back to school favorites

Sunday, August 3, 2014
I can hardly believe it is August! Will starts school in about 2 weeks and Kate and Harry start in 3 weeks. Every year, around this time I start getting some e-mails asking me about the shoes Kate has worn to school for the last several years and her school clothes.

Kate has worn these shoes for as long as I can remember.  Over the years, I have bought them in black, brown (Thanksgiving one year) and red.  At first, they seem expensive.  And yes, they are pricey.  But they last the entire year and look brand new all year.  It's true. I've bought Target shoes for $17.99 for Kate and they are scuffed irreparably within the first two days . So instead, I'd rather invest in one (or two) pairs of these shoes and Kate wears them for play, PE, church, and everything.  I simply clean them with a damp paper towel once in a while.  They truly have been the BEST shoes I have ever bought.

The first time I bought these, I got them at Nordstrom.  But once I knew Kate's size and how they fit I ordered them on-line here.

(Pre-K 3 , montessori)

This is when Kate cut her own hair right before the first day of school!  If you missed that, you can read about it here.  It is funny now but it wasn't then!

(Ist Kindergarten)

The red ones are my absolute favorite and for the past 5 years, we have always had a red pair in the shoe drawer for Kate.  I will remember her childhood with these maryjanes.


(encore Kindergarten)


(1st grade)

This a slightly sportier style that we went with and she loved them too. The toe is more protected if your child is a toe scuffer and they look "older."  But they are just as comfy and durable as the others.

So, this year, Kate really wanted a pair of Sperry's. I guess that is more of what the 8 year olds wear. Her maryjanes still fit and are in good shape from last year so I thought we'd get some Sperry's.  I totally lucked out.  I found these at Nordstrom Rack for $16!  So, check your local Rack but you can also find them here.


Kate also loves Toms.  I scored a pair of pink leopard ones at Rack too.  They were a great deal but they are a tad big so we're saving them for when her foot grows.  In the meantime, she wants these...


A dear friend gave us a pair as hand me downs and Kate has worn them out.   They are her current "go to" shoe running out the door most days. You can find them here in 3 colors.  I guess Kate is all about sparkle this year!

Fo Kate's unifrom, I get lots of different things from different places and they often last 2 years.  She basically has to wear navy or khaki on bottom and white, navy or red on top. I often buy these skorts.  They are soft and comfy, look cute and are very reasonably priced. We love the built in short.


  I think they are $12 on sale right now with an additional 20% off with code (CHOOSE20).

Kate also wears these shorts (major sale) on hot days to school.


For shirts, I buy a few short sleeve tees, a few long sleeve and I have about half of them monogrammed.  I have bought polo style shirts in the past but she was always reaching for the monogrammed t-shirts.  I stock up when I see them in navy or white in her size and the monogram makes them look a lot cuter.

I used to buy Kate the Matilda Jane ruffle pants in navy for school. And she does like them a lot.  But when it is cold here, these are BY FAR her favorite.  They have a little flare so they look cute.  But they are warm (for our winters) and so so soft and comfy and they wash beautifully.  The ones from last year still look brand new (they are just too short).  They are on sale now too. I am going to stock up on a few today.  They run very true to size.

Backpacks...Kate has used this back pack for 3 years.  It was still in great condition.  That is until she left a banana in there for a few weeks at the end of the school year!  I was cleaning out her backpack on the last day of school and felt something liquidy and slimy.  We have no clue how long it was in there but it was time to toss this backpack. I think we got our $$ worth out of it for 2 years of kinder and one year of 1st grade.  It was the small size and I think in 2nd grade she needed the bigger size anyway!


So, we got the lunchbox...


the bento boxes


These are great because Kate is not a big sandwich person.  She is more likely to eat healthier foods like veggies and fruits in this bento box.  Also, she loves to pack her own "snack lunch" in this box.  It is BPA free and dishwasher safe too.

And we got the backpack...


Needed to get Scout in there too.  She was freshly bathed and hasn't been on the blog much!


Every year, I scour the Ralph Lauren site for their big sales for back to school pants for Will.  I can usually get his pants for $19 (regularly over $50!) if I time it right.  His RL pants from freshmen year lasted 2 years. He got a lot taller this year so he needed all new pants.  I got incredible deals by shopping in June for these online.


Looks like a colorful year for him this year!  I love his preppy style.

I also found some awesome deals at TJ Maxx.    I love a bargain.  Really, I do.
I found some vineyard vines belts and some other great school shirts.


Mint Julep cup belt from the Derby Days collection.


Vineyard Vine flag belt.



I text Will the photos and he tells me which he likes/dislikes. That's how I virtual shop with him.  Sometimes we shop together but more often we text shop.  His dress code is long pants (any color khaki style) and a collared shirt.

P.S.  Harry wears khaki shorts and a school T-shirt.  Not too exciting.  I will share that these khaki shorts have lasted through 3 years of Will's middle school and 3 years of Harry (yes, the same ones!).  They are super durable. I have not had to buy a new pair in 6 years!

Anyway,  Just wanted to share some of my back to school bargains and favorites with you.   Let me know some of your favorites in the comments.  I'd love to hear them.

This post does contain some affiliate links.  You can read my affiliate disclosure policy here.


  1. That is exactly how I shop for Land! I send him pictures and he tells me what he likes. I'm sad that summer is almost over for us, I go back to school next week! Sending hugs your way!


    1. I hope you have a great school year, Robin. I bet you' re such an awesome teacher !!!! And I hope LAnd has a great senior year!

  2. No wonder they last (shoes), they are Italian. Someone told me two things you should invest in are good shoes and a good mattress. We go back to school on Thursday. The kids are so excited.

    1. Yes, Kelleyn! At first I balked at the price but honestly they are worth it as they hold up so well and if sized right she gets a year of wear out of them.

  3. OMG! We would die for those belts here in KY! They are non-existent because of the Derby! I love that my kids all dress similar to yours... classic and preppy! I wish Sophie's school had more of the uniform look! Looks like you are ready for school to start! We have 9 more days before S starts! My other two are done!! Crazy how time flies!

  4. Kim, I had no idea that you could get such good deals with RL online. I laughed at how you text a photo to Will for approval...I do the EXACT SAME thing.

    And the red mary janes are so precious!

  5. Oh I needed this post so I could order those shoes! It's Coco's turn to go to KINDER! Ahhh! Wrote a post I'd love you to read: Can you sit? In the PIT? Read on sister. :)

  6. Oh how I miss the RED MARY JANES on my girl. They truly were the GREATEST INVESTMENT!! They last forever even on my "scuff queen"!

  7. We have to order Land's End, but I love them! Everything holds up so well, but this year they said we can order other brands for bottoms-so glad you posted these. And L has every pair of shoes you posted :)

  8. Hi Kim,
    My daughter is a 'Ru' girl too(same character)!!!
    I love your blog and thank you for your lovely pictures and allowing us to have a peek into your nice life. When you update your blog I savor your posts.

  9. Hi Kim,

    I am a new reader and am enjoying reading your blog so much! I have two sons as well, and hope to adopt a daughter someday. Thank you for sharing your life--love your style!

  10. Have loved those red mary janes for years too! I am going to steal your brilliant sparkle sperry idea for my 8 yr old. We have been wearing our saltwater sandals to school for two weeks and I think it's time to face fall reality.


Thank you for your kindness.