Shopping for back to school clothing is a rite of passage for mothers and daughters, I think. Except now that my daughter is at an age when she wants to have a say in what she wears, that usually means a lot more time spent at the store than I’d like. However, Walmart’s new online tool means that I can sit with her to prepare beforehand and make the shopping process a lot smoother. So maybe the headline is a little misleading. No, I won’t be leading tours into my home and through my daughter’s closet. But you can take a look at the closet I created for my daughter to find some inspiration for yourself.
The Back to School Closet for Less tool is pretty simple to use. However, you do have to login using your Facebook account. Once you do that, you can simply click to create a closet. You can choose the sex and age of your child, give your closet a name and set your budget. Since I know my daughter has outgrown a lot of her clothing over the summer (the child grows like a weed!), I set a relatively high budget: $150.
Once you set this up, you’re then able to sort through back to school fashion by category: sets, dresses, pants, shirts, shoes, accessories, etc. You’ll find items from recognized brands like L.E.I., Starter, and even And1 and Fubu, along with a vast variety of character branded items.
My one complaint about the selection? I wish Walmart would go back to offering organic cotton options for their Faded Glory line. But honestly, as fast as my daughter is growing these days, I have to shop on a budget, and sometimes that means buying items that are not so eco-friendly.
As you add items to your closet, the tool will keep track of your budget and go into the red zone if you go over.
Once you’re done adding items, you can then use all the items you’ve added to create outfits. For example, I had 17 items in my closet for up to 28 possible outfits. I pulled some of them to create 8 outfits that I could visually see together. Some of them are below:
This really helped me to visually how I could buy basic pieces, but mix and match them to create a wide variety of different looks for a relatively low price. If I make the recommended 28 outfits with the pieces I chose, that’s an average of a little more than $5 per outfit. Not bad. Not bad at all. The tool also gave you the option to find suggested items to go with your outfit. While some of the options that popped up seemed a bit arbitrary, they did remind me to add some underwear, socks and other basics to my list.
Additionally, you can view closets made by other shoppers for inspiration, and you can sort those closets by age and sex as well. It was incredibly helpful to see how other moms used to dress their, and I found some great pieces that I had missed in my initial browsing by looking at others’ outfits and closets.
When you’re satisfied with your closet, you can buy items online from the “outfit” area or print out a shopping list that you can take to your nearest Walmart to shop for your outfits in person. I chose to order some items from Walmart.com instead of going to the store hoping to find the exact pieces I’d chosen.
This is honestly a great tool that will help you budget, show you how far your money can go and give your kids and opportunity to choose what they like before you go to the store to avoid tantrums and embarrassing arguments. Sounds like a back to school shopping win to me!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Walmart Moms program. I was provided with compensation for sharing my experience with the back to school closet tool with you. Participation is voluntary and, as usual, all opinions are my own.