AAmazing Gracies 126 W. Main St., Barrington, 847-304-1170 Arboretum, 100 W. Higgins, South Barrington, 847-844-4188 amazinggraciesshoppe.com
Fancy apparel for little ladies and gents such as argyle sweaters, smocked dresses, and wool coats. Christening gowns and rompers are priced between $50 and $200. Gift items like tutus, blankets, photo frames, piggy banks, and baby toys make this a terrific gift stop.
BBeautiful Beginnings 4472 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, 708-246-1212 celebratebabies.com *Gift registry *Free gift wrap
Fancy, gifty, and all-around charming, this local chain owned by two sisters brings together practical furniture and gorgeous heirloom gifts. Gifts run from hooded bath towels and chenille baby blankets ($72) to silver brush and comb sets. Also find christening and bris gowns and rompers ($100 to $496) and customized wall crosses for baptism gifts. The furniture selection encompasses traditional and modern styles for nurseries and kid rooms (belly up to the counter to check out the catalogs). Stand outs are old fashioned cradles and bassinets (most around $1,000), hand-painted furniture from Art For Kids, and crystal chandeliers. In-home consultations and design advice available.
This shop is devoted entirely to children’s special occasion wear (most $100 and under), such as suits and tuxedos, christening gowns and rompers, First Communion and flower girl dresses, as well as the tiaras, bonnets, and shoes to complete the outfit.Bonpoint 39 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-475-9140 bonpoint.com
This luxury French children’s line of classic, heirloom clothing for boys and girls is a favorite among celebrity and royal children. The fabrics, finishing, and detailing are all impeccable and high-end; smocked dresses and stunning overcoats are Bonpoint staples. Dresses start at $150, jackets at $250, and knits at $120. Ask about the annual holiday collection of gorgeous costumes centered around a theme.
The Children’s Place
Visit childrensplace.com for locations
This mall staple carries clothing from newborn to size 14 for boys and girls. The casual tees and sweaters make for moderately-priced school clothes (the novelty tees are especially fun), but the real strength is head-to-toe dressier apparel. Fancy styles include velvet dresses ($25 to $40), argyle sweaters, plaid shirts, ties, tams, and seersucker dresses and pants. A small selection of christening gowns and First Communion dresses are cute, affordable, and come complete with accessories like bonnets and shoes. (See also, The Children’s Place outlet.)
FFrankie’s on the Park 2322 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-248-0400 frankiesonthepark.com
Two floors of tween and teen merchandise that is both stylish and age-appropriate. Special occasion dresses and suits are stocked specifically for graduations, school dances, and bar and bat mitzvahs. Casual tops and denim make perfect school clothes, (and kids love the affordable selection of accessories) but the customer favorite is the Graffiti Bar, with more than 500 transfer decals for tees, hoodies, shorts, and hats. X-box games and wide screen televisions entertain even the most unwilling young shoppers.
GGuys & Co. 827 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield, 847-940-4897 guysandco.com *Tailoring available
This shop was conceived as a pain-free place for the menfolk to shop, and it exclusively serves boys, teens, and men. The mainstay is special occasion clothing (Guys & Co. has been dressing boys for bar mitzvahs for years)—suits, sport coats, pants, button-downs and ties stocked size 4 to 22 in regular and husky sizes for boys, and 36 to 40 for teens and men. Shop suits from Calvin Klein and Michael Kors, and sport shirts from DKNY and Joseph Abboud. An on-site tailor makes sure everything fits, and measurements are kept on-file for future purchases. On the casual side, shop jeans, team jerseys, khakis, sweaters, and T-shirts from Billabong, Puma, and Quiksilver.
JJanie and Jack Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-619-9921 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-763-9223 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-480-5857 Orland Square Mall, Orland Park, 708-873-3455 639 E. Boughton Rd., Bolingbrook, 630-783-8336 janieandjack.com
Sweet and swanky outfits for boys and girls, size preemie to 12 online and up to size 6 in stores. Outfits skew fancy, such as bowed cardigans, ruffled skirts, and matching headbands for girls, and argyle vests and wool sweaters for boys. Clothes are on the spendy side (around $30 for sweaters, $50 for dresses). All locations except Bolingbrook stock the special occasion of silk dresses, blazers, trousers, and vests.
Family owned since 1994, this Elmhurst kiddie shop is heavy on the girly but also carries boy clothing and accessories. Shop for crocheted hats, bows, butterfly wings, tutus, umbrellas and boots, blankets, picture frames, T-shirts, and apparel from Vitamins and LeTop. The owners create their own adorable line of custom clothing, birthday party hats, and hair accessories. Baptism gowns, First Communion dresses, flower girl and ring bearer outfits are heirloom quality.
