The Woodfield Mall location is one of the few brick and mortar stores of 77 kids, a kiddie offshoot of American Eagle. Both the boy and girl clothing has a rock and roll vibe—tees, hoodies, and jeans adorned with sparkles, skulls, guitars, and the like. Sizes run infant to 14 years.
Aabercrombie Water Tower Place, 845 N. Michigan Ave., 312-274-9859 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-480-6126 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-995-7047 Hawthorn Mall, Vernon Hills, 847-816-0557 Fox Valley Mall, Aurora, 630-851-8506 Orland Square Mall, Orland Park, 708-460-2866 abercrombiekids.com
American sportswear for kids aged seven to 14. Preppy sweaters, slouchy hoodies, sweatpants, logo tees, and starter fragrances prime tweens to grow into Abercrombie & Fitch once they reach high school. (See also, abercrombie outlet.)Amazing 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.
American Apparel 46 E. Walton St., Chicago, 312-255-8360 39 S. State St., Chicago, 312-658-0672 837 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, 773-880-9801 929 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, 773-472-0500 1563 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, 773-235-6778 950 Church St., Evanston, 847-424-0063 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-240-5220 americanapparel.net
Basics in every color of the rainbow. Bodysuits, tanks, leotards, hoodies, tights, leggings, and skirts for babies and kids in styles that are similar to the adult versions, and yet more appropriate for children.
BB Friends 720 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield, 847-236-4131 *Free gift wrap
Cute clothes for babies, toddlers, and kids from Flowers by Zoe and Wes & Willy. Sparkly T-shirts, tie-dyed hoodies, backpacks, fleece pants, and jewelry are aimed toward the tween crowd. Sizes run newborn to 12.Babydolls Boutique 3727 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-525-2229 babydolls-boutique.com
A Lakeview boutique that caters to both mom and baby—jewelry and handbags for mom, clothing and toys for junior. Find tutus, toys, bibs, Trumpette socks, and owner Vanessa Rodriguez’s handmade clothing line, “Pink and Blue are the New Black,” of lacy christening gowns and matching clothing for twins.Babydreams 448 Central Ave., Highland Park, 847-432-4704 babydreamshighlandpark.com *Monogramming available
Baby gifts are the specialty of this Highland Park shop. The knit sweaters are adorable, and much of the clothing, blankets, and other gifts are available for monogramming and personalization. (Ask about the outstanding custom baby gift baskets). Most merch is geared toward the newborn to 24 month crowd, but books, toys, plushies, and big brother/big sister gifts make great toddler gifts. The Grandparent Club allows grandparents who make a $25 donation to Children’s Memorial to take 15 percent off their total purchase every Sunday.Barneys New York 15 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-587-1700 barneys.com
The selection of children’s merchandise at this luxury department store is small but well-chosen—cashmere layette, designer sweaters and dresses, and denim from 7 for All Mankind and ESP No 1. A supplemental gift assortment includes knit blankets, Jelly Cat plush toys, silver gifts, and ride-on animal rockers.Bellybum Boutique 4347 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-868-0944 bellybumboutique.com *Gift registry *Free gift wrap *Classes and events
Bellybum caters to expectant and new moms with its mix of maternity wear, baby clothing and gear, and classes and resources for parents—all with an eco-friendly bent. Expectant moms can shop maternity wear from Ingrid & Isabel, Japanese Weekend, and Maternal America, as well as transition wear for those first months pre- and post-pregnancy. (The Yummie Mummie Tank with smoothing panels is a godsend.) Baby clothing is bright and graphic, such as Babylegs tights and Angel Dear dresses. Also shop nursing bras, Earth Mama skincare, cloth diapers, diaper bags, slings, and iCandy strollers. Take advantage of the classes and resources for pregnancy, parenting, breastfeeding, and green living.Billabong Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., 312-867-7249 billabong.com
An Australian surf and skate chain that carries apparel inspired by the laid-back appeal of both sports. Clothing starts with tween sizing—think board shorts, T-shirts, and hoodies.Bloomingdale’s The 900 Shops, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-440-4460 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-675-5200 bloomingdales.com
The swanky Bloomingdale’s children’s department represents brands such as Burberry, Ella Moss Girl, Flowers by Zoe, Hartstrings, Hickey Freeman, Nicole Miller Kids, Pearls & Popcorn, and Ralph Lauren Childrenswear. (See also, Bloomingdale’s Outlet.)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 Broken Cherry 1736 W. North Ave., Chicago, 773-278-4000 brokencherry.com
This rock and roll boutique carries a small selection of hard rock snapsuits, bibs, and stuffed toys for baby bad asses.Burberry Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-571-6400 us.burberry.com
Oak Brook is the only area location of the luxury British fashion house to carry the children’s line. (Find it in the back of the store.) Mini designs include a girl’s cape ($295), a baby dress in trademark plaid ($165), and a plaid shirt for baby boys ($95).
