Back to School, Pottery Barn Kids Style

The back to school gear catalog from Pottery Barn Kids and Teens arrived last week (yes, it’s still JULY.) Thank God, because now we can all breath a sigh of ivy league elementary school relief. I was starting to get a bit nervous that my only back to school gear options were gonna be from that gawd awful red bullseye place, you know the one we sorta pronounce in quasi French. I mean, I don’t want to buy my kid’s lunchbox in the same place where I buy my tampons!

So, when my mailbox unloaded those back to school pages of fall catalog euphoria, I skipped into my house, practically giddy, holding all of its glossy goodness. Now I can sit down, relax, and have a perfect bird’s eye look at everything my own children and my home are NOT.

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I don’t know about you, but I personally love feeling more inferior, more stylistically- challenged and more parentally inept than I already did before.  So let’s go Back to School shopping, Pottery Barn Kids style, shall we?
Pottery Barn Kids bento box

1. Your kid’s lunch better be Bento style. And also prepared by the staff from Whole Foods, and served in a $50 stainless steel divided feng shui style box. Because PB&J, a banana, and some chips are so 2005.  Do you get just a wee bit peeved when your kid loses a $1 Ziploc container? Just think how delighted you will be when they come home without this beauty.

Pottery Barn Kids office

2. Your kid needs their own home office. Complete with a $700 adjustable  leather chair, an old beat up suitcase a la thrift store, hanging industrial-looking lights that scream “jailhouse,” a magazine sorting system, and a tin lunchbox circa 1940. Sorry mini CEO’s, but I did my times tables on the kitchen table, and turned out just fine. As a matter of fact, I am able to actually concentrate and write this post from my current office, the laundry room.

dorm closet

3. College dorm closets are not just for beer anymore. Because you definitely need some place to store the 30 pairs of shoes you brought with you. And your typical dorm room has plenty of space for rolling carts and boxes made of linen. I am sure those will never, ever, see pizza grease or vomit.


4. High school is hard on your daughter,  so she needs a ‘lounge’ room.  After a long day of 19th century lit and negative integers, I too like to come home and lie down like a Kardashian on a plush chaise with star pillows, under a chandelier, a wall light reminding me how “Wonderful” I am, and surrounded by old vinyl records and suitcases. Again with the vintage suitcases! Memo to self: Next time you see one at the Hospice thrift store for $5, BUY and EBAY.

Pottery Barn Kids notebook

5. Everything your kid owns needs to be personalized. Yep. Even that. My kid’s school supply list says he needs 6 spiral notebooks. No biggie, this will only set me back about $60, and they will stay as crisp and fresh looking as they do in this picture all year long. And honestly, it is such a pain in the ass for my kid to have to WRITE their name on all their stuff. It’s not like there are local children currently living in poverty, whom I could entirely outfit with a backpack,  a lunchbox, and every school supply they need for the whole year with that same $60. Charity, shmarity- little Todd needs to know Spidey is all HIS!

About the writer


Melissa L. Fenton is a mom to 4 sons, cookbook hoarder, yarn bomber, wannabe pastry chef and carb lover, mother runner, adjunct librarian, sometimes a humor writer. Find her at 4boysmother, on Twitter as @melissarunsaway and on Facebook.

From Around the Web


AHLondonTX 1 year ago

And every time I’ve indulged, it doesn’t hold up well. What she said about the dino journal looking the same all year. Yep.

Kimberly 1 year ago

Thank you so much. This made me feel so much better about NOT having all this crap! It’s so one needs this stuff! I loved this article!!

Rebecka Jochum Miller 1 year ago

I bought my daughter the back pack with the cats on it,So cute and so durable …

DW 1 year ago

Trust me, it’s more like the 0.01%.

Karen Beth Cehulic Eichinger 1 year ago

No room.

