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
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
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
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.
AnaBanana Kids 8 W. Gartner Ave., Naperville, 630-416-0506
This adorable local shop carries clothing for infants, toddlers, boys and girls as well as a smattering of baby gifts. They have a particular specialty in jewelry and hair accessories for little girls and hold cute events sucha s hair braiding training and mini manicures.
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
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 *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
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.
Billabong Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., 312-867-7249
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
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
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
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
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).
CCarson 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
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 *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
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 2039 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 773-935-2820
Mostly targeted to an older audience, this store 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
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
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.)Glove Me Tender The 900 Shops, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-664-4022
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.
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 Visit gymboree.com for locations
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
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.)
Hip Hip Hooray 840 Willow Rd., Northbrook, 847-272-7459 *Free gift wrap
The same owner of the former Hooray Array in Northfield opened this playful shop carrying children’s clothing up to tweens, specialty toys & art supplies, and has a particular specialty in dress-up costumes.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
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.
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
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. A partnership with upscale brand Giggle has also brought designer-style threads and accessories to the store at affordable prices.Joe’s Jeans 1715 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, 773-252-1715
Does junior need silhouette-flattering jeans? The slick Bucktown outpost of this renowned premium denim line carries a small selection of kid sizes.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.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.
LLad & Lassie Shop 1115 Central Ave., Wilmette, 847-251-7570
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
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
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 *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.Lollipop Seeds 4726 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-769-3557
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
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.
MM and Em’s 460 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn, 630-469-6040
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
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 *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
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
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.Monograms on Webster 1210 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, 773-697-8006 *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.My Sister Kate 48 S. Washington St., Hinsdale, 630-986-5866
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.
NNaartjie 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
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’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.)
OOld 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
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 *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.
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
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
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.The Red Balloon Co. 1940 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, 773-489-9800 5407 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-989-8500 *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
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, Off Fifth Outlet.)Sprout Kids 644 Central Ave, Highland Park, 847-780-4827
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.Sugar Cup Trading 110 N. Marion St., Oak Park, 708-524-5336
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
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 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 *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
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.)
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.
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.