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 Photo: Courtesy of Dose Market
Photo: Courtesy of Dose Market

The 38 Essential Chicago Shopping Experiences, Winter 2014

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Photo: Courtesy of Dose Market

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It's a new year, and you know what that means: it's time to update the Racked 38. Because the city of big shoulders is always getting bigger, we update our list of quintessential Chicago stores once a quarter, suggesting new places for you to demonstrate your purchasing power. Our newly revamped guide has some exciting new additions, including Anastasia Chatzka (we heard you loud and clear, Anastasia fans!), 57th Street Books, Merz Apothecary, Asrai Garden, and the Dose and Randolph Street Markets.

So, listen: It's impossible to sum up every. single. Chicago. store that rocks—that would be a list of more than 380 stores (and a little tedious to read, right?) But, we strive to give a strong sampling of the best of the best, in a handy north-to-south guide that will have you skipping from trendy stores to old-fashioned apothecaries and more. We'll update again later this year, and we're always looking for reader input. State your cases for (or against) stores in the comments or email the tipline: chicago@racked.com.



1/23/2014: Added: Anastasia Chatzka, Dose Market, Randolph Street Market, Merz Apothecary, Asrai Garden, 57th Street Books

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Neapolitan

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This Winnetka gem houses some of the world’s leading luxury designers, such as Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen. Photo: Courtesy of Neapolitan

Chalk Boutique

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The Evanston women's shop gains frequent mentions in national fashion magazines, and champions rising designers such as Mathieu Mirano. Photo: via Chalk

Merz Apothecary

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Founded in 1857, the old-world-style apothecary stocks lotions, potions, and beauty products from international labels. Photo: via Merz Apothecary

Architectural Artifacts

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This warehouse space is an odd wonderland filled with architectural salvage— think castle doors and carousel horses. Photo: via Architectural Artifacts
This homegrown hero, which slings affordable, on-trend fashion and accessories, started as a single storefront in Wicker Park. Now, it's up to 17 locations. Photo: via Akira

Art Effect

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The Lincoln Park boutique has been standing for nearly 30 years. Its winsome inventory ranges from dresses to fox-shaped salt shakers. Photo: via Art Effect

Lori's Shoes

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This Chicago legend stocks women's kicks from brands like Frye and Dolce Vita; its staffers are well-versed in current trends. Photo: via Lori's

Robin Richman

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What began as a showcase for hand-knit sweaters has grown into a hallowed source of edgy, international clothing and accessories. Photo: via Robin Richman

Edith Hart

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The sumptuously decorated spot stocks women's clothing and accessories from the likes of Paper Crown and Wildfox. Photo: via Edith Hart

Rsvp Gallery

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Billed as Chicago's answer to Paris shop Colette, this has an under-the-radar feel and envelope-pushing fashion for both sexes. Photo: via RSVP Gallery

Apartment No 9

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This men's shop—run, incidentally, by women with impeccable taste— carries brands like Rag & Bone and Paul Smith. Photo: via ApartmentNumber9.com
Specializing in well-made leather goods, the shop also has gift-worthy goods ranging from perfume to wine decanters. Photo: via Stitchchicago.com
Standing since 1997, this women's shop has a tightly edited collection of emerging and established designers— think 10 Crosby Derek Lam and Alasdair. Photo: via p.45
With an emphasis on luxury paper goods, this Old Town shop also has charming gifts like printed coasters and vintage-style cuff links. Photo: via Greer

Luxury Garage Sale

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Initially a pop-up shop for high-end consignment, Luxury Garage Sale's pretty, brick-and-mortar store stocks Chanel bags, Matthew Williamson skirts, and vintage baubles. Photo: via Luxury Garage Sale

Trillium

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Owner Erica Cook stocks her sunny shop with on-trend dresses, accessories and layering pieces for women—and a few items for the boys. Photo: via Trillium

Penelope's

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Owned by a husband-and-wife duo, Penelope's stocks clothing for men and women from indie lines such Rachel Comey. Also: there are store pugs. Photo: via Penelope's

Sir & Madame

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With a vibe described as "classic with a twist," Sir & Madame stocks vintage-inspired apparel for men and women. Photo: via Sir & Madame

George Greene

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One of Oak Street's pioneering menswear stores, George Green stocks high-end brands such as Kiton and Yohji Yamamoto. Photo: via George Green