Lana Merryman Hebert 1 year ago

Stores like Pottery Barn are successful because there are actually a lot of upper middle class people who buy their products though! A lot of people want this stuff! And it’s just meant to distract, that’s all. Of the people who shop at pottery barn most are in these two categories: parents who make enough money to afford their stuff but work so many hours that they try to make up for their lack of time with their kids by buying them this expensive crap… And then the middle class people who are just trying to keep up with the Jones’s and charge their credit cards up in order to have this expensive crap. Either way, the expensive unnecessary crap is just acting as a filler and represents a problem. One group doesn’t have enough time and is insecure in their relationships with their kids, and the other group doesn’t have enough money and is insecure in themselves on a social level. Now I know some people personally that are financially free and can afford to buy this stuff no problem and wouldn’t use it as a substitute for their time seeing as how they sustain their families on passive incomes, however the people who are smart enough with their finances to be in that type of situation are not typically seeing these type purchases as important or necessary. Still, if they want to deck their kids out with super expensive stuff because they can afford to, more power to them. However, most of us aren’t in that boat. I’m not in that boat…yet. And I could never justify spending the kind of money it takes to purchase something from their store on the kind of stuff they sell.

I will stick with my refurbished goodies from thrift stores and Craigslist. :)

Tara Simon 1 year ago

I get the feeling the photographers staging these photos are laughing their asses off as they put this together. Or for that matter, everyone at Pottery Barn is laughing their asses off, all the way to the bank. (At least I sure as hell hope so.)

Lynsey Sellers 1 year ago

Our school PTA sales all but backpack for about 40$- no Hell-mart to fight people in for supplies that arent there- winner….

Joeyandkatie Graham 1 year ago

We go back Aug 7. His school posted the supply list and class assignments on Friday. I hate them and all the parents who are done shopping.

Joeyandkatie Graham 1 year ago

Somebody once gave me a PB gift certificate for $20. I bought a wooden spoon…..that was all I could afford with the gift card……freakin hate PB.

Joeyandkatie Graham 1 year ago

I don’t mind spending extra $$ on backpacks too if they hold up. My son will be carrying his LL Bean for the 3rd year this year. Best backpack ever!!

Brenda Terry Harris 1 year ago


Kerrie 1 year ago

Haha! I laughed so hard, I coughed up my fois gras.

Emily 1 year ago

I confess to having bought my kids the backpacks (minus the names of course) and the matching lunch boxes. They have lasted through two (2!!!!) years of abuse from my 8 as 5 year olds with nary a sign of abuse. It was well worth the money. The $50 bento box? Not so much.

Cherie Masello 1 year ago

kitchen table in this house.

Liz 1 year ago

@jenM. I was just about to post — our family has plenty of money and still can’t afford any of the fab things in PB kids — but maybe if I spent less on booze 😉 — but seriously who can buy that furniture?! I always laugh when the Serena and Lily catalog comes here, like maybe they got the wrong address.

Amber 1 year ago

This makes me feel better about splurging on the backpack/lunchbox for my oldest this week.

Amber 1 year ago

Whoa! 50% off is nothing to scoff at. I was happy just to skip shipping.

Ruth Palmer Henry 1 year ago

Hmm…we got those PB catalogs today….didn’t even open them…straight to recycling can. Buh-bye, now!

Jen M 1 year ago

My 8-year old daughter needs a lounge room with a fainting couch. But that’s just because she’s a DRAMA QUEEN and everything is the END OF THE WORLD.

There is no way in hell I’m spending my booze money on Bento boxes and personalized notebooks.

Sarah Janeway 1 year ago

Ha personalize stuff that will go over well at ours as all the parents buy supply’s and everything gets divvied up they are allowed just one or two sp items

Tricia Lkb 1 year ago

I love the woman who wrote this.

Amy Nearpass 1 year ago

My daughter has a bento box and it was 6$. She loves it!

Laura Kathleen 1 year ago


Andrea Nunnaley Davis 1 year ago

I’d just like a kitchen table that doesn’t have stuff all over it, is that too much to ask?

