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Back-to-school shopping made easy! Try these affordable outfit ideas for your kids

by Jordan Muto /

It's hard to believe we're in the homestretch of summer and it's time to start thinking about going back to school. In fact, some kids across the country have already returned to the classroom.

If you're inspired to update your kid's wardrobe, you're not alone. Marie Claire senior fashion editor Zanna Roberts Rassi is sharing her favorite back-to-school outfit ideas for all ages.

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Preschool

For the littlest ones it's all about functionality, but also ease of care.

For him:

  TODAY

Boys will love slipping on these striped jogger pants; they're perfect for tearing up the school yard. The Velcro closures mean your child can put on his shoes without asking for help.

TODAY has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by TODAY. All prices are subject to change and items could sell out based on the merchant’s inventory.

Hooded Jacket, $15, H&M

  H&M

Hooded Jacket, $15, H&M

Stripe Knit Pants, $17, Gap

  Gap

Stripe Knit Pants, $17, Gap

Perforated Classic Trainers, $40, Gap

  Gap

Perforated Classic Trainers, $40, Gap

For her:

  TODAY

If your little girl loves dresses but also likes to hang on those monkey bars, this is the outfit for her. Stains are bound to appear when your child finger paints or molds play dough, but Rassi's secret for minimizing them is to mix and match prints.

Dealan-De 3-D Popover, $42, Tea

  Tea

Dealan-De 3-D Popover, $42, Tea

Scotland Garden Skirted Dress, $30, Tea

  Tea

Scotland Garden Skirted Dress, $30, Tea

Skinny Solid Leggings, $13, Tea

  Tea

Skinny Solid Leggings, $13, Tea

Slip-On Shoes with Bow, $25, H&M

  H&M

Slip-On Shoes with Bow, $25, H&M

Elementary School

Who says back-to-school outfits have to be boring? Rassi is all about letting a child's personality shine through his or her clothes.

For him:

  TODAY

For the boy who loves to make a bit of statement, this bomber jacket will be a win. You can also easily add your own patches to everything from backpacks to sweatpants.

Bomber Jacket with Appliques, $25, H&M

  H&M

Bomber Jacket with Appliques, $25, H&M

Glasgow Tour Graphic Tea, $26, Tea

  Tea

Glasgow Tour Graphic Tea, $26, Tea

Varsity Letter, $12, Stoney Clover Lane

  Stoney Clover Lane

Varsity Letter, $12, Stoney Clover Lane

For her:

  TODAY

The same goes for girls. Everything from bomber jackets to skirts can be customized with patches. Think varsity letters to ice cream cones; the options are endless.

Cat & Jack Full Sleeve Bomber Jacket, $25, Target

  Target

Cat & Jack Full Sleeve Bomber Jacket, $25, Target

Double-Layer Sweatshirt, $18, H&M

  H&M

Double-Layer Sweatshirt, $18, H&M

Cat & Jack Twill Skirt, $15, Target

  Target

Cat & Jack Twill Skirt, $15, Target

Middle School

It's the age when they don't want to wear kids' clothes anymore, but yet they might not quite be ready for adult clothes. So what do you do? Rassi's solution is denim on denim. It's fashion forward and can be bought at many different price ranges.

For him:

  TODAY

A classic denim jacket is a must at any age. It can easily add a touch of cool to any outfit. Rassi suggests playing with layers as the weather gets cooler. For example, pair a sweatshirt underneath your denim jacket instead of a T-shirt for a more polished look.

1969 Supersoft Denim Jacket, $50, Gap

  Gap

1969 Supersoft Denim Jacket, $50, Gap

Sweatshirt With Printed Design, $10, H&M

  H&M

Sweatshirt With Printed Design, $10, H&M

Stretch Standard Jeans, $30, Gap

  Gap

Stretch Standard Jeans, $30, Gap

For her:

  TODAY

These aren't just your average pair of jeans. The added sequins give them an extra-special touch. Think about pairing lighter denims with darker ones for contrast.

Washed Denim Jacket, $68, J.Crew

  J.Crew

Washed Denim Jacket, $68, J.Crew

Jeans With Waterfall Sequinned Trims, $36, Zara

  Zara

Jeans With Waterfall Sequinned Trims, $36, Zara

Wide-Cut Jersey Top, $13, H&M

  H&M

Wide-Cut Jersey Top, $13, H&M

High School

  TODAY

Rassi explained that by the time high school rolls around, kids become more trends focused. It's all about taking things from the runway to the hallway.

For him:

A military jacket is a staple for this fall. It's a great transitional piece as you can layer sweaters and shirts underneath. Rassi put one over a sweatshirt here for a cleaner, school-appropriate look.

Street Sweatshirt, $40, Zara

  Zara

Street Sweatshirt, $40, Zara

Military Jacket, $70, American Eagle Outfitters

  American Eagle Outfitters

Military Jacket, $70, American Eagle Outfitters

AEO 360 Extreme Flex Skinny Jean, $60, American Eagle Outfitters

  American Eagle Outfitters

AEO 360 Extreme Flex Skinny Jean, $60, American Eagle Outfitters

Adidas Superstar Shoes, $80, Finish Line

  Finish Line

Adidas Superstar Shoes, $80, Finish Line

For her:

Give your favorite skirt or dress a sporty twist by pairing it with sneakers. Rassi also likes the idea of adding a cool military-inspired cap for a contemporary look.

BDG Denim Workwear Mini Skirt, $59, Urban Outfitters

  Urban Outfitters

BDG Denim Workwear Mini Skirt, $59, Urban Outfitters

Parka With Studs, $70, Zara

  Zara

Parka With Studs, $70, Zara

Camisole Top With Thin Straps, $30, Zara

  Zara

Camisole Top With Thin Straps, $30, Zara

Contrasting Polin T-shirt, $23, Zara

  Zara

Contrasting Polin T-shirt, $23, Zara

Nike Classic Cortez, $70, Lady Foot Locker

  Lady Foot Locker

Nike Classic Cortez, $70, Lady Foot Locker

Brixton Fishermen Hat, $42, Urban Outfitters

  Urban Outiffters

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