G. Boutique This woman-friendly and woman-owned sex boutique has lingerie, erotica, sex toys and workshops (including the always-popular “how to give a great blow job” class). The friendly sex-positive staff is a great resource. 2131 N Damen Ave (773-235-1234). Mon–Wed, Fri–Sat 11am–7pm; Thu 11am–9pm, Sun noon–5pm.
Myopic Aside from two live-performance series (one for musicians, one for poets), people visit Myopic for books—thousands and thousands of books, almost all of them used. One subtle exception: Near the front counter, you’ll spy a collection of striking note cards for sale. The photos all bear the same caption, “Joe and Lisa’s farm,” a nod to the organic venture being undertaken by Myopic’s owners, who moved to Arkansas a few years ago. We like to think of this shop as a big rambling mansion that belongs to grandparents we wish we had. 1564 N Milwaukee Ave (773-862-4882). Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–5pm.
p.45 Clearly, owner Tricia Tunstall has a vision. She set up shop in Bucktown 16 years ago before the bodegas made way for Marc Jacobs, and from the get-go, she’s carried up-and-coming designers, such as Lara Miller, before they hit it big. Expect anything from a silk crepe de chine, red-sequined raglan dress by Falls to an exaggerated collared jacket by local great Abigail Glaum-Lathbury. 1643 N Damen Ave (773-862-4523). Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Robin Richman Even if you don’t have the cash to drop (and you’ll need plenty of it, here), stop by this tactile store for inspiration alone. Sculptural, multilayered clothing hangs from the racks like objects of art among the French antique fixtures adorning the walls. (2108 N Damen Ave, 773-278-6150). Mon–Sat 11am–6pm; Sun noon–5pm.
The Silver Room Owner Liz Meyer (whose credits include styling for Aerosmith) has compiled a beautiful collection of day wear and formal attire. Standouts include striped taffeta cocktail dresses from the 1950s, along with a heavy focus on Vivienne Westwood and an extensive selection of bridal gowns and veils from as far back as the Victorian era. 1442 N Milwaukee Ave (773-278-7130). Mon–Sat 11am–8pm; Sun 11am–6pm.
Stitch This Bucktown shop is one of those stores we wish we could live in. It’s easy to imagine filling your home with many of the furnishings, including Blu Dot furniture and Jonathan Adler goods. The store also sells many high-end personal goods such as travel bags and sunglasses. 1723 N Damen Ave (773-782-1570). Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm.
Virtu Need to pick up a quick, thoughtful gift? Shop owner Julie Horowitz will have something for you, especially if you’re looking for jewelry. Recent selections in the store include Jane Diaz earrings and 19-karat gold items from Philippa Roberts. Need a card to go along with that gift? Check out the large selection of paper goods by Snow & Graham. 2034 N Damen Ave (773-235-3790). Tue–Fri 11am–6pm; Sat 10am–6pm; Sun 10am–5pm.
Vive la Femme A Wicker Park institution, this women’s plus-size boutique has been in business for more than ten years. Owner Stephanie Sack caters to women in their twenties and thirties who are size 12 and up. The clothes here are bright and colorful. According to Sack, the store’s signature looks focus on classy and sassy options with a twist of whimsical flair. 2048 N Damen Ave (773-772-7429). Wed–Fri 11am–7pm; Sat, Sun 11am–5pm.
Cat and Mouse Game StoreYes, the Wii and the DS game systems are fun, but we also love the classic board games, puzzles and brainteasers at this Bucktown shop. Stop by for game night on Tuesday evenings (6:30–10pm), when you can road test anything from the store’s game library, or bring in your own favorite. 2212 W Armitage Ave (773-384-4454). Tue 10am–10pm; Wed 10am–8pm; Thu–Sat 10am–7pm; Sun 11am–5pm.
DiptyqueThe fresh scents wafting through Wicker Park can be traced to the arrival of this popular French brand. Diptyque is known for its high-end candles in stylish packaging, and you’ll find the complete collection here along with personal fragrances and its body-care line. This outpost features seasonal and limited-edition launches as well. 1645 N Damen Ave (773-252-3989). Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun 11am–6pm.
