Best Stores for Boy’s Back to School Shopping

boys-back-to-school-shopping-title-imageWe have about 5 weeks left of summer vacation.  Which means that I am slowly beginning my back to school shopping.  I don’t buy a whole new wardrobe for my boys but I do like to pick up some new things to get the year started off fashionably.  I’ve shared my favorite items over on the Rockin’ Boys Club blog so head over there to see my fave t-shirts, coolest shoes and adorable accessories.  But here I am sharing my tips for heading back to school in style.


While I don’t stick to a budget, per se, I certainly set out to not spend a fortune.  You will rarely find my kids in designer clothes.  We are really lucky to have friends that work at some skate companies which does save us on shoes and sometimes clothes.  So I look for inexpensive basics to be part of their overall wardrobe.

From Target, I buy a 5 pack (boy do I love it when they throw in 2 for free!) of Fruit of the Loom white tees.  There is nothing more classic than a plain white t-shirt with jeans or shorts.  They end up being about $1-$2 a shirt which makes it super easy to throw them out when they get stained (because they will).  They are also awesome to have on hand to customize (which my kids really like to do).  And from time to time, you can find these t-shirt packs in a variety of other colors like black, grey and navy green.  My 7 year old is really skinny and tall so pants and shorts can be a problem for us.  We have done really well with the shorts by Shaun White.  They are pretty well made (decent fabrics that wear well) and are pretty darn cool.  I usually will browse the Shaun White shirts also but the graphics do not appeal to me so we usually skip those.  The woven shirts, striped tees and polos are all pretty nice looking.  I enjoy his hoodies and make sure we pick up at least one to get the year started off.  I generally watch for the Shaun White collection to go on sale (saves a few dollars) before I buy it which is really easy to do since I am at Target about once a week.

H&M is pretty reasonably priced and has some great trendy pieces.  I often like their shoes, socks and woven shirts as well as their colored denim.  They also usually have solid black hoodies which are great for the fall months.  Their sales are infrequent but they do happen.  In fact, I got a coupon for a percentage off my total kid’s purchase through the end of August just the other day in the mail.

Old Navy has sales pretty regularly and they are a go-to for jeans.  Once in a while you can find a t-shirt that is cool.  They have tons of licensed shirts to choose from (which I try to steer clear of) and often inexpensive solid and striped t-shirts.  I buy my son’s their coats from Old Navy every year during their half off coat sale (in the fall).  Being in California, we don’t need something really heavy and they usually have at least one style that is somewhat military inspired in good colors.

fave-stores-for-back-to-school-shopping-boysThe rest of my shopping is done at smaller stores.  I lumped Cotton On in with these shops because although it is a chain, there aren’t too many actual stores in the United States.  I have to say that their stores are way better than their online shop.  I buy a ton of t-shirts from them throughout the year as well as denim and colorful, obnoxious socks for my younger son.  They have sales often and I only buy items here when they are on sale otherwise this store can get a bit pricey.

Little Dudes Only is an online shop that can be shopped in a number of ways.  Browse by looks (rocker dude, skater dude, vintage dude…) brands, etc.  They carry tons of great brands and accessories and if you are on their email list, you find out about sales they have from time to time.

Mini and Maximus is one of our favorites.  I buy the boys a t-shirt for their birthday each year and maybe one around Christmas.  These clothes tend to be on the pricier side but I think the graphics and how unique they are make it worth it once in a while.  I will pick up another shirt or two when they have 40% sales throughout the year.

Tiny Whales has a really small selection but these are shirts that are completely unique and cool and you can’t find anywhere else.  And the pricing is pretty reasonable.

Black Wagon is a place I like to browse to see what the cool new brands are.  I don’t buy a lot from here but it is a great place to find gift items, shoes, and rad clothes all in one place.

Other shops to check out are Hatch for Kids, Loola, Dot Dot Smile (for boys leggings!), Hello Apparel, Brown Sugar Beach (mostly for the preschool set) and Passive Juice Motel.

