If you’ve put off back-to-school shopping in order to avoid the crowds at the outlet malls and chain stores, you may now be panicking as your kid heads out the door for school pictures squeezed into last year’s sweater. Soothe your shopping anxiety and gather up some European-style kids’ clothes at Lafayette’s newest boutique, Whimsy.

DSC03957 Located in the  Lafayette Shopping Center just a few doors down from Trader Joe’s, Whimsy carries both well-known (Petit Bateau, Charlie Rocket) and lesser-known (Spanish brand Mayoral, Japanese hit Bit’z Kids) brands at reasonable prices. There’s colorful denim by Jean Bourget, soft layette goodies by Splendid, Nano, and Catamini, and squeal-worthy special occasion dresses by Biscotti by Kate Mack, Mimi & Maggie, just to name a few.

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile…and a Great Hat!
Any fashion-forward kid knows the power of accessories, so Whimsy carries stylish hats for boys and girls, as well as a wide array of darling jewelry (on a recent visit, a mom was buying a child’s bracelet—for herself) and hair baubles, as well as Frozen-themed flip-flops and handmade necklaces. (There are Elsa and Anna tutus, as well.)  A favorite item in the store this fall is a hilarious knit “fauxstole”—answering the question “What does the fox say?” with “phew!”


Locally Grown
Shop owner Nicole Jarotsky was raised in Orinda and is now bringing up her three kids in Lafayette. But in between, she worked for some of Paris’ most glamorous fashion houses (Chanel, Paco Rabanne) and cosmetic companies. She earned an MBA while living in France, and when she moved back to California, flexed her business know-how to start her own company. She started making feather extensions in every color, selling them by the fistful at festivals. Jarotsky (who also has a classical dance background) then launched a line of fanciful tutus that she could barely keep on the racks. Dubbing her venture Fairies and Feathers, and adding flower girl dresses and an option for bespoke tutu orders, Jarotsky hired an assistant as the orders grew. But she was sewing the tutus in her home, and longed for an outlet to connect further with her community on a daily basis. She looked around at a few retail spaces and kept returning to Whimsy’s current home. With a mezzanine level and high ceilings, it seemed the perfect spot to highlight colorful, stylish kids’ clothing with great details.


Comfort for All
Even if your child’s not big on shopping, you can browse while she retreats to a cozy hideaway under the stairs, complete with cushions, books, and a flat-screen TV. Or they can play with the puzzles and sweet toys (a whole shelf devoted to collectible Maileg mouse toys will transfix). On the other hand, if you’ve got a little shopoholic, the upstairs loft is a spot just for girls, with its own dressing room and racks of stylish “big girl” styles—even some cool tween gifts, like wireless smartphone amps. Lamorinda tots (and moms) are known to be a stylish bunch, and now Whimsy is bringing a whole new je ne sai quois to their little looks. Stop by to play around the shop with Nicole and her staff and pick out some treasures to express your kid’s true style.


About Town
Look for Jarotsky and the rest of the Fairies and Feathers crew selling tutus and feathers at upcoming street festivals. Whimsy is located just a few doors down from Trader Joe’s, in the Lafayette Shopping Center on Mt. Diablo Blvd. in downtown Lafayette. There is ample parking, and you can walk there from the Lafayette BART station.

3643 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, Ca

—Sarah Bossenbroek