CCamelot Children’s Kingdom 854 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, 773-525-7706
This Lincoln Park boutique carries both boy and girl clothing, but the strong point is the super girly selection of tutus, dresses, leggings, headbands, ribbons and bows. The big brother/big sister tees make excellent gifts.Camp Willow 27 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge, 847-384-9900
This Park Ridge clothing shop carries a sweet selection of baby and toddler duds, with an especially good stock of special occasion dresses for girls. Other baby clothes include snapsuits, soft cotton outfits, and knit sweaters for boys, but expect a much larger selection for girls. Also find baby gifts, soft layette, and unique story books.Carson Pirie Scott Visit carsons.com for locations
This department store carries girls to size 16, boys to size 20, and is a good place to stock up on casual kid’s clothing, particularly during sales. Shop threads from Carter’s, Levi’s, OshKosh B’Gosh, adidas, and Calvin Klein, with a small but decent selection of toys from Hasbro, Hot Wheels, and Melissa and Doug. The shoe department varies by store, but most include kicks from Skechers, Timberland, and Bogs.Carter’s Visit carters.com for locations
Probably the most ubiquitous children’s line around, Carter’s has a cute, colorful selection of clothing from newborn to size 7. Prices are reasonable, and deep discount sales are frequent. The girl’s selection, marked by poppy colors and patterns, is at least double the boy’s selection at most stores, the latter being adorned with all things sports and transportation. Seasonal apparel is hard to beat, both in sweetness and price.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.)
Crazy 8 Yorktown Center Mall, Lombard, 630-620-8741 100 W. Higgins Rd., South Barrington, 847-844-1275 7501 W. Cermak Rd., North Riverside, 708-442-5339 Chicago Ridge Mall, Chicago Ridge, 708-422-0921 crazy8.com
The less expensive sister store to Gymboree, Crazy 8 carries graphic play clothes like T-shirts, polos, hoodies, plaid dresses, striped leggings and jeans for sizes newborn to 14. Many outfits have a sense of humor, such as a knit sweater printed with a necktie pattern.Crewcuts Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-564-2739 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-990-1166 Old Orchard Shopping Center Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-675-0109 jcrew.com *Monogramming available
J.Crew’s children’s line of miniature prep reinterprets East Coast sportswear for a pint-sized clientele. Girl’s clothing includes frilly cardigans, ruffled skirts, and an adorable selection of special occasion dresses, while boy’s options are argyle sweaters, plaid button downs, bow ties, and tams. Of particular note are the winter coats (spendy, but well-made), which enjoyed a boost in 2009 when the Obama girls sported the colorful pea coats to the inauguration. Monogramming options abound. (See also, JCrew Outlet.)Crush 2138 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 773-661-9481 crushonroscoe.com
The space age décor at this Roscoe Village shop is a backdrop for the relaxed but stylish clothing for girls, women, and boys from Free People, Billabong, and Burton. The custom T-shirt bar is a huge hit with tweens. Offbeat accessories include Bracedlets (made from braces rubberbands), fur hats, and jewelry.
DThe Denim Lounge 43 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-642-6403 2039 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 773-935-2820 madisonandfriends.com
Mostly targeted to an older audience, this sister store to Madison and Friends also carries children’s sizes in designer denim like Joe’s Jeans, True Religion, and 7 for All Mankind, as well as jeans, tees, and tops to please tweens and teens.
EE-Street Denim Co. 1876 1st St., Highland Park, 847-433-8338 estreetdenim.com
If your tot’s wardrobe isn’t complete without a pair of Hudson or True Religion jeans, this is the place to find them. E-Street Kids, adjacent to the main store in Highland Park, carries designer jeans and graphic tops for babies, toddlers, and kids.
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.