Dr. Martens Need more proof the ’90s are back? Dr. Martens has set up shop in Wicker Park. The store features those now-classic shoes that you wore while listening to the Cranberries (hello, black boots embellished with prints of Victorian flowers) as well as clothing and accessories. 1561 N Milwaukee Ave(773- 489-5499). Mon–Sat 10am–8pm; Sun 11am–7pm.
4 Miles 2 Memphis Reality-TV personality and designer Danielle Colby (American Pickers) knows how to rock retro. Clothes at the Wicker Park outpost of her Iowa-based store get upcycled and updated with edgy yet nostalgic results. Everything in the shop is vintage, antique or handmade, with pieces that meld riot-grrrl style and Dust Bowl Americana. Check out the souped-up army-surplus jackets and flirty, ’50s-inspired dresses, plus selections by brands such as Squasht and Rebe. 1734 W North Ave (773-227-4400). Mon–Sat noon–7pm.
Lomography Vintage cameras have come back in fashion in a big way, and with them come the retro-looking new models. Case in point: the bright pink and brown Fisheye ($55), an item you’ll find at the Lomography’s sixth U.S. outpost. The Wicker Park shop stocks the full collection, plus film. It’s also a physical hub for community gatherings, hosting everything from monthly workshops to a gallery space showcasing photos. 1422 N Milwaukee Ave (872-206-2253). Tue–Fri, Sun 11am–7pm; Sat 11am–9pm.
Mildblend Denim fiends flock to this Wicker Park shop for its large selection of men’s and women’s jeans (especially the wide variety from the Nudie line). The gratis hemming service on purchased jeans is nice, too. Shoppers will also find selections from American heritage brands, local designers and up-and-coming labels. 1342 N Milwaukee Ave (773-772-9711). Mon–Sat 11am–8pm; Sun noon–6pm.
Roadtrip Dion Antic is known for opening (and closing) many restaurants and bars (Iggys, the Shady Lady), but he also dabbles in stores. He previously owned Him and Her in Wicker Park, and is behind this new Bucktown shop, which is literally a trip down Antic memory lane: It features many of the furnishings from his former businesses. 1920 N Damen Ave (773-964-8300). Thu–Fri noon–7pm; Sat–Sun 11am–6pm.
Roslyn Boutique Shoppers get an education on each collection at this charming women’s boutique. The rustic space features racks of clothes separated by designer, each accompanied by a wall-mounted biography. Don’t forget to check out the shop/studio space of local designer Elise Bergman in the back. 2035 N Damen Ave (773-489-1311). Tue–Fri 11am–7pm; Sat 11am–6pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Rudy’s Roundup Fun fact: Owner Brooke Timm named this gift shop after one of her two dogs. The inviting shop is filled with everything from kitschy eye candy (wood prints modeled after paint-by-number kits) to actual candy (old-school throwbacks like Mary Janes toffees and Choward’s violet mints). Her wide-ranging goods also include a mix of vintage items and modern handmade wares, including stationery, clothes and baby items, with no merch more than $50. 1410 N Milwaukee Ave (773-486-6400). Mon–Fri noon–7pm; Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Scotch & SodaThe best way to describe the looks at this higher-end Amsterdam brand’s shop is “preppy with an edge.” The company’s first Chicago outpost focuses on men’s clothes as well as denim, fragrances and items for the ladies. 1639 N Damen Ave (773-687-8980). Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun 11am–6pm.
Vintage Underground Browsing through the piles of heavy costume jewels at this Wicker Park store feels a lot like rummaging through your grandma’s basement—that is, if your grandma also hoarded wares like 18th-century paintings (on sale for, uh, $85,000). The shop also stocks a handful of more budget-friendly home furnishings. 1834 W North Ave (773-252-4559).Tue–Thu 11–6pm; Fri–Sat 11–7pm; Sun noon–5pm.