A Private Tour of Lincoln Park’s Top Boutiques with the Founder of ShopAround Chicago
Even on the most gray and rainy of April days, Sean Krista refuses to dress for Chicago’s weather. “I don’t feel like myself without my heels on,” she says, her feet fitted into a chic pair of booties. The sky-high heels are the first of many reveals into Sean’s unflappable fashion sense. Her fashion-design degree from Chicago’s International Academy of Design and Technology has no doubt influenced her, but she claims her personal style developed long before her formal education. “I have been photographed in tutus…bright pink and bright purple…so, there was always a really cool outfit. My mom kind of put those together…I just followed her wavelength. My mom is a fashionable lady, even to this day.” Today, Sean applies her sartorial expertise as a stylist and founder of ShopAround Chicago. The company hosts guided walking tours of Chicago’s best clothing stores. Tours cover not only the glitzy offerings of the Gold Coast, but also the locally owned, eclectic storefronts of both Wicker Park and Lincoln Park. “Everyone comes to Chicago and they want to go to the Magnificent Mile and shop…but you kind of get the same feel as you would if you were back home. If you step off the Ave., you’ll find a whole other world,” Sean says. Here, she takes us on a private tour of Lincoln Park’s best boutiques. Piper Boutique | 2136 N. Halsted St. Sean immediately gravitates towards a summery dress splashed with pink and yellow. The store showcases designs from independent brands such as BB Dakota, many with colorful prints worthy of a day at Coachella. CT212 | 2130 N. Halsted St. Since his stint as a contestant on season two of Bravo’s Project Runway, owner Calvin Tran has split his time between shops in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. It's no wonder CT212 is a source of cozy staples perfect for traveling, according to Sean. Eclectic Chique | 807 W. Dickens Ave. Locals sing the praises of Eclectic Chique. One neighbor exclaimed, “It’s the best thing to happen to the neighborhood!” when he saw Sean and me outside. This enthusiasm is largely directed at owner Monica Scott, who is known to help women and their husbands pick out the perfect garment. Moi Boutique | 2050 N. Halsted St. Moi keeps a lot of dresses in stock, including “easy but beautiful maxi and special-occasion dresses,” Sean says. Lori’s | 824 W. Armitage Ave. Sean reveals that everything in this bona fide shoe emporium is 30% off retail price. This comes as great news, whether you’re looking for pumps from Senso, or a pair of harness boots by heritage brand Frye. Shop 857 | 857 W. Armitage Ave. Owner Kelli Jones describes her store’s pieces as laid-back and easy, pointing out a sheer white sweatshirt and a flowing maxi dress. But with a minimalist design scheme of clean white walls, slick black furnishings, and pink neon lights, the space exudes an edgy sophistication.
Michelle studied English at Penn State. She has run two half-marathons (very slowly) and plans to someday run/walk/crawl the Chicago Marathon.