It’s in the Bag

A few years ago, Debbie Jagel looked around at the bags and purses women were carrying and sensed opportunity—a need for purses that more deftly complemented women’s styles. And so she set about designing a line of purses and bags made of unique materials and equipped with interchangeable straps that could be swapped out to match different outfits. Last month she opened the boutique Ootra (900 N. Michigan Ave., 5th floor; 312-852-7500, in the 900 Shops. While Jagel’s designs have been available since last November on her company’s website, Ootra’s presence on the Magnificent Mile marks the first time shoppers can view the entire collection at once. “I was not going to release the line until everything was perfect,” she says. “I found the space, got the OK, signed the lease, and 14 days later opened up the boutique.” Ootra—derived from the word sutra (to bring together)—is a collection of handmade handbags, messenger bags, backpacks, clutches, totes, and muffs that come in an array of limited-edition styles and colors. When Jagel finds a material she likes, she buys only five yards of it to ensure that no style within the boutique is overused. In addition to its unique design, each purse contains an unexpected surprise of color within. The quilted messenger bag in cool mint blue ($446), for example, comes with a chocolate polka dot interior; the Champagne clutch ($146) has a striped satin interior; and the black puckered lambskin clutch ($596) has a dark purple lining. “I’m trying to get people to push their limits,” Jagel says. “I wanted bags that blend in with your outfit and enhance you.” All Ootra bags are sold with a set of black signature straps that shoppers can detach and replace with ones decorated in sequins, pearls, rhinestones, flowers, feather plumes, or ribbons ($96 to $176). Similarly, the clutches come with a black signature Velcro strip that can be swapped out for more colorful ones ($46 to $126). With each bag purchased, shoppers receive a complimentary black mink or faux-zipper pull (sold separately from $9.96 to $26) as well as a bottle sealed with wax and containing a surprise handwritten message, such as “She’s a chandelier in a dimly lit room.” Mention “Ootra Girl” to receive 25 percent off your first purchase.

Top Sales This Week

Ellie Thompson + Co. (8 South Michigan Ave., Suite 2203; 312-263-2264, holds a “Secret Sale” with up to 40 percent off in-stock jewelry from July 6th to July 10th. RSVP to

Receive additional discounts from more than 30 of the 120 stores at Chicago Premium Outlets (1650 Premium Outlets Blvd., Aurora; 630-585-2200, July 2nd through July 6th.

ikram (873 N. Rush St.; 312-587-1000, takes 40 percent off designer accessories, clothing, and shoes throughout July.

The Best of the Rest

  • One Mind, Body & Being (2014 W. Wabansia Ave.; 773-360-1397, a Pilates and Yoga studio, offers one complimentary private training session with Stacy Weinstein to first-time clients. Call 773-360-1397 to book your private appointment.
  • Receive 15 percent off all regular-priced red, white, and/or blue dresses July 2nd through July 5th at le Dress (1741 W. Division St.; 773-697-9899,
  • The Left Bank (1155 W. Webster Ave.; 773-929-7422, holds a Martinez Valero wedding shoe trunk show on Thursday, July 2nd from 2 to 8 p.m. Guests receive 15 percent off their purchases and may have a personal fitting.
  • As a way to benefit the Dress for Success Charity, Nicholas Joseph Custom Tailors (654 W. Diversey Pkwy; 21 W. Elm St.; 70 W. Madison St.; 312-895-1577; holds a summer shirt trade-in event through Friday, July 3rd. Customers who donate a gently used men’s dress shirt receive 20 percent of a new custom shirt.
  • Fixture (2108 West Roscoe St.; 773-244-3100, takes 20 percent off handbags from Hobo International, Latico, Big Buddha, and more through Tuesday, June 30th.
  • In honor of the Fourth of July, Amy G. Salon (2907 Central St., Evanston; 847-424-9494, offers a patriotic picnic package, entitling one randomly selected winner to reserved front row seats to the Evanston parade as well as curbside catering for four. Enter to win at the salon through Thursday, July 2nd.
  • Gamma Player (2035 W. Division St.; 773-235-0755, holds its summer bliss sale with 50 percent off spring and summer collections from July 2nd through 19th.
  • In celebration of the holiday weekend, Urban Joe (3324 N. Clark St.; 773-529-5637, holds its Red, White, and Joe fundraiser. Now through July 3rd, $5 from each haircut goes toward the local Illinois USO chapter.
  • Bloomingdale’s (4963 Old Orchard Center, Skokie; 847-568-6530, holds a Jasmin Mitchell handmade jewelry trunk show on Friday, July 3rd from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Fashion Accessories Department.
  • Neiman Marcus (737 N. Michigan Ave., 312-642-5900; 5000 Northbrook Ct., Northbrook, 847-564-0300; 6 Oakbrook Center, Oakbrook, 630-572-1500; holds its spring POS Sale through July 6th. Shoppers receive an extra 25 percent off select, already reduced ladies shoes, designer handbags, dresses, fashion accessories, and more.

Closings and Relocations

Zozo for Kids (5137 N. Clark St.; 773-506-6120) closes its doors after July 5th. Starting July 6th, merchandise is available exclusively online at

Formally at 658 Central Avenue in Highland Park, Cheeky Fine Lingerie is now located in the front section of E Street Denim Company (1876 First St., Highland Park; 847-433-4900,