Archive for the ‘Hand Me Downs’ Category

First I had a daughter, then 5 years later, I had a son. As far as hand-me-down clothes from my girl to my boy, it’s almost non-existent. However, every now and then, I’d look inside my box of “keepers” and see if there’s anything my son can wear. Sometimes there might be a t-shirt or overalls. This time… success! I found shoes! The sneakers he’s wearing were my daughter’s, and Mommy happens to have a matching pair! So for few months, my daughter and I shared the experience of wearing our identical shoes together around town, loving the attention we got from other people. Now, my son and I can wear identical shoes too and bask in the attention as well. I love making memories like that!

Le Top Whales & Sails Nautical Striped Shirt & Canvas Board Short

Paulo is wearing his Le Top Whales & Sails Nautical Striped Shirt & Canvas Board Short.

Put some wind in his sails with this sweet nautical white and azure striped short sleeve tee and navy canvas pocketed board shorts that match swimmingly! Sailing ship appliqué with circular boat window vents keep him cool in warm weather. Soft rib neckline and elasticized waist for easy over-the-head and pull up dressing.

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Kids grow up fast and seem to fly through clothing with their constant growth at lightening speed. If you’re like me, you’ve received some hand-me-downs and you pass down those clothes that are no longer needed. For the kids clothes that have been handed down to me (or that I’ve bought from work) that are within 6-12 months away from fitting my daughter, I try to hang them in her closet on the far end of the rack. I’ve found that if I leave them in a box in the garage, I forget about them and by the time I think to check – half of them no longer fit. If I leave them in her closet, it reminds me to check for them more often and she won’t miss out on that too cute outfit!

To help clear clothes out, I keep a pop-up basket in her closet that I regularly throw clothes into that she has outgrown. When it gets full it’s time to sort them and give them to the other moms I know with kids younger than Lilah. I send the heavy coats to a friend who lives in the coldest weather and the lightest clothing to those that live in the warmest weather. At that time, it’s also good to look through the closet and drawers for clothes or shoes that (for some reason) your child just doesn’t wear or are the wrong season and you realize they no longer fit. I think that’s about half of my daughters clothes. Kids are who they are – there is not much you can do about it!

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We’ve chosen bathing beauties Ryanne (5-years-old) and Riley (3-years-old) modeling Le Top hand-me-down swimsuits (pre-2005) to be our Darlings of the Day. Boy those suits are built to last and still oh-so-cute!

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Paddycake…Paddycake…Baker’s man…HOLD the nursery rhyme song and check out this week’s “Store Spotlight” with Chocolate Pattie Boutique in Rockford, Illinois.  Pattie Crichton-Hill, owner of Chocolate Pattie Boutique, gives us an insider peek of pictures of her as a child and hand-me-downs, the importance of “making it your own” in the children’s industry, and her special baby due date calendar.

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1.      Have you always been interested in entering the children’s business?
Pattie: I studied mechanical engineering and have always loved math and art…life has taught me to keep an open mind to new opportunities that may not be part of the original plan.

2.      Are you a Rockford, Illinois native? Describe the neighborhood your store is in for us.
Pattie: I grew up in Rockford and went to southern California for college. After 11 years in So Cal, I moved home to be near my parents again. Chocolate Pattie is in a quaint neighborhood with a wonderful reputation and no big box stores. Many customers are thrilled when they don’t have to go to the mall.

3.      What type of clothing did you wear growing up as kid? What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child? Do you have a picture of you as a kid you can share with us?
Pattie: I am the 4th girl in my family. My dad had 5 sisters, 4 daughters, 4 granddaughters…and then I broke the streak when I had my son. My mom told me at one point I would not wear anything new (the hand-me-downs must have been very comfortable). If she could see me now surrounded by beautiful new children’s clothing! As a parent, I believe children crave structure…a choice between 2 outfits should be enough responsibility at any age.

Pattie as a child

4.      What is 1 tip you would give a parent on how to update your child’s wardrobe this summer?
Hats are always fun and protect their young skin. Bracelets seem to be popular this year also.

5.      What is one fact about your store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
Pattie: Shortly after opening the store, I was stunned at how many customers took me into their lives with their joys and sorrows. I write on my calendar when babies are due and quietly worry with them.

6.       Between all of the social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, and more – what do you think about social networking and how it allows moms and dads to join cyber parenting communities where they can meet, gain knowledge, as well as get recommendations and support.
Pattie: I am impressed with the new generation who researches issues such as cloth diapers and then decide what will fit with their family’s lifestyle.

