Answers from Our Experts (2)
While large department stores are certainly my go-to when it comes to finding popular brands, I love a well-curated boutique. Thankfully, Chicago has a slew of charming stores worthy of giving your credit card a healthy workout. Southport Corridor (just north of the Lakeview neighborhood) is filled with options. A personal favorite is Perchance, a lovely shop filled with designers such as A.L.C., Equipment, Gryphon and Alice + Olivia. The staff is friendly and helpful without being pushy, and the interior design is fresh and clean with crisp white walls, trendy ghost chairs and wood accents.
Handle With Care on Wells is another great spot, and the shop is divided into two sides — one side is stocked with designer brands such as Diane von Furstenberg, Torn by Ronny Kobo and Parker, whereas the other side features more affordable options. Right next store is another boutique, Adelaide, which focuses on European brands (Malo, Bruno Manetti, Azaara). I love the shop’s exposed brick walls and dainty chandeliers.
Although space519 (inside the 900 North Michigan Shops) sells an assortment of goods, from coffee table books to small furniture to beauty products, I love its selection of clothing, too. The brands are unique and lesser known (Tribune Standard, Apiece Apart) and the jewelry is out-of-this-world (Dannijo, Eddie Borgo). The staff is also really passionate about the brands carried in the store, which makes perusing the racks and asking for suggestions all the more enjoyable.
When asked to name just one boutique that has impacted Chicago's fashion elite, the answer is always Ikram, a sleek den of well-heeled, high-end style. Designers range from Alexander McQueen to Victor + Rolf, as well as a handful of Japanese and European names likely to wind up in tomorrow's fashion spreads. The shop is located in the luxe Gold Coast shopping district, and the second-story cafe makes for excellent people watching between boutiques.
Only in the last several years has Wicker Park's Damen Avenue emerged as a hub for major chains and labels such as Club Monaco and Marc by Marc Jacobs. But the now trendy corridor has long been the home to p.45, which remains the neighborhood's top women's boutique. Derek Lam and Phillip Lim find solace here alongside established local designers such as Abigail Glaum Lathbury.
Not far from p.45 are two more must-visits: Apartment Number 9, for the well-dressed urban gentleman, and Penelope's, a Division Strip mainstay with preppy chic staples for young men and women alike.