1101 West Fulton, (312)226-4565, shopfixchicago.com
Goods: Casual, professional and semiformal clothing for women and men. Owners: After working in retail for years, sisters Maggie and Jennifer Gelber decided that it was time to be their own bosses and run their own store in their own town. Read the rest of this entry »
After working in retail for years, sisters Maggie and Jennifer Gelber decided that it was time to be their own bosses and run their own store in their own town in the heart of the meatpacking district at Fulton Market. Raised in the suburbs of Chicago and inspired by their fashionista mother and the fashionable people they saw walking down the street, the Gelber sisters have always loved clothes and admired the people they knew who wore them well. But their concern was that fashion often wasn’t made for real people, and didn’t work with an ordinary lifestyle, which is why they established Fix boutique with “Chicago on the brain,” Jennifer says.
Jennifer noted that many of the styles she and her sister saw at fashion shows would not work for her family and friends. Because of crazy Chicago weather and a distinctive Midwestern fashion sense, Jennifer argues that Chicagoans need a fashion boutique for Chicagoans, and that is why she and Maggie handpicked each clothing item with a particular person or a particular situation in mind, customizing the clothes for lifestyles and people rather than trends. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE: As of February 2010, Maria Pinto is closed.
135 N. Jefferson, (312)648-1350, mariapinto.com
Goods: Women’s clothing. Designers: Owner and designer Maria Pinto runs her own label. Owner: Putting Chicago fashion on the map last year with the first lady’s official seal of approval, Pinto has become a household name. Read the rest of this entry »
1167 W. Madison, (312)226-6677, shop2sisters.com
Goods: Women’s clothing and accessories. Designers: Lulu Via, Sugar Lips, The Ark, Shulami, Lucca and denim by Vigoss. Owners: Sisters Gina O’Donnell and Elaina Bonacci opened up a Chicago outpost of their successful Park Ridge boutique. Setting up shop in the exciting, up-and-coming Near West neighborhood was a no-brainer. Vibe: Friendly and totally unpretentious. Gina and Elaina’s clientele include many regulars (they amazingly remember names and client info), and the owners are often heard conversing with customers about family and work while helping them pick out a gorgeous leather clutch. Price Range: Moderate. The Look: No loud patterns or complicated detailing here. Instead you’ll find pieces that catch the eye with their flattering cuts rather than their bright colors or added extras. Shopper’s Perks: Sign up on their Web site to receive info on their sporadic, any-occasion sales.
UPDATED May 2009
1021 W. Lake, (312)633-4000
Goods: Men’s and women’s footwear; baseball caps, zip-up hoodies and tees. Designers: Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Timberland shoes; Artful Dodger, Levi’s, Akoo and Rich Yung clothing. Owner: Percy Gibson helms this West Side boutique in addition to his North Side sneaker shop, Encore. Price Range: Moderate-Expensive. Vibe: The store is tricked-out bachelor pad meets upscale boutique. The front is filled with high-end footwear displayed like art, a big-screen TV, couches and a well-kept bar waits in back. The Look: Sneaker-head heaven—the walls are even decked out in autographed hip-hop photos. Shopper’s Perks: The store is open until midnight on the weekends, and a party vibe permeates the shop as the night goes on. Also, Self-Conscious is one of five stores in the Midwest to have a quick strike account with Nike, meaning that highly coveted shoes show up out of nowhere.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009
729 W. Maxwell, (312)563-9470, lissaonmaxwell.com
Goods: Clothing and accessories for women. Designers: Coven, Lerario Beatriz, Rodebjer and local jewelry designer, Winifred Grace. Owner: Melissa Shipley (aka Lissa) is a former CPA who’s had a fashion addiction (and a WWD subscription) since she was a kid. She opened Lissa on Maxwell in late 2006. Vibe: The sleek, carefully organized shop makes shoppers feel at home with a comfy seating area, extra-private dressing rooms, a Diet Coke-stocked fridge and uber-welcoming and knowledgeable sales staff. Price Range: Expensive-Luxury. The Look: Impeccably pulled-together. Ladylike and edgy. Oozing chic but never baring brand names. Shopper’s Perks: Lissa tends to showcase designers’ debut collections, so browsing through her collection will acquaint you with up-and-coming fashion-world stars.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009
Lissa on Maxwell
By Molly Each
Friday night at Leaders 1354 in Wicker Park and a DJ spins beats in the back of the room. Each person who walks through the door is greeted like an old friend, and small groups of guys chat amiably, admiring t-shirts, sneakers and intricate wall murals in between conversations. They speak their own language; a language peppered with phrases like “treated,” “kicks” and “throwing out the tongue” (a reference to shoes rather than the mouth). It doesn’t take long to realize that this isn’t just a shopping stop for the customers here. Sure, some guys stop by to pick up a new shirt or hoodie before heading off to the clubs or parties. But others are here to talk about a new designer or a soon-to-drop limited-edition pair of sneakers, while a handful are here just to say hi to their friends, to hang out in their circle.
“It’s the closest thing we have to a beauty salon, you know?” explains Marc Moran, one of the six people behind Leaders 1354. Here you’ll find the everyday, old-friend conversation of barbershops; where guys go to touch base with friends, the store providing an outpost for streetwear lovers to convene.
Across the street at St. Alfred’s, over at the West Loop’s Self-Conscious, down at PHLI in Hyde Park and even at the Bronzeville outpost of Leaders, any Friday or Saturday night you’ll find groups of streetwear devotees gathering with their communities. Because like mods, punks and rockers before them, streetwear is more than just a way to dress: it’s a lifestyle.
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