Kid’s Back to School Clothing Hacks and Budget Tips

Back to school shopping. Kids get so excited about the new stuff. And parents everywhere cringe and worry about the cost! With four kids to clothe (ages 16 months to 13 years), I know the stress of shopping for kid’s clothes. But I’ve gathered up some great ideas and hacks along the way that help me stick to my budget. Check out my 7 budget tips and back to school clothing hacks.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post.

Back to School Clothing

#1: Back to school shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. Seriously, your child doesn’t need an entirely new wardrobe unless they grew 5″ over summer and have nothing to wear except pajamas. Pick and choose the pieces that are must-have.

#2: Give the kids a choice. Let them have some input on what they’d like to wear. This really helps minimize stressful mornings when anxiety about school kicks in. Getting dressed and feeling awkward has a lot to do with that stress.

#3: Aim for comfort. However you don’t have to sacrifice cute! I’ve been purchasing from Gymboree for 13 years. I love the coordinating lines, how easy the clothing washes up and of course, how adorable my kids look in them.

Keep reading for my back to school clothing hacks and budgeting tips for shopping!

These 7 back to school clothing hacks help streamline the morning routine, save money and still have your kids looking cute for school!

1. Give Them No Reason to Say, “I Have Nothing to Wear!”

Before you hear those words, go through the closets and dressers piece by piece. Have your child try things on to verify fit. Too small? Have a donation box handy. Not in season? Put it in a storage bin under the bed for later. Once you have cleared out the old, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll need to purchase.

Pre-Shopping Tip: There always seems to be that one piece of clothing that doesn’t match anything. My daughter had the cutest patterned pair of pants but she never wore them because she didn’t have a top that matched the colors. Decide whether you’ll let that piece go or try and find the coordinating item to wear with it.

2. Layer Summer over Winter

What’s in the closet that can continue to be worn, even in the chillier months? My daughter had the cutest chambray jumper dress from Gymboree that she wore all-year round. When weather was warm she wore the dress alone. When weather was cool, she wore it over a turtleneck and leggings.

For boys, lightweight button-up shirts can be layered over long pants and long sleeved tees.

Pre-Shopping Tip: Look in the closet and see what items can be layered during the winter. Keep that tip in mind when purchasing new items.

3. Prep the Night Before

To ease the morning-of-school stress, make it a habit to prep as much as possible the night before. This means getting backpack and homework organized and placing shoes (with socks!) by the front door.

I choose my outfit the day before and encourage my kids to do the same. This way they can decide what they want to wear with a little more time.  And they’re fresh and ready to get dressed in the morning!

Pre-Shopping Tip: Does your preschooler still struggle with getting himself dressed? If buttons and zippers are slowing him down, purchase easy, quick-on clothing styles like rib-neck tees and elastic waist pants.

These 7 back to school clothing hacks help streamline the morning routine, save money and still have your kids looking cute for school!

4. Stock Up on Layering Pieces

Long sleeved tees and turtlenecks that can be worn under coordinating shirts or sweaters can really extend the wardrobe. Cardigans, fleece hoodies and pullover sweaters are nice to layer over tees or button-up shirts.

For girls, leggings are perfect for layering under skirts and dresses when the weather is cool. Consider capri length for fall, full length and fuzzy lined for winter.

Pre-Shopping Tip: In the case of layering tees, I like to choose classic colors that coordinate with many other items in the closet. Think navy blue, white and black for the best versatility.

Gymboree Long Sleeved Tee

5. Choose Practical Shoes That Go with Everything

Have only a few styles of shoes in colors that coordinate with many different outfits. I recommend altering days to allow shoes to dry and air-out inside (helping to eliminate odors).

Pre-Shopping Tip: If you’re trying to expedite the morning routine, choose easy-on styles like slip on shoes or Velcro instead of laces.

Gymboree Mesh Sneakers

6. Shop Out of Season

This is one of my tried and true budget shopping tips. Shop NOW for next year! When I see that clothes are up to 70% off at Gymboree, I jump on that sale! I’ll purchase items for my kids, knowing that I’ll be putting them away for another season.

I recently purchased shorts in a few sizes larger for my toddler to wear next summer. They were $5.59 (already a fantastic price!). But when I paired that with my Gymbucks redemption, the cost went down to $2.80 and you CAN’T beat that kind of bargain!

