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