Few affordable stores inspire the devotion of Spanish-based Zara (Old Orchard, Skokie; 847-329-0808, zara.com). A steady stream of those who have shopped the brand in Europe or the coasts have poured into the Old Orchard store since it opened on Sept. 25th, expressing mostly the same sentiment: “Finally.” The excitement over the opening rivaled that of the Marc by Marc Jacobs in Bucktown, with a decidedly more pocket-friendly assortment of merchandise. And it’s about time the chain visited the Midwest. Zara’s parent company, Inditex, is the largest clothing retailer in the world. For the uninitiated, Zara’s claim to fame is copying looks off the runway and stocking them in stores before high-end designers have even completed their season’s orders. The fast turnaround of merchandise (the store receives two new shipments each week) encourages a more European way of shopping, stopping in frequently to see what’s new. Find men’s, women’s, and kids’ merchandise in the two-floor store, in an assortment of bold jewel tones and basic neutrals. We saw men’s leather jackets ($249), velvet blazers ($189), and suits for $300, as well as more casual options like cardigans ($69) and jeans ($69). Women will find lots of options for work clothing (cropped wool jackets for $89; tailored skirts for $59), as well as cute jeans, tops, and dresses. Shoes are not as much of a steal as the clothing (running mostly at $50 to $100), but are comparable to other more affordable designer knock-offs. As for the kids’ selection, the boys’ line is mostly sporty (think sweatshirts and tees) while the girls’ line is both sweet and utilitarian (we liked a plaid jumper, $35). The chain is expected to open two city stores, one on Michigan Avenue and another at Block 37, in 2009.
Top Sales This Week
Kathryn Kerrigan, the eponymous local shoe boutique from a designer who creates stylish kicks for tall chicks in sizes six to 15, is offering a promotional code exclusive to Sales Check readers. Visit kathrynkerrigan.com and type in code CHIMAG to receive $20 off purchases over $100.
The University of Chicago Press is holding its first public sale in more than 20 years with the Great Chicago Book Sale on Oct. 7th and 8th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the International House on the University of Chicago Campus (1414 E. 59th St.; 773-702-5328), with more than 20,000 books marked at $5 each.
The Best of the Rest
- Joe’s Jeans (1715 N. Damen Ave.; 773-252-1715, joesjeans.com) has opened its standalone store along the increasingly chain-heavy Damen Avenue strip in Bucktown, with apparel and jeans for men and women (denim is mostly $150 and up), children, and accessories such as shoes, jewelry, and sunglasses.
- The Skin and body care line Kiehl’s has opened its second Illinois location at Woodfield Mall (Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg; 847-330-1770).
- City Soles/Niche (2001 W. North Ave.; 773-489-2001, 3432 N. Southport Ave.; 773-665-4233) holds its popular Midnight Madness sale on Oct. 10th to launch the fall collection with cocktails, music, raffles, and giveaways. The Lake View store will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the Wicker Park store will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight.
- Three locations of Carson Pirie Scott (3200 Lake Ave., Wilmette, 847-251-8400; 230 Yorktown Center, Lombard, 630-620-2600; Orland Square, 4 Orland Park, 708-349-1900) will host Pink Parties in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Oct. 10th and 11th. Nosh on pink treats, spend $50 or more for a free gift with purchase, and KN Karen Neuburger will donate to fund mammograms for women in the community for each person who signs a mammogram intention sheet. Hours are Oct. 10th from 1 to 3 p.m. at Edens Plaza; Oct. 11th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Yorktown Mall; and Oct. 11th from 2 to 4 p.m. at Orland Square.
- Ciao Bella (3829 N. Southport Ave.; 773-388-2201) holds a trunk show featuring European activewear line Anatomie Oct. 11th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The shop also celebrates its second anniversary, offering 20 percent off regular priced merchandise on Oct. 11th through 13th. (Trunk show items not included.)
- Bring unwanted flatware, glassware, and dinnerware to Adesso (600 Central Ave., Highland Park; 847-433-8525) throughout October to be donated to area women’s shelters and receive 20 percent off equivalent merchandise in the store. Additionally, the shop hosts a trunk show on Oct. 10th and 11th featuring Garnier Thiebaut table linens and Riverside Design Group dishware made from recycled glass.
- Nike has launched a Chicago-branded collection of footwear and apparel in honor of the Chicago marathon, including a cute Pegasus running shoe adorned with the city’s skyline and flag, available throughout October at Niketown (669 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-642-6363), as well as Fleet Feet, Naperville Running, and Running Away.
- Chicago Premium Outlets (Aurora; 630-585-2200) and Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets (Michigan City, Ind.; 219-879-6506) both host Columbus Day sales with many stores offering discounts from 25 to 65 percent off from Oct. 10th through 13th.
- Innovative line Asiatica, which creates apparel with re-adapted vintage kimonos and Nuno textiles (as found in the collection at MoMA) into modern women’s clothing, presents its fall fashions as well as jewelry, scarves, and bags at The Four Seasons Hotel (120 E. Delaware Pl.; 312-280-8800) Oct. 7th through 9th. Ask for the line at the reception desk; preview at asiaticakc.com.
- Stinky Pants (844 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-281-4002) holds a fall shopping event with refreshments and 15 percent off purchases on Oct. 9th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Take 30 percent off fall coats through Oct. 12th at Hubba Hubba (3309 N. Clark St.; 773-477-1414).
- The Old Town location of Gray (1361 N. Wells St.; 312-573-0750) holds a trunk show on Oct. 11th featuring the fall collection of Chicago designer Yana.
- Mario Tricoci offer complimentary massage and pedicure upgrades to Chicago Marathon runners following the race, from Oct. 13th through 19th. Bring in a marathon bib number and ask for the Mario Marathon Special when booking to receive the complimentary upgrades. Visit tricoci.com for locations.
- Couture resale store The Daisy Shop (67 E. Oak St., 6th fl.; 312-943-8880) offers 40 percent off winter coats, trench coats, and other outerwear throughout October.
- The Arlington Park Antique Show and Sale runs October 10th through 12th with 100 dealers peddling jewelry, antiques, collectibles, jewelry and vintage clothing at the Arlington Park Racetrack (2200 W. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights; 847-870-6747). Admission is $8.
- The Handmade Market, featuring jewelry, handbags, cards and other items created by local crafters is Oct. 11th at noon to 4:30 p.m. at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.; 773-276-3600, handmadechicago.com). Free.
- Bloomingdale’s (Old Orchard, Skokie; 847-675-5200) holds a trunk show of Tahajo knitwear for men and women on Oct. 10th and 11th. Preview at tahajo.com
- Michael Thomas Salon (Woodland Commons, Buffalo Grove; 847-913-5555, 457 Central Ave., Highland Park; 847-432-5544) sponsors Pink Hair for Hope program. Donate $10 and receive pink hair extensions to show support for the cause.
- From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 10th, stop by the 10th anniversary party at Eye Spy Optical (3350 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-477-2670) with 10 percent off any frame in stock.
- Nuts on Clark (Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave.; 773-549-6622) offers Poppin’ Pink Kettlecorn to support breast cancer awareness. A portion of the $10 gift package of pink-chocolate covered popcorn will be donated to Network of Strength of Illinois (formerly Y-Me.)