Suits are to the left, shoes are to the right, and the racks in the middle are organized by size at For Kids Only. The store offers European and American overstock and samples of everything from school clothes to formal wear at 25 to 60 percent below retail. We like to call it “Loehmann’s for Kids.” » 746 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A., 323-650-4885; 18155 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, 818-708-9543.
With its cheap fabrics and fussy details, special-occasion clothing for little girls can be the opposite of elegant. Not so at Kaya Couture. The dresses here—for First Communions, bat mitzvahs, play dates with Shiloh—can be as simple as a color-blocked cream-and-gray sheath with a wide belt. Sure, you can get gowns with bows and flowers, but they are executed with taste and restraint. The shop can help match a bridal party’s colors and incorporate fabrics into custom garments or accessories. » 464 S. Robertson Blvd., L.A., 310-275-5516.
It wouldn’t be L.A. without Dolce & Gabbana, Judith Lacroix, and designer underwear for kids. Set your little ones at the table in the back of the upscale boutique Pumpkinheads to draw and watch a movie while you decide between the handmade tees by Dirty Laundry or the ones from local line Splendid. The stock couldn’t be any cuter—or more expensive. » 11640 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, 310-207-6760.
Beyond the cookie-cutter realms of chain stores and the high prices of the more discerning boutiques is Pookie. Owner Julia Dumas-Mitchell buys known brands, but she also looks for pieces that nobody else carries. The bonus is that the boys’ section is just as big as the girls'. » 1740 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-450-6593.
The signature line of cotton tops and pants may be great for layering, but it’s the fabrics and prints that set Entertaining Elephants apart. Owner Ellen Massee, who designs most of the clothing, started by making dresses from vintage pillowcases and boys’ pants out of men’s shirts. » 12053 1/2 Ventura Pl., Studio City, 818-766-9177; 552 1/2 Norwich Dr., West Hollywood, 310-659-6389.
There’s a huge selection of Quiksilver clothing, ruffled bikinis, Bob Marley T-shirts, and pink and green Lilly Pulitzers in the supersize boutique Sprout one block from the sand. All that and storytime every Thursday morning, too. » 904 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, 310-318-7870.
Photograph courtesy of entertainingelephants.com