Hidden Gems: Back-to-School Shopping in NYC

Andrea Stanley - New York
July 8, 2011

Scene the first day of school: kids talking summer vacations, calculating what classes their best friends are in, and perhaps most importantly, shooting glances across the hallway to see what everyone is wearing. Prevent a first-grade fashion faux pas by steering your back-to-school shopping to stores less traveled.

Ibiza Kidz 

Land your kids on Hollywood's Best Dressed List, or at least their friend's, by taking a shopping trip to Ibiza Kidz, a Union Square store loved by celebrities like Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon and Meryl Streep. There are well-stocked walls of both American and European designers. Think Pamela & Co. tutus the color of pastel cupcakes for her and smartly-striped tops for him. The shoe selection is a big draw of the store with brands such as Crocs, Morgan & Milo, Salt-Water and See Kai Run. Bonus: there is a play area set aside for kids to dole around in when their shopping stamina runs low.

Half Pint Citizens

Nestled between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges in Dumbo a children's store grows. There is so much bottled into Half Pint Citizens you could probably check everything off your list of needs. They carry everything from tops to bottoms and from sophisticated to simple. For boys there are retro-inspired graphic tees, cool hoodies, slick jeans and smart shirts. For girls there are darling dresses, basic bottoms and tops with hip flare. They also carry the super cute line of Skip Hop backpacks. You'll come, you'll shop, you'll conquer your back-to-school shopping. 

Bu and the Duck

If you're looking to purchase your school bound style setter a few special pieces -- a delicate cardigan, a sweet pair of Mary Jane shoes or smart linen suit -- this is the place to go. Tucked off a Tribeca street, once you step inside Bu and the Duck, you'll swell with the nostalgia of your grandmother's closet in the early 1900s. The shop's owner, Susan Lane, designs the carefully crafted pieces that are classic yet penciled with fashionable details. Prepare to go with a pocket-heavy budget as pieces are on the pricy side, so save this stop for a special affair like a school performance that requires a final bow.

Koh's Kids 

Tired of digging through racks with the same cheaply printed graphic tee or floral patterened dress? This tiny Tribeca store (212.791.6915) has no shortage of unique styles carefully selected by designer Grace Koh. And artsy parents flock to the haunt by the dozen to stock up on the coveted hand-knit sweaters with matching caps.

Small Change 

A classic staple on the Upper East Side, this store sells exactly that: European classics. With brands like Petit Bateau, Splendid, Lacoste, and Eddie Pen, among others. Expect plenty of corduroy pants, quilted jackets, polo shirts and preppy basics. If looking for bulky outwear like cable-knit sweaters or fuzzy-lined coats, this store specializes in it!

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