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Announcing: The 38 Most Essential Chicago Shops, Summer 2011

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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

For the first time ever, we're announcing The Racked 38 - our picks for the most essential shops in Chicago. And by "the most essential" we mean in all aspects and areas - the creme de la creme and fabulous places to spend your money along with the shops that are the best at what they do because of their location, selection, or significance in the community. The Racked 38 is a mix of small neighborhood charm, designer, and bargain basement. For our loyal readers, we've scavenged the trenches in the most dangerous ghettos and licked the sidewalks of the glittery Gold Coast to find you the widest array of shopping experiences that represent Chicago retail.

Like what you see? Or think we've lost our marbles and one of our picks shouldn't have made the cut? Or maybe we didn't include your favorite? Think about leaving a comment - the Racked 38 Quarterly Update is right around the corner and we will definitely possibly maybe be switching up the rankings depending on your input.

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Robin Richman

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Gamma Player

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Haberdash

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Merz Apothecary

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Aaron's Apothecary

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Akira Footwear, Bucktown

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Workshop

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Transistor

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The Modern Shop

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Room Service Chicago

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Post 27

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Penelope's

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p+L boutique

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Luminaire

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LeDress

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June Blaker

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Syd Jerome Men's Wear

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Elements

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Dovetail

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Fix Boutique

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Bonnie and Clyde's

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Cynthia Rowley

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Cerato Boutique

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Apartment Number 9

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American Science & Surplus

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Architectual Artifacts

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Agga B

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Veruca Salt

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Chalk Boutique

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Mark Shale

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Robin Richman

Gamma Player

Haberdash

Merz Apothecary

Aaron's Apothecary

Akira Footwear, Bucktown

Workshop

Transistor

The Modern Shop

Shrine

Sarca