Back to school essentials: what to shop for your little one

Get ready for September with your complete checklist of back to school bits.

back to school essentials - closer

by Matilda Stanley |
Updated on

September is almost upon us, which means the countdown to the first day of term has officially started. Whether you’ve got a few last-minute basics to buy, or you’ve left it all a little last-minute and need to go out and buy everything, there are plenty of bargain buys available right now that will have the kids kitted out in no time.

When it comes to shopping for school uniforms, look for clever design features that will mean every piece will last. Most stores offer technical fabrics that are non-iron, stain and weather-proof, while still being comfy to wear. Lots of places also offer skirts and trousers with handy adjustable waistbands and hems that can easily be dropped, so the school wear will grow with your children. This will mean you won’t need to buy them as often – saving you money and hassle in a few months' time.

Shortlist: what back to school essentials to buy

Best back to school essentials polo shirt: Matalan Kids 2 Pack School Polo Shirts

Best back to school essentials boys trousers: John Lewis Boys' Adjustable Waist Stain Resistant Slim Fit School Trousers

Best back to school essentials girls skirt: M&S 2pk Girls' Crease Resistant School Skirts

Best back to school essentials water bottle: ONTA Collapsible Water Bottle

John Lewis back to school essentials
©john lewis

Once they’ve got their outfits sorted, it’s time to stock on their back to school stationery goodies. Younger tots will love novelty-shaped items that will add some fun to their studies, while teens will appreciate handy organisers that will help them keep on top of deadlines and revision.

Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up some hero buys below to make the back-to-school shop all the easier...

SHOP: best back to school essentials to shop

Best back to school essentials polo shirt


These soft Matalan two-pack polo shirts are available in a few colours and you’ll get two for the

Best back to school shoes


Of course, how can you send your child back to school without a pair of half-decent shoes to treat

Best back to school essentials water bottle

ONTA Collapsible Water Bottle
Price: £12.99


This ONTA collapsible water bottle is portable and foldable making it bag-friendly, plus the clip

Best back to school essentials boys trousers


Clever design details will get extra mileage out of their everyday basics. Look for non-iron

Best back to school essentials girls skirt


Keep them looking their best whatever they get up to with these permanent-pleated skirts. M&S has

Best back to school essentials labels

 Nametape Express 50 Printed Name Tapes/Labels Iron-On
Price: £5.99


Ensure your tots come home in the same stuff they went to school in with this handy set of name

Best back to school essentials pencil case

Yordawn Pencil Case Large
Price: £8.99


It's always the case (pun intended) that your child might need a fresh new pencil case for the new

Best back to school essentials planner

Best back to school essentials sweatshirt


Perfect for when the weather cools down, these unisex jumpers come in a whopping ten colours and

Best bak to school essentials boys shoes


Of course, they're going to need a solid pair of sturdy shoes to run back to school in. These

Best back to school essentials girls shoes


Girls need a good pair of school shoes, too. Little fashionistas will be very pleased with these

What back to school essentials do I need?

Now, when it comes to back to school essentials it can be hard to know exactly what your child needs and what's not actually essential. If you're looking at what others are buying, you should look at supplies like children's books, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, folders, and a backpack.

On the other hand, a uniform is definitely an essential purchase, and although it can be sometimes expensive, there are lots of online retailers that offer affordable choices. Check with your school for colours, styles, and whether or not your child can be wearing accessories. What to buy? Essentials will be shirts, trousers, skirts, ties, and blazers.

What shoes are back to school essentials?

Shoes can be one of the most important investments that you fork out for - truth is, you don't want your child to be running around with holes in their feet! Sturdy and comfortable shoes are what you'll want to look for, such as well-fitted trainers or leather shoes.

Matilda Stanley is the Deputy Section Editor (Style) for Closer. She has written everything from autumn wedding guest dresses to the best bump buys.

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