GGAPKids and babyGap Visit gap.com for locations
The seasonal collections of Gap’s kid lines are inspired, adorable, and arguably, more fashion forward than the adult counterparts lately. For babies and toddlers, outerwear is snuggly and practical, bodysuits are exceptionally soft ($14.95), and 1969 premium denim jeans ($29.95) are mini-versions of the adult line. Kid sizes are available in slim and husky. Expect plaid shirts and rugby shirts for boys, cardigans and colorful tops for girls, and graphic Junk Food tees for both. Holiday outfits and pajamas are favorites. (See also, Gap Outlet.)Giggles and Giraffes 1515 Sheridan Rd., Wilmette, 847-251-6665 gigglesandgiraffes.com
This North Shore favorite carries a mix of fancy and casual threads for kids in sizes newborn to 12 years old from European brands like Petit Bateau and American staples like Lilly Pulitzer. Blankets, stuffies, and the monogrammed knit sweaters and hats make excellent baby gifts.Glove Me Tender The 900 Shops, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-664-4022 glovemetender.com
Glove Me Tender specializes in outdoor accessories for men, women, and children. Kid’s hats, gloves, umbrellas, and raincoats are bright and fun, particularly the novelty animal hats; also find white gloves for Easter or First Communion.Guys & 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.
Gymboree clothing, an offshoot of the Gymboree Play and Music centers, is bright, colorful, and designed for kids on the move. (Sizes run 0 to 12 for boys and girls.) Though not the main attraction, Gymboree sells the best, long-lasting bubbles—the Wiggleworms teachers at the Old Town School of Music swear by them.
HHanna Andersson Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-291-9275 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-684-0442 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-413-9110 hannaandersson.com
In a nutshell: Soft, spendy, and Swedish. This much beloved children’s line combines the softest cottons with bright colors and patterns for boys and girls. The open return policy means any unworn item can be taken back with a receipt, at any time. (See also, Hanna Andersson outlet.)H&M Kids 840 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-640-0060 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-559-6063 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-684-0124 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-559-6063 Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-855-7847 Fox Valley Center, Aurora, 630-499-5730 hm.com
It’s never too early to introduce kids to affordable fashion. The children’s selection at H&M isn’t large, but is on-trend, age-appropriate, and easy on the pocketbook. (Where else can you find a baby velour cardigan for $7.95?) Also find knit sweaters ($19.95 to $24.95), Disney character sweatshirts, dresses ($19.95), hoodies, leggings, bodysuits, and accessories.
IInitially Ewe 1058 Hillgrove Ave., Western Springs, 708-244-7777 initiallyewe.com *Monogramming available
This knitting boutique offers custom monogramming on just about anything—bring in your own item or choose a baby product in store: tutus, bibs, blankets, and lovies.
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 for Bolingbrook stock the special occasion collection of silk dresses, blazers, trousers, and vests.JC Penney Visit jcpenney.com for locations *Gift registry
Moderately priced kid’s wear from Levi’s, Arizona, Carter’s, and Osh Kosh B’Gosh, shoes from Converse and Skechers, toys from Fisher Price, Melissa & Doug, and Radio Flyer, and a well-stocked baby furniture and gear shop—cribs, rockers, Graco car seats, and high chairs.
Just Between Friends 740 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield, 847-914-0400
The sister store to B Friends, Just Between Friends is aimed toward tweens and teens, with clothing from So Nikki and Aviator Nation. Find jewelry, fleece pants, sequin dresses, hoodies, and a rainbow array of tank tops.Just Fun Fashion & Accessories 102 N. York St., Elmhurst, 630-993-1550 justfunfashions.com
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.Justice for Girls Visit shopjustice.com for locations
Bedazzled tween wear for girls who want their tees, hoodies, jeans, accessories, and shoes to be brightly colored, sequined, or both.