7.      What sets you apart as a successful children’s store?
I listen carefully to my customers and do my homework on how brands vary. Customers realize I am in the store 95% of the time. When I shop, l tend to run from pushy sales people so I am constantly aware of my words so I do not push. For me, it is not all about making a sale.

8.      If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Pattie: Make it your own because it won’t last long mimicking another business.

9.      You probably have seen hundreds of mommies and daddies come through your store and hear them speaking with their children – what is the funniest or sweetest thing you have heard come out of a child’s mouth recently?
Pattie: Many children think my name is Chocolate Pattie, not Pattie. I love to hear family members tell me the child asked to go to Chocolate Pattie to play. The play area makes everyone more comfortable and occasionally I get to play!

10.  What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Pattie: I am honored each time someone tells me their child or grandchild wore a Chocolate Pattie outfit for their milestone picture. I take pride knowing I choose every clothing and accessory line for my store. It makes me smile knowing those pictures will be around for a very long time.

11.  What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?
Pattie: Daisy Duck Group – just when I think Le Top can not design another cute duck line, you do…

Chocolate Pattie Boutique
1676 North Alpine Road
Rockford, IL 61107-1415

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Miranda's fall le•top clothes are too short for spring.

Miranda's already outgrown her fall le•top clothes!

The weather is getting warmer. It’s almost spring time…and my daughter is growing like a weed! When Miranda put on these pants (from le•top’s Flower Power collection from last fall) I knew it was time to start going through her clothes to see what I can put away. You might think that I’m still nesting, but this has become a ritual in my house ever since Miranda started outgrowing her baby clothes. I saved EVERYTHING! Well, almost everything. Stained or worn clothes went in a pile for donation. Torn or ripped clothes became either cleaning rags or were recycled. (Yeah, I’m green like that.) And now that Baby #2 is on the way, part of me is hoping for a girl so that I can pull out all of Miranda’s old clothes and put them on the next one.

Just out of curiosity, what did you do with your children’s outgrown clothes?

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binsThere’s definitely something wrong with me. I’m either obsessed or possessed! I’m 37 weeks pregnant and I can’t seem to stop organizing, cleaning, and putting things in order. This is like nesting to the 100th degree! It’s 2:37 AM, and I’ve done everything that I can do as far as organizing and reorganizing my daughter, Miranda’s old clothes and placing them in marked bins by size. Shouldn’t I be sleeping and resting instead?

I’m trying to get things in order before the baby arrives. And it seems like once I cross something off my To-do list, two more items have been added. I know that I’m anal retentive, but this nesting thing has made me even more obsessive. It’s quite maddening to witness. I feel like I’m watching myself go insane. (OK… that sounded insane!)

Last week, I caught up with my scrapbooks, ordered any digital albums that had been sitting on my desktop, and bought a new baby book for the little munchkin. I disinfected all the old baby toys that were in storage. I packed (and repacked) my hospital bag. I packed my daughter’s overnight bag. Every time I wash a load of baby clothes, I find something else to wash. Aaaaarrghhhh! It’s never ending. I need to stop! But I don’t…

Last weekend was dedicated to cleaning and organizing. I cleaned all three bathrooms (while doing four loads of laundry) because my husband was too slow to get to them. He was busy installing the baby car seat, washing both of our cars, dusting, and vacuuming. (You’d think he could manage to get to the bathrooms and the laundry done as well, huh?) And when he was done with all that, I yelled at him for not spending time with Miranda. So I made him take her to the park. (Oh, the mood swings!) Three more weeks… three more weeks…

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A place for everything and everything in its place...for now!

A place for everything and everything in its place...for now!

My friend, Erin T. (everyone will soon realize I have many people in my life named Erin or Aaron!), is 7.5 months pregnant and never thought “nesting” was a “real” thing. More or less, she thought it was an excuse to stay home and redo a room or something…that is, until about two weeks ago when she called and said, “I have ten bags of baby clothes that were just handed down to me. Can you come over and help me sort through them?” Of course I said “YES!” Being in the children’s clothing business, I love going through baby clothes and see what people are putting on their kids (besides our brands!). Let me tell you, there were some really cute clothes in those bags…and I was very happy to see le•top and rabbit moon clothes (and no they were not from me) in the mix! We trudged through and weeded those ten bags down to about three, with the rest for donation. Whew! that was some work. (more…)

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