July 26, 2011

Oliver Peoples brings its iconic eyewear to Chicago!

Oliver Peoples is a well-known eyewear brand that has collaborated with designers such as Balmain and has been worn by everyone from Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson to Jessica Simpson and Kate Moss.

Now, it has made itself at home in Chicago!

A few days ago, I was invited to a press breakfast to discuss the store's grand opening and try on oodles of Oliver Peoples eyewear. Held at the RIA restaurant in the luxuriously chic Elysian Hotel, the breakfast also gave attendees a chance to chat with founder Larry Leight and CEO David Schulte about the brand and why it chose Chicago for its newest retail location.

Larry Leight (left) and David Schulte

I must admit, deciding on which pair of frames I liked the most proved to be a difficult task.  As a newbie to the Oliver Peoples brand, I was impressed by the versatility and timeless style of each collection. Everyone in attendance tried on several pairs and captured photos of one another wearing some of their favorites.

The "star" of the show was the limited edition sunglasses (only 50 available) created specifically for the Chicago boutique.  The classic aviator design with 24kt gold coated lenses and a case bearing the city's skyline was a definite hit!

 Jena of ChiCityFashion

After a few minutes of playing eyewear dressup and taking turns in front of the mirror, it was time for breakfast.

After the incredibly delicious meal was served, we were given the opportunity to ask Larry and David everything we wanted to know about Oliver Peoples. From the intriguing Q&A session, here's what we learned:
  • The Chicago retail store was a no-brainer.  David explained how they had been considering Chicago for awhile and the only roadblock was finding a prime location. 
  • The location, situated on the corner of Oak and Rush, was formerly the loading dock for Barneys
  • Oliver Peoples prides itself on its finely made frames, high quality lenses and timeless designs. Larry sums all of that up in the brand's motto "For now, always".
  • Besides the limited edition Chicago sunglasses, Larry believes that the O'Malley (shown below) will be a bestseller amongst Chicagoans.  Larry's prediction appears to be right on the money seeing as that they were the first style I was anxious to photograph AND four pairs were sold on the first day.

From the products to the people, Oliver Peoples is an impressive brand that will fit in quite nicely on the Gold Coast. Make sure you stop by the brand spankin' new store to check out the frames in person. And hurry if you want to get your hands on a pair of those limited edition Chicago shades!

Oliver Peoples
25 E. Oak St

Sidenote: I received the Oliver Peoples Seven CD in my gift bag that day and it is amazing! As a music lover, I was impressed when I noticed the playlist included artists like Jose James and Little Dragon. Then, when I finally had an opportunity to listen to it, I was even more blown away by the artists I was previously unaware of.  At the very least, pick up this CD when you visit the store. You won't be disappointed.

Side-Sidenote:  The food and service at RIA was impeccable! If you haven't paid them a visit yet, make reservations now! Just make sure you invite me.

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July 25, 2011

Thanks Refinery29!

As a fashion blogger, there is nothing more rewarding than being recognized by Refinery29. Known as the "global style hub", it is the best online source for all things related to fashion, beauty and shopping.

Within the past few months, I have been featured on Refinery29 not once, but twice (excluding the many syndicated posts)!

In April, ChiTown Fashionista was named one of the best Style blogs on The Ultimate Chicago Blogroll. (Click HERE to view the complete list)

And this month, I was included as one of Chicago's Best and Brightest Style Bloggers. (Click HERE for the article)

"Elated", "grateful"and "honored" are the first words that come to mind when describing how I feel. And to be in the company of so many other amazingly talented Chicago bloggers is beyond major!

Cheers to Refinery29, and Chicago editor Shani Silver, for shining the spotlight on Chicago bloggers and giving us a platform to reach an even bigger audience! #thankful


July 14, 2011

Linking Up: Beats, Rhymes, & Life; A "face" in Kate Middleton's knees?; Killer heels courtesy of Steve Madden; The stacked bracelet trend

ELLE chats with Michael Rapaport about the Beats, Rhymes, & Life documentary. (click here to see why I can not WAIT for the Chicago release tomorrow)

Idols and Egos discovers a "face" in Kate Middleton's knees? (Click here to see what made me LOL, literally)

FASHION du jour has me wanting some Steve Madden leopard print shoes...BAD! (click here to find out why)

Chicago Street Style documents one of my favorite trends: stacked bracelets. (click here to see how Chicagoans are workin' it)

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July 13, 2011

Vintage of the Future: My guest blog post for MoMoMod.com

Want to know what these items have in common? Click here to check out my guest post for MoMoMod's "Vintage of the Future" blog series!

