For my list of The Top 10 Best Tween Shopping Sites of 2010-2011, I have listed 5 of the corporate obvious as well as 5 that may be a little off the beaten path.
In every situation of Tween shopping, the styles are more grown up. Girls and Tweens are more keen on what they want and they emulate what the Juniors are wearing. It’s not just little girls in frilly dresses anymore. I have even included the less “cool” places for Tween shopping.
1. Forever 21 (www.forever21.com) Let’s face it, Forever 21 is perfect for anyone. They keep a steady flow of uber-trendy styles and the prices can’t be beat! The sizes at Forever21 are more for the Juniors, however, the XS sizes can easily acommodate a girl wearing a 10/12-14/16. But if you are truly a Girl or Tween, guess what? They have just launched HTG81, the new line for kids! http://www.forever21.com/htg81/main.asp
2. Justice for Girls (www.shopjustice.com/limitedtoo) Justice offers a pretty good basic variety of clothing, though at times I feel as though I am looking at the same style in a hundred different colorways. Their design team seems to be lacking inspiration and, aside from their graphic sublimation tees, I’d have to say “YAWN*. Being a glorified Old Navy line, the only difference I see here are the prices -which are a little higher than I’d prefer to pay. However, on a good day with 40% off coupon, you can scoop up some pretty good deals.
3. Hollister (www.hollisterco.com ) The beauty of Hollister is, it transcends from later tween to junior sizes. I even find myself purchasing from this store often because even though the styles are considered pretty basic, laid-back southern California, they are super comfy and the brand is very hip. Not to mention, they pay attention to fit. The little extra you pay goes a long way with Hollister. They have greatly established themselves as a brand that can create long-term customer loyalty. The 13 year old girl who is a fan now, will be a fan until she is probably 28.
4. P.S. by Aeropostale (www.aeropostale.com) P.S. by Aeropostale is like the all-American brand with an insanely great price tag attached. You get everything here: the style of American Eagle (77Kids) and Abercrombie with the price tags of Old Navy. It’s cute, laid back, colorful and NOT from Target. Who does’nt love that?
5. Abercrombie (www.abercrombie.com) OK, this is Abercrombie with the lower-case “a” (abercrombie). Pricey? Yes. Great quality garments and ultra hip? Yes. Uses way too much cologne in their stores? YES. But the good news is, you can shop online! Even better when you can take advantage of their Clearances! Again, another one of those brands that grabs the target audience at an early age and transcends all the way into adulthood. Bravo!
And now, 5 top sites a little off the beaten path. These fabulous sites offer a variety of brands and/or a niche market item:
1. Isabee Tweens: (http://www.isabeetweens.com) I was really impressed by the variety of brands at this online boutique. They have designed the store in a way that’s easy to navigate (i.e. shop by category or shop by designer, Tops: long sleeves, short sleeves, etc.). The graphics are professional, simple and the website is clean, meaning no extra animated ads, no clutter, etc. Very good prices and a very organized site.
2. Berry Jane Leggings: ( www.berryjaneusa.com ) What a fun line of leggings! Berry Jane is fairly new to the marketplace, however, I have seen this brand in a few magazines already and it seems to be gaining popularity pretty quickly. The website offers mostly leggings and has a huge variety of colors, prints and even hologram styles for the rock star in every girl. The prices are moderate and maybe a little on the high end scale, however, these are made right here in USA and carried by boutiques in Beverly Hills, so it’s no surprise that they are a little pricey.
Either way, I’m a fan!
3. Maddies Closet (www.maddiescloset.com) Petti-skirt me to death, why dontcha!? Well, once you get past the sea of frilly chiffon and boutique-y personalized Tee-shirts, this site offers a great assortment of all things girlie and hip. I really enjoyed the Miss Me, Deux Par Deux, and Little Mass selections. Not to mention the other fabulous brands, if you can just wade past all those pettiskirts!
4. Haute Look (http://www.hautelook.com) I love this site. First, you have to sign up to get the notifications of which brands are coming up. They have featured brands such as Splendid Littles, Ella Moss and C&C California for example. Great prices on garments that are high quality with great fit and classic.
5. dELiA*s (http://store.delias.com) Buy one get one half off, 80% clearance items, super cute selection of clothes, what girl isn’t attracted to this brand? It’s a lighter version of Forever21 with less selection and higher prices; So be good to your pocketbook and shop the Clearance section!
Other notable mentions: Plato’s Closet (Sorry, this is a brick and mortar store only), Kitson Kids, Lisa Kline Kids, Billabong and Guess?
The Top 5 WORST (a.k.a. totally not cool or hip) Tween Shopping Sites (please bear in mind, these sites do not offer terrible clothing, they are simply not a good match for the discerning girl or tween who is fashionable or wants to be “cool”):
1. Hannah Andersson (www.hannaandersson.com) I like the basics that Hannah Andersson offers. The prices are moderate and the variety is good, however, this is not a line for hip Tweens, rather, more of the girls who are clueless and OK with mom buying all of their clothes, and even uncooler yet, MATCHING mom and daughter clothes. YUCK! These days, most Tween girls are pretty selective, but Hannah Andersson is the answer to that conservative, over-bearing mom who doesn’t want her girl looking like Hannah Montana.
2. Old Navy (www.oldnavy.com) Old Navy is great, if you are looking for a good deal. They understand they are Old Navy and don’t try to get away with pricey tees and jeans. If you don’t care about branding or fit so much as you do price, you can get two pair of jeans for less than $30. Their sister company, GAP, on the other hand, needs a reality check. If you want something that is considered “pricier” but with a stronger brand identity, I say head over to Hollister. I mean, I could be wrong but if I were a 13 year old girl, I would rather have Hollister on my butt for $32, rather than GAP on my butt for the same price. Anyway, I digress. The bottom line here is, Old Navy spells el-cheapo, no el-coolio.
3. Target (www.target.com) Hello Mossimo! It’s no big secret, Target has done an amazing job at tranfoming it’s image over the years. They are good about offering “trendy” garments at great prices. The Mossimo brand is affordable and does not have any kind of real negative stigma attached. It is simply an affordable brand, with a lot of current styles. That being said, it’s still “TARGET”. Sometimes you just can’t shake that cheap branding, no matter how many Isaac Mizrahi’s you pay to use their name on your mass-produced crap clothes.
4. The Children’s Place (www.thechildrensplace.com) Hello? The whole point of being a Tween is stating the obvious: I am not a little girl anymore! So, why would any girl want to wear a tee shirt that says “Mommy’s Little Drama Queen”? FYI: It goes up to size 14.
No 14 year old girl, who is one year away from driving, is going to do ANY kind of shopping at a store called “The Children’s Place”.
5. CWD Kids (www.cwdkids.com) Whomever is designing for this brand must not have a Tween daughter. Great brand and site for little girls, not for the Tweens. If my memory serves me correctly, I have not seen many 12-14 year old girls wearing something like this:
(For the most UPDATED Top 10 Tween Shopping Sites List, go to: TOP 10 OF THE BEST TWEEN SHOPPING SITES OF 2013)