And if I had little girls I would for sure be shopping at Lately Lily.



My kids ARE Creative!

pretend fightingMost of the time my two boys are just that.  Boys.  They are spies.  They are ninjas.  They are soccer stars.  They fart.  But lately my younger son has been saying he wants to be an artist when he grows up.  That made me SO happy!  Turns out he meant archeologist.  But still.  Pretty cool.  But I wondered if they would end up to be creative the way my husband and I are.

creative way to plan outfitsI’m thinking the answer is yes.  The other night I walked in to my youngest son’s bedroom to find this.  The boys had decided to plan their outfits for the next day.  I really liked his addition of accessories with the hat and sunglasses.

outfit planningApparently my older son actually started this outfit planning exercise.  And no.  He didn’t wear those green soccer shorts to school.  At the time, I was folding laundry and those were the only shorts left in his drawers.

jeans and bootsI can’t wait to see their creativity come out in crazy ways, like this, as they grow up.  And I can’t yet pigeon-hole them as the “smart one” or “funny one” or “creative one” because they are all of them and the talent seems to be evenly distributed.  Are your kids creative like you?

Old Navy’s Kids and Baby Sale: Time to stock up!

o and m in old navyI like to think that my kids have pretty good style and I generally let them dress themselves.  I love how their individuality comes through and how they express themselves with their choice of shoes and accessories.  But sometimes I have to step in.  For instance, my oldest son goes through these crazy growth spurts.  He can be wearing jeans that are dragging on the floor or rolled way up one day and then the next morning come out with them to his shins.  Ok, it might not be THAT drastic but it’s so fast! In summer we just roll them up and say he looks European.  In the winter, it just doesn’t cut it, even in California.  One such growth spurt happened last week.

Old Navy SignSo Old Navy’s Kids and Baby Sale couldn’t have come at a better time.  You just can’t beat jeans for $10-$15.  And $5-$8 t-shirts?  I mean…it is silly not to go.  I’ve got two little boys and I sometimes get jealous of all the cute girls things I see in stores. I wouldn’t say shopping for boys is harder.  If you are trying to dress them with a certain aesthetic though, you have to be a bit more choosey and creative with the options that are out there.  Old Navy is one of my go-to spots for back to school and through the year when we need to round out our kid’s wardrobes.

me and o in dressing roomSince I had no idea what size pants would fit my newly taller son, he and I planned a date with just the two of us.  First, we stopped for lunch at one of his favorite places and then practically ran over to Old Navy to try on some new stuff.

O trying on clothesHe was over it pretty quickly.  Partially because I grabbed all the wrong sizes to start and had to pretty much start all over…But he hung in there and we ended up with 3 pairs of skinny jeans, each on sale for $15!  I was really bummed that the bright-colored denim was almost only available in larger sizes.  They had one pair of red left but my son wasn’t having it.  And I didn’t force it. Why get them home and have them sit in a drawer.  So instead I bought red pants for my younger son at home.  We have been wearing Old Navy jeans since the kids were babies.  They are cut in a great shapes for growing bodies and are well made.  They last really well and we’ve always been able to pass them along to our friend’s younger kids.  There are 4 styles to choose from in several washes each, but we’re a slender family and the skinny jeans work best for my boys.

o in jeans and tshirtOld Navy has a great selection of inexpensive t-shirts, including licensed character shirts (on sale for $8-$12).  My husband and I would love it if the kids only wanted to wear the super cool items we painstakingly pick out for them.  It’s just not in the cards.  I don’t want to take the fun out of being a kid so each boy has a small selection of these shirts in their rotations.  Old Navy also has a great selection of solids and stripes too (some on sale for $5/each).  A great way to save money is to mix these basics in to your kid’s wardrobe.  Sometimes there isn’t anything cooler than a plain white t-shirt.  Here is my oldest modeling a pair of his new skinny jeans and his new Ninjago tshirt.  It was quite a struggle for him deciding between three different Lego shirts.  I’m thinking he feels pretty confident in his choice.

