Back to School: Shop These Affordable Kids Brands During Iowa’s Tax Free Weekend

I’m a huge supporter of buying my daughter’s clothes consignment when I am able, but, as she’s grown older this has become more challenging. That’s why I’m going to take advantage of Iowa’s tax free weekend and shop for a few new items I know she will love.

Why I’m Shopping New

My daughter is 6-years-old and entering first grade. By this point, kids wear their clothes for much longer than when they were babies and toddlers — and they are rough on them—so it can be difficult to find items that are still in decent condition at a secondhand store or garage sale. I remember the glory days of buying used baby clothes — piles of hardly used, name brand clothing seemed to always be available!

But those baby days are long gone. And in recent years, my daughter has developed her own distinct opinion on her style, and it can be hard to find the right items at secondhand stores. She’s pretty into the current kid trends of tie dye, animal print, and unicorns.

Take Advantage of Iowa’s Tax Free Weekend

All of this said, I’ve discovered there are some really great, affordable, and durable brands out there (for girls in my experience) that hold up well between tough use and many washes — and they do not cost that much more than used.

You can take advantage of Iowa’s annual tax-free weekend, taking place Aug 6-7, 2021, and purchase some of these brands ahead of the next school year. Over the weekend, clothing items priced under $100 each can be purchased without paying sales tax.

Affordable, Durable Kids Brands

You can find all of these brands and stores in the Iowa City area.

Old Navy

I am a huge fan of Old Navy. Their “Everyday Magic” items are all under $15 and great. I especially love their $5 “Built-In Tough” leggings that withstand playground use so well. This place always sucks me in with their sales, Super Cash, and rewards. Plus, their items seem to be able to go through the wash a million times and still look fine— no thin leggings or items that pill in the wash here!


I was so happy when one of my favorite places opened in Coral Ridge Mall. I always buy a few of these $4.99 patterned jersey dresses every summer. These dresses feature fun new prints every year, are super comfortable, and often still fit the next year.

Cat and Jack

There’s no way this list could be complete without mentioning this Target brand. The leggings are $6, and like Old Navy, are extremely durable against rough activities. Target will also let you return the item within one year (with receipt) if it wears out, but I’ve never had to use this option because all of the items are always still standing a year out! There’s also often a Target Circle clothing discount to take advantage of as well.

Wonder Nation

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this Walmart brand. Like H&M, they have cute printed play dresses every year that have proven to be durable.

Gap Factory

I love Gap kids clothes, but they can often be a bit pricey, which I am usually not on board with when it comes to items my 6-year-old will likely stain with art supplies. However, there is a Gap Factory in Williamsburg, and the items are still cute and less expensive.

Marshalls and TJ Maxx

These stores are always worth checking out if you love uncovering great finds. I always find fun, unique items here that are hard to resist for the price!

Nike Gym Shoes

After a couple years of purchasing school shoes, I’ve determined that Nike shoes seem to hold up the best. A few places to buy them in the area, and hopefully score a deal, include Kohls (plus they often have sales and Kohls cash opportunities), the Nike Clearance Store in Williamsburg, and Shoe Dept Encore in the Coral Ridge Mall.

Keen Sandals

These are definitely pricier than other brands mentioned on this list, but they deserve to be on the round-up because they are simply the best sandals for summer. A pair will run you $50, but I never have to worry about sandals that will make her trip, or have to buy another pair halfway through the summer. They always last until she is in the next size up.

Do you typically shop during Iowa’s tax free weekend?

Brigette lives in North Liberty with her husband Brian, energetic daughter Kate (October 2014) and their two cats, Penny and Olive. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Brigette came to Iowa City to attend the journalism school at the University of Iowa, fell in love with the area, and decided she couldn’t leave. After meeting Brian while working at the same Iowa City restaurant in college, they got married in August 2015 in the heart of downtown. She works full time in project management and as an employee of the Core Fitness Kids Club while finishing her MBA at Upper Iowa University. In her free time, she drags Kate out garage sale-ing, tries to keep up with her reading list and runs, lives for Hawkeye football season, enjoys a good meal on a patio, runs her Bachelor/Bachelorette bracket with her family and friends, and of course, chases her daughter around the pool and the park.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.