Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back To School With Marshalls & TJ Maxx

Have your kids been living the rock n roll lifestyle all summer...late nights, loads of music fests, and funky clothes?    Even future rockstars need a good education.   You can ease the transition and show your kids that school rocks, with fun fashions and accessories from Marshalls and TJ Maxx, without maxing out your credit cards.

Last week I scored big at TJ Maxx, where I picked up a backpack that says Girls Rock all over it, a safe (BPA free) lunch box, and a skull themed school supply kit Sagezilla loved.   

We also found several rockin' Dollie and Me outfits, so Sage Ani can match her mini me, Kanani, American Girl Doll of the Year.    Most clothes were less than half the suggested retail we bought 2!

If you're stuck with a uniform school, like we are, there is still a decent selection of high quality, designer, cotton, uniform approved apparel, too.   And when you're rockin' the white or navy on navy blue, accessories are even more critical, as they're the once place your children can let  their individuality shine.    We stocked up on bright, funky striped socks in a bunch of colors so Sagezilla can rock her intentional miss match style with flair.

As a freelance writer, I live in a seasonally strange land where I'm often hired to write about sled hills and skating rinks during an August heat wave.  When it comes to school season in the blogosphere, where deadlines are shorter and pieces more timely, I have the opposite situation.    We're in a "year round" city Montessori school and we've been back for close to 4 weeks, now.   So, back to school seems like ancient history.

Still, I was more than happy to drop my kids off for some higher learning and high tail it over to TJ Maxx in downtown Chi-Town for breakfast, a mini-fashion show, 

and some shopping fun with Chicago mom and blogger, Audrey.    

I've always liked treasure hunting at TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but even I was surprised how often their inventory changes (More than 10,000 new items are delivered each week to every storeand how great their deals are on high end, designer accessories.  Marshalls and T.J.Maxx’s buyers are the ultimate treasure hunters – continuously searching the globe for amazing deals to bring back to their stores.  How do they offer these amazing finds at such great values?

1.   Size:  There is tremendous buying power behind two national chains. T.J. Maxx has more than 950 stores in the US. Marshalls has more than 870 stores in the US and Puerto Rico.

2.  Buying closer to need: Traveling 40+ weeks per year to negotiate with more than 14,000 vendors in over 60 countries (vs. department stores who buy seasonally) offers more opportunity to score great deals.

3.  Company owned distribution centers: Marshalls and T.J.Maxx’s nationwide distribution system allows their buyers to purchase merchandise up until the last minute of any given season – not only allowing them to respond to trends much more quickly than other retailers (who buy several seasons in advance), but also allows them to “swoop in” and negotiate a better deal by waiting until a vendor is highly motivated to sell.

4.  No sales ever: Off-price stores offer low prices every day, so the customer never has to wait for a sale.  About twice a year, at the end of a season, any unsold merchandise will go on clearance, providing even further customer savings.  

Fashion – It must be a fashion classic or an on-trend, current season style.
Quality – It must be first quality. We never compromise, ever
Brand – It must be a designer or brand name that customers know, trust and desire
Price – It must be negotiated to sell for up to 60 percent less than customers will find in a department or specialty store.
All must be present in order for an item to be sold at Marshalls and T.J.Maxx.
So, embrace fall fashion fun and back to school season treasure hunting here.


Like their older siblings, fashionable little boys and girls can dress to impress on the first day back to school by showcasing their personal style. At T.J.Maxx, students can mix and match must-have trends to create a look that’s all their own.  

“With more than 10,000 new pieces of merchandise arriving weekly, our stores are stocked with the back-to-school must haves for every child,” said T.J.Maxx style expert, Laura McDowell.  “Kids will love the styles and parents will appreciate the prices, making T.J.Maxx a great one-stop shopping destination!”

Here are some of the latest trends to have in their wardrobe as they head back to school this year:

From sweater tunics and legging sets to more sophisticated denim ensembles, little girls will flaunt their individual style with some of the following trends:
  • Tops:  Long and short sleeve tops in stripes and two-fer styles; some will even come with attached necklaces.
  • Sweaters:  Sweaters and sweater dresses with cowl necks, belts, hoods and dolman sleeves. 
  • Jeans:  Skinny and bootleg jeans in dark washes with belts, back pocket detail and embellished legs.
  • Outerwear:  Hooded fleece, pleather jackets, brightly colored trench coats and double breasted pea coats.

Whether boys prefer athletic attire or the more stylish looks of their favorite TV 
personalities,   this year is all about individual style.  Top trends include:

  • Athletic Wear: Performance fleece jackets, short and long sleeve tops, basketball shorts and pants.
    • Jeans:  Khakis are out and jeans are coming in darker washes with back pocket details, distressing and whiskering at the knees and pockets
    • Tops:  Tees in vintage styles with both short and long sleeve as well as polos in solids and stripes.  
    • Outerwear:  Zip-up hoodies in solids, stripes or with graphic prints 
All of the school supplies and accessories kids need to head back to the classroom:
  • Athletic style and movie character back packs and messenger bags. 
Popular character and tween-styled school supplies, locker décor and lunch totes.
Little girl and big girl bath and body and make-up sets.
Handbags for every age with sequins, quilted patterns for young and old and pet inspired over-the-shoulder bags for the littlest fashionistas.

Whether you start back after Labor Day or you've been crackin' the books since the first week of August, savings is always in season!

Disclaimer:    Bloggers were given a $50 gift card and merch goody bag for our time, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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