What do I wear to school?

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What do I wear to school? Let's help them get ready.

Starting kindergarten can fill children and parents will all kinds of emotions. Excitement, fear and nerves may creep up on you, which can make for a few chaotic mornings. Ease some of those jitters by helping your little student figure out how to dress for kindergarten.

Deciding what do I wear to school will become a solo activity all too soon. Unless otherwise noted by the school dress code, kids dress pretty casual in kindergarten. They also tend to get messy so it’s important to have clothes that can stand up to frequent washings.

The main things to look for in good school clothes are practicality, comfort, price and some style. Stick to mostly “play clothes” so they’ll be comfortable and won’t worry too much if a drop of paint gets on their pants.

Here's a basic checklist to help you answer - What do I wear to school?

  • Practical – Avoid clothing with too many buttons or ties as these can be cumbersome for little kids. Stick with machine-washable outfits that don't have too many embellishments. Bows, beads and glitter wear off fast and make the clothes look old and worn.
  • Comfortable – Kindergarten is not the time to put fashion before comfort. Many young kids struggle to concentrate at first, and they don’t need the added distraction of an itchy waist band or tight sleeves. To be safe, have them try the clothes on to make sure they’ll be able to run around and move freely.
  • Price – Set a budget before going school shopping and stick to it. Early fall clothes will soon be too light for dropping temperatures so start the school wardrobe off small and simple.
  • Style – Opt for pieces that kids can mix and match into different outfits. Bright colors and soft fabrics are ideal.


Graphic and patterned tees – Tees are versatile and good for layering under itchy sweaters. Hold off on buying too many though as most fall days will call for long sleeves.

Long-sleeved cotton shirts – Encourage them to choose different colors and styles, like scoop necks, v-necks and polos for variety. Make sure tops fall just past the waist line so the back and stomach stay covered.

Sweaters – As long as sweaters aren’t itchy or too tight around the arms and neck, they work perfect for school. If it gets warm inside, teach them to layer up with a thinner long-sleeved top.


Some kids find the waist lines and hard feel of denim uncomfortable. For girls, leggings and stretch pants are comfy and look nice paired with a dress or tunic. Both boys and girls should have a few pairs of fitted cotton pants or kids' jeans, particularly for chilly fall days.


When a little girl asks, "What do I wear to school?" her favorite dress is often the answer. Since kindergartners run around at recess and sit on the floor for story time, get a few pairs of cotton shorts for her to wear underneath.


Basic sneakers allow kids to run around with the rest of their class without worrying about slipping. Rain and snow boots are helpful if they have to walk to school or a bus stop. On dress up days, girls may like to wear a Mary Jane-style shoe or a little boot – just make sure they have tread on the bottom so they don’t slip.


Book bags personalized with a child’s initials or name will help them keep track of their supplies and homework. Feel the fabric for durability- ideally it’ll last at least the full school year. Look for side and front pockets that’ll help them stay organized. Padded straps and zippers that are easy for them to grip are key features for little learners.

**While wheeled back packs are popular with kids, many schools don’t allow them. Call before you buy to save yourself a possible return trip.

No matter how well-stocked kids closets are for school, there will always be those days when they stare at the closet like it’s a black hole. Before you start hearing, “But I have nothing to wear!” make it a nightly routine to pick out clothes with them the night before.

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