Maxwell Street used to be the place to buy Polish sausage and cassette tapes. These days it’s home to Lissa on Maxwell, a women’s boutique that stocks up-and-coming fashion designers before they hit it big.

WHO Melissa Shipley, 27, a certified public accountant who left number crunching behind to pursue her fashion passion. WHAT Wearable, feminine apparel from national and international up-and-comers. WHERE The growing University Village shopping strip (729 W. Maxwell St.; 312-563-9470)

Owner Melissa Shipley believes that a focus on emerging labels will help her stand out among city boutiques. “The less recognizable the name to Chicago women the better,” she says. “You won’t see major brands. Most are new collections that are in their first couple of seasons and just getting their feet wet.” Great for starting spring out right: trenches from Brooklyn-based Borne ($484); bright, funky dresses from Brazilian line Coven ($235-$367); and fabulous bags by Gryson ($695-$855)

The perennial spring wardrobe staple is a feminine, frilly dress. Try a powder blue retro-style number from New York–based Robin (pictured; $392) or a figure-friendly jersey ($198-$231) from Lewis Cho.

Ziggy Stardust–worthy tops (pictured; $550) from Castle Starr pair nicely with denim ($152-$196) from Three Girls Running, a line conceived by former 7 For All Mankind designer Rebecca Danenberg.

Sales Check
A roundup of this month’s sales, store openings, and shopping news 
by Rebecca Little

ETRE (1361 N. Wells St.; 312-266-8101) hosts a  denim party from March 9th through the 11th. Save up to 30 percent on lines like Habitual, Citizens of Humanity, and Hudson.

FASHIONWEEKLIVE (in Millennium Park; fashion brings its New York event to Chicago for the first time on March 13th. Naomi Campbell, Gemma Ward, and others will work the catwalk in fall lines by the likes of Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. Tickets are $500 and include an afterparty.

THE INTERNATIONAL VINTAGE POSTER FAIR (Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St.; 800-856-8069) runs March 16th through 18th, with more than 10,000 original posters. 

THE 2ND ANNUAL AMERICAN GIRL FASHION SHOW (Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave.; 773-278-2178) will showcase contemporary and historical clothing for girls. Tickets for the March 10th event cost $50.

THE 38TH ANNUAL WINNETKA ANTIQUES SHOW (Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave.; 847-446-0537) runs March 2nd through 4th, featuring more than 50 dealers in furniture, jewelry, and art.

Photograph: Courtesy of Elezar
handbag from Chicago's Elezar

Miss Sunshine
What’s a corporation counsel doing making handbags? “I wanted to build a business from the ground up,” says Esther Barron, a Northwestern law prof who started Elezar with her childhood friend, New York designer Julie Lazarus. The duo’s fall line won over Mischa Barton and Natalie Portman. But we’re keen on spring (pictured, the small Morgan, $386). At