Pre-Shopping Tip: If you want to buy ahead but aren’t sure what size your child would be, consider the style first. Opt for elastic or drawstring waist shorts and pants,  or loose dresses instead of form-fitting or “skinny” styles.

7. Don’t Need Full Outfits? Just Add Accessories!

One of my favorite ways to jazz up an “old” outfit is by adding cool new accessories. A fun pair of tights, belt, purse, coordinating socks or a hair accessory adds just a bit of spark to an outfit on a budget.

Pre-Shopping Tip: Don’t forget the underwear! I have to remind my older kids to let me know when their underpants are getting too small so I can reorder new ones! We’ve always purchased Gymboree because the elastic holds up so well and the designs don’t fade.



Budget-Friendly Back-to-School Outfits at Gymboree

Find out Where to Get Budget-Friendly Back-to-School Outfits

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post.

Back-to-School Outfits

I love back-to-school shopping but not the price tags! And boy, do I hate buying something for my kids only to see it falling apart at the seams after a few washes. When I shop at Gymboree that doesn’t happen because the clothes are high quality (my 4-yr old is wearing Gymboree hand-me-downs that have now gone through 3 other kids!) No sticker shock there either because they offer wonderful sales and great coupons, not to mention Gymbucks for use on a future order.

Do your kids need clothes but you don’t want the challenge of mixing and matching the outfits yourself? Gymboree has paired up with Stitch Fix to give you some quick shopping ideas for back to school. Here are a few outfits that I put together for my kids!

Gymboree Back to School for Big Girls


Even though my 12-yr old daughter is on the upper size of Gymboree, I was still able to find something trendy and fun that she’d love to wear. Gymboree is great for offering full collections to coordinate head-to-toe but you can still mix and match for something unique and quirky too.

Boy's Gymboree for Back to School


My 12-yr old boy is all about athletic gear and comfort. Long gone are the skinny jeans and now he’s all about the basketball shorts! Gymgo Active has been the perfect line for him and he likes the bright colors and comfortable fit.

Preschool Boys Gymboree Back to School


My 4-yr old starts transitional kindergarten this year and he’s so excited! He’s a rough and tumble guy and Gymboree holds up to his active play. Gymboree jeans are a staple for my kids and their colorful graphic tees are always a hit. My kid loves to coordinate his undies to match his outfit (yes, really!)

Baby Back to School Gymboree


And even though she’s not starting school, the baby is still growing like a weed and needs a new fall outfit! Such pretty colors and patterns, and those tiny red shoes are adorable!

Be sure to check out Gymboree’s current sales and consider signing up for their emails so you’ll know when Gymbucks rolls around!



6 DisneyBounding “Rules” – How to Capture Your DisneySide!

Children under 12 can dress in costume at the Disney Parks, but what about the rest of us who’d like to show their Disney-Side but can’t go full out in costume? DisneyBounding! By using clothes from your own closet, you can create the unique look of a certain Disney character that you can wear to the Parks.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Yellow Loop. Today we are sharing DisneyBounding ideas for you and your family.

6 DisneyBounding "Rules" - How to Capture Your DisneySide!

DisneyBounding “Rules”?

I came up with a few DisneyBounding “rules”, using the Fab 5 as examples, that make dressing as your favorite character fun and easy. My DisneyBound ideas are clothes you can wear at the Parks, so these are comfortable and practical but still fun (not a high heel in sight!)

DisneyBound is about creativity and uniqueness. One look on Pinterest DisneyBound and you can see how many interpretations people are able to come up with based on one character’s “look”.

How will you DisneyBound? Here are some ideas!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. By clicking and purchasing through my links you help me in a small financial way, thank you!


Does your character have a recognizable pattern, like Minnie and her polka dots? Wearing red and white polka dots will almost automatically link you to Minnie, but what other prints can you find that are a similar match to your character?

Minnie Mouse DisneyBound

How about green fish scales for Ariel, purple and pink stripes for the Cheshire Cat or a red and white Hawaiian print for Lilo! If you can’t find a good match, consider fabric paint and a handmade stencil to make the print on the fabric yourself (use non-stretch cotton for best results).

Minnie Mouse – Women’s Polka Dot Top

Cheshire Cat – Pink & Purple Striped Knee High Socks

Ariel – Mermaid Tails Jamberry nail wrap

Minnie Mouse – Red Large Polka Dot’s Minnie Mouse Inspired Hair Bow

101 Dalmations – Dalmation Spot Beach Flip Flops


What are your character’s main colors? No need to be exact on either colors or matching identical pieces, just a general idea of that character’s look, like the Goofy collection shown here.