3715 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-857-0245
When longtime children’s shoe store Petit Feet closed in May, the owner’s daughter Katherine Dyon decided to use the space to open up, a shop devoted to babies and toddlers up to age 4. The cute little gift emporium carries clothing, toys and other fun accessories for tots. Among the most popular items are the novelty Chicago-themed clothing and onesies from Locally Grown ($22). Kid threads are cute and play-friendly, like T-shirts adorned with ties for boys and sparkly leggings for girls. Also find toys from Melissa & Doug, Plan Toys, stuffed animals and bath toys as well as other little gifts like picture frames, night lights and photo albums.Kooky Kidstuff The Shops at North Bridge, 520 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-527-0552 kookykidstuff.com
A group of local designers first launched Kooky in 2009 as a holiday pop-up shop, and it has since planted roots in three permanent locations. Most of the hip clothing designers still are homegrown, with old favorites like Melissa and Doug toys mixed in. Selections for little princesses include ruffle dresses ($42), tutus, and sparkly headbands; for little men, find capes and tees. The toy selection is well-edited and stocked with dollhouses, games, creative kits, toy food, and play sets. The North Bridge location has added a salon for kids, with hair styling and mini manicures.Kustum Kribs 147 N. Northwest Hwy., Park Ridge, 847-825-5742 kustumkribs.com *Gift registry *Classes and events
A happy baby boutique with a mix of modern gear, furniture, clothing, and gifts. Many of the products are eco-friendly, including Ergo Carriers, cloth diapers, Boon high chairs, and Safe Sippy Cups. Contemporary cribs, rocking chairs, and baby loungers from Nurseryworks and Bloom Baby are stocked alongside strollers from BOB, Uppababy, and iCandy. Also shop cloth diapers, slings, baby clothes from Tea Collection and City Threads, diaper bags, and baby shoes. Moms can also check out the stylish nursing shirts and Paige Premium Denim maternity jeans. The owner specializes in hand-painted nursery murals (inquire within), and the store hosts frequent story times and special events.
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.
Lad & Lassie Shop 1115 Central Ave., Wilmette, 847-251-7570 ladandlassie.com
This third generation family-owned store retains the charm of Main Street stores of yore, while carrying a modern mix of clothing and accessories for boys, girls, and women. A local go-to for outerwear (Patagonia, Columbia, The North Face) and casual clothing from Roxy, Junk Food, and Quiksilver.Lands’ End Visit landsend.com for locations within Sears
Comfy, casual everyday clothes for girls and boys. Jeans, tees, leggings, and skirts make for relaxed school clothing, but the real standouts are rain and winter jackets, swim wear, and footwear—rain boots, snow boots, and other sensible kicks. (See also, Lands’ End Inlet.)L’il Surprises 22 S. Ash St., Frankfort, 815-464-9856
This Frankfort shop carries adorable, bright clothing from Rabbit Moon and Hanna Banana, as well as books, toys, and puzzles. Their specialty is custom-created birthday shirts and bibs, adorned with the child’s age, as well as gift baskets for babies, parents, and grandparents.Little Marc Jacobs at the Marc Jacobs Collection 11 E Walton St., Chicago, 312-239-2330 marcjacobs.com
The Chicago location of Marc Jacobs Collection is one of only a handful in the country to carry the children’s line. The selection is small but chic, like plaid dresses (around $100), printed infant tees ($70), and snapsuits in Jacobs’ signature whimsical style. Most sizes on display are for infants and toddlers, but ask in store to see up to size 12.Little Miss Matched 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-915-0676 littlemissmatched.com
The main market for the brightly colored socks, pajamas, sweaters, and accessories are tweens (be sure to check out the gift sets) but there is a small selection of colorful baby and toddler socks adorned with hearts, stripes, and stars, as well as sock monkey plushies and other small toys.Little Threads 2033 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 773-327-9310 shoplittlethreads.com *Gift registry
It’s all about clothing at this Roscoe Village baby and kid shop which is stocked with colorful, graphic threads comfy enough for playing but stylish enough for family photos. Brands include Ben Sherman, Junk Food, Kissy Kissy, Appaman, and City Threads. (Browse the sale rack for excellent deals on late season apparel). Alongside clothing, find a small selection of Gund stuffed animals, toys, and books.Lollie 1312 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-328-7303 lollieshop.com *Free local delivery *Classes and events
A sweet little shop stocked with perfect baby and kid gifts, as well as clothing, toys, and books for kids newborn to size 10. Blankets, rattles, Aden + Anais swaddle sets, funny T-shirts from Wonderboy, Skip Hop backpacks, reversible superhero capes, and Chewbeads jewelry that double as teething rings for baby, are a sampling.
Lollipop Seeds 4726 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-769-3557 shoplollipopseeds.com
This Lincoln Park newcomer stands apart for its great variety of Chicago-centric merchandise, such as onesies adorned with the Chicago flag and toy CTA trains, as well as adorable clothes, books, toys and other goodies. A chalkboard wall in the rear of the store keeps kids occupied while mom and dad shop.
