Factory Stores at Vacaville, Vacaville.
(707) 446-9297. Daily. MC, VISA, AE. Parking: lot.
(Other outlets: Anderson/Redding, Folsom, Gilroy.)
Boys, teens, and young men can have it any way they want at Bugle Boy. Racks are jammed with pants and shorts in all sizes. Generally, the discounts are 22-30% on current-season merchandise and get better during the frequent in-store promotions. Girls, teens, and women get a little rack space, too. Sizes: Girls 4 to Women's 16/18; Boys 4 to Men's 40; decent selection of Boys Huskies 8-16; Infants and Toddlers sizes. No cash or credit card refunds. Exchanges only within 30 days.
Factory Stores at Vacaville, Vacaville.
(707) 446-9297. Daily. MC, VISA, AE, DIS. Parking: lot.
(Other outlets: Folsom, Gilroy, Milpitas, and Pacific Grove centers.)
Carter's is well stocked with everything Carter's makes. Great selection of playwear, sleepwear, and layettes. Everyday discounts are 30% off retail. There are lots of irregulars in the layette, sleep-wear, and playwear selection, but they're clearly marked and in no way less desirable. Carter's also makes clothing exclusively for its own stores, and prices are quite pleasing. Sizes: Preemie to 6X for girls; to 7 for boys.
CHICKEN NOODLE OUTLET
605 Addison Street, Berkeley.
(510) 848-8880. April-June, Oct-Dec M-F 10-5. MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
Chicken Noodle children's playwear is every bit as cute as the name would imply—wonderful prints and practicality along with clever and engaging design details. The 100% cotton fabrics in wovens or knits predominate. Deck out your boys from a small selection of sizes Infant to 7; your girls in Infant to 14. Prices are reduced 40-70% off retail on past-season overruns, ranging from $5 to $28 (special dresses); seconds (very small quantities) are marked way down. The accessories caught my eye: hair bows, scrunchies, socks, and hats, plus short sets, jumpers, and the new polar fleece swing coats. Bundled remnants of fabric are priced $3 to $4/yard. Directions: From 80 take the University Avenue exit east, turn right at Sixth Street. Go one block to Addison, turn right, and drive to end of street (toward Aquatic Park). Building and parking are on right. The outlet is sometimes dosed during heavy shipping periods—call ahead.
Prime Outlets at Gilroy, Gilroy.
(408) 842-3081. Daily. MC, VISA, AE, DIS. Parking: lot.
Working mothers must love this line. No ironing required! The 100% garment-dyed (eliminates any shrinkage) cotton play clothes come in a spirited selection of colors. The style is relaxed and contem-porary, which means everything runs a little big. Mix and match for creative outfitting and functional fun: tops, bottoms, socks, T-shirts, leggings, hair accessories, jumpers, rompers, swimwear, outer-wear, and more. An added plus—the Marisa Christina sweaters for children. Save 25-50% off retail prices on sizes Layette through 14.
KIDS R US
220 Walnut Street, Mervyn's Plaza, Redwood City.
(650) 367-6005. M-Sat 10-9, Sun 11-6. MC, VISA, AE, DIS. Parking: lot.
(Other stores: Colma, Newark, Sunnyvale.)
Kudos to Kids R Us for providing a one-stop resource for busy parents seeking solid values, name brands, good selection, and maximum convenience when shopping for their children (ages newborn to about 13). From no-nonsense basics to accommodating a child with a penchant for trendy styles, you'll shop with success! And every day discounts average about 30% off retail, even more on end-of-season specials or promotions.
Prime Outlets at Gilroy, Gilroy.
(408) 842-3280. Daily. MC, VISA, AE, DIS. Parking: lot.
(Other outlets: Napa, Pacific Grove, Petaluma, Vacaville centers.)
For the best deals at these large and colorful factory stores, look for special promotions on targeted racks and rounds for additional 30-50% markdowns. Otherwise, discounts are modest— averaging about 25% off retail. Sizes: Girls to 14; Boys to 16; plus a few rounds of adult-sized over-alls for men. While discounts are sometimes disappointing, I have no quibble with the adorable quotient on everything OshKosh.
