Empowering messages, internationally-inspired trends and unique graphics are among the finds kids can make at this Fashion Island shop. Peek carries Bohemian-inspired dresses, rompers and playful shorts for girls. The boutique clothing store is also stocked with laced eyelet dresses, embroidered trench coats and knit, multi-color cardigans. Accessories such as hats, shoes and jewelry are available for purchase as well. Its selection for boys includes thick terry knit hoodies, space-themed T-shirts and twill jeans. Peek’s items are unique in that they often feature international destinations (recent picks have included Italy, Australia and Africa) and quotes from celebrated scientists, artists and politicians. Pieces from this year’s lines showcase Sir Issac Newton, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.
Newport Beach | peekkids.com
It’s the shopping destination of choice for many tween girls throughout Orange County – and it’s no wonder. Justice stores are bursting with bright colors, bold patterns and all the latest “it” trends. Tops include the quirky (“Paris is only a unicorn ride away”), inspiring (“Follow your dreams”) and classic clos-et staples such as plaid blouses and peasant tops. Justice also carries a weird and wacky selection of leg-gings, including one pair featuring the Statue of Liberty, and another covered in unicorn-llama hybrids. Kids can accessorize with sparkly boots, off-the-wall headbands and pendant necklaces. Justice’s back-pack offerings include a hooded tiger bag, a flip-the-sequins unicorn rucksack and a rolling backpack with mermaid scales. Those seeking a tamer look can check out the store’s uniform selection, where they’ll find plenty of polos, cardigans and plain pants.
Various locations | shopjustice.com
Break down gender barriers one dress at a time at Hanna Andersson, a Swedish-inspired clothing store carrying high-quality cotton clothes. This year’s line includes dinosaur twirl dresses, intergalactic play-wear and Pegasus-patterned pullovers. Adorable kittens and hedgehog prints are among the other fea-tured creatures. A slew of accessories – including bows, tights and dinosaur hair clips – are also sold at the store. Those shopping for boys will find Hanna Andersson’s usual assortment of classic stripes, vehi-cles and mythical creatures.
Stores also carry lunch bags, pencil cases and backpacks. This year’s collection includes space-themed, unicorn and dinosaur bags, as well as licensed Star Wars and Marvel bags. The products carry a lifetime satisfaction guarantee. Hanna Andersson has stores at Newport Beach’s Fashion Island and The Shops at Mission Viejo.
Mission Viejo and Newport Beach | hannaandersson.com
Jeannie N Mini
A visit to this Irvine Spectrum boutique can help make your child the best-dressed preschooler in class. Jeannie N Mini’s small-but-mighty assortment includes gorgeous dresses from Mayoral USA and sparkly tutu dresses from Petite Hailey. Options for boys include dinosaur- and jungle-printed dress shirts, and stylish two-piece sets by Mayoral. Cute clothes aren’t all this popular store has to offer. Jeannie N Mini also carries a variety of educational books and games. It sells puzzles, art supplies, sorters and more. Many of the store’s toys come from environmentally-friendly brands like Hape. If your little one is pack-ing a meal for preschool, check out Jeannie N Mini’s adorable range of lunch bags and backpacks. It car-ries modern, individually-crafted Dabbawalla bags, and insulated lunch containers by Skip Hop. Shoppers can also buy water bottles and travel cutlery at the store.
Irvine | jeannienmini.com
Keeping up with the latest fashions isn’t always cheap, but it can be for budget-savvy shoppers. Teens looking to take their dollars further can check out Uptown Cheapskate, which sells gently-used clothing and accessories at a fraction of retail prices. It carries clothes, shoes, handbags and jewelry from top brands and designers. Its stores carry brands such as Brandy Melville, RVCA, Lululemon, Urban Outfitters and Michael Kors.
Lake Forest and Fullerton | uptowncheapskate.com
From newborn to early teen, this versatile brand offers an array of hip styles for your back-to-schooler. Themed items include Jurassic-, Star Wars-, Marvel- and Cars-inspired from the popular films and com-ics. Clothing includes dresses and rompers, tees and tops, sweaters and sweatshirts, jackets and jeans, and even swimwear. Accessories include bag sets, shoes and socks, and rain boots and umbrellas for those rainy days. Bottom line: You’ll be hard-pressed not to find something for the back-to-school closet.
Various locations | gymboree.com
Milk and Honey Babies
Bohemian and beach-themed toddler fashions await at Milk and Honey Babies (pictured above), a cozy shop carrying high-end boutique brands. Moms can peruse the racks to find organic cotton dresses and patterned rompers for little girls, or trucker hats and striped overalls for boys. Milk and Honey specializes in carry-ing handmade apparel from Southern California designers such as Feather 4 Arrow and Rylee and Cru, but also carries commercially popular brands like Freshly Picked and Natives. Of course, the store also sell pieces from its own label. Shelves are stocked with an assortment of developmental toys for tod-dlers, too. Milk and Honey carries wooden puzzles, stackers and balancing toys to help little ones master fine motor skills. Blankets and plush toys are also sold onsite. The store’s apparel ranges in size from newborn to size 6.
Costa Mesa | milkandhoneybaby.com
Every year, the owner of Magnolia Charlie scours the world in pursuit of the latest and greatest child fashions. When she finds them, she stocks them in her Balboa Island shop, where nautical pieces and smocked dresses are plentiful. Many of the items are adorned with applique crabs, sailboats and sea-shells. Button-down shirts and cotton pullovers are popular choices for boys. Shoppers will find both trendy European items and classic wardrobe staples. Magnolia Charlie has been dressing local kids since 1997. It carries clothing for children of all ages, from infants to teens. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Newport Beach | magnoliacharlie.com
It’s a brand that embodies Southern California’s skating culture, and one known throughout the world for its premium sneakers, sports apparel and signature clothing lines.
Vans needs little introduction for in-the-know teens, who treat it as a one-stop-shop for hoodies, T-shirts and shorts. Perhaps the brand is best known for its checkered slip-on loafers, which have been worn by the likes of actors Sean Penn and Kristen Stewart. Vans also allows shoppers to customize their fashions by choosing specific color patterns. Better still, teens can order loafers that feature their own art or personal photos. Backpacks can also be customized. Meanwhile, Vans’ collaboration with Marvel has resulted in some colorful and epic options for teen comic fans. Vans, headquartered in Costa Mesa, has numerous locations in Orange County, including a Vans outlet store in Orange.
Multiple locations | vans.com
La Petite Chenille
The name of this boutique is French for “the little caterpillar” – a metaphor for the metamorphosis of a child. La Petite Chenille (pictured above) sells an assortment of hand-picked items that help inspire children while foster-ing their individuality. It supports brands that share the same philosophy. Many of the store’s products are made from organic, sustainable or recycled materials. It carries clothing from brands such as Splen-did and the Tea Collection, a globally-inspired company that follows ethical sourcing practices. It is also stocked with plenty of back-to-school staples, including Parisian-inspired backpacks, retro lunchboxes and travel cutlery sets. If you’re the adventurous type, consider ordering a surprise box from La Petite Chenille. They come in various sizes and include age-appropriate mystery items.
Shoppers can find La Petite Chenille at Kaleidoscope in Mission Viejo and at The District at Tustin Legacy.
Tustin and Mission Viejo | lapetitechenille.com
By Michelle Thompson