Carrie Kane (left) and Sharon Watrous

Sharon Watrous, 39, and Carrie Kane, 38, have seven children between them. They love living on the North Shore—except when it comes to shopping for clothes by trendsetting designers. So they have opened a sleek new Evanston boutique, Chalk, for women like themselves—women who love design, seek impeccable detailing, and eschew trends for investments.

At Chalk, the unifying philosophy is “classic with a slight urban edge—which is hard to find on the North Shore,” says Kane, who worked for Richard Tyler in Los Angeles and managed Chanel for Neiman Marcus in Northbrook. (Watrous has advanced degrees in English literature.) Located in Evanston’s Central Street business district, the boutique hangs on to the neighborhood vibe (read: strollers welcome) and offers tiered price points, from affordable to high-end. Lines include Narciso Rodriguez, Stella McCartney, and The Row, the Olsen twins’ collection of cashmere knits and leather leggings. The boutique also stocks Jason Wu, the designer who created Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown, including a black-and-white silk tank ($795) and matching micro-pleated skirt ($1,840). “We look for smart design,” Watrous says. “That makes something worth investing in.”

On the casual side, find 88 Orange organic tanks, tees, and cardigans ($70 to $95) and denim by MiH jeans ($200 to $250) and Current/Elliott ($210 to $230). A funky selection of shoes and accessories rounds out the top-down dressing philosophy, with “pierced” ballet flats from Guillaume Hinfray ($440), a hard leather organizer from Perrin Paris that turns into a clutch by night ($425), and oversize jewelry from the Evanston florists Bloom 3.

The brand-new space was designed by the Evanston firm Fleps Designs, which used recyclable materials and a calming white-and-gray color scheme with sleek accents. Chalk, together with Neapolitan and Jake in Winnetka, is part of a trifecta of shops bringing high style to the suburbs. “There are a lot of ‘sweet’ stores on the North Shore,” Watrous says. “There was a need for this kind of aesthetic. It’s a little bit edgy, without going avant-garde.”



WHERE 2611 Prairie Ave., Evanston; 847-424-0011,

EXCLUSIVES KaufmanFranco and Jason Wu, whose only Chicago-area stores are Chalk and Ikram

PARKING Metered street parking is available along Prairie Avenue and Central Street, including a metered lot on Central, just west of the intersection of Central and Green Bay Road.

HOURS Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. By appointment Sunday and Monday.


Photography: Kendall Karmanian
Stylist: Brenda Hesselberg