The Owner of Helen Yi
1645 North Damen Avenue; 773-252-3838.
The best specialty boutiques successfully reflect the vision and passion of their owners, so it is no surprise that Helen Yi’s Bucktown shop is elegant, peaceful, and uber-feminine.
IN THE BEGINNING “To my mother’s horror, I would drag out my clothes to show guests when I was three years old. But my mother was a big influence; she looked like a movie star and was always gloriously, impeccably dressed—very dramatic but never overdone.”
MISTAKES WOMEN SHOULDN’T MAKE “Don’t just concentrate on what you’re wearing for dates. Think about what you are wearing most of the time, and work clothes should be at the forefront. Go back to fabulous basics and punch them up with dramatic accessories.”
EVERYONE CAN WEAR “Mid-calf pencil skirts. No matter what’s going on in fashion, they always work, and everyone can wear them, whether they are a size zero or a ten. Just buy the right size and wear the right shoes—classic pointy pumps or a round toe. I always carry a pencil skirt in my store.”
FAVORITE SPRING ITEM “The trench coat. Derek Lam’s navy-blue trench coat with a high collar and 1970s gold buttons can be worn as a dress or an evening coat. There were some great trenches by Barbara Bui and Chloé, too, in shades of khaki.”
NEW FACES “Ilo Guarani designed my new favorite dress—a green chiffon overlay with a lace inset down the front, almost as if it’s curtains pulled together. It’s spectacular, the perfect cocktail dress, worn with nude legs and metallic shoes. It’s a dress-heavy season. Derek Lam had the best collection I’ve seen and just keeps getting better.”
FASHION CLASSICS “Anyone dressed appropriately but with drama. Audrey Hepburn [in Givenchy] is the epitome. So much about her and the 1950s was the impeccable tailoring.”
SHINE ON “Jewelry is important, and gold chains are strong for spring. And big rings. We have this big, bubbly ivory ring that’s gorgeous.”
WHAT TO CARRY “I loved Derek Lam’s handbags and clutches in black or mushroom-colored patent leather with a brass frame, or a short, wide rectangular bag in matte-black leather with a vintage feeling. Chloé did a quilted bag with vertical stripes in ivory, brown, and black—really beautiful and luxe.”
FASHION SHOULD BE “Beautiful.”