Friday, September 23, 2011

My Marshall's best back-to-school find: Affordable and fashionable boots!

My 10 year old is getting a lot pickier about her clothing choices.  I used to be able to visit stores and select clothing that she would wear with no comments.  However, over the past year, she's really begun to develop her own sense of style (not necessarily my own!) and wants, nay demands, input into wardrobe choices.  I take that as a sign of growing maturity.  She's no longer a little girl and wants her clothes and accessories to represent her as she sees herself, not as I see her or want her to be (bye-bye frilly lace).  Really, it just makes sense to acquiesce.  If I buy her things she doesn't like, I'll just find them still in her closet with tags at the end of the school year. 

Did you know that Marshalls and TJMaxx offer first-quality, designer and name brand merchandise for 20-60% less than you'd find at department stores?  The potential savings alone makes shopping at Marshalls and TJMaxx worth a look.  You will find trendy items that are in style now because their buyers travel the globe, keeping up with trends everywhere to bring us the best brands at great prices.  They're always getting new merchandise too, so the stores are fresh with bargains each time you visit. 10,000 new items hit the shelves at each store every week.

Mom Central did a survey in August where they asked 1,000 moms about their back-to-school shopping habits.  While most moms (60%) do most of their back-to-school shopping a few weeks before school starts, 25% wait until the last minute.  Are you a last minute shopper?  I was definitely last minute this year, having finished most of my shopping not long before school started.  I am usually among the 60%.  Most moms also shop 1-3 stores, according to that survey.  I would have to agree with that this year as I found myself going to three stores to get what I needed for my daughter.

I usually shop at Target for kids clothing, but  branched out and accepted an opportunity to shop Marshalls/TJ Maxx for back-to-school.  Tasked with searching for our best back-to-school find, I took my daughter to a Marshalls in Fredericksburg.  We brought along another discriminating mind, her BFF, who could add some input from a tween point of view.  It was a girls day out!

However, before the actual day out, I did a little reconnaissance.  Would I be able to find clothes that my child would like?  Was I figuring out her style at long last?  Here's a few pictures of items I spied about a week before the actual shopping trip.

A sweater for cool, fall mornings.  Jammies, and a Peace, Love, Rock monkey handbag.  

Boots!  My 10 year old has been stealing my boots.  Also some fashionable pants I thought she might like.

So, for a week, I had my smart phone stolen by my 10 year old so she could drool over those boots.  Yes, it's true.  I meant to take her just a few days after I snapped the pictures, but our town was inundated with so much water, we had road washouts and flooded sheds to deal with here, so she was very sad when we had to push off our shopping day until the next week.

As it happened, she was in love with those boots and ran to try them on.  They ran up to a size 4 and she needed a 5, so she was bummed!  However, Marshalls had other boots to choose from and she did find a pair that she fell in love with and has worn to school twice this week.  Thank goodness for gym class else she'd probably have worn them every single day.  Take a look at what we did end up buying that day.

Our best Marshalls back-to-school buy was Paris Blues chestnut colored boots with faux fur!  These cost just $19.99.  She did look at several styles and try them on, but we were a bit limited by size availability.  It's so tough to be a tween!  Before this shopping experience, I was provided with some current trend information.  Talk about dead spot on!  Did you know that boots and booties with faux fur or shearling were must haves?  Guess what item my 10 year old zeroed in on right away?  These boots, according to my 10 year old, were admired by no less than a dozen friends at school.

Above: A picture of our cart.  Sorry it's blurry!  We got two pair of jeans, one costing just $10 and the other costing $12.99.  The black Squeeze jeans were ones I'd snapped a picture of earlier and she did end up wanting those (score one for mom!) The blue Levi's had a sparkly appearance that she loved.  To be honest, I kind of wish they had some in my size because they're cool looking.

Also, she found a purple and gray Lilly Bleu shirt for $9.99.  There's also colored nail polish (scented) that was marked down to $4 and a purse.  One thing I learned from my reconnaissance shopping is that if you like it, you better buy it now because someone else will like it too and it won't be there the next time you stop in.  You must carpe diem and seize the item while you can.  I'm positive my daughter would have had me spend way more if I'd have given her free rein.

Did you like any of the items we purchased?  Let me know what your best find was if you shopped TJ Maxx/Marshalls for back-to-school this year.

Disclosure:  I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls and received a gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for taking the time to participate.
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