Lord and Taylor Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-574-8000 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-677-9000 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-498-2500 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-619-5000 lordandtaylor.com
Lord and Taylor’s baby and children selection is on the small side, but includes Lilly Pulitzer, Nautica, DKNY, Nicole Miller, Charlie Rocket, and Hartstrings. (The coats, such as heavy-duty Timberland coats and Ralph Lauren trench coats, are worth a look during sales.) Also find Michael Kors and Ugg Australia shoes, and a small selection of gifts like Gund toys and blankets.
It’s all about monogramming at Luv The Name, which carries a wide array of gift options with no extra charge for personalization. Choose among snapsuits, baby robes, blankets, lovies, bibs, sweaters, totes, backpacks, rompers, T-shirts, and even tutus.
Luxaby Baby & Child 59 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-280-7905
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.)
MM and Em’s 460 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn, 630-469-6040 mandems.com
Adorable clothing for baby, children, and tweens (girls sizes run infant through adult, and boys from newborn to 18 months). Apparel for babies and toddlers is comfy and colorful, and big brother/big sister and custom initial T-shirts make great gifts. Leggings, trendy tops, and loungewear keep the tweens happy. Games, Melissa and Doug toys, and crafts for older kids like Friendship Bracelet Makers round out the product mix.Macy’s 111 N. State St., Chicago, 312-781-1000 Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-335-7700 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-329-2700 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-684-2400 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-509-5100 River Oaks Center, Calumet City, 708-418-4000 Orland Square Mall, Orland Park, 708-873-4100 macys.com
The baby and kid selection at Macy’s is uneven, taste-wise—half of the clothing is cute, and half is just too heavy on the sparkles and sport themes. Affordable baby clothes from Carter’s, Levi’s and Macy’s own Greendog line rub elbows with high-end Ralph Lauren Layette, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger. An excellent seasonal selection of fall and winter coats has people lined up before open at the after-Thanksgiving coat sale. Toy variety varies by store, but most carry at least a small array of Barbies and Melissa and Doug. The kid’s shoe department runs more utilitarian (Stride Rite, Keds, Nike), with a sampling of other styles from Ralph Lauren and Kenneth Cole.Maya Papaya and Tony Macarony 1901 Central Rd., Evanston, 847-866-6292 maya-tony.com *Free gift wrap
A bright, hip children’s store for kids up to age 10. Funky floral dresses, cashmere sweaters, and graphic tees (including a good selection of big brother and big sister shirts) from brands like Tea Collection and Kicky Pants are comfy and stylish. Books, Gund toys, cuddly blankets, and Skip Hop backpacks round out the product mix.Milani 65 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-587-0570 milaniboutique.com
Babies in Roberto Cavalli? Why not? This kiddie couture boutique has been keeping Chicago kids in European high fashion since 1993. Shop Armani Junior and Perry Ellis suits, designer denim from D&G Junior, dresses from Betsey Johnson, and other apparel from Moschino, Escada, Gucci, Missoni Kids, and Versace Young. (Milani can also pre-order for the upcoming season.) The shoe stock is equally high-end, with baby wingtips, Fendi leather loafers, D&G sandals, and Armani sneakers for boys and girls. Prices range $95 to $400.Mini Me The 900 Shops, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-988-4011 minimechicago.com
Lots of sparkle, boas, and tutus line the walls of this girly children’s couture boutique, but the mainstay is clothing from the likes of Lilly Pulitzer, Sonia Rykiel, Moschino, Petit Bateau, Monnalisa, Little Marc Jacobs, and Tartine et Chocolate. The shop mostly caters to little girls, but has a supplemental selection of infant and toddler boy clothing.Monday’s Child 26 S. Lagrange Rd., La Grange, 708-579-9500 mondayschildboutique.com
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.Monograms on Webster 1210 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, 773-697-8006 monogramsonwebster.com *Monogramming available A monogramming boutique with an extensive baby and children’s selection. Embroidered personalization is available on a whole host of products including snapsuits, sweaters, dresses, bloomers, backpacks, bibs, blankets, and towels. Munchkin Land Kids 30 E. Hinsdale Ave., Hinsdale, 630-920-9400 munchkinlandkids.com
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.My Sister Kate 48 S. Washington St., Hinsdale, 630-986-5866 mysisterkate.com
One of the best suburban kid’s boutiques, My Sister Kate achieves just the right blend of designer clothing, toys, and accessories. Apparel runs newborn through junior sizes for girls, and newborn through size 10 for boys, from Petit Bateau, Dwell Baby, Lacoste, Ella Moss, Little Marc Jacobs, Appaman, Free People, and Petit Lem, with denim from Joe’s Jeans and True Religion. The side wall of the shop is stocked with toys like craft kits, plush animals, books, Legos, and games.
