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Best Places To Go Back-To-School Shopping In San Francisco

(credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

As the city's signature summer fog considers rolling away, it's time once again for thoughts of back to school. Parents will be in search of new gear after a year of growth spurts and worn-out supplies, and will be drawing up a shopping list. Happily, San Francisco neighborhoods are sprinkled with small business retailers, children's consignment shops and mom-and-pop boutiques stocking clothing and shoes just for kids. The new school year calls for a fresh supply of notebooks, pencils and a haircut, too.

540 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 565-0508

At Fiddlesticks, you will find such things as cotton machine-washable, durable, comfy jeans with elastic waistbands for boys and poppy-colored skinny stretch leggings for girls from 2T up to size 12. From adorable polka dot dresses, to functional tee shirts, socks and shoes, this place has something for everyone. The quilted chambray vest and denim jacket are so useful, they make grownups wish they came in adult sizes too. The autumn shipment is sure to bring many more great fall styles.

1306 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 641-6192

It's great to watch kids grow, but it's a sad moment when they outgrow this favorite family-owned Noe Valley shop, which caters to size 6 and smaller. Find gently worn and recycled items, as well as brand new ones, in this hybrid store complete with books and toys. For over 20 years, parents have made appointments for selling and wandered in for buying. Popular brands found in the new section include Sigg water bottles, Crocs and Melissa and Doug. Well-organized and curated items at good price points are a winner for back to school and beyond.

Chloe's Closet
451 Cortland Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 642-3300

Kids grow and so does Chloe's Closet. This perennial favorite has grown into a trio, with sister shops in the Inner Sunset and in Berkeley. Founded just over a decade ago by a local mother of two, who knows that kids grow fast, the formula of gently worn consignment clothing, supplies and accessories for children has proven itself a winner. Chloe's status as one of the 2008 winners for Best Children's Clothing on the Bay Area A List, as well as numerous customer testimonials, attest to the fact that shoppers find essentials and treasures among the racks and on the shelves at Chloe's.

Laurel Village shops, California St., San Francisco (Credit, Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Standard 5 & 10 Ace
3545 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 751-5767

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, including 65 years in the same location, this family-owned Laurel Village all-purpose hardware store has a good selection of essential stationery, office and school supplies to fill up those rucksacks. Always happy to please, if you don't see it, Standard will order and ship it to you. Loyalty points are given on every purchase and storewide 20-percent-discount days are held quarterly. Customers will find metered parking in front and free two-hour parking in the rear.

The long and the short of back to school haircuts (Credit, Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

3235 Sacramento St.
San Francisco 94115
(415) 763-7737

When two moms decided there wasn't anywhere for their boys to get a good haircut at an affordable price without the humiliation of going to mom's salon or an overly-expensive gentlemen's place, they took scissors into their own hands. Their creation was Prep, an urban hair studio that specializes in tweens and teens who will dig Prep's iPads, popcorn and black and gold décor. Customers can donate shorn ponytails to Locks of Love or craft a fancy braid or up-do for a special occasion. Ask about back-to-school specials that remove any green tint from too much summer fun in the chlorinated pool, and don't forget to stock up on those essential hair products, as Prep carries a full line of shampoos and conditioners and styling products, available for purchase at the studio.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she's writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on


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