By Emily Harrington
Sure, everyone has heard of Carter’s and Gerber’s. These baby brands are available at almost every chain store. Sometimes I look at these clothes as almost disposable. Stain, trash, repeat. What if you want something unique and special for your own little one to wear? Maybe you want to gift something different to someone expecting or a new mom. Think about investing in beautifully detailed keepsakes and potential hand-me-downs that feature fine fabrics and stellar craftsmanship.
There are hidden clothing sections for littles in many stores in our area. You just have to know where to look.
All Things Kids, Inc. 2710 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign
This consignment store features 5,000 square feet of toys, equipment, furniture, gently used clothing and accessories for kids of all sizes. There’s A LOT of inventory here. You never know what unique pieces you may find! Bonus—affordable prices!
You can also consign (for a return of 50 percent of tagged price) all seasons of clothing, all year. Make room for your new purchases!
Art Mart 1705 S. Prospect Ave., Champaign
This specialty food/housewares/store has an entire room dedicated to specialty toys and books where an emphasis on design and quality is apparent. In this room, there’s a pocket-sized area of mainly pajamas for sale. These clothes are sized for babies/toddlers, in soft, (mostly) neutral fabrics.
Bohemia 135 W. Main St., Urbana
This eclectic boutique is mostly women’s clothes and furniture. However, there is usually a table display with baby/toddler clothes. Onesies, toddler tees and knitted goods typically have a local element—mostly made by hand.
Briella’s Boutique 503 S. Dunlap Ave., Savoy
This consignment store features racks and shelves of gently used clothing for kids of all sizes (and adults). You can also find toys, books and puzzles.
You can also consign (for a return of 50 percent of tagged price) season-specific clothing.
Checkered Moon 2007 S. Neil St., Champaign
This home décor/tchotchke/women’s clothing paradise is heavenly. If you want some expensive, ADORABLE, high-quality toys or baby clothes (up to 18 months)—go here. It’s pricey, but it’s worth the absolute adorbs factor. Some pieces feature state pride. Some brands go international. I want it all.
Gameday Spirit Fanstore 519 E. Green St. AND 1602 S. Neil St. both in Champaign
As a townie mom, I’m always frustrated at the lack of Illini gear sold locally for infants/toddlers—especially boy gear. However, these stores have a great selection for kids of all sizes (and adults). You’ll find the common teeny-weeny cheerleader outfits, and you’ll find the harder to find hoodies and long-sleeve shirts that would work for both genders. Try Wright Street’s Illini Union Bookstore, too, to outfit your future alumni.
Prairie Gardens 3000 W. Springfield Ave., Champaign
This community landmark isn’t just for seasonal staples anymore. The boutique in Prairie Gardens carries unique pieces for adults and little ones alike. The pieces are tagged at relatively affordable prices. The baby clothes go up to 24 months. Look for onesies for boys and girls—jackets, dresses, it’s all there.
Ohhhh. And, yes, this line may live at a big box store—Target. However, moms rave about the designs from Cat & Jack. They have an upscale style while charging budget prices. They even include pieces created for children with special needs. The clothing considerations may include larger cut bottoms for later potty trainers, side zips to get clothing on easier or sensory friendly pieces with no tags and internal seams. A lifesaver for kids who constantly have a case of the itchy/scratchies.
Here’s your takeaway. Purge! Assess what you have! Then fill up those closets with needed, quality, unique pieces.
Come on shoppers. Where are other secret spots for baby toddler fashions? Comment below!
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie. She left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in communications so that she could be a 24/7 mom to two busy boys. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Emily usually finds herself engulfed in balls, blue and belly laughs.