Oh my goodness, the clothes!! I live with four girls – ages 14, 11, 9 and 7 months. If an article of clothing exists, I’m pretty sure we have it. Clothes shopping is a serious task for our family – especially when you have to stick to a budget and a dress code! School-aged children are constantly out-growing clothes, and there is always a last minute purchase (the infamous “white collared shirt”) that needs to be made. I’ve searched the Bay area for the best deals, the widest selection, and most importantly the type of clothes my girls will wear. Since summer is upon us, and back-to-school shopping will be here soon, I thought I’d share some of my favorite places to shop.
Carter’s – Our newest addition is 7 months old. While Grandma and Grandpa keep her well-stocked, I’ve had to purchase some basics. I’ve found that Carter’s has the best quality of clothing with the best selection and prices for children under a year. This is my go-to stop for one-piece outfits (sleepers, undershirts, rompers, etc.). They also have the best selection of accessories (hats, bibs, headbands, socks, etc.). My daughter is a peanut, so it was nice to find cute clothes in the 3-6 month range, and I rarely pay more than $5-$10 an outfit. They have email coupons, a great clearance section and a rewards program that offers $10 for every $50 you spend in store. The stores are limited (only one in Ellenton and one in Citrus Park), but the online store offers $6 flat-rate shipping. This is a great place to shop for you little ones!
Babies “R” Us – I hadn’t thought of Babies “R” Us as a clothing store, but I’ve found some great deals lately! They carry some of the Carter’s line, which helps if you don’t live near a store. They also carry a line of Disney clothing I’ve found to be cheaper than The Disney Store. If I don’t have coupons, I usually stick to the clearance section which has some great deals. The rewards membership program is good for Babies “R” Us as well as Toys “R” Us and is one of the best reward programs I’ve found. The points accumulate pretty fast (especially buying diapers, wipes, toys, etc.) and you can use your reward dollars on any items, plus combine them with other coupons. I find myself shopping here more and more, especially since I can buy toys, gifts, baby supplies and other items here. It keeps the points adding up and the coupons coming!
The Children’s Place – This store has been my go-to spot for years! My younger step-daughters (age 9 and 11) are outfitted almost solely from this store. The clothes fit well, are sized well and they carry through size 14! The biggest plus for us is the adjustable waistband (through size 14 as well) for the pants and shorts. Our girls have long legs and are thin (lucky ducks), so this helps A LOT! I get all of the basics at this store (t-shirts for school, jeans, shorts, pajamas.) They also carry cotton shorts, which are a favorite in our house. Lastly, they carry the required (and dreaded) uniform shorts. This isn’t my favorite place for uniforms (see below), but it helps if I’m already there. This store also has a great rewards program, earning points for dollars spent and access to good coupons. I will be VERY sad when the girls out-grow this store!
Old Navy – This store has become a life-saver! My oldest stepdaughter (age 14) is a size adult 4/6 and has really been struggling to find her sense of style. She prefers clothes that are more casual and comfortable and it’s hard to find age-appropriate clothes fitting that description. Enter Old Navy. The clothes there have allowed her to find a style that fits, that she likes, and that allows her to look her own age while still coming in at a reasonable price. The best part about shopping here is that it is one-stop shopping for my entire house. I can browse women’s, men’s, kids and babies. Even though I always look, I find the prices and selection for kids and babies to be better at other stores (see above). However, I have found Old Navy to be the best place for swimsuits, as they carry one-piece suits for my modest girls! The girls also like their uniform shorts better, as they come in the lighter khaki color and seem to be a bit softer. Old Navy offer coupons, but they typically require you to spend money to get money off (ex: $10 off $50) which can cause you to spend more than necessary. This is now my favorite store for my teenager – until she changes her mind!
TJ Maxx – I’m probably a little late to the party on this one, but I have become a Maxxinista! My mother suggested I give it a try, and I am a fan. Similar to Old Navy, it is one-stop shopping! They have men’s, women’s, kids and babies – plus a ton of other stuff! There is no rewards program here (unless you get the credit card which I try to stay away from), but the allure is the discount pricing on designer clothes. They carry DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Juicy, Tommy Hilfiger and other brand names at discount prices. The prices are not as rock-bottom as some stores, but you can find deals if you are willing to look through the racks (which adds some time to the shopping excursion). A few extra minutes is sometimes worth it for the quality of the designer labels. They also carry other baby items as well (shoes, bibs, blankets, books, storage, etc.) The biggest draw for me is the difference in style/selection. Shopping here allows us to find more one-of-kind items that create a slightly different wardrobe than everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, we still love our staples, but it’s nice to throw in a designer shirt now and then! The girls like searching through the racks and finding a great buy – and so do I!
I hope you find some of these suggestions useful. What are your favorite places to shop?