I had an invite I couldn’t pass up.

Bridget Stickline, owner of Wee Chic – A Baby Boutique, was headed the ENK International Childrens Club Show in New York City to merchandise her fall 2011 looks and asked me if I wanted to tag along.

Yeah, I didn’t have to think about it either.

So the two of us hopped on the Superior Tour bus in Towson at 7:15 AM on Sunday morning and headed for the Big Apple.

What a mind-spinning blast. Not only did I get to watch the childrenswear maven in action, I got to chime in while she met with reps from all of my favorite Bug-wearable lines (and a few new ones we ‘discovered.’). More on that tomorrow…

Today? A few fall 2011 childrenswear trends I spotted wading through the aisles of style. After all, we’re all about raising fun, fashionable, active little thinkers.

{{Insert disclaimer: I’m a mom that loves clean lines, a little sass and solid construction. I think about things like stains and how the garmet will look coming out of the dryer. I’m not by any means a fashion expert. But today I’m going to play a trend forecaster… guess we’ll find out how accurate I am come September?}}

Hot colors: Greys (dark and heather) along with rich tones such as fuchsia (toward the pinker end of the spectrum), deep purple, navy and teal. If you’re buying pieces in these colors for the summer, invest in those that can be layered come September. Your stylish cutie will be ahead of the game – – and your wallet will thank you.

The Bell is BACK! Hooray! While the skinny pant isn’t making a complete exit (look for them in fun dark washes and cords this fall), flared jeans are peaking through the collections. Joe’s Jeans debuted a skinny microflare jean AND brought back a bell shape. I never felt like I could rock the skinny jean and since trends in childrenswear follow women’s and men’s wear, this mama is pretty darned pleased there will be other ‘in vogue’ choices on the rack come fall.

What about the scrunch? No, not a resurgence of the 80s hair pieces (sorry for those of you with huge collections stashed; I don’t ever see those making a comeback). Scrunched leggings. A little flounce in a basic kid wardrobe staple can go a long way. LAmade has a great one. Flirty but solid construction. Takes a cotton dress to a whole new level of play.

Pima cotton rules but synthetics are sneaking in. Cotton prices are rising, so blends and synthetics are becoming more popular with designers. The true-blue organic lines are still hard core cotton, but some of the other brands are mixing. 7 A.M. Enfant has synthetic down stroller bunting with detachable hoods that are perfect for city lovin’ moms-to-be. Machine washable. Fun colors and a mod metallic sheen. Straighter lines that give the pieces an urban edge.

The labels are designing for moms and kids that want versatility. Think reversible AND removable. Alpha Industries Kids has a boys’ jacket where the sleeves detach — giving flexibility in outerwear (vest for warmer fall days, full on jacket for the cooler ones). Llum has several dresses that are completely reversible. Not only do the colors and patterns switch, the style of the dress morphs too. Because, as we know, our daughters’ prerogative is to change their minds.

Accessories ARE making the outfit
. Belts, hats and headbands are afterthoughts when I’m out shopping for the Bug. I may have to rethink that. Fur-trimmed pieces are going to be a hot commodity in the kids’ market this fall. Appaman has an absolutely adorable fur vest that pairs beautifully with leggings. Mayoral, the hot Spanish line that’s making it’s way into US boutiques (yepp, Wee Chic is the exclusive Baltimore area retailer carrying the line!) has several pieces you’re just going to adore. Unfortunately, they don’t allow photos so you’re just going to have to trust me on that one… Have a mini-hipster who aspires to be the next Tiger Woods? He’s going to flip for the hat collection from Fore!! Axel and Hudson. It’s a golf inspired line with hip patterns and fun accents.

Bring in da funk, bring in da stripes. Stripes are huge. Almost every collection we looked at included one signature stripe pattern. You’d think stripes would be a turn off in the younger kids’ lines- – especially the wider ones that might mildly resemble vintage prison jumpsuits. But quite the opposite. I fell in love with two different stripy two piece ensembles: LAmade has a striped sweater and pant set with wide trim and bear ears that is just too stinkin’ cute. EGG has a striped top with flounce that screams playtime with a dash of prep.

More tomorrow…. Just as a side note and in the spirit of full disclosure, Wee Chic did buy me lunch… but not in return for any coverage or mention. All of the opinions expressed in the ENK Childrens Show Coverage are expressly my own.