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The Style Edit: Back to School
Happy Monday, friends!
Thanks for your patience as I dropped off the radar this past week and a half. That wasn’t my plan, but, wow, transitioning into a new workplace is a wild ride. More about that on Friday - that’s Life Edit talk. Also, a warm welcome to those of you who’ve subscribed in the meantime!
It’s back to school season already, and after a stressful summer, I welcome its return. For those of you with school-age kids, does school start mid-August for your family, too, or is that a weird Ohio thing? Back in my day, we always started closer to Labor Day.
Seems like one year, we’re shopping for mostly back-to-school gear, and the next, we’re on the hook for summer items instead. At least this system has the decency to swap from year to year. This year is a ‘buy all the back-to-school things’ year.
Although kids outgrow things and need new supplies each year, I do try to limit unnecessary buying and waste as much as possible. I see the fast fashion version of backpacks and lunchboxes lining store shelves and want no part of discarding a backpack every single year. Today, I’m sharing my favorite, time-tested back-to-school picks.
I bought this to send my daughter off to preschool, and it’s about to head to second grade bearing few signs of wear. This backpack also accompanies her on the punishing day camp circuit during the summer, a true testament to its fortitude. I was happy to pay a bit more for a backpack knowing/hoping it would get us through at least elementary school, if not longer. Hunter’s website is currently undergoing a redesign, but you can purchase the packs via Zappos.
Hunter rain boots
Look at this brand loyalty! But seriously, we’ve been through several pairs of these boots. The only reason they leave our house is because the child outgrows them. They’re an A+ for quality, comfort, and durability. The only thing I would caution is that I’ve noticed the lighter colored boots can sometimes show weird discoloration spots. It doesn’t affect the function, but I’d recommend purchasing the darker shades.
Land’s End polos and skirts
Unlike a lot of schools, ours doesn’t specifically require students to purchase uniforms through Land’s End. We do anyhow because I love the quality of the uniform pieces and the consistency of the colors.
I’ve tried a few other brands and haven’t been as impressed. The polos from Primary shrank, and the skirt from Brooks Brothers faded pretty badly starting with the first wash. This hasn’t been an issue for us with LE.
Primary has honestly been hit or miss for us, although I do like their fleece-lined leggings. The adorable coat pictured below is from Brooks Brothers, although she generally refuses to wear it. Alas. It’s really cute. It makes her look like a tiny lawyer, but apparently, the kids don’t want to look like tiny lawyers these days?! That’s not an attitude that will make partner.
Pottery Barn Kids water bottle, lunch box, and bento box
I just bought our second PBK water bottle. Someone wanted a Frozen water bottle, and I’m fine with having a spare. The only caveat is that the spout can be tricky to clean and is prone to build up - PBK does sell replacement kits for $6, which is helpful. Otherwise, like the above backpack, the bottle has been rolling off to school and camp since preschool without becoming dented or springing a leak.
The lunch box (we have the cold pack version) and bento box don’t get used terribly frequently, but they have held up well for a few years with no signs of slowing down. The bento box is recycled/BPA-free/proceeds go toward charity, and is dishwasher safe, thank God. It’s also on sale right now.
I find a lot of children’s sneaker designs to be just a little too garish. Some have even made it under our roof - not everyone is opposed to glittery rainbows or recognizes the value of a mostly navy capsule wardrobe. I’m not worried; the next generation will come around eventually. In the meantime, we compromise with classic sneaker designs mixed with the odd rose gold sequined pair.
I wouldn’t say the Keds hold up entirely without signs of wear, but you can’t ask for such miracles from a child’s daily footwear. Considering what they’re up against, these hold up well until they’re all too quickly outgrown.
The Beaufort Bonnet Company duck head umbrella
In the area of Pennsylvania where I went to high school, back-to-school season was also the rainy season. I graduated from high school over twenty years ago, but it’s still ingrained in me that stocking up on rain gear is an integral part of BTS shopping.
The duck head umbrella actually pre-dates our school shopping days. It’s really easy to operate and sturdy for windy days. Since it’s fairly compact, I often throw it in my own tote back if rain is threatening and always get compliments on the duck head design that’s meant for children’s use. If your household is child free and you’ve stuck with the post this long, you might love this umbrella, too!
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