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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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1. Neapolitan

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

2. Chalk Boutique

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2611 Prairie
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 424-0011
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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

3. Merz Apothecary

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4716 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 989-0900
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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

4. Architectural Artifacts

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4325 N Ravenswood
Chicago, IL
(773) 348-0622
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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

5. AKIRA

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662 W. Diversey Pkwy.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 327-1700
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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

6. Art Effect

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934 W. Armitage
Chicago, IL
(773) 929-3600
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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

7. Lori's Shoes

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824 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 281-5655
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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

8. Robin Richman

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2108 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 278-6150
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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

9. Edith Hart

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1917 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-3350
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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

10. Rsvp Gallery

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1753 N Damen
Chicago, Illinois
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

11. Apartment No 9

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1804 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647
This men's shop—run, incidentally, by women with impeccable taste— carries brands like Rag & Bone and Paul Smith. Photo: via ApartmentNumber9.com

12. Stitch

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1723 N Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 782-1570
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Specializing in well-made leather goods, the shop also has gift-worthy goods ranging from perfume to wine decanters. Photo: via Stitchchicago.com

13. P.45

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1643 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 862-4523
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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

14. Greer

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1657 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 337-8000
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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

15. Luxury Garage Sale

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1658 N Wells
Chicago, IL 60614
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

16. Trillium

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1744 W. Division
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 698-8162
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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

17. Penelope's

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1913 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 395-2351
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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

18. Sir & Madame

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938 N. Damen
Chicago, IL 60622
With a vibe described as "classic with a twist," Sir & Madame stocks vintage-inspired apparel for men and women. Photo: via Sir & Madame

19. George Greene

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47 E Oak St
Chicago, IL 60611
One of Oak Street's pioneering menswear stores, George Green stocks high-end brands such as Kiton and Yohji Yamamoto. Photo: via George Green

20. Dovetail

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1452 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 508-3398
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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

21. Blake

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212 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 202-0047
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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

22. Elements

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741 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 642-6574
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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

23. Luminaire

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301 W. Superior St.
Chicago, IL
(312) 664-9582
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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

24. Ikram

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15 E Huron St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 587-1000
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The glossy red exterior offers an appropriately dramatic facade for this world-renowned boutique, which offers women's couture. Photo: via Ikram

25. P.O.S.H.

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

26. Haberdash

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607 N State St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 624-8551
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The local mini-chain has a clean, dapper aesthetic. It stocks luxury sportswear and tailored suits. Photo: courtesy of Haberdash

27. Morlen Sinoway

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1052 West Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 432-0100
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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

28. Primitive

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130 N Jefferson St
Chicago, Illinois 60661
(312) 575-9600
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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

29. Florodora

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330 S Dearborn St
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312) 212-8860
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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

30. Randolph Street Market

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1340 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 666-1200
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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

31. Sofia

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100 East Walton
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 640-0878
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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

32. LuLu's On The Avenue

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900 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
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

33. space519

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900 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 751-1519
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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

34. Ruby Room, The Style of Wellness

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1743-45 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 235-2323
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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

35. Anastasia Atelier/Boutique

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1001 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
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

36. Dose Market

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2033 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647
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

37. Asrai Garden

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1935 W. North
Chicago, IL
(773) 782-0680
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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

38. 57th Street Books

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1301 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1300
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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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1. Neapolitan

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

2. Chalk Boutique

2611 Prairie, Evanston, IL 60201
The Evanston women's shop gains frequent mentions in national fashion magazines, and champions rising designers such as Mathieu Mirano. Photo: via Chalk
2611 Prairie
Evanston, IL 60201

3. Merz Apothecary

4716 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625
Founded in 1857, the old-world-style apothecary stocks lotions, potions, and beauty products from international labels. Photo: via Merz Apothecary
4716 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625

4. Architectural Artifacts

4325 N Ravenswood, Chicago, IL
This warehouse space is an odd wonderland filled with architectural salvage— think castle doors and carousel horses. Photo: via Architectural Artifacts
4325 N Ravenswood
Chicago, IL

5. AKIRA

662 W. Diversey Pkwy., Chicago, IL 60614
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
662 W. Diversey Pkwy.
Chicago, IL 60614

6. Art Effect

934 W. Armitage, Chicago, IL
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
934 W. Armitage
Chicago, IL

7. Lori's Shoes

824 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
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
824 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614

8. Robin Richman

2108 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60647
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
2108 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647

9. Edith Hart

1917 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622