Where to find kids' clothes suited to special occasions
Have a hankering to dress your little boy in a sky blue, three-piece velvet suit for the family's Hanukkah celebration? Want to clothe your three kids in matching Christmas outfits with black velvet tops and red plaid skirts? Going to a New Year's Eve wedding that requires your tweens - or even your newborn - to sport party dresses, flower girl dresses or maybe a tuxedo? You can find all these at children's clothing boutiques across Long Island. Here is a sampling of places that cater to special occasions.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
Ages: Infant through size 14
"We have great party dresses, and we're actually expanding that department," says Jaime Horowitz, co-owner of the Woodbury location. A black sweater with sequins is $66; a magenta wrap dress with a rhinestone-studded heart on the belt is $86; a leopard dress also is $86. The stores sell dressy clothing for boys - no suits, but button-down shirts and dress pants.
In the winter, the stores stock a wide coat collection; in the summer, they switch to bathing suits. Casual clothing and sleepwear also abound; a pink peace-sign robe is $66. The store does a huge hair-accessory business, Horowitz says. And don't miss the sales rack in the back of the stores.
Info: 1526 Union Tpke., New Hyde Park, 516-437-9471
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays
Ages: Infants to age 14
A white or black tuxedo for your 6- to 9-month-old is $69.99 at this storefront shop; toddler suits with pants, a shirt, a tie and a plaid vest or sweater vest is $49.99. For girls, a dress filled with 3-D pink roses and a pink satin sash with bow on the waist is $119.99; a flapper-style black and purple dress is $59.99. The store also sells party dresses for 6-month-olds for $79.99. All-white flower girl or Communion dresses are available as well.
Underwear, leggings, boys' T-shirts with long thermal sleeves jutting out and other casual wear fill racks and racks. A wall full of hair accessories and a rack of ties for boys round out the inventory. The store has been in operation for 19 years, says Sue Kim, wife of owner James Kim. Don't overlook the half-off rack.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
Ages: Layette through size 16 girls; Layette through size 20 boys
Design your own fancy dresses by choosing the style and material from swatches and catalogs for holiday dresses, flower girl dresses, first birthday outfits and more. Prices for those run $120 to $150. Find blazers and Ralph Lauren khakis for boys for $66 and $32.50, respectively. "We do a lot of blazers and dress pants, because the boys have bar mitzvahs to go to," says Debbie Schipper, daughter of owner Pat Ramsay.
Each of the four rooms in this two-story boutique on Main Street caters to a different stage of infancy and childhood. Popular brands include Claver sweaters, Quiksilver, Wes and Willy, Lily Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines. Boys' clothes include hockey and lacrosse designs. "We do a lot of lacrosse because that's big in this town," Schipper says. The store also sells clothes that fit American Girl doll, such as a maroon dress with fake white fur trim for $18.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays
Ages: Special occasion for newborn through teens; casual wear in newborn to toddler sizes
If you're in the market for a sky-blue velvet suit for your toddler, you can find one at Charlotte's Kids. The suit comes with a vest, a shirt and a tie for $175. The same outfit comes in ivory velvet. The store also carries christening selections for $85 to $500, with the majority running about $150 to $300. An Italian knit christening coat is $200; a coordinating dress is $300. Flower girl and Communion dresses hang toward the back of the door. Party dresses include a lavender dress embroidered with flowers and crystal beading for $60, with a matching hat. Boys' party fare includes suits with peach, lavender or sky blue shirts instead of the usual starched white.
A section of casual wear includes such items as Carter's brown fleece pants and matching blue shirt with a football on the front for $20.
Info: 31 E. Main St., Patchogue, 631-475-0070
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday and Saturdays; 9:30 to 7 p.m. Fridays; open from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays during the holiday season
Ages: Newborn to age 10
Christening and Communion outfits, dressy dresses, suits and tuxes. The tuxedos have a selection of vest colors such as silver and hot pink; the jackets can be with or without tails. Tuxes run from 9-month size for $60 to size 7 for about $70. Party dresses range from $75 to $125.
The store also carries hildren's casual wear. It has been in business in downtown Patchogue for more than 60 years, still run by the same family, says Lorice Fiala, one of the owners.
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays
Ages: Wide range for christening and Communion outfits; infant to 4T in playwear
This store bills itself as "The Christening Specialty Shoppe" and, indeed, it is like the Kleinfeld's of christening outfits for girls and boys. Hundreds of choices hang from the walls lining the store. White, off-white, ivory, lace, heirloom, antique Victorian - it's all here, ranging in price from $79.99 to $500 for girls' dresses and $54.99 to $350 for boys' outfits and suits. In January, the store gets in Communion dresses from size 5 to 14, available in half-sizes, and also caters to that milestone event.
The shop also sells 14-karat christening jewelry, including bracelets and crosses. Other items include playwear (to 6x for girls' holiday wear) and first-birthday outfits.
AND, ABOUT THE SHOES...
You've got the dress or the suit, but what about the shoes?
HEELS OR NO? No high heels for girls younger than 13, advises Dr. Michael Pliskin, chief of podiatry at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. Once a girl's foot has finished growing, she can consider heels, but the lower the better. "The lower the heel, the safer it is, the less likely she is to sprain an ankle," Pliskin says.
HAND-ME-DOWN OR NEW? Constantly wearing shoes that have adjusted to another child's foot can cause irritation and other problems, but borrowing a pair for a fancy party shouldn't be an issue, Pliskin says. He recommends spraying the interior with Lysol and using antifungal powder.
BARGAIN POSSIBILITIES? Discount stores such as Payless and Famous Footwear offer inexpensive alternatives and wide selections.