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What are the Top 6 Back to School Fashion Trends for Kids in 2021?

back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021, including bags, T-shirts, sneakers

Ready or not, here it comes: back to school shopping season is upon us. Our ace correspondent (and mother of three school-aged children) Jillian Tangen has curated a list of the top 6 back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021, including bags, T-shirts, sneakers and more.

The top trends to know in back to school fashion for kids in 2021

It’s almost time to put away the beach bags and take out the lunch boxes, because the new school year is just around the corner.

back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021, including bags, T-shirts, sneakers

Back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know in 2021, including bags, sneakers and more.

By now you’ve likely received your back to school shopping lists for supplies. You know that long list filled with pencils, notebooks and calculators galore. However, we’re not here to talk about that boring albeit necessary shopping list. We’re here to talk with you about something a little more fun – the cutest back to school fashions for your little ones.

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And while this is a fun topic, it’s not always easy.  Where does one start?  What are kids even wearing to school these days?

Don’t stress – we’ve done a little research to get you going in the right direction so there’s no need to be anxious. In fact, this year’s trip should be a lot of fun because childrenswear has gotten some street cred over the past couple years.

back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021, including bags, T-shirts, sneakers

Back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know in 2021, including bags, sneakers and more.

Thanks to new launches in the space by some of our favorite luxury labels like Off White, Balenciaga and Moschino to name a few, kids clothing isn’t child’s play any more. Instead, brands are creating cool streetwear-inspired pieces and mini me versions of their adult selections that are scaled down to size for school aged children.

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Even if it’s just to dream a little dream – since perhaps designer price points for your offspring are not what you have in mind – here are some great places to gather inspiration and see the new trends in pint-size ready-to-wear.

Where can you find these designer duds? Online shops like Sweden-based Baby Shop, British-based Farfetch or US-based Maisonette offer lots of choices for kids from both major luxury brands and indie ones.

If you’re looking for an in-store experience, then we suggest checking out Saks and Harrods for a wide selection of brands. Many luxury brands, like Gucci, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana, sell their children’s lines in their flagship locations or even in stand-alone dedicated kids’ stores.

back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021, including bags, T-shirts, sneakers

Back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know in 2021, including bags, sneakers and more.

So what should you and your little one be looking for as your shop? We’ve rounded up 6 of the latest trends from some of our favorite brands to help your littles – whether they are heading into Pre-K or 5th grade – get ready for an A in first day school style and beyond.

The best back to school fashion for kids in 2021

1. street style worthy sneakers

Start the school year off on the right foot with some stylish sneakers that would make any sneakerhead jealous.  Just like adults, kiddos can pair them with just about anything. This includes dresses to tracksuits and still be ready to hit the books and the playground too.

The trends in back to school fashion for kids (boys and girls) best for parents to know in 2021

The trends in back to school fashion for kids (boys and girls) best for parents to know in 2021, including sneakers, tees and more. Courtesy Photo.

 

our picks:
Converse are stylish shoes for all ages, and this classic black pair of All Star Core High Tops ($40) can be teamed with any outfit. Keep it casual with these Adidas Kids Ultraboost 21 ($160). Nothing says cool quite like a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1 Sneakers ($209), right? Or go full on fashionista with a pair of pint size Triple S Lace-Up Sneakers ($625) from Balenciaga.

2. athleisure

Whether your kid actually plays sports or just loves living life in cool sport joggers, this is a trend we can totally get behind.  Athleisure is comfortable, easy to move in and makes kids look oh-so-cool.  The only problem might be getting your little ones out of these sleek duds so that you can wash them for the next wear.

back to school fashion

Back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021. Courtesy Photo.

our picks:
Ralph Lauren’s Vibrant Cotton Camouflage Hoodie ($70) and Camo-Print Sweatpants ($65) are both playground and gym ready for school days as well as relax ready for lazy family weekends too. Speaking of lazy family weekends – do this Script Logo Hoodie Sweatshirt ($345) and Script Logo Sweatpants ($270) from Off-White come in adult size? We certainly hope so! Ditto for this sweet Moschino Kids Teddy Bear-patch Tracksuit ($403). Since it can still be quite warm at the beginning of the school year, this Alfie Tie Dye Sweatshirt ($52) with Surf Tie Dye Shorts ($44) from Joah Love is a good transitional option.

