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Announcing The Editor's Choice for the 2013 Racked Awards

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On October 10, we'll announce the winners of our third annual Racked Awards, which celebrate the brightest and the best in retail and cover categories ranging from menswear to beauty. On the night the winners are announced, we'll host a splashy bash in New York and dole out the coveted Golden Turbans. But first, we have four remaining categories—and so-deserving nominees—to announce.

First up: beauty shops. Though there are some gorgeous, gleaming counters in department stores these days, we limited our search to freestanding stores that sling above-par products. Our picks range from Lincoln Square's Merz Apothecary, which is seeped in Old-World charm, to the always on-trend Ulta, which boasts a gorgeous new West Loop location. Bucktown's Ruby Room is in a class of its own for healing vibes and unusual finds (gem and essence bar, anyone?), while Arch Apothecary's Old Town shop is stocked with top-of-the-line products and staffed with true beauty pros. Also on the list: Bluemercury, where there's a palpable enthusiasm for all things beauty.

We also took a look at Chicago's home stores, and singled out a few that elevate the art of nesting. In Lincoln Park, Jayson Home makes design snobs weak in the knees, while Pilsen's Modern Co-Operative expertly mixes high and low with cheeky and refined. In Andersonville, Scout gives antiques a modern, cozy edge, and it's impossible not to be charmed by the vintage French wares at P.O.S.H. in River North. Finally, we hereby nod to Salvage One, where reclaimed carousel horses coexist with turn-of-the-century bars and more delightful curiosities.

Chicago loves to party, and the city's foremost fashion events have a prominent place in Racked Nation's communal day planner. Fashion Focus: Chicago's Fashion Week is a citywide celebration of local fashion, while Macy's glitzy Glamorama highlights fall trends and features big-name celebrities. The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival has diverse programming that ranges from in-store events to cooking demos, while the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's "The Walk" features a beautifully produced fashion show and has lured big-name attendees such as Jenna Lyons. Columbia College Chicago also puts on quite the fete with its Fashion Chicago, which includes a top-notch, juried runway show.

To research our final category, we went to market. Chicago's vibrant collection of homegrown markets includes the gorgeously curated Dose, which became weekly and got a new home this year, and the perennial food-fan-fave: Green City Market. The Randolph Street Market offers a gobsmacking array of vintage goods, while the Renegade Craft Fair is a D.I.Y.-lover's dream. And finally, Fête Chicago is a lovely nighttime affair that centers on a thoughtful array of food and design.

These editor's choice award winners will be chosen, naturally, by Racked editors; three of our previous category-winners were decided by you the people. The winners for best Chicago menswear store, new store, and buzzin' "What's So Hot Right Now" category will also be announced on October 10.


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