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It’s hard to believe that the lazy days of summer are quickly coming to an end. With that said, families and students must prepare for the inevitable back to school shopping trip. These trips are known to last hours, or even days, with children popping in and out of countless stores, bags stockpiling in the trunk and parents easily losing track of what has already been purchased. An essential step to perfecting back to school shopping is planning ahead. Create a list of necessities and wants, then find stores that coincide with your price point. The stores listed below are helpful and appropriate, leaving your students prepared and stylish.

Pink Palm

4867 Bethesda Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 913-9191

As a Lilly Pulitzer signature shop, Pink Palm is proud to be every preppy girl’s fantasy. Pink Palm offers the largest selection of Lilly Pulitzer in the state of Virginia. Dresses are perfect for game days in a college town, spring and summer celebrations or destination vacations. Embrace your inner color-wearing self and visit Pink Palm at Bethesda Row for casual, stylish outfits that can be worn to class. Pink Palm gets new shipments delivered weekly. They carry accessories, like fun tote bags, detailed planners and durable to-go coffee cups, to help make college life a bit easier.

Related: Frugal Fashion: Back o School on a Budget

For fashion-forward high schoolers
Urban Chic

1626 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 338-5398

Urban Chic is a clothing store that carries trendy styles for any high school students who wants to stand out in the crowded hallways. Sometimes taking extra time to dress up for class makes school that much more enjoyable. No one has motivation to be productive in sweatpants and a T-shirt. DC’s legendary lifestyle magazine, Washingtonian, has named Urban Chic the “Best Clothing Boutique” on more than one occasion. The boutique has locations in Georgetown, Bethesda and Baltimore.

Educational tools
Lakeshore Learning Center

7009A Manchester Blvd.
Alexandria, VA 22310
(703) 719-0202

Lakeshore has fresh learning materials for toddlers through elementary school-aged children. With nearly six decades of experience, Lakeshore Learning Center employees individuals dedicated to enriching students lives by giving them the necessary tools to succeed. Supplies are categorized by subject and, to make browsing easier, by grade. Sections include arts and crafts, books and literature, music, mathematics, language and many more. The store is also an excellent resource for teachers and parents. Quality is assured, as all products are durable and long lasting. Visit the website to request a catalog or shop online.

Tempo Bookstore
4905 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 363-6683
www.tempobookdistributors.comNestled in the heart of Tenleytown, this bookstore is a goldmine for students interested in improving their English skills: grammar, writing, pronunciation. Students can purchase test preparation books at many different levels to help them feel confident before stressful exams. Tempo is the leading language resource center in the nation’s capital. The independent bookstore has a wide selection of books to help readers learn a new language. A far cry from Borders and Barnes and Noble, Tempo is comparable to no other bookstore and a great place to introduce elementary-aged children to the power and joy of reading.
School supplies

1250 I St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 898-0555

Much more than an art supply store, DC’s number one art supply store at that, Utrecht has supplies for students. Along with every pen, marker and paint color known to man kind, Utrecht has school basics like daily planners, erasers, crayons and binders. Travel to Utrecht with your child’s back-to-school list in hand and you are sure to leave with almost everything accounted for. In the midst of browsing, take mental notes of future art projects and fun activities to share with your child’s teacher.

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Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and a minor in Journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @kellyfrancess. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.