Since starting his business in 1988, Dr. Dennis Gaeta has honed the vision of more than 18,000 active patients. He makes each pair of eyeglasses himself to ensure the accuracy of the prescription, which can be presented in digitally processed lenses, no-line bifocals, and Transitions lenses that adjust to the amount of light both outdoors and inside the car. These lenses get fitted into fashionable frames from brands such as Bellagio, Mandalay, and Modern Optics.
The three generations of diamond doyens at Martin & Martin, Inc. have paired patrons with jewelry, timepieces, and other finery since 1950, dealing directly with foreign suppliers and diamond cutters in locales such as Israel, Hong Kong, Australia, and Belgium. Exchange vows with a selection of bridal jewelry, including the 16-diamond, 18-karat white-gold wedding ring ($500), or apologize to fingers for hours wasted wrestling pickle jars with a white gold ruby ring ($500). A rectangular white dial graces the face of Movado's ladies' Esperanza watch ($657), and an 18-inch strand of multicolor Chinese freshwater peals ($500) complements bare necks or upscale car antennas.
FansEdge bestows sports enthusiasts with a selection of more than 1 million officially licensed NCAA, NFL, NBA, and NFL products to proclaim team loyalty. Cubs fans can brandish a personalized jersey ($99.99), and time-displaced youth can bask in the familiar glow of a Baltimore Colts Johnny Unitas T-shirt, emblazoned with an original logo ($21.99). Bulls fanatics can enshrine their laptops in bold Chicago colors inside a 15-inch laptop sleeve ($39.99) or seat a workplace mouse atop a Bulls graphic mouse pad ($9.99). Not content to outfit people and electronics alone, FansEdge also carries a selection of mantelpiece collectibles, including signed football helmets and the costumes of retired mascots.
The staff at Jean Therapy outfits women in denim from renowned brands such as Hudson, Miss Me, and Seven for All Mankind. The denim, which envelops bottom halves or fashion-forward arms size 0–12, is often stylized with touches such as patterns or embellished pockets. Denim gurus work to help patrons find the right type of fit for the right type of person. Shoppers can build complete ensembles with the boutique's selection of patterned tops and colorful jewelry.
The Chicago branch of Gray Line's global sightseeing operation organizes a wide variety of tours and excursions throughout the Windy City, from architectural tours that send passengers coasting on the river and lake for sun-drenched educational cruises to shopping odysseys at Chicago Premium Outlets, where travelers can zip through more than 100 stores and restaurants after being shuttled to the retail utopia. Blues outings treat music lovers to raw licks, soul food, and real tears at celebrated concert venues such as Buddy Guy's Legends and Rosa's Lounge.
Gray Line's cherry-red trolleys transport visitors and residents alike to famous Chicago sites. Just north of the river, the vehicles idle before the Wrigley Building's sparkling white terra cotta façade, which in the 1920s stood as the first major skyscraper outside of The Loop. From there, the trolley may motor north to the John Hancock Center, where elevators to its observatory sweep guests 96 floors in 39 seconds. The trolley could also steer south to the Willis Tower, which lost its maiden name of Sears after being charmed by a passing cumulus cloud.
To truly understand what makes Lori's Shoes so special, it helps to take a walk in founder Lori Andre's shoes. That exchange of footwear would send you across the globe?from the biggest fashion houses of New York City to a small boot manufacturer in Florence. Every year, Andre travels to markets in America's biggest cities before she hops a plane to Europe and spends two to three weeks searching the storefronts of France, Italy, and the exclusive, secret VIP country located between France and Italy.
Andre's obsession with fashion has taken Lori's Shoes from a small Lincoln Park storefront in 1983 to a modern empire that includes three stores in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Each one contains an impressive bounty totaling thousands of women's shoes, boots, bags, and garments. The items' tags read like a who's who of the design world?Jeffrey Campbell, Frye, and Sam Edelman are just a few choice picks from the 200-plus names that fill the stores' shelves and tables. Sales staff keep a handle on it all: "its staffers are well-versed in current trends," noted Racked in placing Lori's on its list of The 38 Essential Chicago Shopping Experiences.