Goofy DisneyBound

What other characters use color dramatically in their look? How about Elsa in her sparkling ice blue gown and silver snowflakes? Or Ursula in a swirl of black and purple. As long as you keep with these color tones, you can mix up the design of the outfit as you please.

Elsa – Sequin Embellished Sparkle Tank Top and Frozen Snowflake Pandora Charm

Ursula – Womens Swing Tunic Top in Deep Purple and Metal Starfish Hair Clips

Dopey – Knitted Beanie Cap in Dark PurpleDrape Tunic Top in Lime and Minnetonka Women’s Back Zipper Bootie


What is the most eye-catching piece of your character’s look? For Donald, it’s his bright red bow, front and center. With thoughtful accessorizing, you can relax on the other pieces (because you probably don’t want to dress in full sailor suit!)
Donald Duck DisneyBound

If your character doesn’t have a definite spotlight piece, feel free to use that character’s image in one of your accessories (like on a hat , shoes or jewelry). These great new Disney-themed Vans are a perfect accompaniment ( VANS x DISNEY Sneakers)

Think candy hair accessories for Vanellope from Wreck It Ralph, Jessie’s red cowgirl hat from Toy Story or a chunky turquoise necklace like Pocahontas.

Vanellope – Rainbow Candy Fashion Hair Clips

Jessie –  Toy Story Jessie Cowgirl Hat

Poncahontas –  Handmade Chunky Turquoise Necklace


There’s a big difference between DisneyBound and costumes. You wouldn’t put on feathers to DisneyBound as Daisy Duck, but a fluffy white dress gives the impression of feathers.
Daisy Duck DisneyBound

 Also, if you’re choosing less-than-obvious characters, consider that you might not be easily recognized as being DisneyBound. You’ll look cute, but not in costume so if you want to pointedly direct attention to your outfit consider having a toy or an accessory, like an enamel pin of the character on your shirt.


Literal interpretations lends themselves more towards costume than DisneyBound, like the Mickey example here. This is best left for the kids, who look simply adorable (whilst a grown man, not so much!)

Mickey DisneyBound

Feel free to let little ones go all out with Tinker Bell or Buzz Lightyear wings in the park, so long as they’re comfortable.


Tinker Bell –  Baby Girls’ Tinker Bell Deluxe Infant Costume

Buzz Lightyear –  Buzz Lightyear Jet Pack


And for good measure, I threw in Pluto! If your costume is vague or the character you chose doesn’t have much of a standout look (like Pluto here) consider adding in character details, like a hat, jewelry or MagicBand wrap with a custom design to add to your look.

Pluto DisneyBound

You could also go a subtle route and choose one accessory if your character is dressed quite over the top like Sully from Monsters Inc., Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas or Jessie from Toy Story. Keep your costume simple and show off these cool accessories. Naturally I like to take my characters to the tips of my nails with the Disney Collection by Jamberry wraps!


sample-mistress of all evil

From left to right, Mistress of All Evil, Frozen In Time Junior and You Can Fly

For more DisneyBounding ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

Just because you’re going to be walking around in the hot sun and eating giant turkey legs, there isn’t any reason you still can’t look cute! But comfort is key so choose your outfits carefully, taking these key points in mind. There are Disney PhotoPass photographers at every bend to capture your Disney memories and you want to look good!

These are my suggestions for comfy but still cute clothes to wear at Disney!

Breathable Fabrics

You’ll be happier and more comfortable when you choose breathable fabrics, like cotton. That’s why the souvenir Disney t-shirt is so popular! We’re all rockin’ the cotton Disney tee in this shot (except for my husband, who wears nothing but white t-shirts, ever!) Cotton tees dry quickly after a dunking on Grizzly River Run too.

Cuteness Tip: Choose women’s styled shirts, which are a little more fitted and shaped, over boxy or shapeless tees.

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at DisneyComfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at DisneyComfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

From left to right, Classic Mickey Tee from Disney Store, Her Universe Star Wars Tee, Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s Disney’s Minnie Mouse Bow Tee

Consider the Weather

Southern California weather is pretty typical. It’s generally hot in the summer and cool in the winter…sometimes. And sometimes you’ll have a beautiful warm and sunny day in May and the following day it’s raining! Make sure to check the 10-day forecast before packing. Just because it’s December doesn’t mean you’re going to need a winter coat, it could possibly be a surprising 80 degrees!

