Aabercrombie Outlet Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-855-9023
Tweens can stock up on logo tees, jeans, and hoodies to their heart’s content at the abercrombie outlet, which is part outlet/part factory store, with a combination of overstock from the regular priced stores and some pieces made specifically for the outlet. Most t-shirts run $9.99 to $12.99; sweat pants, hoodies, plaid pants, and jeans are also reasonably priced. Be forewarned: Like the full-price store, music blares at top volume.
BBloomingdale’s Outlet 1450 E. Golf Rd., Schaumburg, 847-969-9197
This outlet has an impressive array of designer clothing for women (particularly denim), but the children’s selection is on the skimpy side. Clothing brands for newborns, toddlers, and kids include Buffalo Jeans, Polo Ralph Lauren, Little Me, and Calvin Klein, and the newborn to 9 month category has some cuddly snapsuits at reasonable prices. This place is worth stopping by if you also have an adult to shop for, but not worth the trip on the merits of the kid section alone.
CCharlie & Grace 937 Curtiss St., Downers Grove, 331-777-5818
This children’s resale boutique offers clothing, accessories and books. Shop brand-name threads from the likes of Boden, Tea Collection, Gymboree, Hanna Andersson and Janie & Jack.
The Children’s Place Outlet Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-856-8401 Huntley Factory Outlets, Huntley, 847-669-5364 Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora, 630-898-0747 Lighthouse Mall, Michigan City, Ind., 219-872-0468 Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500
A combination overstock/factory store, with a greater emphasis on casual apparel than the mainstream line.Clothes Mentor 1402 N. Roselle Rd., Schaumburg, 847-781-0600 582 S. Route 59, Naperville, 630-355-0009 9238 W. 159th St., Orland Park, 708-873-0600 146 E. Army Trail Rd., Glendale Heights, 630-893-4600 1900 Plainfield Rd., Crest Hill, 815-744-4466
These resale franchises specialize in mall brands of women’s clothing and each have a section devoted to maternity. Expect brands such as A Pea in the Pod, Mimi Maternity, and the Gap at up to 80 percent off retail prices.Crewcuts Outlet Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora, 630-851-8150 Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., 262-857-9093 Lighthouse Mall, Michigan City, Ind., 219-879-6506 Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500
These Crewcuts outlets (housed within J.Crew outlets) are hit or miss. Girl merchandise tends to outnumber boy clothing two to one, and frankly, deals are dubious. But during sales, you can snag off-season apparel at reasonable prices.
DDisney Store Outlet Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-856-8233 Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500
Toys, dolls, and apparel are discounted up to 30 percent off, but be warned that costumes, particularly princess dresses, are priced the same as in the regular stores.
GGap Kids Outlet 2778 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, 773-252-0594 Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-855-9311 Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora, 630-236-8158 Huntley Factory Shops, Huntley, 847-669-9820 Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., 262-857-9137 Lighthouse Mall, Michigan City, Ind., 219-879-1264 Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500
These so-called outlets are actually factory stores, so they do not carry clearance merchandise of the Gap Baby + Kids line. Expect a lot of clothing adorned with the Gap logo. Best bets are the infant apparel and kid’s pajamas.Good Cents Children 220 W. State St., Geneva, 630-208-1115
The largest children’s resale store in the Midwest and definitely one of the best, Good Cents carries a mix of new and resale merchandise for babies, children, and teens. The top floor is devoted to sizes newborn to 12, with resale apparel from Gymboree, Hanna Andersson, Ralph Lauren, and Gap that runs from play clothing to special occasion wear to snowsuits and costumes. New and resale toys, books, and gifts are also in-store (but no baby equipment). Downstairs is devoted to resale teen clothing, from brands such as H&M, Forever 21, Hollister, and Abercrombie & Fitch.Green Kids Resale 833 E. Rollins Rd., Round Lake Beach, 847-986-6232
This well-organized resale shop carries clothing from preemie to size 16, as well as maternity clothing, shoes, baby gear, Melissa and Doug and Thomas the Train toys, books, and some baby furniture. Don’t forget to stop by the excellent clearance area, with items marked as low as $1, $2, and $3.Gymboree Outlet Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora, 630-851-3759 Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-855-2695 Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., 262-857-6700 Lighthouse Mall, Michigan City, Ind., 219-879-5205 Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500
These outlets are not clearance centers of Gymboree merchandise but rather a separate factory brand that recreates the previous season’s most popular merchandise, at 20 to 30 percent off original prices. (As a result, the outlets are much larger than the main Gymboree stores.) Find an expanded selection of basics and accessories as well as the colorful play clothes that are Gymboree’s specialty.
