The custom fitting and the attention to detail that is provided the second you walk into the store is really an exceptional experience. They go out of their way to make sure your clothing is custom tailored to your liking.
What to buy: If you are looking for men's custom clothes and that tailored to fit you then this is the place to go.
What to pay: It really depends on what you are looking for, I would say anywhere from 50-1,000 depending on what type of material and clothing you are looking for.
On our trip to Chicago late last Autumn, Mr. Connolly & I passed by this lovely store, with its potent promise of "Opening Soon!" They already had the shoes displayed in the window, guaranteeing flocks of shoe lovers to cascade through the door once they officially opened (which they FINALLY DID this past winter).
So, of course, I went back this spring. I window licked, as the French call it. I dream of those black&white flapper heels!
What to buy: Shoes, handbags, accessories
What to pay: Right now they're running a 30% off summer sale, with flip flops for $12 and shoes starting at $23. Very affordable, lovely shoes!
T.J. Maxx is a chain of American department stores owned by TJX Companies. It is the largest off-price apparel retailer in the United States offering brand name clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares. All merchandise is at least 20 - 60% below regular department and specialty store prices. The company operated 771 stores at the end of 2004, and has further growth opportunities in the U.S. The average store size of a T.J. Maxx store is 30,000 square feet.
What to buy: Looking for women's, mens and children's clothing? Designers but very low prices on selected items? Then visit this place ... You can find something nice if you really give a lot of efford into looking. Try to have a few hours cose it will took some time for you to explore the store.
Owner Heiji Choy modeled Hejfina after the kinds of lifestyle boutiques she admired in Paris and Tokyo. She specializes in designers that she feels express a modern, almost architectural sensibility to clothing design. You'll find both men's and women's clothes here plus handbags, shoes, and jewelry, as well as a small collection of books on design, art, and architecture. Labels include Parisian favorites Isabel Marant (I love!) and Vanessa Bruno, as well as homegrown designer Jasmine Shokrian and cult favorites like United Bamboo and Vena Cava. Expect to shell out a fair amount of cash, but it's worth it. And if you are lucky you will visit during one of their very good sales, where prices can be as much as 50 percent off.
What to pay: $200-900
There are a number of Marshall's located throughout the United States. Since this is one my wife shops quite frequently and one we stopped at in the City of Chicago last night I thought it would be good to put down a couple of my own thoughts.
Marshall's along with its retail twin T.J. Maxx is a place to find decent clothing, shoes, homegoods, etc at a very decent price. They are always bringing in a lot of new merchandise so going to these stores, even every couple of weeks, and you may find a lot of new and different merchandise.
Most of the items of clothing are not the latest designer styles, but in the few instances where I actually tag along to shop I will find a number of either last season or past season items from men's designers like Kenneth Cole. Last night they had a really nice Italian made brand shirt that is normally listed at $180, but at Marshall's was $60. I wasn't in the market for a shirt, but if I was this was a real buy.
What to buy: Hours at this store were:
Sunday - 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Monday through Saturday - 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
What to pay: Look at the Clearance Racks for some really good deals.
This store is my weakness! They sell a lot of European labels and really timeless pretty things. They carry a ton of Three Dots, some Vera Wang, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Mint, Inhabit, and they have amazing jewelry. They are also next door to Jake--a fashion forward boutique for guys and girls, and a bunch of other boutiques.
What to buy: Chicago has some of the best neighborhood shopping--each area catering to a certain demographic. Wicker Park attracts a youthful, fashion forward, hipster--both budget conscious and big spenders. Oak street has luxury label shopping and is home to the designer shops like Prada, Gucci, Chanel. Lincoln Park serves preppier college students and yuppies, while nearby Lakeview has grungy thrift shopping just blocks from upscale Southport boutiqueville. The recently developing West Loop also hides some incredible fashion forward shops for big spenders with discerning taste. There's something for everyone in this city--you just have to travel away from the Mag Mile!
What to pay: Anywhere from thrift store cheap to sky's the limit. My favorite shop, Tula, has prices that range from $50--$500.
Once the cozy home of a neighborhood pharmacy, Isabella's is a tiny storefront jammed with goodies. The entire left wall of the store remains floor-to-ceiling drawers and display cases. Cabinets now showcase mannequins, limited-edition underwear lithographs, and drawers and drawers of panties, bras, thongs, and G-strings. Those in the know enter the store and head straight for the bins to plow through the latest styles loosely organized by brand.
What to buy: What makes Isabellas such a shopper's paradise is that every single piece was researched and hand-picked from the highest-quality French, Italian, and American designers for class and comfort. This is the shop I go to for special evenings with my husband. They have a wonderful selection of items that are both pretty and comfortable. I recently bought some pieces by Cosa Bella and Honey Dew.
The rumor is that actress Julia Roberts shops here when she is in town.
What to pay: A little more than VS- but it is worth it!
Kelly and Elizabeth not only design women's clothes under the Eskell name, they run this boutique too, showcasing their own clothes as well as designs by other up-and-coming independent designers. The look of the store is really striking--kind of a mix of western vintage. I especially love the antlers that double as a necklace rack. They also carry a selection of vintage items, such as cowboy boots and Victorian blouses. Check the address before you go, as they might be moving soon.
What to pay: $150-400
This is a store for the girly-girl in you--very feminine, beautiful clothes. Lines include Nanette Lepore and Trina Turk. Think of a higher-quality, non-chain-store version of Anthropologie. They've been around for quite a while, so I don't know why they don't have a website. Don't let that stop you--this is a beautiful shop.
What to pay: It's not cheap here--think $200-500.
In the last ten years, so many cool and unique clothing and accessories boutiques have sprung up all over the city. No longer do Chicagoans need to go to New York or Los Angeles to find cutting-edge fashion by both well-known names and independent designers. We've got it all right here.
As a fashion writer, I've watched these changes close-up over the last ten years, writing about new boutiques all over the city and suburbs and getting to know many of the owners personally. Now I've launched a personalized shopping tour service to introduce visitors to boutiques they might not otherwise know about. I create custom tours for individuals or groups to visit the clothing and accessories boutiques I know they'll love based on their preferences--whether they want to see funky and avant-garde fashion or prefer to see more classic, elegant styles. Read more about me and the services at my website, www.heatherkenny.com, and please get in touch if you're interested in an insider's shopping tour! In the meantime, see below for some of my favorite stores.
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