Dovetail

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The adroitly curated shop in West Town has mint-condition vintage alongside made-in-Chicago accessories and apothecary items. Photo: via Dovetail
Housed in the historic Chicago Avenue Post Office, the minimal store has the Chicago exclusive on several cream-of-the-crop designers—and a celeb-studded clientele. Photo: via Blake

Elements

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Gorgeous, high-end home goods fill this Wells Street shop, and we love that owners describe the inventory as a collection of "unrivaled surprises." Examples? Parisian rain gloves and rainbow-hued highball glasses. Photo: via Elements

Luminaire

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Occupying a timber loft in River North's gallery district, the arty shop specializes in contemporary home design from international artists. Photo: via Luminaire
The glossy red exterior offers an appropriately dramatic facade for this world-renowned boutique, which offers women's couture. Photo: via Ikram

P.O.S.H.

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The charming State Street store stocks home goods sourced from estate sales and French flea markets. Photo: via P.O.S.H.

Haberdash

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The local mini-chain has a clean, dapper aesthetic. It stocks luxury sportswear and tailored suits. Photo: courtesy of Haberdash

Morlen Sinoway

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With a focus on international wares, the artful shop stocks home accessories, limited-edition jewelry, custom furniture, and more. Photo: Courtesy of Morlen Sinoway

Primitive

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Like a museum of worldly artifacts, this 31,000-square-foot loft stocks large-scale curiosities from Asia, Africa, South America and more. Photo: via Primitive

Florodora

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In a historic Loop building, this shop stocks vintage-inspired, wearable threads from brands like Yoana Baraschi. Next door, Florodora Shoes has unique kicks from international designers. Photo: via Florodora

Randolph Street Market

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Billed as the country's largest urban antique markets, the monthly shopping experience offers antiques, indie designers, and cool oddities like a Nude Sketch Parlor for Valentine's Day. Photo: via Randolph Street Market/ Facebook
The Gold Coast boutique has a cool, Bohemian vibe. With an in-house line of buttery soft basics, the shop also sells goods from Gypsy 05, Hunter Dixon, and more. Photo: via Sofia

LuLu's On The Avenue

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Vintage expert—and fabulous personality—Laurie Davis operates this jewel box of a shop. The store offers party dresses from the 1920s, chandelier earrings from the 1960s, and handbags from local designer Laudi Vidni. Photo: Barry Brecheisen for PureWow.com

space519

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Billed as a "refined general store," Space519 is a study in good taste. Expect top-of-the-line beauty products, apparel and accessories from designers like Rachel Comey and Shorouk. Photo: Courtesy of Space519

Ruby Room, The Style of Wellness

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The Bucktown temple of positive vibes has a completely unique setup, combining an inn with a salon, spa, and a top-notch beauty shop. Photo: Courtesy of the Ruby Room

Anastasia Atelier/Boutique

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The local designer crafts feminine, fashion-forward dresses in eye-catching colors. Also find unique jewelry, cutely printed undergarments, and cozy knits. Photo: via Anastasia Chatzka

Dose Market

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The exquisitely curated market stocks food and fashion—and it recently became a weekly event. It takes place every Sunday. Photo: via Facebook/ Dose Market

Asrai Garden

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The verdant flower shop feels like a hidden garden. Tucked amid the flowers, shoppers find beautifully designed home goods and sweetly scented apothecary items. Photo: via Asrai Garden

57th Street Books

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Hyde Park's hallowed neighborhood bookshop stocks nonfiction, cookbooks, kid's books, and more; the well-read staff is an added boon. Photo: via 57th Street Books

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Neapolitan

This Winnetka gem houses some of the world’s leading luxury designers, such as Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen. Photo: Courtesy of Neapolitan

Chalk Boutique

The Evanston women's shop gains frequent mentions in national fashion magazines, and champions rising designers such as Mathieu Mirano. Photo: via Chalk

Merz Apothecary

Founded in 1857, the old-world-style apothecary stocks lotions, potions, and beauty products from international labels. Photo: via Merz Apothecary

Architectural Artifacts

This warehouse space is an odd wonderland filled with architectural salvage— think castle doors and carousel horses. Photo: via Architectural Artifacts

AKIRA

This homegrown hero, which slings affordable, on-trend fashion and accessories, started as a single storefront in Wicker Park. Now, it's up to 17 locations. Photo: via Akira

Art Effect

The Lincoln Park boutique has been standing for nearly 30 years. Its winsome inventory ranges from dresses to fox-shaped salt shakers. Photo: via Art Effect