NNanabimbi 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.
Naartjie Kids Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500
This is the only Illinois location of this South African brand of soft play clothes for babies, boys and girls up to age 10. The colorful and stylish duds are designed in 11 mix and match collections per year, meaning there is always new merch in store but it also coordinates with the previous collection’s style. Parents of boys take note: the little gent selection is particularly great.Neiman Marcus 737 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-642-5900 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-564-0300 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-572-1500 neimanmarcus.com
This upscale department store carries ritzy designer wear from Armani Junior, Baby Dior, Burberry, Juicy Couture, and Little Marc Jacobs. The shoe selection is similarly upmarket, with kid kicks from Gucci, Prada, Toms, and Ugg. Junior David Yurman jewelry, Missoni accessories for Bugaboo strollers, diaper bags from Marc by Marc Jacobs and Kate Spade, and toddler aviator sunglasses prove that even the pre-verbal can look too cool for school. (See also, Last Call Neiman Marcus.)Nordstrom 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.com
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.)
OOdile 710 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-255-0800 shopodile.com
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.Old Navy Baby and Kids Visit oldnavy.com for locations
Perfect play clothes: Cute, colorful, and cheap enough that you won’t feel bad when your tots inevitably trash them. For babies, colorful body suits ($5 to $9), jersey pants and jeans ($9 to $12) and sleepwear are good bets. For toddlers, fleece sweatsuits, hoodies, and sundresses are adorable. Older kids love the play clothes and T-shirts printed with cartoon characters and sports team logos.Osh Kosh b’Gosh 15782 S. LaGrange Rd., Orland Park, 708-403-5904
Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora, 630-236-0000 Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-856-8172 Pleasant Prairie Outlets, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., 262-857-3975 Lighthouse Mall, Michigan City, Ind.; 219-878-0942 Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500 oshkoshbgosh.com
There’s just no debating the cuteness of a kid in overalls. These outposts, now sister stores to Carter’s, carry the signature bib overalls, as well as denim, corduroy, plaid shirts, frilly tops, and rompers for boys and girls from newborn to size 12. Although mostly located in outlet malls, these shops are neither outlets nor factory stores but just reasonably priced, first-run clothes for kids.
PPenny’s from Heaven 215 E. Westminster, Lake Forest, 847-735-7375 566 Chestnut, Winnetka, 847-446-5453 pennyslakeforest.com *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.Petite Feet 3715 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-472-3338
Locally owned Petite Feet carries baby and kiddie shoes from Umi, Uggs, Bogs, Jumping Jacks, and other high-end, mostly European brands. Supplementing the kicks is beautiful layette from Hatley and Angel Dear, and gifty items like toys and blankets.Pish Posh 3950 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-935-7616 pishposhkids.com
This Lakeview shop carries a mix of new and consignment children’s clothing, all high-end boutique brands. New merchandise from 3 Pommes, Cakewalk, and Deux Par Deux is flowery and bright, and the velvet winter coats are heirloom-worthy. At any given time, resale clothing can include Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Mini Boden, Bonpoint, Crewcuts, Tea, and Zutano.
Traverse City, Mich.-based Preggers, owned by a mom and two daughters, outfits both mom and baby. Maternity clothes skew high-end, from Olian, Michael Stars, Japanese Weekend, and Citizens of Humanity. Preggers also carries an excellent selection of diaper bags from Fleurville, Diaper Dude, Stork Sak, and Petunia Pickle Bottom. The shower gift-appropriate merch runs from blankets and wooden toys to colorful threads (up to 4T) from Pixie Lily and Zutano and jewelry for mom that doubles as a teething ring for baby.
The Princess Club 3300 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-472-4733
Anything a little princess (particularly a dancing one) could need: tutus, leotards, bows, tiaras, princess dolls, plush toys, puzzles, and holiday outfits from Mudpie.
After years in Bucktown, this independent shop moved to smaller digs in Wicker Park in summer 2013. The shop is beefing up its online presence but has opened this “to go” boutique focusing more on its custom shop with personalized T-shirts, onesies, hoodies, backpacks, bibs and more, all in keeping with their rock ‘n’ roll vibe.