Pamela Clark Miller 1 year ago

No way my daughter could destroy steel

Kara Willis 1 year ago

Their backpacks are super cute though

Amber G Moore 1 year ago

I always use Pottery Barn as a free home décor magazine any time I redecorate or remodel. It is easy to find knock offs at Target or Kirklands…except for the quilts, totally worth the cost and last forever. You can usually get them at the outlet stores if you wait long enough. Every room in my home has the style but not the price tag. (Even my son’s tiny little room that manages to be functional without his own office or lounge chair.)

Rosa York 1 year ago

Only Pottery Barn for Kids and Pinterest can make you look like a horrible mother! Yay!

Kellye Thompson Fowlkes 1 year ago

i love this

Malyssa Mays 1 year ago

It’s not back to school without Lisa Frank and Wal-Mart battle wounds cause your mom made you dig out your own specific supplies you just had to have lol… my kids will know the same struggle! Plus no way in hell am I paying $50 for a lunch box when not even daddy gets one!

Elizabeth Lopez 1 year ago

The notebooks. OMG. I would not even dare spend the money on that when they come home looking nothing remotely like a notebook at the end of the year. My son is so hard on everything. It’s a bonus if the backpack survives the school year in one piece

Nicolle Magro 1 year ago

Haha! I think you should share this piece on the PBKids wall! SO funny.

Kim 1 year ago

Funny! Besides the last point. I mean, I know it’s just a joke, but people do really think this way. Namely: that you can’t buy expensive designer things. That you should give to charity instead.

Example: a friend harassed me about buying 200 dollar boots. Said I should have bought 30 dollar ones and given the rest of the $$ to charity.

So I told him he should forgo his 3000 dollar family vacation, which is essentially spending three grand on a weeks worth of living, do a “Staycation” and donate the surplus to charity. Not to mention we already give more to charity (& have less) than he does.

So. People can spend their money on whatever expensive crap they want. I won’t criticize. Many very wealthy people give a high percentage of their income to charity. So how can we judge? It isn’t an either or situation.

Sharon 1 year ago

Amazing. I loved every word! I needed a good laugh, thank you!

Nuru 1 year ago

too funny, I am thankful I don’t know the parent who buys and buys into all this stuff.

Melanie Cooper 1 year ago

Was about to bitch how shitty it was to see an advertisement for Pottery Barn on this site that I so love…. Love you even more!

Marcela Marchesini Kapfer 1 year ago

I bought their backpacks because they are good quality and theyl

Sara Petrick 1 year ago

Pottery Barn has the best backpacks…those things are durable.

Crystal Shovlowsky 1 year ago

Lol. PB Kids is awesome but way too expensive.

Jessica Ottinger 1 year ago


Elisa 1 year ago

I BUY everything at Target – my tampons, food (mine, baby’s, and dog’s), towels, and toys – and I’m perfectly fine with it. I just don’t have time to make extra stops!
I DO want that bento box for ME though….

Jennifer Clark Jones 1 year ago

My kids get school lunch, same as I did.

Jennifer Clark Jones 1 year ago

No god damn way, my kids same as me, school lunch, and thrift store/ Walmart clothes. Pottery barn does not exist in my house.

Sheila 1 year ago

Our district starts school on July 21-too bad I won’t have time to order the $60 notebooks

Samantha Shay Epstein 1 year ago

The backpacks and lunch boxes are too well made. It’s not the first day of school without new shoes, a new backpack and a new lunch box. Not buying freaking pottery barn every darn year.

Amber 1 year ago

I must REALLY be poor… I have NEVER gotten one before!! lol Almost want to see what they have on the website. Almost.

Maggie McGuire Walker 1 year ago

Wtf is that!!?

Sarah Darrow 1 year ago


Kate Lamica 1 year ago


Maura Brady 1 year ago

Just got a catalog in the mail like this. Went straight in the trash. Nothing like Pottery Barn to remind me of what an inadequate parent I am.