Cuteness Tip: Choose fun accessories like this knitted Minnie-inspired hat when the weather is cold and you’re wearing a coat over your outfit.

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney  Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at DisneyComfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney  Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

From left to right, Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s Minnie Mouse shorts, Disney Sweatshirt at Forever21, Infinity Scarf from StyleGypsies on Etsy

Head to Toe

A hat is a must in my opinion and best purchased at the Disney Parks themselves. I love to choose a hat (that doubles as a souvenir) on the first day of my trip so I can wear it every day.

Cuteness Tip: Make sure to try the hat on in the shop. Make sure it’s sized correctly and isn’t going to be uncomfortable. If you want an honest opinon, ask random people how the hat looks on you.

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney  Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

For the love of all things, leave the heels at home! Comfortable shoes are a necessity but you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort. There are lots of adorable and comfortable Disney-styled kicks. Read my post, Best Shoes for the Disney Parks and find out why I love open-toed sandals.

Cuteness Tip: The search “Disney handpainted shoes” on Etsy came up with some fantastic and fun artwork that you can wear on your feet!

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney    Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney   Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

From left to right, Crocsband Mickey (my little one has these & Crocs definitely look cuter the smaller they are!), Little Mermaid Slip-on Sneakers from HotTopicTOMS red wool dot youth shoes

And if you happen to be sporting open-toed shoes, don’t forget to bedeck your toes with some Minnie dots, like these Poppy & White Jamberry nails.

Disney Bound

Use items from your closet arranged in a way to resemble your favorite character (I wrote more about it in my post What is Disney Bound?) Images from

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

Cuteness Tip: You can never go wrong with polka dots!

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney   Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney 2015-03-27 11.57.50

Accessorize in Style

I totally bought a fanny pack on my recent trip to Walt Disney World…yes, I did and I’m not embarrassed about it one bit! I loved having my hands free and my neck was hurting from carrying a purse on my shoulder through the Parks.

2015-04-18 15.54.43

The Disney Store also offers this waist pack, Walt Disney World Travel Pack.

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

I love to accessorize with Disney-inspired jewelry. This sterling silver Mickey from Vintage Stamp Jewels is one of my favorites and I wear it all the time.

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

Image from Vintage Stamp Jewels

Cuteness Tip: Jewelry accessories should be dainty to avoid damage or injury during the rides (can you imagine how your chin would feel after riding a loopy roller coaster with a statement bib necklace hitting you in the face?!)


From left to right, Mary Poppins necklace from KK and Whimsy on Etsy, Rose gold Mickey Watch from The Disney StoreO’hana Necklace from HotTopic

Kid’s Couture

I love making my kids coordinating outfits when we make Disney trips. Yeah, they’ll probably hate me for it later, but they do look adorable!

.Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

Etsy is one of my go-to places for clever and unique Disney wear for your family. I’m a vendor there myself and have been selling hand appliqued Disney-themed tees there for years as Painted Butterfly. I love to find unique outfits for my kids to wear at the Parks.

Girls –

From left to right, BowsLife Ruffled Capri Pants, PaintedButterfly Tinkerbell Upcycled Tee Dress, We’re All Mad Here by Glitter Ever After

 Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney 

Boys –

From left to right, Painted Butterfly Star Wars Storm Trooper Tee, Monogrammed Mickey Set by ChildrensCottage, Grumpy tee by DebbieMomofJack

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

Pack a first day outfit in your carry on bag

Live and learn lesson from our recent trip to Walt Disney World. Our checked bag didn’t arrive until the following day. Fortunately I’d packed a second outfit in my checked bag for me and my son (though my contact lenses, make-up bag and hairbrush were in the checked bag). My mom and brother had absolutely no clothes and had to wear the same outfit on day two.

Fortunately something my mom said rang true, “After ten minutes walking around and riding the rides in the Park, we’ll look like everyone else.” And that was the truth!

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

What are your top “cute but comfy” tips for outfits at Disney Parks? I’d love to hear your comments!

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Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!

Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!

Dapper Day takes place at both Disneyland and at the Walt Disney World. I’ve never attended the Dapper Day festivities but as a girl with a retro-beat in her heart, this event sounds like it’s the bees-knees! Get dolled up in your Sunday best and enjoy the Parks a la 1955. I’ve compiled some festive Dapper Day outfit ideas for everyone.

