WHO: Nicolette Karney, 24, a former model, worked as a casting agent in Los Angeles for the reality shows Survivor and The Amazing Race before moving to Chicago. She felt her new home lacked boutiques that reflected her personal style: “I don’t stock anything I wouldn’t wear myself.”

WHAT: European and West Coast clothing-plus plenty of color

WHERE: 1024 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-880-8061, shopsheboutique.com

“This store is like my own closet,” says owner Karney, whose mission was to create a high-end Lincoln Park boutique without the usual dose of intimidation. “I dress one woman, and I dress her for every occasion from a night out, to a casual night at the movies, to staying in and watching television.” Located in the former Spa Derma space, the lofty interior with exposed brick plays to this relaxed vibe. Four flat-screen televisions and white leather couches invite customers to plop down and stay awhile; friendly customer-service touches like in-store alterations encourage them to spend.


Find casual brands like Madison Marcus, daring print shifts and jumpers from Twinkle and Fighting Eel (at right; $143), and conservative collections like Alvin Valley.

Chicago exclusives include dresses from Hungarian designer Nanushka-look for the mini bubble number (at left; $278)-and crocodile bags by Diana Reznik.

Summer offerings like the Brazilian cut swimsuits by Kushcush (from $154) give off a modern, Saint-Tropez vibe.

Photography: Selena Salfen