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July 12, 2011

Best Oversized Clutch Bags Under $100

Oversized leather pouches (courtesy of American Apparel) are extremely popular this season. However, I've always been a fan of oversized clutch bags, in general...thanks to Tracee Ellis Ross's amazing personal style (see what I mean) and her role as the now-iconic Joan Clayton on the TV series Girlfriends.

An extra large clutch makes a bold statement and exudes a chic style that no other handbag design can. Give me a handheld bag that's 11+ inches long and I'm a happy camper!

Vintage and thrift stores are the best places to score them. But, many shoppers don't have the time nor patience to dig through the merchandise.  And if you try to find new ones, you'll learn it's a fairly daunting task.

So, I did the legwork (or shall I say fingerwork, since it was all online) and found SIX amazing oversized clutch bags for under $100.

1. American Apparel Medium Leather Carry-all Pouch - $50
2. ASOS "Shelley" Clutch - $50
3. ASOS Weave Metal Tip Clutch - $52
4. ASOS Portfolio Clutch (in Red) - $94
5. bungalola Oversized Nautical Clutch - $22
6. myafternoontea Oversized Envelope Clutch - $65

Are you a fan of these larger-than-life clutch bags?  Let me know which one is your favorite.


July 7, 2011

Dose Market: Chicago's newest concept based on an old European tradition

It's a fact: markets in Chicago are few and far between.

Dose Market is a monthly event that is looking to fill the void by presenting some of the best local merchants in a European marketplace setting.

The Dose Market founders (aptly named the "Dosettes") are April Francis of The Haute Closet, Emily Fiffer of DailyCandy Chicago, Heather Spearling of Tasting Table Chicago and Jessica Herman of Time Out Chicago. Considered as experts in their respective field, they seek out unique clothing, accessories, furniture and food vendors to showcase to consumers in one place, the beautifully charming River East Art Center. How lovely is that?!

The inaugural event was last month and being a fashion blogger, I decided to hit up the clothing and accessories first. Fashion trumps food...always.

My typical favorites, DRAPES, Luxury Garage Sale and Lisa Spagnolo, did not disappoint. They offered up the best in jewelry, accessories, designer goods and vintage wares.  Also, I was finally introduced to vendors such as Twentythirtyforty.net, Sofia Vintage, Cities in Dust and Artfully Disheveled. There was so much good stuff under one roof.  The measly budget that I set that day couldn't even begin to finance all the purchases I wanted to make. Le sigh.

Of course I couldn't pass up the chance to sample some of the food vendors. My sweet tooth led me to Truffle Truffle and BullsEye Baking Co. The cookies at BullsEye Baking Co. looked so amazing, I had to make a purchase. The Hokie Pokie Pinwheel cookies tasted just as good as they looked!

In addition to the fashion and food, I fell in love with the Suitor stationery and notebooks, the Sprout Home floral arrangements and the Gentleman's Boomboxes created by ArtPentry.

Click HERE for all of the photos!

Dose Market plans to switch up the vendors each month to ensure that every installment will showcase fresh faces and new products to try and taste. That means you have to make it a monthly "to-do"!

And don't worry if you can't make them all. The Dose Market website keeps track of every participant (including links to their website) on the Market Info page. There, you can also find the remaining 2011 schedule.

Can't wait for the next one? Don't worry, the July edition is THIS Sunday, July 10th. Grab your wallet and a shopping partner (or two) and head to Dose Market. I know I will.

Dose Market
July 10, 2011
10AM - 4PM
Admission: $10 ($8 online)

River East Art Center
435 E. Illinois

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July 6, 2011

Handbag Swoon: Burberry Haymarket Check Clutch with Tassels

The Burberry Haymarket Check Clutch with Tassels is an oversized clutch with a touch of luxury.

If only I had an extra $1100 laying around the house...

