Let the countdown to the new school year officially begin! That means it’s time to start gathering back-to-school gear, including a Trapper Keeper (those are still a thing, right?), new #2 pencils, a backpack and most importantly, NEW CLOTHES. (That’s *clearly* the best part.) So today, we’re teaming up with Gymboree to share our kid-approved tips and tricks for putting together a wardrobe your little one will love. We can all agree, anything that makes the end of summer a little easier is a good thing :)


1. Get creative with pattern pairing. Who says florals and stripes don’t go together? We sure don’t. In fact, we are in full support of the pattern-on-pattern look. The trick is to choose patterns that don’t compete too much and colors that complement each other. Let me put it this way — if our creative director, Anj, is wearing multi-patterned outfits (which she does nearly every day), it’s a trend you (and your kiddo) should follow too. (Get the Look: Striped Zip-Up Hoodie; Floral Leggings; Active Leggings; Ballet Tee; Star socks; Curly Clips)


2. Add patches to their clothes and accessories. Patches are back! And boy are we glad to see them. Patches give clothes extra personality and they’re great conversation starters, so if your child is starting at a new school, he or she will have something cool to talk about.


3. Dress up your backpack with a pom pom key ring. Let’s be honest, while the actual purpose of a key ring is important, your kids want a key ring that looks amazing. Pom poms are in and so are watermelons, so mashed together they make the most stylish key chain your kid could ask for. Plus, once they know how to make a pom pom, they can add pom poms to EVERYTHING.


4. Mix business and casual. It’s good to show up to class looking presentable while also prioritizing comfort for the long school day. Think of this as the mullet of dress. Combine a button-up shirt with fashion sweats and high tops for a fashion-forward outfit. (Get the Look: Plaid Shirt; Cargo Joggers; Hi-top Sneakers)


5. Embroider their sneakers. This is a great way to make their shoes unique. And we all know kids love finding the right balance between fitting in and being an individual. Help them out by letting them add their own designs to their sneaks.


6. DIY Shrinky Dink pins. These bring us waaaay back to childhood. In a good way. Let your kids in on the magic of Shrinky Dinks, then help them add pinbacks so they can accessorize their backpacks and clothes with hand-drawn images like watermelons, tacos and palm trees.


7. Use fabric scraps to make a backpack. It can be tough to find the perfect backpack. And that perfect backpack is a *must* on the first day of school. Let your kids proudly walk the hallways with a backpack they DIYed. That way they can pick out the perfect pattern or color and add as many pockets as they need.


8. Send them off in layers. You never know what Mother Nature has in store, especially in the fall months, so dress your kids in layers so they won’t be too hot or too cold. Our tip: Label their clothes in case that brand new hoodie finds itself in the lost and found. (Get the Look: Plaid Dress; Zip-up Hoodie; Riding Boots; Leggings; Floral Knee Socks; Bow Headband)


9. Adorn their sandals with pom poms. Not only are these sandals embellished with pom poms, but we also used old school friendship bracelets as an embroidery hack. Let your little ones get creative picking out patterns and colors, then help them glue their choice findings onto a plain pair of sandals.


10. Accessorize with easy wire headbands. Keep those locks looking good with a darling adjustable headband. All you need is a bit of fabric, some wire and a sewing machine to make these hair accessories. This is the perfect time for a little Home Ec lesson — basic sewing skills are clutch!

BONUS: Take your love of DIY and style inspo and head to a DIY workshop event at a Gymboree near you!

That’s it! Show us your projects by tagging us onInstagram + using the hashtag #iamcreative!

This post is in collaboration with Gymboree.

Author: Roxy Taghavian