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The 8 best places to buy cute back-to-school outfits

Here's where to buy cute, affordable, first-day-worthy back-to-school outfits.
/ Source: TODAY

If you're a parent, there's probably a lot of back-to-school shopping in your future (if you haven't been there, done that already).

To make things a little easier, the TODAY Parents and TODAY Style teams put together a roundup of our favorite stores for back-to-school shopping. (We did one on the best backpacks and school supplies, too!) They have stylish, on-trend clothes that are also affordable!

1. Gymboree

A striped maxi dress is the perfect back-to-school outfit, especially when paired with a denim jacket and sparkly sneakers.

Mom maxi dress, $10, Gymboree

Mom Maxi Dress

Denim jacket, $10, Gymboree

Denim Jacket

Sparkle sneakers, $21, Gymboree

Sparkle sneakers

Graphic tees are a closet must-have, and love it here when paired with a ruffled skirt. This outfit hits on a bunch of trends: stripes, graphic tees, ruffles and embroidery.

Swing skort, $8, Gymboree

The Swing Skort

Paris bike tee, $13, Gymboree

Paris Bike Tee

Hi-top sneakers, $10, Gymboree

Hi-Top Sneakers

The patchwork detail on this button-down makes this piece a school must-have. We paired this top with jogger-style denim — comfy yet on trend.

Patch shirt, $15, Gymboree

Patch Shirt

Color lace sneakers, $22, Gymboree

Color Lace Sneakers

Denim joggers, $15, Gymboree

Denim Joggers

This is the perfect fall outfit: a red flannel top layered over a graphic tee with a pair of jeans.

Plaid shirt, $15, Gymboree

Plaid Shirt

Color lace sneakers, $22, Gymboree

Color Lace Sneakers

Straight jeans, $15, Gymboree

Straight Jeans

Awesome tee, $13, Gymboree

Awesome Tee

2. Crazy 8

This ruffle dress is stepped up with this sparkly bomber jacket — a jacket every girl will love! Finishing off the look with metallic shoes makes this the perfect outfit for the first day of school.

Ruffle dress, $12, Crazy 8

Ruffle Dress

Metallic fringe sneakers, $18, Crazy 8

Metallic Fringe Sneakers

Sparkle bomber jacket, $30, Crazy 8

Sparkle Bomber Jacket

This striped dress will transition perfectly from summer to fall when layered with this denim jacket. This look is completed with metallic sandals and you’re good to go!

Stripe maxi dress, $12, Crazy 8

Stripe Maxi Dress

Metallic sandals, $10, Crazy 8

Metallic sandals

Jean jacket, $21, Crazy 8

Jean Jacket

Vests are always a must-have for the fall, and this one is styled perfectly with a striped polo and jeans.

Stripe polo, $9, Crazy 8

Stripe Polo

Colorblock puffer vest, $21, Crazy 8

Colorblock Puffer Vest

Stretch rocker jeans, $18, Crazy 8

Stretch Rocker Jeans

High-top sneakers, $18, Crazy 8

High-Top Sneakers

Gingham shirts are another versatile piece, but we kept it casual and simple here with jeans and white sneakers.

Stretch rocker jeans, $18, Crazy 8

Stretch Rocker Jeans

Gingham shirt, $12, Crazy 8

Gingham Shirt

Three-strap sneakers, $15, Crazy 8


3. JCPenney

Graphic tees and boyfriend jeans are the perfect back-to-school pairing, and what better way to complete the look than with a pair of bright white Adidas trainers?

The Lion King graphic tee, $15, JCPenney

The Lion King Graphic T-Shirt- Juniors

Arizona boyfriend fit destructed jeans, $54, JCPenney

Arizona Boyfriend Fit Destructed Jeans-Juniors

Adidas NEO sneaker, $40, JCPenney

adidas NEO Baseline Unisex Sneaker - Little Kids/Big Kids

Because a boy can never have too many flannels or joggers in their closet, we selected this perfect back-to-school look. A flannel is always a statement piece in the best way, and is paired here with camel-colored joggers and a pair of sneakers to finish off this casual yet on-trend look.

Arizona long-sleeve woven shirt, $12, JCPenney

Arizona Long-Sleeve Woven Shirt

Arizona trekking jogger, $11, JCPenney

Arizona Azb Trekking Jogger Pull-On Pants Boys

Arizona boat shoe, $25, JCPenney

Arizona Ballast Boys Boat Shoes - Little Kids/Big Kids

4. Nordstrom

When getting dressed in a hurry in the mornings, a jumpsuit is the way to go. A striped jumpsuit is an easy and trendy way to have a complete outfit you can throw on in a rush. One and done! All you need to pick out are your shoes.

