Back to School Shopping at The Mills at Jersey Gardens

With the advent of back-to-school season comes that long-awaited pre-fall shopping spree that can only mean a fresh, new school year is ahead. Recently, we tagged along with Katey Stanley on her visit to The Mills at Jersey Gardens to suss out all of the season’s must-haves. As a mom of three beautiful little ones (with a fourth on the way!), Katey is a master at finding the perfect items for each of her children. Read on to see what she picked up at Polo Ralph Lauren Children’s, Converse, and UGG®, and be sure to check out her genius checklist of back-to-school essentials — it’s sure to come in handy at your local Simon center

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Tell us about your visit to The Mills at Jersey Gardens — have you visited the center before?
Only once! The team there was so incredibly friendly and helpful in pointing us in the right direction. The skylights throughout the mall bring lots of natural light inside which makes the crisp white walls and floors feel very bright and airy. The layout is well thought-out and makes following a directory easy. 

Back-to-school is a particularly exciting time this year — what are your biggest hopes for your kids this school year?
Last year was very different from the norm, but my kids did exceptionally well. I’m hoping children have a more normal school year this year and grow their love for learning in a safe environment. 

Tell us about your back-to-school shopping plans — what’s topping your list of must-haves for your kids?
Back-to-school shopping is always fun for me and has been since I was little. I like to start each child off with new lunch boxes, backpacks, sneakers, dress shoes, casual comfy shoes, two pairs of jeans, ten short sleeve shirts, five pairs of leggings, denim jackets, zip sweatshirts and hoodies, sweaters, and of course all-new masks. For my boys, I also like to pick up two pairs of khakis. We also purchase a few dresses for my daughter. I always size up because these kids grow fast and I want their new clothes to fit them for longer. 

What were you looking for during your trip to The Mills at Jersey Gardens?
We were focusing on a new outfit for each child to go back to school in, including shoes. We also wanted to pick out something cute for our new baby we are expecting in December. 

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Tell us about your visit to Polo Ralph Lauren Children’s.
It was amazing. Carmelo, the manager, was incredibly friendly and showed us how you can design and order custom pieces with names and patches in store. The store itself was beautifully styled and honestly, I wanted to pick up one of everything! From classic cable knits, to iconic large pony embroidery, to the Polo teddy bear, everything was just beautiful. 

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I ended up getting each of my children an ombré hoodie with the classic large Polo embroidery on the front. These sweatshirts are made of a light airy cotton but could still provide warmth on a cool beach night. The kids absolutely love them! 

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Then you headed over to Converse, what did you pick up?
The staff was exceptionally friendly and eager to help. I had no idea Converse also carries sweatshirts, pants, jackets, and more in addition to shoes. 

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All of the classic Converse shoes were beautifully arranged in all different colors and sizes. I immediately fell in love with a pair of tiny white sneakers for our new baby coming in December. The laces are Velcro, making them super easy to slide on and off of baby’s feet, I can’t wait to put them on some tiny tootsies. 

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Tell us about your visit to UGG®.
The store windows were colorfully decorated and there were some great deals to be found. They had slippers, sandals, outerwear, classic boots, work boots, children’s boots, and more, and everything was a great deal. I loved a pair of tall UGG® boots with bows up the back as well as a pastel Sherpa jacket. For my daughter, there were adorable little UGG® boots in a ton of different colors — some even had bows and metallic stars…so cute!  

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I’ve also been looking for a really well-made and comfortable pair of sandals for her and I found the sweetest suede pair at UGG®. As soon as I showed them to her she squealed with excitement and immediately put them on. 

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What are you most excited about when it comes to the pieces you picked up?
Everything is well-made and comfortable. All three children excitedly put on their sweatshirts from Polo Ralph Lauren Children’s and loved how comfortable and cozy the soft fabric felt on their skin. Adeline immediately put in her new UGG® shoes and danced around the house. It’s moments like these that make back-to-school shopping so fun. It also creates excitement for actually going to school! Killian loves his new little Converse shoes and can’t wait to match the new baby when it comes in December. 

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What are you most looking forward to about your next visit to The Mills at Jersey Gardens?
I can’t wait to come back here to do our holiday shopping and back to school shopping next year. I’m also looking forward to bringing our children to Polo Ralph Lauren Children’s to create some custom denim jackets with their names embroidered on the back. The kids can decorate them with patches they pick out in-store. The store team sews everything on for you and it’s a magical experience. They are going to absolutely love this and I cannot wait until we can make this happen! 

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