RRalph Lauren 750 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-280-1655 ralphlauren.com
This massive Ralph Lauren store, awash in wood paneling and lofted canoes, carries pint-size prep for babies and kids. Layette selections include polo snapsuits, plaid rompers, and cardigans. For little girls, polo dresses, sweater dresses, and cardigans; for little boys, polos, rugby shirts, and suits.Randoons 962 ½ Green Bay Rd., Winnetka, 847-784-1890 randoons.com
Mostly a clothing store for women, Randoons boasts a wonderful baby gift section toward the back of the store. Baby clothing is unique and funky—Beastie Boys and The Rolling Stones concert shirts-turned-snapsuits from Rowdy Sprouts, tie-dyed snapsuits, and tees decorated with felt monsters. Tutus, stuffed animals, and blankets round out the selection.Red 21 Arboretum, 725 Village Center Dr., Burr Ridge, 630-655-9163 100 W. Higgins, South Barrington, 847-836-2434 red21boys.com
A boys-only clothing store that carries comfy, casual clothes in sizes 12 months to 7 from the Wes and Willy line of tees, plaid shirts, jeans, cargo pants, and shorts.The Red Balloon Co. 1940 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, 773-489-9800 5407 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-989-8500 theredballoon.com *Free gift wrap *Monogramming available
An all-around great children’s shop, especially for clothing and toys. The best-selling initial tees (emblazoned with a letter in a bold color or glitter) make great gifts, and pillows, blankets, and knit sweaters are also available for personalization. Boutique-brand clothing for boys and girls is spendy but adorable, and footed pajamas, toddler tees, and superhero capes have a touch of whimsy. Custom décor in the form of toy chests and growth charts is available, as well as imagination-inspiring toys.
SSaks Fifth Avenue 700 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-944-6500 saksfifthavenue.com
The infant and toddler section at Saks is as designer-heavy as its adult counterpart—7 for All Mankind, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Alice + Olivia, D&G Junior, Stella McCartney for Kids, and Moncler. The smallish gift section includes plush toys, easels, craft kits, and Reed and Barton silver. (See also, Saks Off Fifth.)
Special 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.
Sprout Kids 644 Central Ave, Highland Park, 847-780-4827 sproutkidshp.com
Kids can strut their stuff in trendy, adorable clothes on the in-store runway at this Highland Park shop, which carries clothing for girls and boys from newborn to 8 years from brands such as Hatly, Appaman, and Joe’s Jeans. A great selection of baby gifts, nursery furniture and art are bonuses.
Sprouts 4753 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-599-2216 *Events and story time
This children’s clothing shop, located next door to Timeless Toys, makes for a handy one-two punch of kid shopping in Lincoln Square. All of the clothing (newborn to size 6) is 100 percent cotton, from brands like Tea Collection. Also find shoes from Rileyroos, rain boots from Western Chief, and Melissa and Doug toys.The Stork’s Cradle 210 W. Wesley, Wheaton, 630-752-1584 thestorkscradle.com *Gift registry *Monogramming available
Baby gift central, with most everything in-store aimed at babies newborn to 12 months, including books, baby hats, ruffled Mud Pie layette, bloomers, and vintage toys. The store’s favorite gift is a handmade chenille doll that can be embroidered with a baby’s name. Supplementing the gifts is a furniture selection (available for order) that ranges from the traditional to more modern nursery décor, crib bedding, quilts, and nursery art. Although many baby stores have a small supplemental maternity section, The Stork’s Cradle has a legitimate selection that stands on its own, with brands including Maternal America and Olian.Sugar Cup Trading 110 N. Marion St., Oak Park, 708-524-5336 sugarcuptrading.com
An innovative shop that encourages kids to trade in their designer duds. Sugar Cup accepts clothing (12 months and up) from Crewcuts, Gap, Ralph Lauren, Hanna Andersson, and Burberry, among others, as well as toys from American Girl, Lego, and wooden Melissa and Doug. All trades are assigned points, which can be used to purchase resale or new items in the store. New toys and clothing (stocked up to tween sizes) come from Kate Quinn Organics, EcoStars, Twirls and Twigs, and P’Kolino. The lofty space displays new merchandise most prominently, with used items in the drawers below. The idea is to teach kids eco-friendliness and the value of taking care of their clothes and toys.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.