REBECCA RAGGS, INC. OUTLET
10200 Imperial Avenue, Cupertino.
(408) 257-7884. M-F 9-4:30 (some Sats, call first). MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
Rebecca Raggs makes a charming line of children's clothing! Many of its styles are made from lovely velours in vibrant colors, others in soft flannels or cotton knits. Rebecca Raggs designs are appealing, with unique appliques on the dresses, jumpers, and warm-up suits in sizes 6mos to 14. The quality is excellent. Ruff! Raggs is a boys' line that moms will love. The outlet is jammed with end-of-season overruns, seconds, and production samples. Prices are 20% above wholesale, much less if the item is damaged or way past season. Moms make time to line up for the fabulous winter sale that starts every year the Wednesday following Thanksgiving. Exchanges only on first-quality goods, no exchanges on seconds.
SARA'S PRINTS (FACTORY OUTLET)
3018-A AIvarado Street, San Leandro.
(510) 352-6060. Quarterly sales. MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
Sara's Prints are made in Israel from fine Egyptian or Israeli cotton, the softest fabric imaginable. The colorful and whimsical prints are highlighted against the fresh white background of all garments. The line consists of layettes, rompers, diaper sets, coveralls, playsuits, polo-style shirts, dresses, turtle-necks, boys' undershirts and briefs, girls' panties and camisoles, long underwear sets, pajamas, nightgowns, and playsets for boys and girls. Soft and cuddly Polar-Tech jackets, coats, snowsuits, buntings, and mittens from its pricier American Widgeon division (staple items in popular catalogs) are much more affordable during quarterly sales. Retail prices on Sara's Prints are moderate depending on your budget. During quarterly one-to two-week factory sale events, past-season merchandise and seconds are sold for a minimum 50% off retail. A phone call will get your name added to Sara's mailing list.
SWEET POTATOES FACTORY OUTLET
1799-A Fourth Street, Berkeley.
(510) 527-5852. M-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-6. MC, VISA, DIS. Parking: lot.
Bummer! Regulars are in for a shock at Sweet Potatoes' chic new location. The bargains are accorded just a small section in the rear of the store as the spotlight is put on the full-priced new collections at the front. That said, you'll find seconds, overruns, samples, and past-season styles discounted 30-60%. The active sportswear featuring bright colors, prints, plaids, and fun details hasn't changed; it's still grandma bait. Dresses, overalls, shirts, jog sets, jumpsuits, tights, leggings, socks, skirts, hats, suspenders, and turtlenecks add up to many options when outfitting the kids. You'll love the whimsical Yazoo line for girls in sizes 4-14; Spuds for boys in sizes 12mos-7; Sweet Potatoes for Infants to 10; New Potato and Marimekko for Layette to Toddler; and the new Ruth Hornbein sweaters, Claude Veil with sophisticated French styling, and Big Fish swimwear collections. Make sure you're on the mailing list for occasional sales at the factory just a few blocks away—you may recapture the bliss of yesteryear's fabulous sale blowouts.
108 Kentucky Street, Petaluma.
(707) 769-1173. M-Sat 10-5, Sun Noon-5. MC, VISA. Parking: street.
Maybe you've seen
the adorable infant and toddler suits with "Got Milk?" or "Automatic
Sprinkler" or "Tax Deduction" emblazoned across the front.
If you've been captivated by these whimsical outfits, this is the company
you want to connect with. Those sayings may no longer be available, but
you can be sure that equally clever and appealing quotes or phrases will
have been created. Original and fun silk-screened graphics (critters,
fruits, veg-gies, etc.) adorn the front of many other outfits, all made
from 100% garment-dyed cotton. Jumpers, potty pants, big pants, dresses,
jackets, and Henley T-shirts
are staples of the line. You'll want to buy one or several of these outfits
if there are any kids in your sphere or if gift-giving is on the horizon—
many items are packaged in clever pouches or boxes for adorable gifts.
You'll save about 40% off original retails on the first-quality overruns
and past-season collections. Atypical infant jumper goes for about $22.50
at the outlet. Sizes: 0 (infant) to 7. No doubt you'll be charmed by the
supporting cast of gift-oriented merchandise, alas sold at full retail—books,
baby toiletries, plush, critters and more—an out-of-the-ordinary
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