Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Affordable elegance in the Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL - Part 2

My research for good fashionable quality clothes for women at good prices continued this past few days...

Some of the "not well known" brands I found in the big stores of Chicago seem to have a quite poor or non existent website unfortunately. This happens when a Company is small and so passionate about what it does! It tends to forget how extremely important is nowadays to have a professional website and invest in marketing and social media.

In any case, my extensive research made me find a few very cool items that I'm sure you will all like!

From Bailey 44, this black dress is my favorite! It is good for so many different occasions and doesn't really have a season.

(Photo: Little black dress with long sleeves by Bailey 44)

On Bailey 44 website, I also found this interesting dress: such an original and fun shape!
Stripes really seem to never go out of style!

(Photo: Striped Column dress by Bailey 44 as seen on their website)

At Saks, I bought this Lavia timeless sleeveless top and combined it with a shining necklace of similar color that I found at Ann Taylor: came out a pretty chic combination! Lovely with a pair of skinny jeans!

(Photo: Lavia top + necklace by Ann Taylor)

Then, at Nordstrom Rack I found this green cotton beach robe by Joie a la plage and considering how warm it has been in Chicago these past few days, this is exactly what I want to wear: something light, colorful and fresh on my skin!

(Photo: 100% cotton Beach robe by Joie a la plage)

By chance I saw this  Lucky Brand blue lace top which goes on top of a tank top, a dress, a t-shirt or by itself! It was a revelation: cute, fashionable and comfortable!

(Photo: Lucky Brand top as seen at the Lucky Brand Store in Michigan Ave)

On Alice+Olivia website this skirt got my interest: so perfect for the Summer!

(Photo: Lace Box Pleat Skirt as seen on Alice+Olivia website)

And finally I found at a very good price this ready to go Mandarin Dress by Splendid, great for a weekend out of town:

(Photo: Cotton white Mandarin Dress as seen in Splendid website)

What is the must have this season? A red leather moto jacket.
The one below is by Valentino Garavani, but you can find similar jackets from other brands a little less pricey than this one.

(Photo: Rouge Absolute Signature by Valentino Garavani as seen in Vogue, May 2014)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Affordable elegance in the Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL - Part 1

(Photos: Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Spring 2014)


I have to admit that finding affordable elegance for someone as picky as I am about good fabrics and excellent cuts wasn't an easy task.

My first stop in the Magnificent Mile was Gap. There has been an improvement in the last few months and if you are looking for an easy cotton shirt, a casual t-shirt or tunic, a pair of Summer shorts, this is the place where you can find them.
Also good for underwear and sports clothing.

(Photo: Cotton tunic white with blue stripes from Gap, Chicago)

My next stop was Zara. This shop used to be better years ago -as far as quality of fabrics- before it became so popular, but you can still find here some pretty dresses, cotton jackets and shirts at very good prices.
There is less "made in China" at Zara than in other stores in Chicago: lots of made in Spain or Portugal, Morocco and India where the manufacture is not bad. I even found a very few items made in Italy (a sweater and a jacket).

(Photo: Viscosa shirt from Zara Basics, Chicago)

(Photo: Zara Spring/Summer collection, by Zara) 

(Photo: Yellow cotton/viscosa jacket at Zara store, Chicago)

Then I stopped at Ann Taylor. They have some interesting and original jewelry here and if you need to buy a classic top or a skirt/a pair of pants for work at a good price this shop is a good pick for you.
Most days like the one I went, they have everything 40% off.

(Photo: Inside Ann Taylor, Chicago)

My other stop was Nordstrom Rack. This place feels like a big market, where if you are lucky you can find something very good (half price) like a jacket by Fabiana Filippi, made in Italy and still unknown in the USA or a handbag by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Kate Spade...even Furla!
And this will come to you as a total surprise, a bit like it felt at the good old and long gone Filene's Basement.

(Photo: Handbags from Marc Jacobs at Nordstrom Rack in Michigan Avenue, Chicago)

Another good store is Anthropologie: it is absolutely original and so colorful. Good place to buy a Summer easy breezy dress or a joyful top.

(Photo: Rayon top, by Weston Wear, made in San Francisco, Anthropologie, Chicago)

Finally, my last stop was J.Crew. Lots of Summer findings: nice cotton t-shirts, cute sleeveless tops and here too I found the jewelry to be quite lovely.

I bought this beautiful necklace at J.Crew: 

(Photo: Elegant necklace found at J.Crew in Michigan Avenue, Chicago)

Then, there are some brands that not many people know: Bailey 44, Olivia Moon, Babeau, James Perse, Hartford, Pleione, Odille, Weston Wear, Splendid...You can find them in big department stores such as Saks 5th Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Anthropologie.

Those brands use nice quality fabrics, made in the USA at really reasonable prices, good for every budget!

(Photo: Stretch jersey knit with striped and perforated details by Bailey 44)

Part 2 to come out next week with more photos...stay tuned!