LLa La Land 129 N. Addison St., Elmhurst, 630-834-5252 lalalandltd.com *Gift registry *Birthday parties
Girly and gifty, this west suburban shop carries an adorable selection of dresses, bloomers, and other feminine frills, as well as upscale options for little boys and baptism gowns and rompers (around $250). (Check the clearance rack in the back for deals.) For baby gifts, the shop offers custom gift baskets, diaper cakes, layette, Melissa and Doug toys, rockers, and toy chests. Inquire about princess birthday parties.Little Fashionistas Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-330-2085
Lots of frills, ruffles, and crystals in this diminutive formalwear shop, which carries sizes infant to 12. Find baptism gowns, flower girl and ring bearer outfits, First Communion dresses, pageant dresses, and other special occasion wear, as well as shoes and accessories.Luxaby Baby & Child 59 E. Oak St., Chicago
This little white jewel box of a boutique is full of classic, timeless baby and children’s clothing. Think Peter Pan collars, smocked dresses, elbow patched-blazers, seersucker pants and Sunday coats from designers Rachel Riley, Darcy Brown, Petit Bateau, Kissy Kissy and Baby CZ. Sizes run newborn to size 6 for both boys and girls and price range $20 to $450. (Dresses range about $68 to $298.) About 25 percent of the store is devoted to maternity clothing from brands Olian and Isabella Oliver Maternity, and there is also a section devoted to baby gifts and layette. (Bonus: There’s a ramp for stroller-friendly shopping.)
MMadison and Friends 43 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-642-6403 madisonandfriends.com
Madison and Friends was among the first local boutiques to decide that kids should be as styling as their citified parents, and it’s still going strong 15 years later. Find flower girl dresses with ribbons in colors to match any wedding party and clothing from Appaman, Rowdy Sprout, City Threads, Flowers by Zoe, and Ella Moss..
For more than 40 years, Martinelli’s has kept south suburban kids in special occasion wear and school uniforms. Shop christening apparel for boys and girls (most $100 or less), bonnets, booties, First Communion dresses, suits and tuxedos, flower girl dresses, and dressy shoes like Mary Janes and loafers. This shop also carries blinged out birthday hats and crowns.MDM Special Occasion Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-517-8300
Walk past the bedazzled prom wear to the back of the store, where the kid’s special occasion outfits include baptism gowns, little white suits and dresses, and flower girl apparel. Average price is around $65.Men’s Wearhouse Visit menswearhouse.com for locations *Tailoring available
The men’s formalwear shop offers clothing at discounts 20 to 30 percent off. Boy sizes run 6 to 20 in sport coats, suits, shirts, slacks, and tuxedos from Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Hickey Freeman, and Nautica.Men’s Wearhouse Formalwear Outlet 542 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, 312-347-9911
This outlet solely caries formalwear and tuxedos (no suits) at deeply discounted prices for men and has a small selection of boy’s tuxedo jackets.
This La Grange children’s store carries a bright, whimsical selection of clothing for girls, size newborn to 10 and boys, size newborn to 4T. The baby selection is adorable (lots of hats, snapsuits, and sleeper sets), as well as baptism gowns (around $100). For toddler boys, there’s a good mix of casual and dressy options (who can resist a knit sweater vest?) But the true specialty is occasion dresses for girls, from the frilly to the flowery, with matching accessories to boot. Also find gifts and toys.
Think faux fur vests for babies, tutus for toddlers, and Biscotti sequin dresses for first graders. Special occasion wear includes christening gowns and rompers ($250 and up) and flower girl dresses. Although mostly geared toward girls, there is a selection of boy’s clothing for infants through toddlers. Infant hats, headbands, and jewelry keep little princesses in bling.
11 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, 847-255-4000
This family-owned boutique is a gifting grandparent’s dream. Kid clothes (around $40 and up for an outfit) run from seersucker rompers for baby boys to prim, tailored dresses for little girls, and bows and hats to complete the outfit. (Don’t miss the popular French line Petit Bateau.) Sizes run preemie to size 6 for boys and preemie through size 12 for girls. Also find baptism gowns, communion dresses, and veils.
