Make Believer: Vintage Fashion Expert Lori Lindberg helps you Dress Up for Halloween and for Life

-Menswear, -Vintage, -Womenswear, Lakeview No Comments »

Lori Lindberg photo: Fernando Castillo

By Marla Seidell

It’s a quarter to noon on an unseasonably warm Thursday in October, and Lori Lindberg, owner and buyer at Clothes Optional Vintage in East Lakeview, is in high gear. The Classic Vinyl station (on Sirius FM Satellite) is cranked up, spinning tunes by Deep Purple, Joe Cocker and Led Zeppelin (all her favorites), and she’s sipping on a skim latte from Caribou, in between chatting with this curious journalist, fielding calls and tending to customers. Dressed funky chic—Lucky Brand tight-fitting jeans, blue-and-brown cowboy boots, a lacey black tank top and a zebra-striped hooded sweatshirt, her long dark hair tied back in a braid, Lindberg is an eternal child of the seventies, with a friendly openness and passion for do-it-yourself fashion, art and music that feels, well, a bit Joplin-esque.

Janis Joplin created her plain yet sensual look by piecing together clothing and accessories from thrift stores, she sewed and designed many of her own costumes, and loved to smoke and talk about “groovy” things. Lindberg doesn’t sing or perform, but she’s like Joplin in many ways: she sews and fixes up clothing (both her own stuff and pieces in the store), loves vintage, and is also quite fond of smoking, talking and hanging out. Unapologetically hip and sexy in minimal makeup and a frequent smile, Lindberg doesn’t look like the forty-eight-year-old mother of three grown daughters, let alone a grandmother. She looks like the kind of person you want to kick back with and have a beer and a good laugh.

Referring to her rocker outfit with a deep, throaty laugh, she says, “I was watching Kiss [on ‘Good Morning America’], and I got inspired.” Read the rest of this entry »

Beneath the Metal Wave: How Belmont Army Became a Mecca Among the Subcultures

-Accessories, -Streetwear, -Vintage, Shoes No Comments »

By B. David Zarley

Traffic and passersby on Belmont Avenue reflect off of the glistening metal panels that make up the building’s facade, undulating gently like Lake Michigan mellowed out on alprazolam. Rising four stories high from the sidewalk, the business beneath the wave has survived since 1975, weathering fads, recessions and location changes. In Lakeview, a neighborhood of fickle tastemakers and expendable income, Belmont Army is sacred ground: Macy’s meets Mecca.

Temples are rare on multifarious ground, as they require a consistent bedrock upon which to be built. Despite the throbbing, well-muscled and ever-spreading mass of frat-mentality dumbfuckery reaching out its menacing tentacles from Wrigleyville in an effort to become the dominant cultural milieu—one primarily composed of polo shirts, drunken girls with longer heels than dresses and noxious “DJ’s” spinning the absolute lowest-grade electronic dance music, which, granted, is an admittedly fun atmosphere with the right company and chemicals in a Goodall-amongst-the-chimps sort of way on a Saturday night—Lakeview still has a vast array of subcultures. Girls in blonde pixie cuts, high-waisted shorts and big glasses ride fixed-gear bicycles; men with handlebar mustaches and Wayfarers driving mauve PT Cruisers; salon girls whose tight black clothes cling to them like the smell of cigarettes and perfume, tattoos peeking out from beneath the short sleeves. A vibrant LGBTQ community bustles, while young professionals travel from Sheffield Avenue to the Loop for work, a mass migration of ties and pencil skirts twice each day. It is a mess of youth and money and life, drawn together in its existence below North Clark’s grim weekend realities and its willingness to embrace the hip. Read the rest of this entry »

Taxidermy Treasures: Woolly Mammoth Finds the Fun and Flair in Dead Animals

-Vintage, Andersonville No Comments »

By Desiree Cole

When Adam Rust and his wife Skye opened Woolly Mammoth Antiques a couple of years ago, they had vintage clothes, shoes, purses, couches and coffee tables. The couple thought they were going to focus on midcentury antiques. But they started buying what they liked, what really caught their eye: taxidermied animals; animal teeth; frogs preserved in a jar.

Adam and Skye find the unusual goods they sell all over the country. “It’s almost all out of state, in the Midwest. In March, we went as far out as New Jersey. Next week, we’re driving out West, so we could go as far as Washington, but for sure as far as Glacier National Park. We camp along the way to find stuff and bring it back. Last week, we went to three auctions, but it’s mostly private collections.” Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Treasure Hunter

-Vintage, Chicago Looks No Comments »

Liz Eckland

Liz Eckland was photographed by the Logan Square Blue Line station on Milwaukee Avenue. She was on her way to work at a vintage store in Wicker Park.