Dapper Days encourages guests to get dressed up for a day at the Park. According to their website,  “Dapper” doesn’t mean just vintage! We encourage all sophisticated fashions, from vintage-inspired to contemporary chic!

Compiling your Dapper Day outfit just takes a little creativity. Mix and match within different eras to create a charming look that’s all your own! The Disney Blog Disney Style offers tips on “How To Dapper”.

Start by visiting the Dapper Day shop, where you can choose official merchandise, like this orange grove scarf.

Head-to-toe Dapper Day Styles

Pinterest has great ideas, including these coordinated DisneyBound outfits that don’t miss a detail.

Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!

Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!  Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!

Twirly Dresses

Love these full and twirly dresses and skirts (makes getting in and out of rides so much easier than in a pencil skirt!) From left to right, SarahsCurtseySkirtsPinUpGirl clothing, LindyBop

Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!  Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!

From Left to Right, JJofSweden, AnabellaWoman


Dapper Kiddies

Get the kids in on the fun with sweet clothes in a vintage vibe. From left to right, Tinkerella Creations, GunsAndAprons, Chasing Fireflies

Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!  Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!  Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!

Here are some DIY options. From left to right, Make It Love It, Peekaboo Pattern Shop


Dapper Dans

For the dapper gentlemen. From left to right, WickhamHouse and Village Hat Shop

Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!  Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!

Stylish Accessories

The accessories make the lady, so do it up in style. Left to Right, PinUpGirl clothingUnique Vintage and Miz-Mooz

Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!  Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to Step Out in Style!  

Dapper Hairstyles

One of the best things you can do to set your style apart is to have a dapper hair style, but some of these looks will take lots of advance practice! Left to right, Pretty Designs, It’s Hair Styles.


Spring Disneyland event – April 30-May 1, 2016

Spring Walt Disney World event (Magic Kingdom) and Disneyland Paris – Saturday April 16, 2016

Fall Disneyland Paris event – October 15th, 2016

Fall Disneyland event – November 5th-6th, 2016

Fall Walt Disney World event (Epcot) – November 12th, 2016

Follow along with the Dapper Day fun on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The photos might have you itchin’ to put on your fedora or white gloves to join the fun!



Exercising in Disney Style – Collection of Whimsical Workout Gear

I came across these amazing New Balance runDisney shoes and fell in love! I think the hardest part would be choosing just one pair!  I think I’d have to go with the pink pair on the far left, those tiny polka dots are calling my name!

Image from

There’s a catch, however. These Limited Edition New Balance runDisney Collection are exclusive only to runDisney Expo attendees. Hopefully someday they’ll be available to those of us who are racing Disney at home and can’t make it to the Expo.

In the meantime, I’ve procured a collection of whimsical Disney-inspired training gear that anyone can get their hand on. These fun items are sure to get you moving!

Get your glitter on with these tough (yet still pretty!) skirts and accessories from Sparkle Athletic. So cute for race day or just for putting more spark in your step on the treadmill!

Red with White Polka Dots Sparkle Running Skirt or the Pink Tiara Sparkle Headsweats Visor

The tongue-in-cheek humor on these tees from Human add some lightness to your serious sweat.

Gonna Crush this Workout tank or the I Don’t Sweat…This is Pixie Dust tee

If you’d rather not wear your Disney heart on your sleeve (literally), sneak in a little of your Disney Side where only you’ll know it’s there! These fun and colorful no-show socks are from Hot Topic.

Disney Lilo & Stitch Faces No-Show Socks or the Disney The Little Mermaid Characters No-Show Socks


For flat-out practical exercise clothes, you can’t beat these from The Disney Store. Might they inspire you to sign up for the 5K? Perhaps…

Castaway Cay 5K Tee or these RunDisney Shorts for Women


On the opposite end of the spectrum are these over-the-top fabulous run costumes. Look no further than Etsy for fabulous and unique designs.

Snow White by This Princess Runs or Rapunzel by SherryDesignEdit


And finally for the kids, a Disney-themed swimsuit for lap swimming , diving or just plain ol’ splashing around! These are from the Disney Store.

Star Wars Swim Trunks for Boys or the Ariel Deluxe Swimsuit for Girls

Do you have fun Disney workout clothes? Share in the comments below and please consider signing up for my newsletter so you’ll know each time I post.