Mia Chica cold shoulder jumpsuit, $45, Nordstrom

Cold Shoulder Jumpsuit MIA CHICA

Steve Madden silky slide sandal, $30, Nordstrom

JSilky Slide Sandal STEVE MADDEN

Embroidered jogger pants are extremely comfy and stylish for back to school. The embroidered style, as seen trending everywhere this year, is the perfect added touch. With a simple matching tee and white high tops, the look is complete.

Bowie X James embroidered pants, $58, Nordstrom

BOWIE X JAMES Running Deer Embroidered Pants

O'Neill top, $36, Nordstrom

Jessi Top O'NEILL

Steve Madden Elkya high-top sneaker, $42, Nordstrom

Elkya High Top Sneaker STEVE MADDEN

As fall settles in and the weather gets cooler, flannels are a must-have. Here we paired a versatile flannel hoodie with a basic pair of jeans and Converse sneakers.

Quiksilver hooded plaid woven shirt, $50, Nordstrom

Hooded Plaid Woven Shirt QUIKSILVER

Volcom straight leg denim jeans, $45, Nordstrom

'Solver' Straight Leg Denim Jeans VOLCOM

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Street mid-top sneaker, $45, Nordstrom

Chuck Taylor(R) All Star(R) Street Mid Top Sneaker CONVERSE
afront /

Two other must-have staples for the boys for back to school: graphic tees and skinny jeans. The look pulls together here with a bomber-style jacket.

Volcom concentric graphic tee, $22, Nordstrom

Concentric Graphic T-Shirt VOLCOM

Vans mixed media graphic tee, $18, Nordstrom

Vans Mixed Media Graphic T-Shirt

Alpha Industries MA-1 flight jacket, $75, Nordstrom


5. Old Navy

While we generally pack up our floral dresses once fall rolls around, it’s actually the perfect time to get in your last few days with these dresses. Pairing your floral dresses with a lightweight jacket and a pair of booties makes them fall appropriate and right on trend.

Sleeveless trapeze dress, $16, Old Navy

Sleeveless Trapeze Dress for Girls

Fitted utility jacket, $30, Old Navy

Fitted Utility Jacket for Girls

Western ankle boots, $22, Old Navy

Heeled Western Ankle Boots for Girls

Keeping with the ruffle theme, this adorable ruffle tee is perfect for the first day of school, especially when paired with this denim skirt with embroidered detail — another huge trend we’ve been seeing. We completed the look by adding some edge with leopard-print sneakers and an embroidered denim backpack.

Ruffle-trim jersey top, $11, Old Navy

Ruffle-Trim Jersey Top for Girls

Leopard-print mid-top sneakers, $26, Old Navy

Leopard-Print Chelsea Mid-Tops for Girls

Embroidered-flower denim mini skirt, $22, Old Navy

Embroidered-Flower Denim Mini for Girls

Drawstring backpack, $26, Old Navy

Denim Drawstring Backpack for Girls

Jogger-style pants are THE pants to have this year. The best part is they’re super comfy, as they fit like a pair of sweatpants but are tailored so they can be dressed up. Here we have these extremely versatile khaki joggers paired with a simple V-neck tee. The bomber-style jacket perfectly completes this look.

Cargo joggers, $27, Old Navy

Built-In Flex Ripstop Cargo Joggers for Boys

Soft V-neck tee, $4, Old Navy

Softest V-Neck Tee for Boys

Fleece bomber jacket, $23, Old Navy

Fleece Bomber Jacket for Boys

Color-blocked sneakers, $18, Old Navy

Color-Blocked Sneakers for Boys

Here’s another jogger-style look. These camo joggers are a little edgier and are paired with a graphic tee. We finished the look with a pair of red sneakers and a structured backpack.

Printed cargo joggers, $27, Old Navy

Built-In Flex Ripstop Cargo Joggers for Boys

Graphic crew-neck tee, $10, Old Navy

Graphic Crew-Neck Tee for Boys

Canvas lace-up sneakers, $16, Old Navy

Canvas Lace-Up Sneakers for Boys

Utility backpack, $21, Old Navy

Utility Backpack for Kids

6. Target

Here’s another way to get your last wears of those floral pieces after summer has come to a close. A simple ruffled top paired with colorful floral bottoms....

Art Class knit blouse, $15, Target

Girls' Knit Blouse - Art Class(TM) Medieval Blue/Casmere Blue

Art Class floral track pants, $18, Target

Girls' Floral Track Pants - Art Class(TM)

The '90s are back in a big way, so don’t be surprised if your kids are wearing pieces you wore as a kid and are now trending again. I love this tee-and-tank pairing; what’s best is that it's one piece! It takes all the guesswork out of layering. The look is completed with patchwork denim and faux fur sneakers, a perfect back-to-school ensemble.

