Apartment Number 9 Owner Sarah Blessing Shares Her Favorite Things

Here are ten essential products this men’s boutique owner loves.

Sarah Blessing

Photography: (rug) Ratko Radojcic; (all others) Anna Knott
 

It’s been 12 years since Sarah Blessing, 39, joined forces with her sister Amy to open one of the coolest men’s stores in the Midwest: Apartment Number 9.

The Bucktown boutique, which has an inviting modern boys’ club vibe, with worn-in leather chairs and walnut shelving against crisp white walls, was one of the first to introduce Chicago guys to hip designers such as Paul Smith, Rag & Bone, and Martin Margiela. Recently the store also launched an e-commerce site that offers designer profiles and style tips in addition to clothes.

Blessing’s idea of a well-dressed man is one who takes the time to find a look that’s his own. “Guys who have the best style pay attention to the fit and subtle details of a pant or jacket,” she says. “It can be a simple white shirt and a pair of great jeans, but it will always look very much his.” (Blessing’s calling card? A Fruit of the Loom men’s tank.)

The Mies van der Rohe–designed Gold Coast co-op that Blessing shares with her husband, Matthew Raino, who works in private equity, feels as understated as her shop. See below to take a look at her decor and fashion musts.

 

10 Things She Loves

VINTAGE NAPKIN RINGS

VINTAGE NAPKIN RINGS
“My father gives me one every year for Christmas—I have quite a collection now. They add a flair to each table setting at a dinner party.”

 

 

HARRY’S RAZOR

HARRY’S RAZOR ($10, Apartment Number 9, 1804 N. Damen Ave.)
“These are for men, but work great for women—and they look nicer in the bathroom than most razors.”

 

 

BALENCIAGA TENNIS SHOES

BALENCIAGA TENNIS SHOES ($515, Barneys New York, 15 E. Oak St.)
“All-leather sneakers are great for looking stylish while feeling comfortable.”

 

 

GEORG JENSEN FLATWARE

GEORG JENSEN FLATWARE ($1,400 for five-piece set, Georg Jensen, 959 N. Michigan Ave.)
“The simple beauty and scale of each piece makes me happy.”

 

 

TERRY LIP BALM

TERRY LIP BALM ($60, Barneys New York)
“I’m a lip gloss connoisseur, and this one is the perfect subtle pink.”

 

 

TWINE COLLECTION

TWINE COLLECTION
“I pile all types—baker’s twine, hemp, crochet rolls—in wire baskets for decor and for wrapping gifts.”

 

 

DISH TOWELS

DISH TOWELS ($20 for set of four, similar styles, Williams-Sonoma, 1550 N. Fremont St.)
“I love simple cotton styles. I try not to use paper towels, so having a big selection in the kitchen is important.”

 

 

FRUIT OF THE LOOM MEN’S TANK

FRUIT OF THE LOOM MEN’S TANK ($12 for five-pack, Target, 1154 S. Clark St.)
“I wear them under almost everything—I have packs on hand because I like them brand-new.”

 

 

BOTTEGA VENETA WAIST PACK

BOTTEGA VENETA WAIST PACK ($1,390, Bottega Veneta, 800 N. Michigan Ave.)
“I love the shape. It’s actually a men’s item—a luxe fanny pack. So practical for traveling.”

 

 

VINTAGE MOROCCAN RUG

VINTAGE MOROCCAN RUG
“I’m crazy about the color. I usually don’t use a lot of color when I decorate—or dress—but I love this rug.”
 

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