Shopping in Lincoln Park

Flickr Credit:wjcordier

As the yuppie capital of Chicago, Lincoln Park is retail heaven. Boutiques and high end stores line the streets of Halsted and Armitage. So, if you’re looking for good shopping here’s our road map.

Start at Halsted and Belden and head South down Halsted meandering in and out of the shops until you hit Armitage, where you’ll hang a right and walk West until you just can’t think there can be anymore fabulous stores in a 10-block radius. Though retail here tends to change often — rent raises and shops must vacate — we’ll try and keep it up to date. Here’s a run-down of what you’ll see.

Barney’s Co-op — I am in love with the sales people at Barney’s Co-op on Halsted. If I could take one home with me and stuff ’em in my closet and enslave them as my personal stylist, I would. Though the Jeans Bar is across the street, I tend to go to Barney’s when I want a new pair of jeans that I am prepared to spend some dough on. But, I can go in there and say I want a pair of dark-skinny-jeans-that-aren’t-too-skinny-just-a-little-skinnier-than-straight-leg-that-aren’t-tooo-dark and are under $200, they will find that pair. I always try and pick a few pairs out myself, and then they say, how about these? I frown, take them anyway, try them on, and those are the ones I end up purchasing. They’ve got all the other fabulous things Barney’s carries as well, so it’s a little pricey, but look out for good sales.

The Blue Jeans Bar — It’s literally that, a jean bar. You go to the bar and an expert jeans salesperson will help you choose jeans that fit what you’re looking for, and they’ll grab your size. It’s all designer here, so probably only make a visit if you’re prepared to splurge.

Fox’s — They’ve got what they call “Designer Apparel at Off-Prices”. Similar to a Marshall’s or T.J. Maxx, the place has a lot of specials and sales, so look out for those.

Metro Park — Though it’s not a completely unique boutique (they have about 20 locations across the country), it’s the only one you’ll find outside the suburban malls. This place looks a little intimidating at first, but it’s a fantastic boutique if you like things a little edgier, darker, or even a bit grungy. But don’t mistake that for cheap. It’s not. The only problem I have with it is the salespeople obviously heavily rely on commission, because they will not stop hounding you when shopping.

BCBG, Bebe, Arden B, Club Monaco, Rock & Republic, American Apparel, United Colors of Benetton, Polo Rugby — Nothing that unique here, but nice staples to have in the neighborhood. If you don’t know enough about these stores already, you probably live in a hole.

Francesca’s — I was crushed when I found out a couple years ago that Francesca’s wasn’t truly a Chicago boutique. Even so, every time I go in there it still feels like a local boutique, a place where I can find unique jewelry and clothing that no one else will have. Sales staff is nice and there is just something about a store that isn’t uptight and neurotic about their dressing rooms. You simply just go on in and try your things on, no counting or name asking involved. They also have some kitschy things like greeting cards and little toys, so if you’re shopping with that friend who takes forever, you’ll have some stuff to play with. There’s also a location on Southport near Addison.

Aldo Shoes & Nine West — Nice to have reliable chains when you just want another pair of black peep-toe pumps, but check out Lori’s for a real shoe shopping experience.

Lori’s — Their tagline is the “Sole of Chicago,” and even though they only have one downtown location, I’ll go ahead and agree. You can go to Aldo or Nine West, but why would you when Lori’s has a greater variety of shoes and great accessories and handbags to boot? They always have great sales lining the outer walls organized by size, but the inside current fashions are where its at. They also have a great selection of purses and accessories. As a frequent Lori’s customer, I’ve found great basic clutches and earrings. They also have tights and spanx and all those other great things women want and need. They have only two other locations in suburbs Highland Park and Northfield.

Intermix — Very trendy and very expensive. You’re likely to gush over many things and leave with nothing. Great designer selection and mostly helpful sales staff.

Out of the West — Lots of jeans and unique jewelry. Friendly sales staff. The place has been around forever, though it’s moved a few times. Though it can be pricey, they have quality shoes and clothes, and look out for fun cowboy boots here, too.

Art Effect — The reason Art Effect has survived in a neighborhood of always changing real estate is its unique offerings. They offer everything from clothing to accessories to home decorations to bath and body products. This is a fantastic place to go looking for gifts. You could spend an hour in Art Effect and have meant to spend 15 minutes.

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Tessa McLean

About Tessa McLean

There is just something about that feeling when you have been away — maybe for a weekend, a month, 6 months — and you’re driving into Chicago and that first glimpse of the city skyline appears. It just always makes me smile.

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