For as long as any of us can remember, the first day back at school after a long summer is the single most important day. It’s the day when you unveil a new set of hardware on your teeth, that you’ve finally grown tall enough for basketball team tryouts and where you showcase your recently cut wispy bangs. Back-to-school is also the kids’ version of the fashion runways, where showing off new threads is the buzz on campus. Most likely, everyone will be sporting the same styles from the same stores, but Los Angeles has boutiques that will make the first day this fall a trend-setting moment in your child’s history.
6902 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
ZARA is a trendy boutique on Hollywood Boulevard that serves as a one-stop-shopping trip for the fashion-forward family. Fashions for kids can be found for kids of all ages — from babies to toddlers to pre-teens and teenagers. While this shop may look expensive, most of the styles are actually quite affordable. Cute girls’ dresses in pale pinks and floral patterns can be found for under $20, and argyle V-neck sweaters and button-down collared shirts for boys run about $16. You’ll also find accessories such as scarves, socks, hats and headbands. And don’t forget the shoes — pick up a pair of cute leather sandals for her and stylish docksiders or leather moccasins for him.
1413 3rd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
When your teen is over the Abercrombie craze, she will not be able to get enough of the beachy-styles from Brandy Melville. A frequented stop along the Third Street Promenade, Brandy Melville has everything from tanks, tees, swimsuits and sweaters to jewelry, hair accessories and room accessories. Start off the school year with the Nixie Knit, a gray, cropped, cotton sweater that is perfect for layering — wear it with a wine-colored tank underneath and your boyfriend’s jeans to the first football game. An entire outfit can look different when paired with a scarf — Brandy Melville has a selection that can be stashed into your backpack for a quick ensemble-booster.
Downtown Santa Monica
1426 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tilly’s is the key to outfitting boys for the school year. Featuring favorite brands including Volcom, Billabong, Quicksilver and O’Neill, your dude will find board shorts, tees and hoodies that will take him from L.A.’s scorching September through February’s Santa Ana winds. To start the school year off on the right foot, check out skateboard company Lakai’s LAKAI Manchester Select boys shoes and VANS Authentic sneakers. In addition, Tilly’s has a great selection of skateboards from Arbor, Globe, Penny and Stereo in neons and graphics. Bring your skater in to test ride GOLDCOAST’s The Classic Bamboo Floater with a vintage 44 Pintail and 77mm wheels for cruising the neighborhood.
Lost & Found
6320 Yucca St.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
For owner Jamie Rosenthal, Lost & Found is not the place to shop if you are trying to mimic Hollywood’s famous children or if you are celeb-shopping rather than back-to-school shopping. Rosenthal travels the world in search of interesting and unique items to bring into the boutique. In addition to children’s clothing, Lost & Found carries men’s, women’s and housewares. When the summer begins to wind down, pick up a few essentials from Lost & Found such as the Lucky Fish Youth Purple long-sleeve Peacock tee, the Hatley Nordic Bugs Raincoat or the Mali Kids Zipper Leggings in dark blue. Lost & Found is also a great spot for birthday gifts — super-cute hats, purses and backpacks.
Peek…Aren’t You Curious
1015 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Peek…Aren’t You Curious is nestled on Santa Monica’s beachy-chic Montana Avenue with “peek” holes in the windows featuring the boutique’s latest kids’ fashions. Peek’s attention to detail and unique textures and styles carves a niche in the back-to-school shopping genre. Children’s sizes range from 2 to 12 and each item is a fashionable statement with a simple lifestyle feel, bringing to mind relaxed summers in Maine. The cute Morgan Short Stripe can be worn when the fall sun slowly heats up the playground and looks adorable when paired with the USA Track Jacket.
Related: Best Baby Clothing Stores In the OC
Jennifer Geisman is a freelance writer and faithful beauty junkie living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.