HHanna Andersson Outlet Lighthouse Mall, Michigan City, Ind., 219-872-3183
Parents from far and wide make road trips to visit the Hanna Andersson outlet, one of only five in the country and the only one in the Midwest. The store stocks current styles and discounted merchandise from the previous weather-appropriate season. (A fall visit would include both last year and the current year fall selection.) Visit at the end of season for deep discounts (like $5 polos and tees). Striped sleepers, popular for the holidays, can be found year-round. The outlet has the same generous return policy as the parent company—any unworn item can be returned with the receipt, at any time.Hollister Co. Outlet Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-855-0417
Conveniently located next door to the abercrombie outlet, this outlet of the surf-inspired apparel company has fairly reasonably prices on button-downs, hoodies, sweats, and jeans. The clearance rack is stocked with tees, tank tops, and other shirts for $15 or less. The bass is always bumping so prepare for significant hearing loss after shopping.
JJanie and Jack Outlet Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500
The only Illinois outlet for this upscale children’s store of sweet and swanky outfits for boys and girls, size preemie to 6. Outfits skew fancy and are on the spendy side when full price (around $40 for sweaters, $50 for dresses), and the outlet stocks styles at 25 to 40 percent off. Be sure to check out the clearance rack for amazing deals on end of season styles.
KKangaroo Kids 2071 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, 773-327-2620
An upscale consignment shop that carries size infant through 14 in brands such as Mini Boden, Flowers by Zoe, Gap, Ralph Lauren, Hanna Andersson, and Gymboree. The maternity racks provide a good selection of tops and jeans (some designer, some Gap). The shop is well-organized and clearly labeled by size, with plenty of room to maneuver. And it has a parking lot, achieving the impossible Lincoln Park dream.
LLacoste Outlet Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora, 630-851-9006 Pleasant Prairie Outlets, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., 262-857-9993
The main store on Michigan Avenue does not carry children’s merchandise, but the outlets have a sampling of kiddie items at any given time.The Land of Nod Outlet 1860 W. Jefferson, Naperville, 630-388-4666
One of the best outlets in the Chicago area and definitely worth the trip, it acts as a clearinghouse for damaged goods and discontinued items on everything from furniture to gear to nursery art. Discounts are minimal on toys and books. The real steals come on furniture, much of which is only slightly damaged and discounted up to 50 percent off. A bonus for parents? The Crate and Barrel Outlet is located just across the parking lot.Lands’ End Inlet 7205 W. Dempster Ave., Niles, 847-470-0320 1522 E. Golf Rd., Schaumburg, 847-413-0100 20 Convenience Ctr., Lombard, 630-053-8855
A mix of new and sale merchandise. The kid’s selection of new items is small compared to the larger store-in-stores in Sears, so the best bet is The Back Rack, an area toward the rear of the store stocked with overstocks, returns, and irregulars from the catalog, discounted up to 70 percent off.Last Call Neiman Marcus Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-855-2036 Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500
The children’s selection is underwhelming, particularly for boys, but the designer special occasion dresses for toddlers and girls are adorable and heavily discounted. Brands vary, but can include Petit Lem, Truly Me, and Puma, among others.Love It Again 3975 W. Algonquin Rd., Algonquin, 224-333-0264
This baby and kid consignment shop offers 30 to 80 percent off original prices. The selection changes daily, but frequent brands include Hanna Andersson, The Children’s Place, Ralph Lauren, and Gymboree. One of the best features is the wish list—just let the store owners know what you’re looking for, and they’ll call you when it comes in.
MMen’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.Motherhood Maternity Outlet 1730 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, 773-529-0564 Lighthouse Mall, Michigan City, Ind., 219-873-9278 Huntley Outlet Center, Huntley, 224-569-2864 Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-855-9665
These outlets are not too different than the main stores, but have additional sales on current season merchandise and deep discounts on previous season styles. The as-is merchandise is generally in good shape and well-priced. Because of the discounts, this is a sensible place to stock up on dreaded maternity underwear and bras. (Fitting expertise is available.)My Sister’s Closet Resale 5413 W. Devon Ave., Chicago, 773-774-5050
A Devon Avenue institution since 1981, My Sister’s Closet carries all manner of resale—women’s clothing, toys, furniture, and more. Come for the children’s clothing, which not only includes consignment from newborn to teens, but current season samples at wholesale prices, and Melissa and Doug toys at reduced prices. The maternity selection changes often, but can include A Pea in the Pod and Motherhood Maternity.
