Back To School Shopping With A&W: Fantastic Finds & Tips For Toddlers

For years I watched with intent at how my mom scooped up deals and shopped her way into a thrift heaven. Growing up, most of our clothes were purchased second-hand and passed down from friends.

I may not be as economical when it comes to clothing my own kids, but I definitely took some of those lessons with me and practice them today. Wyndham is embarking on a brand new chapter come September, entering into JK, full-time days! So now, instead of the regular fall shopping, we are officially a part of the back-to-school club.

Hold me.

Whether you have a little ones whose just about to start JK (me!) or a tot whose starting back up into daycare or preschool, I have the deals, tips and adorable fashion finds you’re looking for to keep things under control.

Come along with Wyndham and Abby as they share some of their favourite finds and finish off their back to school shopping!

  • On Keeping Things Thrifty… 1 of 13

    Click through to discover some of our new favourites, hand-me-downs, thrifted treasures and tips for making it all last! 

  • Backpacks Just For Them 2 of 13

    With one in preschool and one starting JK, they both have a few things that they have to bring with them each day. Wyndham especially (JK), will have a lunch, snacks, occasional change of clothes (to replenish what gets used in his cubby) and water vessel. Maybe a pencil case and notebook. You know, STUFF. We LOVE Skip Hop back-packs for their adorableness, varying pint sized options and durability. Don't forget to put name-tags on them! (More on that later.)

  • Etsy Spotlight 3 of 13

    I have a thing for Etsy. (Who doesn't?) Each new season I order Wyndham and Abby a couple of handmade items to mix in with their wardrobe. This one is from a current favourite shop, Dark Cycle Clothing. 

  • Mix & Match Seperates 4 of 13

    Leggings and cardigans. Staples in every little girl/boy's wardrobe. Cardi's can make a summer dress last well into the fall and are perfect for layering as the seasons change. Leggings and tights are a gals best friend, as they too will extend the wear of sweet summer dresses. I favour H&M leggings (the fall collection is irresistible!) and have found some great deals at Zara (kids), on mix and match knits, like that darling royal blue cropped cardigan Abby is wearing.

  • Essential 5 of 13

    Cute, matching jammies are essential if one has young siblings close in age. According to me. The coming of fall usually means a big growth spurt and the need for bigger, warmer pjs to last through the long cold winter. (Shudder. Sorry, last time I'll utter the dreaded W word, promise.)
    As seen above via the Disney Store - Monster's Inc Pyjamas, $16.50

  • Fancy Dress 6 of 13

    I'm a stalwart supporter of fancy dresses for little girls. For twirling, mud-pie making and causing a general ruckus in. I absolutely adore Wild Things Dresses and plan on splurging once a year and buying a little big to make it last.
    As seen above via Wild Things Dresses, $60

  • The Neverending Shoe Debacle 7 of 13

    Why is it that from brand to brand, shoe sizing is always way off? It's enough to drive a mama bonkers. See also: the frequency in which a mama has to buy new shoes for those non-stop growing footsies. Quality is UBER important. I cannot stress this enough. Shoes, shocks and underwear are items that I never buy second-hand, because - EW GROSS and also the need for durability. Long standing favoured brands are, See Kai Run, DC sneakers, Stride Rite, H&M shoes (Wyndham wants these for fall), and Zara shoes (sandals as seen on Abby above). Those last two brands are surprisingly well-made and well-priced, with great arch support. Wyndham is wearing a pair of DC kicks that I got him following a big growth spurt he had at the beginning of the summer. They still fit him but are looking a little worse for wear. I plan on taking a magic eraser to them and tossing them in the washer for the beginning of the school year. Not buying him new ones till he totally needs them!

  • Keep It Fresh 8 of 13

    My toddlers are just as rough and tumble as the next - doesn't mean they can't look good on a budget while doing it! I bought these for 50% off at Children's Place LAST spring for Wyndham this fall and winter. 

  • The Benefits of Thrifting 9 of 13

    I pop in to a couple of my local thrift stores once or twice a week for a quick flip through the kids clothing section. I often find mint condition gooders like this GAP vest for Abby. Perfect for the fall! If I find something spectacular but it's not either of their sizes yet I still get it. They'll grown into it eventually and a wicked deal is worth snatching when it comes to children's clothing.

  • Splurge-Worthy 10 of 13

    In all honesty - Abby gets plenty of hand-me-down hoodies from her bro. This one proved to be irresistible to me however and Abby literally cuddles and pets this sweater, wanting to wear it every dang day since it's come home with us from H&M. If you're hip to the fact H&M now ships in the US, this similarly adorable bunny sweater is only FIVE BUCKS!!!

  • Thermal Drinking Vessels & TAG ALL THE EVERYTHING 11 of 13

    I'm loving the durability of these Foogoo Thermoses that my kids take to school everyday. I bought them at the beginning of the spring and they are still going strong. They'll definitely be making the transition into the fall. That's saying a lot for a sippy. Also? If you're not in the know about Mabel's Labels - get to it. Speaking of durable - these labels last through wash after wash, dishwasher or washing machine. They always have great deals on packages, especially this time of year. Tag all shoes, hats, coats, sweaters, bags, cups and lunch containers. Things were always going 'missing', before I started doing this and now? Not so much at all. 

  • On Hand-Me-Downs & Second-Hand Shopping 12 of 13

    Get on that train. I'm not stuck on gender defined clothing, nor do I turn my nose up at buying second-hand. Kids grow so fast - that anything you'll find in a consignment store has already made it through the approval process. I find that purchasing fancy dresses, dress shirts and pants/suits for special occasions/holidays is like one of the greatest secrets no one ever told me. They barely get worn, so when they find their way to a consignment shop they're usually in MINT condition. The grey quilted hoodies my kids are wearing up there? Abby is wearing one (also wearing another pair of Zara shoes), that used to be Wyndham's and I lucked out and found the larger size for W at Once Upon a Child. 
    Hair bows as shown above via Southern Baby Boutique, $12.95 (set of 3)

  • Dresses Can Be Shirts 13 of 13

    We went to Mexico last winter and I just couldn't resist all of the adorable dresses. Abby is shown wearing the two frocks I brought back for her - both bought a little big to last longer. I also chose loose, shirtan styles so that they could be paired with jeans and/or leggings and long-sleeved shirts/turtle-necks underneath making them last through many a season and growth spurt. My favourite brand of pants and skinny jeans and coloured twill pants are by H&M for their quality and price. I buy them a size too big and they last cuffed up from the beginning till the next year, un-rolled. All of their pants feature adjustable elasticized waistband. A must-have feature in any toddler pant.


If you’re a Canadian shopper, be sure to scoop up this in store H&M coupon for 20% off your entire kids purchase!

More Babbles From Selena…

Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Regular writer here and on Disney Baby. Part-time mischief maker, all the time geek. Proud of her Anishinaabe roots.

Elsewhere on the internets…

Via her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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