clock menu more-arrow no yes
Photo: Madewell
Photo: Madewell

Your Ultimate Guide to Shopping for Denim in Chicago

View as Map
Photo: Madewell

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.

If there are three staples that make the American Dream, they're jeans, the white t-shirt and red lipstick. And each dream pair of jeans is individual; oozing personality in cut, wash and treatment, and the material itself. From raw Japanese Denim to cotton stretch blends each pair of jeans rides, sits or slouches your body differently. The possibilities are endless. On the North Shore your choices are pretty much limited to E Street on the high-end, which operates three boutiques, or the malls which are overrun with strollers. But shopping for denim in this big city, much like the like searching for the American Dream can be daunting. So in order to help you out at grabbing the perfect pair we've narrowed Chicago's shopping options for denim to ten great shops and placed them neatly into a map for your shopping pleasure.


Read More

1. The Denim Lounge

Copy Link
2039 W Roscoe St.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 935-2820
Visit Website
The Denim Lounge is a fairly recent addition to Roscoe but still provides the full service that the company has built their decade-long reputation on Oak Street with. Shop Hudson, True Religion, Rock and Republic, 1921, AG, Citizens of Humanity, J Brand, Paige Premium, Joe's, Ella Moss and Splendid.

2. Joes Jeans

Copy Link
1715 N Damen Av
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-1715
Visit Website
Joe's is one of the only one-brand boutiques specializing in denim (other than Levi's) after Adriano Goldschmied closed in 2011. Joe's is known for pioneering the concept of body-specific fits and modernizing classic favorites.

3. Mildblend

Copy Link
1342 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-9711
Visit Website
Mildblend is well-known for their "difficult" gift card policy and that shoplifting flash mob that made news in 2011. What they'd rather be known for is their huge selection of denim and specialty in Japanese denim. Brands include Momotaro by Japan Blue, Naked and Famous, Nudie, as well as their ability to tailor your new jeans on-site and repair extra-loved jeans.

4. City Blue Apparel and Denim

Copy Link
1444 N Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 664-2222
Visit Website
Tucked away in cubbies are the latest styles handpicked by Mallory Ulaszek, who also maintains a presence on the North Shore; CB. Shop brands like William Rast Splendid, Seven, Rich and Skinny.

5. Denim Lounge

Copy Link
43 E Oak St.
Chicago, IL 60611
The original home of the butt cam, a camera that allows you to check out your butt in your jeans to see how great you look. And that is exactly what Denim Lounge prides itself on--fit. The shop specializes in hard to find sizes and covers the gamut when it comes to fit, making this pretty much the best place in town to find denim.

6. Madewell

Copy Link
932 Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-3815
Visit Website
Madewell just opened earlier this month but it's not hard to see that the denim here rivals that of Levi's--only more feminine. What would you expect from a brand with its soul rooted in workwear?

7. Bloomingdale's

Copy Link
900 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 440-4460
Visit Website
We're pretty happy With Diesel on Rush Street and Allsaints on Michigan Avenue but inside Bloomingdales you'll find both--and a whole lot more. There's tons of brands like Alice + Olivia, Rag&Bone, True Religion, NYDJ, J Brand, Helmut Lang all in one place that make comparison shopping tons easier.

8. AllSaints Spitalfields

Copy Link
700 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 283-0400
Visit Website
When Allsaints opened on Michigan Avenue the denim aficionados and cool kids rejoiced. The washes are dark and untraditional and use specific techniques like resin coating to create the 'Allsaints look'. Styles are more forward than other brands and the prices reflect that.

9. Levi's Store

Copy Link
600 N Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 642-9613
Visit Website
This location for the classic San Franciscan brand was once the shining star on Michigan Avenue. With large plastic sheets and projections, sliding walls and dressing room lighting that would make anything look good. It has since shrunk in size, giving its other half to Ann Taylor, but condensing its stock to make shopping less confusing.

10. Nordstrom

Copy Link
55 E Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 464-1515
Visit Website
Basically everything you want to find you'll get here in the Women's department on Three. Shop skinny, bootcut, boyfriend in any wash or pre-tattered look possible. Brands include Citizens of Humanity, J Brand, Paige Denim, 7 For All Mankind, AG, Hudson, Marc by Marc Jacobs and more.

1. The Denim Lounge

2039 W Roscoe St., Chicago, IL 60618
The Denim Lounge is a fairly recent addition to Roscoe but still provides the full service that the company has built their decade-long reputation on Oak Street with. Shop Hudson, True Religion, Rock and Republic, 1921, AG, Citizens of Humanity, J Brand, Paige Premium, Joe's, Ella Moss and Splendid.
2039 W Roscoe St.
Chicago, IL 60618

2. Joes Jeans

1715 N Damen Av, Chicago, IL 60647
Joe's is one of the only one-brand boutiques specializing in denim (other than Levi's) after Adriano Goldschmied closed in 2011. Joe's is known for pioneering the concept of body-specific fits and modernizing classic favorites.
1715 N Damen Av
Chicago, IL 60647

3. Mildblend

1342 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Mildblend is well-known for their "difficult" gift card policy and that shoplifting flash mob that made news in 2011. What they'd rather be known for is their huge selection of denim and specialty in Japanese denim. Brands include Momotaro by Japan Blue, Naked and Famous, Nudie, as well as their ability to tailor your new jeans on-site and repair extra-loved jeans.
1342 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

4. City Blue Apparel and Denim

1444 N Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60610
Tucked away in cubbies are the latest styles handpicked by Mallory Ulaszek, who also maintains a presence on the North Shore; CB. Shop brands like William Rast Splendid, Seven, Rich and Skinny.
1444 N Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60610

5. Denim Lounge

43 E Oak St., Chicago, IL 60611
The original home of the butt cam, a camera that allows you to check out your butt in your jeans to see how great you look. And that is exactly what Denim Lounge prides itself on--fit. The shop specializes in hard to find sizes and covers the gamut when it comes to fit, making this pretty much the best place in town to find denim.
43 E Oak St.
Chicago, IL 60611

6. Madewell

932 Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611
Madewell just opened earlier this month but it's not hard to see that the denim here rivals that of Levi's--only more feminine. What would you expect from a brand with its soul rooted in workwear?
932 Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611

7. Bloomingdale's

900 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
We're pretty happy With Diesel on Rush Street and Allsaints on Michigan Avenue but inside Bloomingdales you'll find both--and a whole lot more. There's tons of brands like Alice + Olivia, Rag&Bone, True Religion, NYDJ, J Brand, Helmut Lang all in one place that make comparison shopping tons easier.
900 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

8. AllSaints Spitalfields

700 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
When Allsaints opened on Michigan Avenue the denim aficionados and cool kids rejoiced. The washes are dark and untraditional and use specific techniques like resin coating to create the 'Allsaints look'. Styles are more forward than other brands and the prices reflect that.
700 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

9. Levi's Store

600 N Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
This location for the classic San Franciscan brand was once the shining star on Michigan Avenue. With large plastic sheets and projections, sliding walls and dressing room lighting that would make anything look good. It has since shrunk in size, giving its other half to Ann Taylor, but condensing its stock to make shopping less confusing.
600 N Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

10. Nordstrom

55 E Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
Basically everything you want to find you'll get here in the Women's department on Three. Shop skinny, bootcut, boyfriend in any wash or pre-tattered look possible. Brands include Citizens of Humanity, J Brand, Paige Denim, 7 For All Mankind, AG, Hudson, Marc by Marc Jacobs and more.
55 E Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611