What's Cool for School

A back-to-school clothes shopping guide.
Annabell + Khalil

Don’t let back-to-school shopping be a burden. We’ve enlisted the expertise of three Edina moms to help you navigate the racks in search of on-trend and mom-approved kids’ fashion. So if you want to know how to help your children become best-dressed or simply want to stock up on fall fashion accessories and learn what’s hot and what’s not, look no further. We’ve got the scoop!

Basics for Boys

Pants | Layering tops | Graphic-print tees | Dress clothes for special occasions | Zip-up sweatshirts | Fleece jackets

“I swear my 10-year-old [son] walks on his knees,” Belle says of the need for lots of pants.

“None of my kids like jeans. Everyone loves new shoes,” Badzin says.

“September is usually a lovely extension of August in Minnesota, so layering is key,” says Bell-Sorensen. “[A good fleece jacket] will take you through the fall and be a good layering piece under their warm winter coats.”

Basics for Girls

Leggings | Tunics or long tops | Dresses | Tutus for younger girls | Hair accessories in the hottest colors and prints | Interchangeable separates in bright colors or plaid

“My girls love headbands with any kind of flower or poof,” Badzin says.

“My 5-year-old [daughter] hates pants. So any dress or skirt that twirls, leggings and high-top sneakers” will work, according to Belle. And her teenage daughter “could live in yoga pants with a Nike tee, a running jacket and a pair of Jordans or Adidas sneakers.”

Bell-Sorensen says, “My 6-year-old [daughter] will grab a top and bottom that look like they would never in a million years work together and then throw on a wacky headband and colorful sneakers, and it looks childlike and fun.”


“Boy hair trends tend to be longer, California surfer-like,” Bell-Sorensen says. “Eighties punk styles are back, and of course, Minnesota will always have its fair share of hockey hair.”

Girls seem to follow their favorite teen idols, like Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift, according to Bell-Sorensen, with trends like “beachy waves or flat-iron curls, some subtle hair chalking, middle parts and cool braids.” Speaking of braids, Belle says double cornrow braids are very much in.

Tips for dressing …

The Picky Kid

Determine their preferred colors and styles up front. Bring them along on your shopping trips and let them choose what they like. Then eliminate unacceptable items until you’ve secured a few interchangeable outfits. “Since they picked the outfits, there should be no drama,” Bell-Sorensen says.

Dial back potential frustrations by having kids pick out their outfit the night before. A morning checklist can also help harried kids get dressed for school with less stress.

The Diva

Kids and parents have enough things to argue about, clothes shouldn’t be one of them according to Belle. “I give mine certain parameters to work with and then allow them to express themselves. I have a diva child who knows what she wants and sticks to it. So long as her health isn’t at stake, if she feels like wearing her Wonder Woman costume with leggings and a sweater underneath to stay warm, you go, girl. I admire her for being independent and bold.”

The Quirky Kid

As long as it’s not inappropriate, don’t fight it. “Let them get their quirk on,” says Badzin.

The Sloppy Kid

For kids who don’t care what they wear, clean or dirty, Belle says to provide less clothing to work with, making closet organizing a breeze and ensuring your would-be hobo can locate clean clothes easily.

Adult approval on outfits the night before might become necessary. And for special occasions like a school choir concert, remind them that dressing in khakis and a collared shirt is a one-time deal. “Try resale stores for dress shoes that are rarely worn,” Bell-Sorensen says. “And consider a cool short haircut that’s wash-and-go” so they don’t look too shabby when they walk out the door.

The Athlete

Easy! Give them multiples of what they love. Athletic wear for boys and girls is readily available and easy to grab and go. “I used to buy my teenage daughter dresses thinking one day she’d wear them, Belle says. “She hasn’t, so now we buy three pairs of black leggings, four white T-shirts. Let them be.”

A note of caution: Try to keep your athletic kid from morphing into a picky kid who requires certain athletic brands and looks that are harder to find.

Favorite Places to Shop

Macy’s + Target + General Sports + Athleta + Goodnight Moon + Oh Baby + Pacifier + J.Crew + And Check out Facebook’s Edina Online Rummage Sale!

Annabell (11) Oscar de la Renta cardigan, tee, leggings: Edina Online Rummage Sale; shoes from Sperry Southdale Mall; Vera Bradley lunch box; school accessories by Senn & Sons for Blue Sky at Target; Scout backpack and Swell water bottle from Bean and Ro

Khalil (10) 424 Ink branded shirt and pants, button down shirt from H&M Southdale Mall; shoes from Studiiyo23; backpack from pbkids Galleria

Zayna (5) backpack from pbkids; outfit and hair bands from Goodnight Moon; shoes from Edina Facebook Rummage Sale; cup from Bean and Ro

Maggie (6) Normandale shirt, flowy top, jeans, necklace courtesy of Goodnight Moon; relocating to 44th and France in Edina. Shoes and backpack from Target Edina; Live Love MN bag from West Elm, Edina.

On-trend Accessories

+ Vera Bradley backpacks for tween girls

+ Nike or Under Armour backpacks for boys

+ Kate Spade planners for girls

+ Bento-box-style lunchboxes

+ Any Edina school or Minnesota apparel by 524 Ink or Live & Love MN

Our moms:
Ethelind Belle, mother of three, ages 5 to 15

Rebecca Bell-Sorenson, mother of four, ages 4 to 11

Nina Badzin, mother of four, ages 4 to 11

Special Thanks
Yogurt Lab: for providing the photo shoot venue and lots of yummy treats!

Maggie & Annabell’s Hair: Ally Kubalak, master stylist | Allykubalakhair@gmail.com