Belmont Army Surplus Despite its name, there’s a lot more than camo here. Sift your way through trendy clothes (and occasional sales) before checking out our favorite part: the shoe department. From the selection of Converse sneaks in every color (not to mention Reeboks, Vans, adidas, etc.) to the few dozen “fuck you” goth boots and Dr. Martens, there’s a pair for everyone here. 1318 N Milwaukee Ave (773-384-8448). El: Blue to Division. Bus: 9, 56, 70. Mon–Sat 11am–8pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Bonnie & Clyde’s In addition to showcasing the work of everyone from Project Runway’s Jeffrey Sebelia and Christian Siriano to Vivienne Westwood, this mens- and womenswear boutique purveys limited-edition art prints. Get excited for trendy denim, leather and fabulous hats. 1751 W Division St (773-235-2680, bonnieandclydes.com). El: Blue to Division. Bus: 9, 70. Sun–Thu 11am–7pm; Fri 11am–8pm; Sat 11am–9pm.
City Soles/Niche This corner shoe shop features two sides: the super-spendy Niche and the more reasonably priced City Soles. Women drool over Faryl Robin, Corso Como and Cynthia Vincent; guys, sneak a peek at Cydwoq and PoMonjo. Mark your calendar for the recurring nickel sale (buy a pair full price and get the second half-off). 2001 W North Ave (773-489-2001, citysoles.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Wed 10am–7pm; Thu, Fri 10am–8pm; Sun 11am–6pm.
Claudia Kleiner Malabar Collection While there’s an emphasis on owner Kleiner’s own line of swimsuits, jewelry and clothing, this Damen Avenue shop is not just all about the owner. In addition to Kleiner’s front-and-center designs, the store also features local designers such as Cindy Chan and Vika Brown, as well as lines from New York and Brazil. Kleiner also hosts events in the space (such as trunk shows) and allows customers to plan private shopping parties. 1872 N Damen Ave (773-321-6685, malabarboutique.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon, Sun noon–5pm; Tue–Sat 11am–7pm.
Cynthia Rowley This big-time designer is from the Chicago area (and an Art Institute alum), so it’s a no-brainer for her to have a couple of shops in the city, including this one in Bucktown. The store carries everything from her whimsical, vibrantly colored dresses to her shiny, sparkly tights and even copies of Slim, Rowley’s “fantasy memoir.” 1653 N Damen Ave (773-276-9209, cynthiarowley.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Fri 11am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm; Sat 10am–6pm.
Gamma Player DJ Jeff Mills and record exec Yoko Uozumi travel the world for their jobs, and they’ve brought some stylish souvenirs back to Chicago. Their boutique focuses on hard-to-find clothing lines from South America, Asia and Europe—plus a few local designers including Agga B. And because the owners are musically inclined, expect some internationally flavored beats on the sound system, too. 2035 W Division St (773-235-0755, gammaplayer.com). El: Blue to Division. Bus: 50, 70. Tue–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm.
Marc by Marc Jacobs When this top designer decided to make his, uh, mark in Chicago in 2008, he settled on Bucktown as home of his first Chi-town shop. The lower-end store (an upscale Marc Jacobs boutique opened in the Gold Coast earlier this year) is packed with MJ goodies including $28 rubber boots à la Hunter Wellington’s, $78 jeans and $35 ties. Plus, you’ll find a variety of books, T-shirts, dresses, cashmere socks, flip-flops and items from Jacobs’s Stinky Rat line. 1714 N Damen Ave (773-276-2998, marcjacobs.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm.
Mulberry and Me Named after the street where Czech owner Jana Zacek temporarily resided in New York before landing in the Windy City, this just-west-of-Damen womenswear store offers an eclectic mix; find recognizable brands such as Seven Jeans and Cynthia Vincent along with up-and-coming indie designers, including local labels Vika and Sophia Reeys. 2019 W Division St (773-952-7551). El: Blue to Division. Bus: 9, 70. Mon by appointment only; Tue–Fri 11am–7pm; Sat 11am–6pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Paper Doll Who says letter writing is a lost art? Certainly no one who shops at this quirky greetings and gift shop. In addition to fun greeting cards by lines such as Snow & Graham, Hello Lucky and La Familia Green, you’ll also find the store chock-full of artist-designed T-shirts, journals, scented candles and custom wedding stationery. Don’t forget to say hi to house pug Maude before leaving with your purchase. 2048 W Division St (773-227-6950, paperdollchicago.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 70. Tue–Fri 11am–7pm; Sat 11am–6pm; Sun 11am–5pm.
p.45 Ever since the announcement of Marc Jacobs’s opening, retailers have flocked to this stretch of Damen; p.45 owner Tricia Tunstall was here before almost all of them, and the shop remains just as relevant as the newcomers. Check out long-lasting innovative casual and cocktail-appropriate attire for women by Phillip Lim 3.1, Chicago-based Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Brochu Walker, and others, plus accessories by Winifred Grace and Sarah McGuire. 1643 N Damen Ave (773-862-4523, p45.com). Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–5pm.
The Red Balloon Co. The original location of this children’s boutique (a second outpost is in Andersonville) opened in the late ’90s as a children’s furniture store, selling handmade toy chests. Since then, the shop has expanded its inventory to include children’s clothing, books, toys and room accessories. When you join the shop’s e-mail list, you get 20% off its monthly “splurge of the month” item. 2060 N Damen Ave (773-489-9800, theredballoon.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72, 73. Mon–Wed, Fri, Sat 10am–6pm; Thu 10am–6:30pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Rudy’s Roundup Named after one of owner Brooke Timm’s dogs, this Wicker Park gift shop features 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). The 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 W Milwaukee Ave, (773-486-6400, rudysroundup.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon,Thu–Sat noon–7pm; Sun noon–5pm.
Stitch Sophisticated and modern home goods and accessories fill the shelves at this Bucktown mainstay. The store has something for everyone—as long as you’re willing to splurge. Look for items such as Gus modern furniture, leather handbags and Jonathan Adler pottery. If you’re on a strict budget, the shop can still serve as divine decor inspiration. 1723 N Damen Ave (773-782-1570, stitchchicago.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm.
Swaby Toronto-native owner/designer Shernett Swaby, a former Project Runway Canada contestant, produces everything you see on the racks in the back of the store. Feast your eyes on eye-catching attire: heavily textured leather bags, sculptural blouses and dresses. 1933 N Damen Avenue (773-276-7645, shernettswaby.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Sat 7am–7pm by appointment only.
Tangerine This Bucktown staple purveys a solid mix of work-to-play attire. Among the mix of sweet, not too trendy picks for the ladies, the list of labels includes Tibi, Society for Rational Dress and Graham and Spencer. 1719 N Damen Ave (773-772-0505). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm.
Threadless/Threadless for Kids In addition to offering graphic T-shirts for grown-ups, this Wicker Park outpost lets the little ones in on the craze, too. Find racks stocked with mini versions of this popular company’s screenprinted merchandise that’s designed and then voted for online by the public. 1905 W Division St (773-698-7042, threadless.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Sat 10am–7pm; Sun 11am–5pm.
White Attic This perky home-decor store (find the original outpost in Andersonville) offers a charming mix of new and old. Repainted and refinished vintage desks, tables and chairs look great next to modern, colorful accessories such as decorative plates and delicious Voluspa candles. If you’re in the market for accent lights, make a beeline for the lamp bar where you can customize your hanging or table lamp with a vast array of fabrics and ceramic bases. 1842 N Damen Ave (773-252-8844, thewhiteattic.com). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Wed–Fri noon–6pm; Sat 11am–6pm; Sun noon–5pm.