Amazing Gracies
126 W. Main St., Barrington, 847-304-1170

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.


Beautiful Beginnings
4472 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, 708-246-1212
*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.

Bebe Elegante Childrenswear
3338 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, 773-477-2323

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.

39 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-475-9140

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.)


Frankie’s on the Park
2322 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-248-0400

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.


Guys & Co.
827 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield, 847-940-4897
*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.


Janie 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


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.

Just Fun Fashion & Accessories
102 N. York St., Elmhurst, 630-993-1550

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.


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.


Martinelli’s Children’s Wear
3517 W. 95th St., Evergreen Park, 708-425-6287

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.

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.


The Shops at North Bridge, 55 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, 312-464-1515
Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-571-2121
Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-677-2121
Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-605-2121

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.)


Penny’s from Heaven
215 E. Westminster, Lake Forest, 847-735-7375
566 Chestnut, Winnetka, 847-446-5453
*Monogramming available

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.

Principessa Children’s Boutique
453 Roger Williams, Highland Park, 847-926-0500

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.

Pumpkin Formal
Golf Mill Center, Niles, 847-296-4225
Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-856-8030

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.


Sweet Peas Children’s Boutique
24043 W. Lockport St., Plainfield, 815-436-9829

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.


Ice House Mall, 200 Applebee St., Barrington, 847-381-2005
*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.


White Dove

1043 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.