Do you own a lot of vintage clothing?
Yeah, I have a good mixture of new and used. I really love to collect. I love faux vintage Chanel because of the nostalgic tackiness that was implied at the time, the materials were so cheap! I also love mod pieces. Read the rest of this entry »

Robust Resale: Crossroads Trading Co. Expands in Lincoln Park

-Vintage, Lakeview, Lincoln Park No Comments »

A new and improved Crossroads Trading Co. is open for business on the 2700 block of North Clark Street in Lincoln Park.

“The neighborhood is picking up now, and word of mouth about the store has spread. We’ve been in this location for about six years now, and have built a customer base over those years,” says Jessica Blythe, the store manager. “The space next to us had been open for about a year, so we decided to go for it.”

The store purchased that space next door, previously an eyeglasses retailer, knocked down the wall and moved in, nearly doubling their floor space. A more spacious, breathable shopping experience has now replaced the crowded racks and elbow-to-elbow shopping experience that the store used to offer. Read the rest of this entry »

Open for Business: Atelier

*New Boutiques, -Menswear, -Vintage, -Womenswear, Near North No Comments »

Go gallery-hopping, buy beautiful clothes, then sip a glass of bubbly and nibble on dessert. Art and fashion at Atelier, then food and wine at Prosecco. “Now we have a one-two punch,” says Kathryn Alvera, co-owner of both Atelier and Prosecco, although it’s really more of a one-two-three-four punch.

Walking into Atelier is like stepping into the closet of a mature but hip art collector/clotheshorse: paintings, photographs and antiques coat the velvet walls and wooden countertops. The clothing is well-organized and dense, but there’s certainly a lot of it (for both men and women), and it ranges from cheap (I eyed a thrifted $10 C&C tank) to bank-breaking (vintage Lanvin, Chanel and Stella McCartney).

Atelier will also be working with legendary tailoring house Cesare Attolini to design custom suits. Alvera says “It’s something of a coup” that the prestigious Neapolitan suit-makers are partnering with her boutique, which opened in April, but she’s convinced the exquisite suits, with prices reaching far upwards of $4,000, will find a niche among sartorial Chicagoans. Read the rest of this entry »

Fashion Show Review: Kokorokoko (June 5)

-Vintage, Fashion Shows, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

No primly dressed editors with the latest “it” bags sitting at their Louboutin-shod feet grace this front row; here Converse and fringed messenger bags are de rigueur. They serve Pabst and not Champagne. Instead of invitation-only, this event is free and open to anybody with even the slightest interest in fashion walking along Damen Avenue, allured by the thumping beats coming from upstairs. While none of this fits the the standard for what a fashion show should be, the result is a very stylish affair.

Kokorokoko, a vintage boutique started by Sasha Hodges and Ross Kelly in March 2009, sells eighties and nineties vintage fashions. The name sprouted from the title of the jewelry line Sasha started out of art school, because she thought Coco Rococo “sounded like a cool drag queen name.” Working as a jewelry designer/stylist by day and DJ at night, she met Ross—who suggested all the Ks—and so started Kokorokoko. They wanted the boutique to evoke the music, things and happenings from their favorite years, 1979 to1993, a time that Sasha feels was “pre-irony.” In her opinion, people would buy a cotton jumpsuit covered in bicycles simply “because they liked bicycles,” rather than trying to be kitschy or nostalgic. Designers and their customers shared a certain genuine love of craziness back then, and this same candor with self-expression and passion for silliness reverberates throughout the entire Kokorokoko show. Read the rest of this entry »

Deliciously Vintage

*New Boutiques, -Accessories, -Menswear, -Vintage, -Women's Shoes, -Womenswear, Pilsen No Comments »

1747 S. Halsted, (312)733-0407, [ratings]

Goods: Vintage clothing with modern tailoring for men and women, but primarily for women. Shoes and accessories, including hats, jewelry and designer sunglasses. Designers: Dior, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Oscar De La Renta, St. John and others. Read the rest of this entry »

Sofia Vintage

*New Boutiques, -Menswear, -Vintage, -Womenswear, Gold Coast No Comments »

4301_105816890648_86140330648_2538690_137377_s1165 N. Clark, Suite 400, (312)640-3878, [ratings]

Goods: Men’s and women’s vintage apparel. Designers: Bob Mackie, Gucci, Ungaro , Armani, Escada, Chanel, Missoni and Valentino. Read the rest of this entry »

Mr. and Mrs. Digz

*New Boutiques, -Accessories, -Jewelry, -Mens Shoes, -Menswear, -Vintage, -Women's Shoes, -Womenswear, Andersonville, Chicago Boutiques No Comments »

Mr and Mrs Digz 003UPDATE: The current version of this listing is found here.

5668 N. Clark, (773)447-8527,

Goods: Men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and gifts. Designers: Mixing couture vintage with great new finds, you can find everything from classic Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel to fun tees, hoodies and frocks from labels like Eva May, Nabi and Corporate Punk. Read the rest of this entry »