disclaimer: I know appearance isn't everything; however, I do like dressing my kids in nice clothes (I'm still working on giving my wardrobe a much needed lift but it of course comes second to my kids, as does everything).
So where do I shop for cute, high quality clothes and still feel like I'm getting good deals? Gap clearance, and recently Gymboree clearance as their clearance selection and pricing has greatly improved. The thing with both of these stores is that at full price you end up paying way too much (for me at least), but wait a few Weeks and the clothes will most definitely make their way to the clearance isles; granted you might miss out on getting the coordinated hat, shirt, skirt and underwear, but at least you can still sleep at night. The Children's Place is also fantastic for deals, but stick with their Spring and Fall collections (the designers change seasonally and the Spring and Fall designers are the best).
For my own clothes, I again love T.J. Maxx and Ross, however when I really want something nice, I'll go to Ann Taylor--now they have some awesome sale racks! I was there just a few weeks ago and just about went crazy when I saw all the winter clothes marked down (some of which you can totally wear in spring). Lesson: by clothes off season--especially kids, that's where the good deals are.