Colored DenimNo one has a ton of money to spend on kid’s clothes right now and I usually try to buy on the larger side to ensure that the kids can get a lot of use out of them.  Rolled up pants are not only efficient but in style.  So it totally works.  :) I can’t get over how happy these red pants make me!!  The younger kid’s version is more of a chino than a jean (on sale for $10).  These pants will work with all kinds of tops and shoes but here we’ve paired it with just a plain sweatshirt (well, paired makes it sound like we put this outfit together on purpose.  He already had that top on).  I am also super excited to put it with some great woven shirts in his closet.  And I may be heading back out for some of these pants in other colors.

Batman shirt from old NavyThis Batman shirt is graphic and vintagey looking and makes both of us happy.  He squealed with delight when I showed it to him.

dancing machine shirtAnd Old Navy is great about having items that can get you through those transitional seasons.  While we did have a cold spell last month, our winters are pretty mild.  So long sleeve t-shirts make a lot of sense for us.  Both of my kids LOVE dancing so this shirt was a natural favorite.  And the color combo is great.  I really like how Old Navy uses color in their clothes and doesn’t just stick to standards.  You can tell that their design team pays attention to trends but I wouldn’t say that their clothes are especially trendy, at least in the boy’s department.  This too, allows us to get a lot of use out of the clothes.  The store was well stocked, except for the colored denim and we easily found the items we were looking for.

old Navy socks for meAnd while the sale focuses on the Kids and Baby departments, I couldn’t help but browse for a second in the ladies department.  No way could I pass up these cute socks!

Don’t miss the Old Navy‘s Kids and Baby Sale on now through February, 20, 2013!  It is the perfect time to also stock up on shorts for spring!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

2011 Holiday Gift Guide Day 2: For the Kids

My kids love books and here are some that I think would make perfect gifts.

Boogie Monster Dance Kit {from the people who brought you Tickle Monster Laughter Kit }

Romeo & Juliet: A BabyLit Board Book {as seen on Design Editor}

The Princess and the Peanut: A Royally Allergic Tale

Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit Board Book {also as seen on Design Editor  – This and Romeo and Juliet are my GO TO baby shower gifts for little girls.  They are always the most talked about gifts at the shower, just saying…}

I couldn’t talk about Mini and Maximus any more without sounding like a crazy stalker {seriously go buy some gifts there too} so I decided to share a few other t-shirt companies that I have recently found that I think you should know about.

Bike T by Truly Sanctuary

“Clash” T by Little Trendster

Kid’s Moccasins 

Socks by Stance  {These socks are the coolest.  My fave it the “ankle biters” with the sharks.  And some of them are like a boys version of Little MisMatched where they are coordinated but not matching}

Hopscotch Kids Polish by Scotch Naturals

ODB T by Truly Sanctuary

“Benatar” T by Little Trendster

No Hablo T by Truly Sanctuary

I’m having a tough time buying the kids toys for Christmas this year.  They have so many and they take up so much space!!  These are small but super fun.

LeapFrog LeapPad Learning System

Paper Jamz Pro Mic {We have the drum kit and guitar so now our paper band will be complete}

Colorforms Activity Toys {old school cool}

Brew it Yourself Ginger Ale {Perfect for kids who like science.  Or soda pop.}

POP Heroes {These are also super cute inspiration for a super hero party!}

My 5 year old son also wanted to share his fave things with you.

LEGO Ninjago Spinjitzu Starter Set

Fisher-Price Imaginext Mega T-Rex

Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Electronic Fire Station Prime Playset

The Burp Box (George Brown, Class Clown)

If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to see Day 1:  Gifts for the Entertainer in your life.  And tomorrow are the perfect gifts for your girlfriend’s or sisters and the man in your life!

Don’t forget to check out these gift guides also (not sure if they will have them up today, but check back, they have tons of great ideas!)

A Fabulous Fete, I Go You Go, Mint Loves Social Club, Green 4 U, and Hank and Hunt


(oh and please let me know if any of the links aren’t working and I can get you the right info!)