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3. darling dresses

For an easy one and done look (meaning no arguing over whether something matches or not), dresses are a great option. Plus flowy full-length and knee-length cotton dresses are generally way more comfortable to wear than a pair of skinny jeans for little ones. Keep the look casual – and practical – by pairing with some stylish sneakers and leggings or cartwheel shorts.

Back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021, including dresses, sneakers, bags and more

Back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021, including dresses, sneakers, bags and more. Courtesy Photo.

our picks:
With two front pockets to keep pencils and other treasures, Maison Me’s Marla Dress ($24) is ideal for schoolyard adventures. Pair this Tiny Ellie Nap Dress ($75) from Hill House Home with a pair of ballet flats for a sweet first day of school look. They will certainly look sharp in this Stella McCartney Kids Denim Pencils Dress ($145). Likewise in this stylish Bow-Print A-line dress ($172) from Mini Rodini.

4. tee’s that send a message

T-shirts are a key part of the uniform for kids. Help them send a message of kindness and inclusion with fun graphic tees. Just pair them with jeans, sweats, shorts or a skirt and they are good to go!

Back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021, including dresses, sneakers, bags and more

Back to school fashion trends for kids (both boys and girls) best for parents to know about in fall 2021, including dresses, sneakers, bags and more. Courtesy Photo.

our picks: This Equality Never Goes Out of Style T-shirt ($17) from Levi’s will never go out of style. Perfect for pretty much any outfit, this Port 213’s Smile Tee ($24) solves the “I don’t know what to wear” mystery for the day. Keep it simple with Molo’s Bee-print Organic-cotton T-Shirt ($56). Or opt for a more retro look with Versace’s Graphic-Print T-Shirt ($205) of peace, love and happiness.

5. it bags

A backpack is essential for holding supplies, books and lunch (and maybe even a few hopes and dreams too) and it’s the one item that your child will bring with them every day to school.  So why not give them something that shows off a little bit of their personality and sense of style?

The best back to school fashion for kids this year in 2021. Courtesy Photo.

our picks:
Tiny builders will love this Lego Brick Backpack ($55). The Swedish Fjällräven Kånken backpack ($80) has become a staple stateside. It comes in so many colors that will complement any child’s personality. Looking for something slightly more understated? You can’t go wrong with Burberry’s Kid’s Marco Logo Backpack ($620) or Gucci’s Children’s GG Supreme Backpack ($768). Neither will ever go out of style.

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6. face masks

Since the pandemic started, the CDC has recommended that children over the age of 2 wear face masks in public to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And now, with the Delta variant on the rise and the school year just around the corner, masks are as important as ever. The CDC recently updated its guidelines to recommend that all students, teachers and staff in K-12 schools wear masks this upcoming school year. Regardless of vaccination status.

The best back to school fashion for kids this year in 2021. Courtesy Photo.

our picks:
This Billionaire Boys Club Logo Stretch-Cotton Face Mask ($20) is perfect for boys (and girls) who have outgrown having characters or childish designs on their face masks. The kid-sized Infinity Face Covering ($22) from Joah Love have adjustable straps that are easy for kids to tighten themselves.  Simply pull down on the strap below your ears and voila. For disposable options we like Private Stock Labs 5 pack of Petite KN95 Face Masks ($25) or the 10 pack of Blue Bandana Face Masks ($28) from Barrière.

The best back to school fashion for kids in 2021

There you have it! Some A+ style inspiration for you and your crew. Have fun out there!

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier and a former Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in New York and is married with three young children. She loves cross-country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.

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