firstborn is heading back to school for the second year! I swear, he’s growing up in the blink of an eye. This year, Roman’s class is almost all boys, just the way he likes it, wild and crazy!
I’ve had quite a few questions about how I manage to maintain my former identity (i.e. woman) with three little ones. Once you have children and are in constant mom-mode (you know, keeping alive your very own little humans), it’s easy to forget about yourself. I’ve found that it helps to pause, and ask yourself, what makes you feel good? Is it eating well? Going for a run? Finding time to have a glass of wine with your girlfriends or go on Date Night?
For me, it’s as simple as starting each day with doing my hair and makeup and putting on a curated outfit. Having a little creative ‘me time’ sets the tone for my day before I head out the door and allows me to feel like myself – feminine, fresh and ready for fun! In my hot mom wheels with sliding doors, of course, a.k.a. stacked Toyota Sienna minivan. Off to preschool we go!
How was your back-to-school?
What I Wore-
Boots (old, but similar here)