Click the image to window shop purchase.


July 5, 2011

AllSaints brings a bit of London to Chicago

London-based retailer, AllSaints Spitalfields, has arrived in Chicago and taken Michigan Avenue by storm. Situated in an 11,000 square feet space, the brand spankin' new AllSaints store is a sight to behold, from the exposed brick walls to the 800 vintage Singer sewing machines in the window and throughout the store.

With sumptuous leather jackets alongside hand-embellished dresses and tunics, AllSaints consists of high quality clothing paired with a Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome edge.  You won't find a whole bunch of color here. The clothing is purposely muted to create versatility and ensure that collections can be mixed and matched for years to come.

Almost every item had a unique shape and/or texture. My personal favorites were the leather jackets for women AND men, the hand beaded dresses and the calf hair pumps with heels made of gems, nuts and bolts.

The industrial decor had me just as giddy as the clothes. With 42ft ceilings, the design team was determined to cover the entire space from top to bottom.  The store is filled with reclaimed artifacts and cast-iron furniture. Even the light fixtures and dressing room doors are intriguing. iPads are placed throughout the store to help consumers looking to either shop the Archive Collection or order items that are not physically in the store.

AllSaints is certainly not for those who seek fast fashion. You will be forced to drop a nice sum of money on an AllSaints piece. But the quality of the brand and the high level of craftsmanship is more than enough to justify the price tag.

So, the next time you're on the Magnificent Mile, stop by AllSaints Spitalfields and see how they've managed to bring a fresh look to Michigan Avenue.

AllSaints Spitalfields
700 N. Michigan Avenue

Click HERE to see all of the in-store photos.

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For the Love of Havaianas

As mentioned in my most recent post, I was granted the opportunity to host the beach party for the launch of the "Make Your Own Havaianas" Pop-Up Shop at North Ave Beach.

When I received word about the pop-up shop, I thought it was a brilliant idea. The ability to create your own Havaianas at one of the most popular beaches in the city? Genius.

The beach party was filled with great music, food, drinks and, more importantly, people. Amongst those people were my wonderful co-hosts (shown below) and some of my blog supporters.

 (l-r) Jena of ChiCityFashion, Emma of Très Awesome, Billy Dec of Rockit Ranch Productions
Nicole of The Beauty Girl, and Amy of Chicago Street Style.

Throughout the entire event, there was a long line of partygoers waiting to customize their very own pair of flip flops in the makeshift Havaianas hut. The Havaianas staff worked diligently to help customers pick their strap and sole colors as well as embellishments which ranged from cutesy flowers to flashy bling.

Drinks were supplied courtesy of Leblon and Zico. Passed hors d'oeuvres consisted of empanadas, mini pies and Crumbs cupcakes. Popchips was also on hand providing the party with ample bags of chips.

Although the weather started off good, Mother Nature had other plans which included a mini sandstorm, high winds, thunderstorms and hail. Determined customers, including myself, withstood all of that just to get their hands on the pair of bespoke Havaianas. While taking cover under the Havaianas hut along with about 30 other patrons, I immediately thought "we are clearly doing this for the love of Havaianas". Considered as partially insane, we braved apocalyptic weather for a pair flip flops. That experience definitely goes in the crazy-fashion-experiences history book, along with my Lanvin for H&M adventure.

Chicago is known as one of the best places to be in the summer (as proven by the Twitter hashtag #summertimeChi). Why not enjoy it while wearing a custom pair of the best flip flops in the market?

If you haven't visited the "Make Your Own Havaianas" Pop-Up Shop, luckily for you, it will be open until July 31st. With almost four weeks left, there's no need to brave harsh weather to get your hands on a pair...although, clearly I think it's worth it. After you get a pair, leave a comment indicating what colors and embellishments you chose. I would love to hear what you decided on!

As for me? I selected a green sole with gray straps and dove embellishments. What do you think?

Click HERE to view all of the beach party photos.

"Make Your Own Havaianas" Pop-Up Shop
North Avenue Beach (near beach house)
1600 North Lake Shore Drive

Special thanks to Havaianas, InStyle magazine and Alison Brod PR for kicking off the pop-up shop launch in high style and for allowing me to be a part of it all!

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