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Best of Chicago: Shopping & Style

Astor + Banks, Eskell, a Chicago Avenue gallery row, and more

Illustration: Gina Triplett

Wristwatches

Astor + Banks

Self-styled “watch nerd” Andrew Perez caught the bug while serving in the army and has been designing and hand-assembling timepieces since 2012. His limited-edition watches start at $1,250, feature Swiss quartz movement, and sell out quickly. In the works: a self-winding model with a mint-green dial. 320 N. Damen Ave., West Town, astorandbanks.com

Photo: Daniel Hojnacki

New Home Accessories Shop

Eskell

Making your apartment look like Instagram’s most bookmarked houses is easy when you’re choosing from the modern-boho furniture, lamps, textiles, ceramics, and shelf fillers in Eskell’s massive upgraded store, which opened earlier this year. 2029 N. Western Ave., Bucktown, eskell.com

Photo: Tom Van Eynde/Courtesy of Rhona Hoffman Gallery

New Gallery Row

Chicago Avenue from Ashland to Wood

This quiet stretch is the city’s new capital of highbrow culture. In addition to the iconic Rhona Hoffman Gallery (pictured), there’s a lively second-floor complex at 1709 West Chicago Avenue boasting four consistently innovative spaces — Western Exhibitions, Document, Volume Gallery, and Paris London Hong Kong — that both showcase established artists and uncover emerging stars. West Town

Tween Shop

Frankie’s on the Park

You really can have a shopping trip free of eye rolls with your 9- to 12-year-old. This Lincoln Park shop carries brands that are trendy, not trashy, such as flowery Me.N.U. rompers, distressed Blank NYC jeans, and cozy Autumn Cashmere pullovers. Tip: Bring in last year’s gear for a studded update at the Bling Bar. 2322 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park, frankiesonthepark.com

Rugs

Reza’s Rug Gallery

Call ahead and ask Reza Heidari to pull the sizes and colors you want from his soaring piles (and piles and piles) of antique handmade Turkish, Chinese, and Persian rugs, all immaculately restored. Or drop in and sip tea while you wait. 2131 N. Southport Ave., Lincoln Park, rezasruggallery.com

Vintage Store

Knee Deep Vintage

This airy shop packs in a century’s worth of beautifully curated new-to-you duds, arranged on the racks in a browsable rainbow. Outfit yourself head to toe in throwbacks, or unearth the perfect preloved bag or pair of jeans. 1219 W. 18th St., Pilsen, kneedeepvintage.com

New Bookstore

The Dial Bookshop

New bookstores don’t pop up often, but a new used-book store in a beautiful space with an impeccable selection by local authors? A rare bird indeed. 410 S. Michigan Ave., Loop, dialbookshop.com

DIY Duds

The Garment Creative

Designing your own clothes while drinking wine sounds like a recipe for regret. But these stylists will ensure you pick fabrics and trims that look profesh when they get to you. 2124 W. Division St., West Town, thegarmentcreative.com

Wedding Boutique

Honey Bridal

There’s plenty of cascading tulle at this year-old shop — but also black sequins, exposed gold zippers, and other idiosyncratic touches for the bride who’s more rock star than fairy princess. Gowns range from $1,800 to $8,000, but most fall in a sweet spot between $2,500 and $3,500. 5135 N. Clark St., Uptown, honey-bridal.com

Photo: Courtesy of String a Strand

Bead Shop

String a Strand on Wells

Consider a visit to this store a drug-free antidepressant: The Technicolor beads draped on the walls and filling the tables are a guaranteed mood lifter. Take a class, or design a bauble on your own. 1361 N. Wells St., Old Town, stringastrand.com

Photo: Nick Selgado

Place to Rent Fancy Clothes

By: Fashionaholic

Women sign up on years-long waiting lists to buy an Hermès Birkin bag. Now you can get a loaner. Blogger Janet Mandell is opening up her closet (and bringing in items from New York City) in what amounts to Rent the Runway on steroids: limited-edition Gucci bags, glittery Roberto Cavalli cocktail dresses, and citrus-bright Chanel suits, all of which you can borrow for between $250 and $600. $1,000 for a one-year membership (but you can try it once before joining), plus rental fees. byfashionaholic.com

Smackdown!Ritzy Shopping District

Oak Street

Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

Michigan Avenue

Photo: Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune
High-end flagships Chanel is moving there from its Mag Mile digs, joining Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford, and more. Burberry, Cartier, and Gucci call it home. But so does Forever 21.
Fast-fashion high point Cos, H&M’s design-forward sister store Punchy Japanese basics brand Uniqlo
Chances of getting elbowed by tourists Low. Shopping bags on your arms three-deep, you’ll still glide down the sidewalk. As high as the odds they’re heading to get deep-dish pizza
Sceniest eats The Esquire Champagne Room, where ladies in towering stilettos daintily nibble caviar RL, where status-conscious Chicagoans have standing reservations
Number of stores where you can buy cellphones C’mon Five

Winner:Oak Street. It may be only a block, but it’s leagues longer than the Mag Mile in style.

Lingerie Store

Underthings

This teeny boutique is stacked with stylish bralettes, sweet sets, and silky nighties in macaron-colored mesh and lace. 804 W. Webster Ave., Lincoln Park

Women’s Boutique

Space 519

The new digs have the same cool-girl labels as before. But now you can also grab lunch in a breezy café. 200 E. Chestnut St., Gold Coast, space519.com

New Men’s Boutique

Cowboys and Astronauts

A nearly life-size fiberglass astronaut keeps watch at this newcomer, which is geared in equal measure toward bearded, flannel-wearing types and those who prefer their shirts sharp and starched. Selling brands like Topo Designs, Areaware, and Son of a Sailor, the boutique supplies a thoughtful mix of clothing and home goods. 1478 W. Summerdale Ave., Andersonville, cowboysandastronauts.com

Racket Shop

Strings Attached

Squash, tennis, and pickleball aficionados flock to this beloved store (which now has a location in the burbs) for its quick turnaround and top-notch customer service. The team will match or beat competitors’ prices and let you try any stick for $10, which goes toward the price if you buy. 1369 W. Fullerton Ave., Lincoln Park, and 1910 S. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, stringsattachedstore.com

Craft Market

Cheap Thrills at Emporium

Twice a year, Chicago’s hippest designers and boutique owners meet at an arcade bar to day-drink, play Pac-Man, and sell discounted jewelry, clothes, beauty treats, and housewares. Crash this party. 2363 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square, @cheapthrillschicago on Instagram

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