Back to school time is a good time to re-assess the wardrobe for kids, tweens and teens. Before you make your list, try on last season’s favorites, let down hems and re-evaluate. Wait until the last moment for measuring up your kids for new clothing and shoes, as growth spurts can occur right through the end of summer. But for those new items that are a necessity, our annual best local boutiques for back to school clothes shopping in the Bay Area coverage highlights independent retailers.
450 1st St. E.
Sonoma, CA 95476
Everybody loves this friendly shop on Sonoma’s beautiful plaza, where they carry cute clothing for children up to age 14. Tourists pop in as well, and they’re smitten by the selection, but it’s the locals that have kept the place ticking over beautifully since 1989. Unique, durable items that mothers and kids both love are being ordered for the back-to-school rush. Cajole little ones who aren’t really into shopping for school with the tempting superhero backpacks found here, which incorporate an instant cape and pullout mask — sounds a lot more fun than homework. Half Pint is open seven days a week.
1339 Park St.
Alameda, CA 94501
“Swing by,” say the folks at Monkey Bars, when you’re in and around Alameda. It’s a well-liked mama-run business. Known and appreciated for providing eco-friendly items for all ages, you can go green on a journey from birth to big kid wear. Everything here has been vetted by Heather and features many unique items; we couldn’t help but notice the exclusive cities T-shirt, which reads “Hong Kong – Paris – Alameda – New York – London.” Street and lot parking makes for a stress-free visit, because back to school time calls for exactly that.
540 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Find all the basics, plus new outfits, for boys and girls up to age 12 at this one-stop-shop for children’s back to school looks. “A sweet blend of modern and class,” is the way they put it, always emphasizing “quality, attention to detail and unique in design.” In Hayes Valley and convenient for Muni bus line #21, it’s good to know about much-loved boutiques that you can easily reach without a car. Open seven days a week until 7 p.m., working mothers like the handy shop hours and the fact that much of the selection can be seen online, too.
1385 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Consignment has never looked so good. Since kids tend to outgrow things in a flash, almost-new is an exceptionally reasonable way to deal with the facts. Well-organized and neat makes things easy to find, and fans say owner Anne Marie Elliott has an excellent eye for style. Grove Street Kids is on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, where hundreds of the latest photos colorfully illustrate what’s in-store.
5026 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609
Feeling Oaklandish? Established in 2006 by a couple of Oakland mom-preneurs, they sell locally-produced and artfully designed kids’ clothing made by Bay Area mothers, plus well-liked brands for kids. Expect a full range of fashion for up to age 12 from various makers, showing their penchant for “bold modern, vintage charming, witty urban.” Get fitted out for school with Tea Collection, MiniMelissa, Toms shoes, Herschel backpacks, snazzy rain gear, warm tights and wool socks before autumn arrives. The gently-used, in-season re-sale items are another popular aspect of the shopping experience here.