Nordstrom’s baby and children’s selection is adorable, designer, and spendy. British catalog brand MiniBoden, one of the cutest tot lines around, is stocked here, as well as girl’s clothing from Burberry, Benetton, Flowers by Zoe and Little Marc Jacobs and boy’s suits from Joseph Abboud and Brooks Brothers. Frilly baptism gowns and rompers run $75 to $300. The selection of toys and gear is skimpy, but Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags and Bugaboo strollers pack a lot of style to make up for it. The Nordstrom shoe department is one of the best in the city for adults, and the same holds true for children. The large selection includes brands such as Tom’s, Merrell, Frye, Hunter, Ugg, Pediped, Kenneth Cole, Timberland, and Keen. (See also, Nordstrom Rack.)
710 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-255-0800
This luxury children’s boutique is an indulgent grandparent’s delight. The clothing, toys, shoes, and gifts are all heirloom pieces from European designers—the Italian, French, Swiss, and Spanish lines are mostly exclusive to Odile in Chicago (some can’t be found anywhere else in the United States), including Lanvin Petite. Clothing runs newborn to six years old, includes beautiful Sunday coats, cashmere sweaters, plaid wool blazers, silk dresses, corduroy rompers, and handmade heirloom christening gowns ($200 and up). Even the shoes are designer, such as rabbit fur boots from La Stupenderie ($205) and Alberto Fasciani ankle boots ($305). Baby blankets, embroidered hooded towels, silver rattles (engraving available), kid’s robes, and books are all handpicked to perfection.
Penny’s from Heaven
215 E. Westminster, Lake Forest, 847-735-7375
566 Chestnut, Winnetka, 847-446-5453
Everything at this lovely shop is special and gift-worthy: soft layette, dresses, baptism gowns ($40 to $200), blankets, and a wide array of items suitable for monogramming such as baby hats, blankets, burpies, and knit sweaters. On the more playful side, browse Steiff stuffed animals, tutus, wooden toys, and children’s books.
Designer consignment for kiddos, newborn to teen. The selection is always changing, but high-end brands can include Lilly Pulitzer, Burberry, Flowers by Zoe, Wes & Willy, and Brooks Brothers. Check back frequently for shoes from the likes of Uggs, Bogs, and Frye, many of which have never been worn. Alongside designer consignment is new special occasion clothing for tweens (ideal for the bar and bat mitzvah-bound) and small buys like candy, wristlets, and backpacks.
A local line of formalwear dedicated to outfitting babies and kids for special occasions: christening gowns and bonnets, miniature tuxedos (some with tails), flower girl and ring bearer apparel, hair accessories, bow ties, and suspenders. The bricks-and-mortar stores carry a wide variety of choices, and most outfits run $30 to $100.
SSpecial Delivery 220 S. Third St., Geneva, 630-232-8980 special-deliverybaby.com *Gift registry *Personalization available
This full-service Geneva shop has been family-owned and operated since the 1970s and carries everything a new parent might need, from maternity clothes to baby furniture. Baby clothing runs from layette to silk dresses to big brother/big sister tees, as well as beautiful christening apparel from Daydream Heirlooms. The maternity selection is small but high-end, from Olian, Maternal America, and Moody Mamas. Outfitting a nursery? Shop furniture from Dutailier and Bratt Décor and browse design books for baby bedding options. Appliqued blankets, knit sweater sets, and hand-painted furniture like stools, rocking chairs, and rocking horses are all available for customization.
Suits 20/20 stocks menswear from Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and other department store brands at 40 to 60 percent off retail prices. Boy sizes start at 8 and include suits, sport coats, pants, shirts, and ties.Sweet Peas Children’s Boutique 24043 W. Lockport St., Plainfield, 815-436-9829 sweetpeakids.com
A city-worthy boutique in the burbs, this shop carries clothing for boys and girls size newborn to 10 from Hartstrings, Kissy Kissy, Biscotti, and Wes & Willy. Special occasion clothing, such as baptism gowns, First Communion outfits, and holiday dresses are worth a look. Shoes, gifts, toys, and a smattering of baby furniture round out the shop’s selection.
TTommy-Terri Ice House Mall, 200 Applebee St., Barrington, 847-381-2005 tommyterri.com *Free gift wrap
A gift-tastic store for little boys and girls. Although the play clothes are adorable, (particularly the Hartstrings line) the real draw is the handmade clothing like knit sweaters and special occasion wear for baptisms and weddings. Plushies, blankets, girly accessories and toys are also in-stock. Sizes run to 4T for boys, size 8 for girls.
1494 Waukegan Rd., Glenview, 847-729-6729
This local boutique deals exclusively in special occasions, with merchandise ranging from wedding veils and tiaras to baptism gift crosses. The gorgeous christening outfits ($50 to $300) are available as gowns, little dresses, or white suits for boys. Samples hang on the rack, but are custom-made and must be ordered. Allow four to six weeks lead time.