TThreadless Kids 3011 N. Broadway St., Chicago, 773-525-8640 1260 W. Madison St., Chicago, 773-878-3557 threadless.com
Hipsters have babies, too, and their tykes have to wear something. This local online T-shirt company, where people vote on their favorite shirts, carries sweet and silly designs on tees, snapsuits, and hoodsies. The Threadless Kids shop on Division Street shuttered, but the store on Broadway carries children’s line (and gets the newest selections on Friday, three days before the new designs go live on the Web site). The Lakeview store is difficult to navigate with a stroller, so if junior is along for the ride, try the Threadless headquarters on Madison Street where you can place and pickup orders. (The tee vending machines outside select grocery stores do not, so far, stock children’s sizes.)Thread Lounge 918 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, 773-281-0001 threadlounge.com
Traveling sample sale Thread Lounge made Lincoln Park its home base in 2009, and the store carries samples and overstock at 25 to 75 percent off retail. The baby and toddler section is small and relatively new to the store, but does offer great markdowns on supersoft organic cotton snapsuits and toddler tops.Tommy Hilfiger Kids Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora, 630-236-8749 Lighthouse Mall, Michigan City, Ind., 219-878-9888
Although located within outlet malls, these Tommy Hilfiger shops are not clearance centers and prices are comparable those in department stores. The baby and children’s clothing is preppy (argyle, polos, rugby shirts), with a heavy emphasis on primary colors and large Hilfiger labels.Tommy-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.T-Shirt Deli 1739 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, 773-276-6266 1482 Berwyn Ave., Chicago, 773-561-7410 tshirtdeli.com
Customize baby snapsuits and kid’s hoodies, baseball tees, T-shirts, and tanks ($14 to $28) at this print shop, which mimics an old-fashioned deli. Choose decals or provide your own, choose lettering, and place your order. (In-store pickup is available for online orders.)
UUniversity Avenue 275 Parkway Dr., Lincolnshire, 847-419-0999 shopuave.com
Tees, hoodies, sweatshirts, and accessories emblazoned with the logos of more than 75 colleges and universities. Youth sizes are available, but not baby sizes.Urba Baby 1117 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, 773-472-2229 1751 W. Division St., Chicago, 773-278-2229 urbababy.com *Classes and events
This Lincoln Park shop is hip, helpful, and dedicated to urban parents who need paraphernalia that combines utility and style, such as super soft organic baby clothing, baby carriers, sippy cups, plates, and back pack strollers. Urba Baby also hosts classes, workshops, and events like mom and baby yoga and story times.
VVon Maur The Glen Town Center, 1960 Tower Dr., Glenview, 847-724-4199 Yorktown Center Mall, Lombard, 630-953-8181 *Free gift wrap
This Midwest-based, family-owned department store has a decent children’s department, though it does succumb to the usual imbalance of the girl selection outnumbering the boy product almost two to one. Be sure to check out the seasonal variety of coats, which range from heavy-duty down to wool pea coats. Easy newborn gifts include blankets, plush toys, and Reed and Barton silver. The shoe assortment rivals that of other department stores, with brands such as Saucony, See Kai Run, and Kenneth Cole.
YYoung Royal Couture 1750 W. North Ave., Chicago, 773-252-4911
It’s next to impossible to emulate Kate Middleton but this colorful Bucktown children’s boutique allows parents to give Prince George a run for his money. This shop carries pint-size, trendy styles befitting royalty in sizes 0 to 6. Girl’s clothing skews frilly, boy’s clothing runs cheeky and other stock includes Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags, Wry Baby onesies, toys, gifts and a birthday area bedecked with tutus and headbands to adorn a little princess.
ZZara 700 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-255-8123 1 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-368-6178 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-329-0808
Zara Kids is just as stylish as the adult line, although without the emphasis on runway copies. Fast turnaround keeps people coming back frequently (new merchandise is introduced each week). Baby styles run from little striped dresses ($35.90) to professorial double-button cardigans ($32.90). Kid fashions are trendy but age-appropriate, like jacquard dresses ($35.90), skirts, slim jeans, trench coats ($45.90), and cardigans. Shoes are just adorable, like ankle boots ($39.90), ballerina flats ($25.90), and baby mountain boots ($35.90). Sizes range three months to 14 years.Zumiez Visit zumiez.com for locations
A skate and snowboard lifestyle chain, with boy and girl sizes in T-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and snow pants from brands Burton, Volcom, and Billabong, as well as skateboards, snowboards, and shoes from DC and Vans.