My kids will be starting preschool and kindergarten in Hoboken next week. That means we need school supplies and clothes for the new school year.
It's really hard to guess clothing sizes since my daughter grows approximately twice as fast as my son. My daughter is also picky about her clothes, identifying certain wardrobe items as school clothes and refusing to wear them at other times (makes holiday dressup difficult when the cute Peter Pan collared tops are off-limits). I try to stock up on clothing in two sizes; my five year old currently wears a size seven, so I am buying short and long-sleeved tops, skirts, shorts and pants in sizes seven and eight. The warm weather clothes will work for the beginning and end of the school year (size seven now and eight in the spring), and the long-sleeved stuff in both sizes will be worn from November through March.
My little guy will most likely wear size four throughout the entire year, plus we have unisex handmedowns from his big sister in case of an unexpected growth spurt, so I am less stressed about his wardrobe.
I love Cherokee and Circo windbreakers from Target; they are lightweight, can be layered with sweaters and are easy to wash when the kids come home covered with chalk or dirt from playground escapades. They dry quickly so are ready to wear to school the next day, plus the excellent $12 pricing enables me to purchase several sizes to have on hand when the kids misplace or outgrow a jacket. The styles also change from year to year (ie. waist-length rather than hip-length) so it's worth buying several to make sure I have our preferred style on hand rather than taking a chance that next year's designs will also work for my kids.
Target and Kohls at Newport Mall are my preferred retailers for clothing and school supplies (tissues, glue, crayons, markers and hand sanitizer) since they have a wide selection at this time of year (certainty of finding what I need is crucial with my limited shopping time) and the prices are a lot cheaper than at Hoboken retailers. However, I learned the hard way to stock up on items like backpacks and pencil cases (two per kid) since it is really difficult to find school supplies outside of the back-to-school season in August and September. When my daughter attended preschool last year, her backpack zipper randomly broke mid-year, which led to a lot of parental scrambling. Everything we found at Hoboken and Jersey City stores was either too large or small, expensive, and limited in styles (the original backpack was an adorable 14" ruffled Tinkerbell backpack). We wound up ordering a replacement backpack on Amazon.com and using her little brother's too-small backpack for a week before the new bag arrived.