IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Head back to school in style with affordable outfit ideas for every age

We're going back to cool with the hottest trends in school yard style for every age group.
/ Source: TODAY

Our editors independently selected these items because we think you will enjoy them and might like them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY.

We can't believe summer's almost over already. And this year's back-to-school fashions are almost too cool for school! Here's a look at some of the hottest trends in kids' style.

Cute Critters

It's all about embracing your spirit animal this year! Here we have two adorable models getting ready for nursery school and showing us one of the hottest trends: critters! Yes, you will find the entire zoo represented in back-to-school fashion this season with animals turning up everywhere.

For her:

Let's start with our gal model, who is proudly wearing an appliquéd fox tee from Lands' End. Foxes are among the more popular animals to grace clothing this season. We paired her tee with a festive pink tutu-style skirt from Hanna Andersson (because every school day should be a party) and glitter ballet flats from Gap, which come with helpful elastic straps to help keep feet in.

And don't forget the pompom headband! Hair accessories are a terrific and affordable way to get in on the pompom trend and sure add some pizzazz to any outfit.

Toddler Girls' Embellished Graphic Tee, $23, Lands' End

Lands End

Girls' Faux Fur Pompom Headband, $12, Lands' End

Lands End

Toddler Twirl Happy Tulle Skirt, $27, Hanna Andersson

Hanna Andersson

Glitter Mary Janes, $14, Gap


Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie Insulated Kids' Lunch Bag, $15, Skiphop


For him:

Our boy model is showing his spirit animal with a short-sleeved oxford shirt emblazoned with baby elephants, paired with some happy red shorts. We also love this festive little T-shirt featuring a frog sitting atop school books — quite fitting for the season. This shirt is appliqued as well, which gives it some texture and makes it feel a little more special.

Our model loves dinosaurs, so we thought a graphic striped dinosaur lunchbox from PB Kids and 3-D dino slip-ons from Gap would be a terrific finish to his outfit. Be on the lookout for your little one's favorite animal because we know it's out there — on a T-shirt, pant, short, you name it.

Big Applique T-Shirt, $27, Boden


Hybrid Shorts for Toddler Boys, $8, Old Navy

Old Navy

Dino slip-on sneakers, $15, Gap


Striped Critter Dino Lunch Bag, $19, Pottery Barn Kids

PB Kid

RELATED: 13 safe and stylish backpacks your kids will love

Patches and Graphics

Next up we have two cute elementary school-aged models showing us the patches and graphics trend. This trend is all about fun, food and superheroes.

For her:

First up we have our girl model in a jazzy pair of overall shorts festooned with foodie patches of ice cream, avocados, pretzels and more. Yes, food and snacks are the biggest embellishment of the season!

We paired her short-alls with a graphic pair of multicolored heart tights (graphics are anther major back-to-school trend) and fuchsia Mary Jane-style sneakers from Zappos.

Cat & Jack™ Girls' Denim Coverall Shortall with Patches, $23, Target


Cat & Jack™ Girls' Footed Tights, $5, Target


Cienta Kids Mary Jane Sneakers, $36, Zappos


Max the Monster Lunch Box, $34, J. Crew

J Crew

For him:

Our boy model is having just as much fun in a superhero-inspired denim jacket with DIY patches. We found these "POW," "WHAM" (and french fries) patches on Amazon for just a few dollars and ironed them on a denim jacket. We then layered our jacket over a graphic Marvel Captain America T-shirt from Kohl’s.

To finish the look, we added a playful Monstar lunch bag from ZipIt and must-have camouflage sneakers from Plae.

Boys' Denim Jacket, $15, Levis


Superhero Comics Embroidered Iron-on Patches, $8, Amazon


Boys Jumping Beans® Marvel Captain America Logo Graphic T-Shirt, $8, Kohl’s


Twill Pants Regular Fit, $10, H&M


Ty Sneaker, $55, Plae


Monstar Lunch Bag, $13, Zipit


RELATED: Make school meals cool again with these 14 amazing lunch boxes

Super Sporty

Out next pair of gorgeous models is rocking the athleisure or sporty trend, which shows no sign of slowing down. We're loving the clever ways it's being interpreted for back-to-school gear.

For her:

First up, let's talk about our girl model and her fabulous floral joggers. They really take athleisure to the next level — especially when paired with a sweet ruffle top.

And her shoes! These sneakers are so stylish (yet comfy) and boast festive pompoms. This backpack from SoYoung feels really fresh and and new. It has a modern floral print on beautiful natural linen which, by the way, is also waterproof.

Frilled Top, $16, Zara


Basic Floral Print Plush Jersey Trousers, $16, Zara


Metallic Sneakers With Pompoms, $36, Zara


Raw Linen Purple Dandelion Grade School Backpack, $45, SoYoung


For him:

Our boy model is stepping out in a more literal take on athleisure with an outfit most boys we know would love to wear.

We started with a bold statement T-shirt that says ”Let There Be Air” by Nike, and it packs quite a punch. We paired it with a packable jacket by Converse that folds into itself — an excellent transition piece for fall that can be stored easily in a backpack.

Our model is also wearing a versatile, slim pair of joggers that you can dress up or down. We like the marled texture and contrasting cuffs. And finally, we added a never-go-wrong classic, the Converse Chuck Taylor black high-top.

Converse Packable Jacket, $45, Converse


Nike "Let There Be Air" T-Shirt, $20, Nike


Melange Joggers, $20, H&M


Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Syde Street Leather, $50, Converse


Nike Alpha Adapt Rise Graphic Laptop Backpack, $60, Kohl’s


RELATED: 10 must-have gadgets to kick off a stress-free school year

Stripes and Brights

And last but not least, representing the tweens we have an adorable duo in the stripes and brights trend.

For her:

Yes, our tween gal is going French girl chic with her classic black-striped T-shirt with gold embellished heart from J. Crew. We layered it underneath a perfect faux leather moto jacket — a cool gal wardrobe staple — from Forever 21 Girl.

We then paired her Parisian stripes with a pair of bright, hot pink jeggings — yes, bright pants are another big back-to-school trend this season.

And because we love to mix patterns, we finished her look off with leopard ballet flats from Lands' End.

Girls' Bunny Bow Headband, $12, Lands' End

Lands End

Girls' Gold Heart Striped T-shirt, $35, J. Crew

J Crew

Girls' Moto Jacket (Kids), $25, Forever 21

Forever 21

Frayed Jeggings, $20, Zara


Girls' Scallop Ballet Flats, $35, Lands' End

Lands End

The Emily & Meritt Black/Gold Leopard Backpack, $55, PB Teen

PB Teen

For him:

Our boy tween is giving us the masculine take on the stripes and brights trend. We love his bold and crisp technicolor stripe tee. It’s high-octane, modern take really makes a statement.

To keep the highly saturated brights going strong, we paired his tee with a slim pair of electric blue chinos, which we cuffed for a little crop.

We completed his look with classic white velcro trainers and an orange and blue camouflage patterned backpack from PB Teen.

Chest Stripe Pocket Slub T-Shirt, $12, Gap


Solid Chinos, $28, Gap


Classic Trainers, $32, Gap


Gear-Up Blue Camo w/Orange Trim Backpack, $49, PB Teen

PB Teen

RELATED: The best back-to-school gadgets and tech for kids of all ages