Top 10 Independent Shops: Wicker Park
Once an indie rock hotbed, now a boutique bonanza, there's lots of hip shopping in this ‘hood.
Lindsey Boland’s boutique showcases original handmade clothes and accessories from about 50 up-and-coming designers (such as Suzabelle, Alisha Alderman and She-Bible), half of them local—including selections from her own line, Superficial Inc. 1951 W Division St at Damen Ave (773-342-0093). El: Blue to Division. Bus: 50 Damen, 70, Division. Tue–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Shopping this wide, airy space is like walking the aisles of a pristine gallery of fantastically stylish men’s and women’s clothing, modern art and architecture books and housewares. Look for breathtakingly creative (albeit exceedingly pricey) designs by Opening Ceremony, Nice Collective and Comme des Garcons to whisk you from dinner at Rodan to an avant-garde photography opening. Sign up for the shop’s mailing list to stay posted about occasional events showcasing local artists. 1529 N Milwaukee Ave between Honore St and Damen Ave (773-772-0002). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72.Tue–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm.
This sample-sale-turned-brick-and-mortar-boutique features sample and overstock apparel marked 40 to 90 percent off original retail prices. Just imagine: You can walk away with a bag full of goodies by designers like Rory Becca, Alice Roi and Ulla Johnson without a guilt complex. 2016 W Concord Pl between Damen and Milwaukee Aves (773-276-0905). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Thu, Fri 11am–5:30pm; Sat 11am–5pm; Sun noon–5pm.
This charming shop is known for stocking tiny designer labels, many from New York’s hippest enclaves. The standout line in the boutique, though, is co-owners Kelly Whitesell and Elizabeth Del Castillo’s, which is also named Eskell and was featured at last year’s Fashion Focus. The duo has also recently started organizing designer sample sales. 1509 N Milwaukee Ave between Honore St and North Ave (773-486-0830). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Tue–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun 11am–5pm.
Even if you don’t have the cash to drop (and you’ll need plenty of it, here), stop by this tactile store for inspiration alone. Sculptural, multilayered clothing hangs from the racks like objects of art among the French antique fixtures adorning the walls. 2108 N Damen Ave between Charleston St and Dickens Ave (773-278-6150). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Tue–Sat 11am–6pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Joe Lauer and Jena Frey’s boutique carries cute, uniquely cut garments, shoes and accessories with a touch of mod (think Grandma meets the Beatles) for men and women. The shop is one of the few in the city to offer a large selection of French cult label APC. 1913 W Division St between Wolcott and Damen Aves (773-395-2351). El: Blue to Division. Bus: 9 Ashland, 70 Division. Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm.
This off-the-beaten-path vintage shop stocks plenty of looks from the “Me Decade” and beyond, but ten percent of the merchandise is new items by local designers such as screenprinted T-shirts and scarves by Kiyomi Kimble. All resale items are under $100, including a large selection of cowboy boots. 1112 N Ashland Ave at Haddon Ave (773-252-6996). El: Blue to Division. Bus: 9 Ashland, 70 Division. Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm.
Shoppers get an education on each collection at this boutique. The rustic space features racks of clothes separated by designer, each accompanied by a wall-mounted biography. So you’ll learn that Liz McClean’s floaty tunic dresses ($315) are hand-dyed in Brooklyn, and that Collection K’s soft alpaca sweater coats ($258) are a hit in their native Paris. 2035 N Damen Ave between McLean and Dickens Aves (773-489-1311). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Tue–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Una Mae’s Freak Boutique
The main floor here houses a hipster-chic selection of menswear and womenswear (skinny jeans, jumpers and adorable jackets) with a vintage flair, but wind your way up the spiral staircase to the second floor to find the real-deal moth collectors. Don’t miss the jewelry case, a treasure trove of cheap costume jewels like faux gold bangles and lockets. 1528 N Milwaukee Ave between Honore St and North Ave (773-276-7002). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Fri noon–8pm; Sat 11am–8pm; Sun noon–7pm.
The ladies who launched the first Renegade Craft Fair a handful of years ago took the fair to the next level by opening this full-scale boutique. Look for fair favorites such as twee plush pastries, stationery goods and screenprinted tea towels. 1924 W Division St at Winchester St (773-227-2707). El: Blue to Divison. Bus: 50 Damen, 70 Division. Daily 11am–7pm.
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