Bridget Mahoney Jacks 1 year ago

Last year was our first year in public school after five years at a school where we had to bring lunch everyday (by the last year I was making my kids make their own lunches as a lesson in self reliance; they were 2nd and 4th grade). Needless to say; last year was fantastic!

Brittany Smith 1 year ago

Uh. No.

Stacy Briggs 1 year ago

I got 2 back packs from there on clearance with free shipping! Score!

Doris Vigil 1 year ago

This is a recent thing for me. I just stopped making them last year.

Ansley Snow Beadle 1 year ago

I for this catalogue and wanted to know where the kids went to school? Canada? What’s with the sweaters!

Bridget Morgan 1 year ago


Nicole Bondi 1 year ago

Love this hilarious perspective. You rock!

Joyce Gibson 1 year ago

Ahem, I believe there is a law against advertising “Back to School” before August. This is certainly a violation.

Mary Schneider 1 year ago

Pft, Tar-jay… who has money for that? Walmart’s just as good, just lower priced.


Ashley Blouin Graham 1 year ago

The elbow patches on that little boy’s sweater though…ARGGHH too cute!

Nina Smith 1 year ago

I am glad I am not alone when I SMH at this store. LOL

Tara Snyder Welliver 1 year ago


Keirston K. 1 year ago this! Couldn’t have said it better myself :)

Rachel Cashen 1 year ago

Love this!! Especially love the teenage gal lounging room with vintage suitcases. I’m crying

Charlotte T. Casey 1 year ago

My dream life…….I do love their backpacks though – they are cute and quality (and grandma buys them for birthday presents. They last at least 3 years).

Tricia Rathgeber 1 year ago

Afuckingmen sister!!

Sheri Taylor Finta 1 year ago

I’d like to see a dorm room that has a closet that large. Maybe Harvard or Brown?

Erin 1 year ago

I like the PB Kids catalog to see what baby names will be popular that year. Ugh

Ashley Ledford Knowles 1 year ago


Jennie Fisher Zimmerman 1 year ago

Lol. I want an office!

Admittedly, I spring for the pottery barn backpacks. My oldest is using hers for a third year, and my second daughter is using hers for her second. After a wash when school got out, they look brand new again. IMO well worth the money.

Jeanne Nash Pagnozzi 1 year ago

There will come a time when your kid wont be caught dead with anything other than a crumbled brown paper bag stuffed in their purse with a granola bar and cheeZits for lunch. Any more effort would be so embarrassing lol

Jennie Fisher Zimmerman 1 year ago

How’d you get them 50% off?!

Jessica Harlow 1 year ago

How did you know I did homework on the kitchen table? lol I meant for the “bar” area to be the homework space, but it’s the art/laundry folding station.

Leah Cochenet Noel 1 year ago

Back to school shopping for the 1 percent. Maybe .5 percent.

Meagan Conrad 1 year ago

This was hilarious. And even though I did just purchase three matching lunchboxes from PB, they were 50% off plus free shipping and I couldn’t beat that price!

RJG 1 year ago

It took everything in me not to guffaw while reading this. (I’m multitasking by trying to breastfeed the baby to sleep now that the toddler is down) But this was so funny I almost woke the whole house.
Would have been worth getting them both back to sleep, though!
Too good!!

Heather Terlecki Rutter 1 year ago

I do dig that bento box. I don’t have to wash a bunch of containers everyday and it’s reusable. Seems pricy. Amazon here I come:-)

Jaime G. Clark 1 year ago

Love their stuff…but its WAY over priced.

Christine Alessandro Maggio 1 year ago

I love this!!!

Bobbie Lawhorn Kirk 1 year ago

My poor deprived kids. I look forward to school just so I don’t have make fucking lunches.

Hannah Flier 1 year ago

Haha, I’ve always loved looking through the Pottery Barn Kids catalog for pure fantasy… but, really.

Alison Akins Franzen 1 year ago

All it takes is $. I think we’ll stick to the kitchen table.

Kelly Caruso 1 year ago

Love this!

Jessica West 1 year ago

Ridoncurous. People. Seriously.


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