Cat & Jack patched skinny jeans, $18, Target

Girls' Patched Skinny Jeans - Cat & Jack(TM) Blue Dusk

Stevies fluffy pompom sneakers, $22, Target

Girls' Stevies #FLUFFFY Pompom Sneakers

Bueno canvas star backpack, $21, Target

Bueno Women's Canvas Backpack

Stripes are a universal trend that will never go out of style, mostly because there are so many ways to style your striped tee. Here we paired it with cargo joggers and high-top sneakers for the perfect back-to-school look.

Cat & Jack Henley shirt, $6, Target

Boys' Henley Shirt - Cat & Jack(TM) Heather Gray

Cat & Jack cargo jogger pants, $17, Target

Boys' Cargo Jogger Pants - Cat & Jack(TM) Charcoal

Cat & Jack Neo sneakers, $25, Target

Boys' Neo Sneakers - Cat & Jack(TM)

7. Gap

Joggers are not just for the boys! We're loving these capri-style joggers styled here with an adorable ruffled top. The look is completed with an embroidered, ruffled jean jacket and Velcro sneakers.

Off-the-shoulder top, $22, Gap

Mix-fabric off should top

TENCEL joggers, $25, Gap

TENCEL(TM) joggers

Classic trainers, $28, Gap

Classic trainers

Disney sequin denim jacket, $33, Gap

GapKids | Disney sequin denim jacket

Jean skirts are a closet staple and a must-have for back-to-school shopping. Always on trend, a versatile denim skirt pairs perfectly with just about anything. Here we styled it with a a graphic tee and floral bomber jacket.

Sequin graphic tee, $18, Gap

Flippy sequin graphic tee

Distressed denim skirt, $15, Gap

Distressed denim skirt

Floral satin varsity jacket, $39, Gap

Floral satin varsity jacket

Metallic chelsea boot, $33, Gap

Metallic chelsea boots

Stripes are a boy’s best friend when pulling for something to wear in the morning. They instantly make an outfit an “outfit.” Just add a pair of skinny jeans like the maroon ones here and you’re all set!

Stripe pocket slub tee, $12, Gap

Stripe pocket slub tee

Stretch khaki, $25, Gap

Stretch khaki

Faux suede mid-top sneaker, $33, Gap

Faux suede mid-top sneakers

When denim is distressed it adds instant edge. Just a touch of distressing is all you need to make a statement here. These distressed skinny jeans happen to be ribbed at the knees, and we paired them with a simple graphic tee to complete the look.

Marvel slub tee, $14, Gap

GapFit | Marvel(C) slub tee

High stretch skinny jean, $28, Gap

High stretch moto slouchy skinny jeans

Perforated classic trainers, $28, Gap

Perforated classic trainers

8. Zara

Celebs were loving mesh this summer, and the trend has carried over into back-to-school fall fashion. A mesh skirt is an adorable trendy piece and perfect for school when paired with the ever-so-versatile graphic tee. Complete the look with a pair of sneakers to keep the outfit casual yet cool.

Mesh skirt, $23, Zara


Metallic sneakers, $36, Zara


Sequinned tee, $16, Zara


Mini backpack, $30, Zara


Jumpsuits are another great option for school and make getting dressed in the morning a cinch — one piece and done! We love the idea of pairing a tank-style jumpsuit like this one with a cute ruffled tee. Ruffles, as we know, were a huge hit this summer, and the trend is carrying through to the fall. Metallic sparkling high tops and a furry backpack are the perfect accents to complete this outfit.

Jumpsuit with ribbons, $26, Zara


Tee with full sleeves, $16, Zara


Metallic high-top sneakers, $30, Zara


Simply put, graphic tees and sneakers are always a great staple for the boys. Graphic tees are so easy to throw on but still add an element of edge to any outfit.

Trousers with zip pockets, $30, Zara


Printed high-top sneakers, $40, Zara


New York tee, $10, Zara


Minimalist backpack, $36, Zara


Distressed denim for boys is trending big this year. These trousers have the perfect touch of distressing. Since there’s a lot going on with the pants it’s best to keep the top simple, and a basic hoodie is a closet staple and the perfect addition to complete this back-to-school look.

Trousers with distressed knee seams, $30, Zara


Sweater with seam pocket, $23, Zara


Retro high-top sneakers, $36, Zara


Want more? Check out H&M and Century 21 for more stylish first-day deals!