I happen to love back-to-school shopping, but I know not everyone does. Especially when it comes to kids and fashion trends. Because it can be a little torturous to figure out:

A) …what your kids like that they used to not like but now suddenly do like.
B) …what your kids don’t like that they liked a week ago. (Sigh.)
C) …what you can afford. i.e. “those are cute $120 sneakers sweetie, but you will outgrow them in four seconds and it’s that or college, so…no.”
D) …where to find it all.

That’s why I’m so so happy to welcome back our sponsor JCPenney, which has become a go-to back-to-school shopping destination for me and my kids. It’s one of the first places they ask to go, ever I created a back-to-school haul video for JCPenney last year, and they were jealous that I gave everything away to a reader, ha.

Oh and speaking of giveaways, yes we’ve got a giveaway this year, too: A $250 gift card to one lucky Cool Mom Picks reader. [Note: the giveaway is now closed. Don’t worry, there will be more!]JCPenney gift card: $250 Back to school giveaway from CoolMomPicks.com (sponsor)What’s more, you can earn serious Bonus Bucks on your purchases. We’ve got details on that below too.

But let’s start with the back-to-school fashion trends! I’ve browsed through the JCPenney back-to-school collections and I’m so happy to see them hit so many on-trend styles for kids this season — with items that are super affordable too.

Take a look at some of my personal favorites:

1. Denim Everything

Denim is back as a big back-to-school fashion trend, and kids not only love it, but parents are cheering because it’s so durable, and so easy to care for! Find denim in everything from accessory accents to backpacks, even, you know…jackets and jeans. The classics are as in-style as ever this year, and I love these affordable picks.

Back to school fashion trends: Denim everything | affordable back to school shopping from JCPenney (sponsor)

Top to bottom, left to right:
Levi’s 511 Slim-Cut Performance Denim in “Well Worn”  (regular, slim, husky sizes) | Obsess Girls’ Denim Jacket with Star Accents | Arizona Denim Patch Pin Cap | JanSport Cool Student Denim Look Backpack in Blue Heather | Chambray and Faux Pearl Hair Bow by Jojo Siwa | Denim-Covered Unisex Soho Watch for Teens (in blue and black) | Arizona Cap-Sleeve Girls Denim Dress

2. Floral Prints

The hottest spring and summer fabric trend for girls shows no signs of waning as we head into back-to-school season. Find floral prints on everything from jackets to leggings to backpacks to accessories — just don’t wear them all at once. (Though try telling that to some of our girls!)

Hot back-to-school fashion trends: Floral prints on everything! | mompicksprod.wpengine.com for JCPenney [sponsor]

Arizona Floral Button-Up Dress | Dream Big Floral School Year Planner | Girls’ Floral Bomber Jacket | JanSport DigiBreak Packpack in Prism Pink Pretty Posy |  Floral Converse Chuck Taylor Girls’ High Tops | Make Good Things Happen Vintage Varsity Style Sweatshirt (comes with necklace) | Arizona Black Floral Leggings


How to earn Bonus Bucks at JCPenney and save a bundle!

How to earn Bonus Bucks toward free back-to-school shopping at JCPenney [sponsor]

Hot savings tip: Want to earn BonusBucks? Just sign up for a free JCPenney rewards account. You’ll earn $10 in JCPenney Bonus Bucks for every $50 you spend online or in-store, between 7/26 and 7/29, and again 8/2 through 8/5.

Then go do a little more (free!) shopping by redeeming your Bonus Bucks between 7/26 and 8/1, and between 8/2 and 8/8.

Just access them in your wallet on the JCPenney Mobile app, or check your email or rewards account at JCPenney.com. If you’re shopping in store, simply ask the associate at the register, then start saving. Easy!


3. Retro 90s Style

Back to school fashion trends: Retro 90s style from plaids to band tees | JCPenney (sponsor)


For those of us who remember living it the first time, it’s weird to think of 90s style as being retro but, to our kids, it is. Super retro. And it’s in style again! So if you don’t have your old Vans, plaid flannels or concert tees to pass down, it’s okay — JCPenney has your kids covered with lots of great items in this big 2018 back-to-school fashion trend.

Boys Distressed Levi’s Jeans | Red Hot Chili Peppers Graphic Tee (adult sizing, great for older kids + teens) | Vans High Top Skate Shoes | Girls Plaid Pleated Miniskirt with Buckle Accents


Back to school fashion trends for kids: 90s retro is back!


Arizona Mini Plaid Backpack | Adidas NEO Baseline Sneakers for Boys and Girls | Kangol Bucket Hat (for teens and older kids) | Carters Plaid Long-Sleeve Button-Up Shirt (Note: Never button it all the way up!)


4. Girl-Power Tees

Style trends for back to school 2018: Strong girl graphic message tees

Our girls are fierce, they’re strong, they’re confident, and they’re not afraid to say it. I love seeing the strong girl graphic tee trend continue (hopefully forever, really) because some of the messages are not just ones our girls need to see and believe, but their teachers and classmates, too.

I’ve Got What it Takes Tee | You Go Girl Graphic Tee | Girl Boss Zip Varsity Hoodie | Stay Strong, Stay Fierce Graphic Tee | Three, Two, Won Graphic Tee | Try and Stop Me Graphic Tee

5. Urban Sporty

Urban sporty: Back to school style trends for kids at JCPenney | sponsor

From basketball to skateboard style, urban athleisure wear is not just for for boys. And it’s definitely not just for gym class. While there are tons of sweats, track suits and layering pieces at JCPenney, I’m digging these bold staples that are great for boys or girls. Don’t forget to add a water bottle. Hydration, everyone!

Kids’ Lightweight Track Jacket | Nike Team Hustle D8 Boys Basketball ShoesBoys Xersion Trainer Shorts | Nike Elemental Youth Backpack | Sip by S’Well Water Bottle (tons of colors available!)

Extra Cool: Win it!


We are so excited to give away ONE $250 JCPenney gift card to one lucky CMP reader. Do you know how many clothes and accessories that can buy you there right now? Let’s just say, a LOT.JCPenney $250 gift card giveaway on Cool Mom Picks (sponsor)To enter, just leave a comment below, telling us your favorite fashion trend you wore when YOU were in school, and describe a favorite outfit you wore! Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself, we’ve all been there.

Enter by Sunday, 7/29/18 at midnight PT. One entry per household please, must be 18+, US only. One winner will be drawn at random. See full sweepstakes rules here. Good luck!

Thanks so much to our sponsor JCPenney, for offering so many amazing back-to-school shopping fashion trends for kids, all in one place, all at great prices.