Fashion Forecast

Your summer may just be getting started, but in retail-land, the dog days are long gone. Though the sight of a sweater in stores right now might send chills down your spine, those early fall shipments mean it's time for the end-of-season sales.

Sofia (100 E. Walton St., 312-640-0878,, for example—an independent women’s boutique with a great selection of causal and trend-driven womenswear in the Gold Coast—holds a great sale this weekend, July 12 and 13. Calling it the Last Sale of Summer, the shop turns the store into one giant warehouse sale with its summer stock marked up to 90 percent off. That includes clothing, shoes, and accessories by contemporary women’s brands like Bec & Bridge, Rag & Bone, Wildfox, and One Teaspoon. A high of 90 never felt so good.

The Best of the Rest

  • Designer Steven Alan celebrates the 20th anniversary of his namesake line this year with an eight-city tour. On Friday, July 11 from 5 to 7 p.m., he’ll be at his Chicago outpost in Bucktown (1659 N. Damen Ave., 773-697-4102, to mix and mingle with shoppers, who will all receive 20 percent off Steven Alan products and complimentary monogramming that evening.
  • Pioneer Court (435 N. Michigan Ave.) fills up with 200 painters, sculptors, and jewelry makers during the North Michigan Avenue Art Festival this weekend, Friday, July 11 through Sunday, July 13. Admission is free.
  • Now in its 40th year, the DuSable Museum (740 East 56th Pl., 773-947-0600, runs its annual African Arts and Crafts Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13, featuring the work of nearly 200 local artists and makers.
  • Small business owners in Evanston gather this weekend for an annual Summer Sidewalk Sale. From Thursday, July 10 through Sunday, July 13, stroll down Central Street and find deals at stores like Lois & Co. (2014 Central St.), Notice (2112 Central St.), and Stella (2116 Central St.).
  • Hike it out to Hinsdale for a two-day Sidewalk Sale on Friday and Saturday, July 11 and 12. Rain or shine, participating businesses like Sweet William (15 E 1st St.), The Green Goddess Boutique (52 S. Washington St.), and My Sister Kate (48 S. Washington St.) offer up deals of as much as 70 percent off.
  • Clearly, there’s a theme developing here. Also this weekend, downtown Naperville holds a Summer Sizzlin’ Sidewalk Sale from Thursday, July 10 through Saturday, July 12. Dozens of shops including Anderson’s Bookshop (123 W. Jefferson Ave.), Francesca’s Collection (25 W Jefferson Ave.), and It’s a Bling Thing (14 W. Jackson Ave.) will be offering discounts all weekend long.