NNautica Kids Outlet Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-856-0441 Pleasant Prairie Outlets, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., 262-857-7121
The outlet carries Nautica’s preppy kid’s line from 2T to 16. For girls, expect dresses adorned with the sailboat logo and ruffled polka dot skirts. For boys, plaid shirts, polo shirts, hoodies, and jeans. Older kid apparel is logo-heavy.Nordstrom Rack Visit nordstromrack.com for locations
Nordstrom Rack is part clearance center, part discount store. The mix includes overstock merchandise from Nordstrom stores as well as items purchased specifically for Nordstrom Rack, with discounts 30 to 70 percent off. Children’s clothing comes from the likes of Polo and DKNY, with a smaller selection available for babies. Kid’s shoes are particularly strong for the 5-to-9-year-old age bracket. (Note that Nordstrom Rack locations within Chicago do not carry children’s apparel or shoes, and all locations are pretty difficult to navigate with a stroller.)
OOff Fifth, The Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, 847-662-0988 Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont, 847-928-7500
Off Fifth has a decent children’s department, with discounts from 30 to 70 percent off retail prices. Find brands like Nicole Miller, Juicy, DKNY for girls; Wes and Willy, Penguin, and Paul Frank for boys; and Petit Lem, Hatley, and Little Me for babies.Once Upon a Child 7246 W. Foster Ave., Chicago, 773-594-1705 1600 W. 16th St., Oak Brook, 630-468-2330 9900 Ridgeland Ave., Chicago Ridge, 708-499-7035 9520 W. 159th St., Orland Park, 708-364-6333 552 S. Route 59, Naperville, 630-416-9344 2108 Plainfield Rd., Crest Hill, 815-744-0202 4616 N. Harlem Ave., Harwood Heights, 708-867-8651 250 South Randall Rd., Elgin, 847-468-0817
These franchise-owned resale shops carry gently used children’s apparel, shoes, gear, equipment, furniture, and toys, all in very good shape. Prices are reasonable, and sales (which differ at each location—sign up for the mailing list for alerts) are excellent times to stock up.
PPlato’s Closet Visit platoscloset.com for locations
This teen resale destination carries gently used clothing at up to 70 percent off mall prices, with an emphasis on trends and styles from the past 12 to 18 months. Shop brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Forever 21, American Eagle, and Charlotte Russe.Posh Kids 5116B Main St., Downers Grove, 630-541-8527
This children’s consignment store focuses on high-end brands like Mini Boden and Hannah Andersson up to size 12, as well as baby gear, toys and maternity clothes.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.
ReNew Family Consignment
1750 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, 847-573-1513
A consignment mash-up that carries nearly everything that families use and then grow out of—furniture, sports equipment, musical instruments, clothing (toddler through middle school), and special occasion wear like Communion dresses and suits. Sign up for the email newsletter to receive alerts for events like board book swaps and American Girl outfit swap nights.Repeat Street 401 N. Route 21, Gurnee, 847-596-2203
Clothing is in excellent shape at Repeat Street, which carries duds for girls size newborn to 16 and boys newborn to 10/12, from Oilily, Hartstrings, Ralph Lauren, Gymboree, and Tommy Hilfiger. A smaller assortment of toys and gear rounds out the mix.
SSecond Child 954 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, 773-883-0880
This Lincoln Park children’s shop has been in the consignment biz since before it was cool, first opening its doors in 1987. Children’s consignment items run infant through size 14 and include high-end lines such as Lilly Pulitzer, Ralph Lauren, Janie & Jack, and Baby Lulu, as well as gear, toys, and books. The maternity selection can be from Japanese Weekend, Michael Stars, Mimi Maternity, and Joe’s Jeans. It requires climbing stairs to get inside, so the shop provides stroller locks to secure your wheels outside.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.
WWear and Share, Children’s Resale Shop 1026 College Ave., Wheaton, 630-456-4140
A well-stocked children’s consignment shop that carries clothing for boys and girls size newborn to 14 from MiniBoden, Janie & Jack, Tea, Gymboree, and Hanna Andersson. Toward the front of the store, shop toys, games, puzzles and some baby gear—all in excellent condition. A flat-screen TV keeps the kids happy while you shop.