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.
A marble-topped reception desk and heron-strewn silk screen welcome customers to Skin Renewed By Rhonda, where the aesthetician-in-chief echoes her calm surroundings with European-style spa services such as customized facials, soothing massages, and surface-smoothing microdermabrasion. Performed with cutting-edge products from Bioelements and PCA, Rhonda’s services treat signs of aging with serums free of artificial color, fragrances, or clog-promoting oils.
Romantika Lingerie proprietors Sasha Tsupina and Kate Gordin lend their Eastern European sensibilities to fit American women with lingerie tailored for a range of sizes. Patrons glide through a store swathed in black and white with animal print accents, sifting through racks of lace and silk undergarments crafted by Californian, Italian, and French designers, including pieces by Christian Lacroix and bra strips bedecked in Swavorski crystals. Ladies can find accessories to fight fashion emergencies such as visible panty lines, perspiration, and accidentally wearing the same negligee as the lampshade.
Founded in 1971, Gand Music and Sound equips musicians with the gear and technical skills needed to improve their craft. Through private lessons, experienced instructors guide aspirant musicians toward mastery of their instrument or voice. The shop stocks guitars from Taylor and Fender, keyboards from Nord and Hammond, and boutique tube amps designed by owner Gary Gand.
StrengthTime's calculated approach to training emphasizes measured, low-speed movements on top-of-the-line, immaculately maintained MedX equipment. Under the tutelage of the gym's certified instructors, people forge muscle, improve cardiac health, and melt calories during a personalized workout as potent as homemade schnapps. The gym's trainers, who receive ongoing education, record and adjust the resistance and number of reps in each meeting, allowing them to target specific muscle groups with the optimal level of intensity. This precise, deliberate approach provides a high level of customization and prevents injuries associated with more hazardous workouts, such as bench-pressing a Komodo dragon.
Penny's From Heaven outfits newborns to tweens with clothes, toys, and accessories from top European and American brands such as Barbour, Hunter, Steiff, and Viva La Fete. Youngsters can cuddle plush stuffed animals ($8+) or expand their imaginations with whimsically styled wooden toys ($24+). Scores of dresses—including the mint-hued Ella Moss Infinity dress ($68)—await burgeoning fashionistas, and young lads can splash through the rain in Hunter yellow rain boots($60), which diminish germs with antibacterial lining and demolish menacing puddles with a single stomp.