In case you haven’t heard, weather experts are predicting a hot Chicago summer thanks to El Niño.
But for most of us Chicagoans, that isn’t too much of a problem. Given that we spend most of the year bundled up in coats wishing for warm weather, you won’t hear many of us complaining about a little heat.
And if the temps do start to get a little too high, we’ve got the perfect solution…
This city is chock full of gorgeous Lake Michigan beaches that offer a refreshing place to cool off, catch some rays and enjoy the beauty of Chicago.
Just make sure you’re ready for plenty of beach days by getting your hands on this season’s hottest swimsuit styles right here on Oak Street.
1. Cut to Cutouts
Showing some skin on the beach doesn’t have to mean baring it all. Thanks to this trend, we’re seeing more and more swimsuits with strategic cutouts that reveal in just the right places. What’s great is that you can choose a suit with cutouts that work for your body type and preferences.
2. Marvelous Monokini
What’s that by the pool? Is it a one piece? Is it a bikini? No… it’s a monokini! This inventive new hybrid of the one piece and the bikini lets you have it all – it offers all the coverage of a one piece in the back and shows all the skin of a bikini in the back. For many ladies who would rather show their back than their tummy, this is an ideal choice
3. Heart on Your Sleeve
While many swimsuit styles give you more ways to go bare, this trend is all about more coverage. This season, you’ll see more and more bathing suits with sleeves. For some, it’s about protection from the sun or cold ocean water while others just dig the surfer chick style.
4. Minimalist Mailots
There’s something beautifully refreshing about the trend towards super simple one-piece bathing suits. And we love that basic maillots in solid colors or stripes like the ones seen here bring to mind a chic French girl in times gone by, oui?
5. High Waisted Wonders
For those who love a two-piece but want something more than a barely-there bikini, this high-waisted style is perfect. Not only does it provide a bit more coverage than the average bikini, but it also has a cool vintage feel.
6. Sporty Spice
If you covet the style of beach volleyball beauties, check out this season’s sporty suits that feature color-blocking, mesh and high nick, sports-bra tops.
7. Ruffle Some Feathers
Ruffles have been a big presence in clothing fashion lately, so it’s no surprise that they’ve made their way to swimwear. This cute touch adds a bit of whimsy to your beach or poolside look
8. Fringe Benefits
Let your inner boho babe have her say this summer with a swimsuit that features fringe, which is very on trend right now in fashion.
9. Take the Plunge
Here’s another fun way to be sexy without showing too much. One-piece suits with deep, plunging v-necks are hot right now, but just be sure to try on first to make sure that you have enough support where it counts.
This season’s hottest swimsuit styles have a little something for everyone – regardless of your body type or personal taste, you can find a way to embrace the trends.
It’s June and that means one thing…
Wedding season is upon us. Your refrigerator door is probably wallpapered in beautiful, creamy cardstock and it’s starting to feel like there’s another nuptial every weekend.
Besides mustering the energy to attend wedding after wedding, one of the biggest challenges of wedding season is the question of what to wear.Fortunately, most brides and grooms give you a hint about dress code on the invitation. But if you don’t know your black tie from your beach formal, you may need this handy guide to figure out what type of outfit will be most appropriate for each event.
The most formal of all, white tie attire is what you see on the red carpet or fancy dinners at the White House.
- Ladies – Time to pull out all the stops and go full-on glamour! Opt for a floor-length ball gown and don dramatic jewelry, makeup and hair.
- Gents – Men should wear the traditional tuxedo that features a long jacket with tails, white vest and bow tie. And don’t forget to make sure your shoes match the formality of your tux. For a bit of fun, you could even throw in white gloves or a stylish hat.
Although still more formal than the average wedding, black tie attire is a rung down the formality scale from white tie.
- Ladies – For these affairs, you can wear either a long gown or shorter cocktail dress, but if you’d like to err on the side of caution, choose a long gown. As with white tie attire, let the red carpet be your guide and add a fancy updo and your most stunning jewels.
- Gents – There’s no getting around a tuxedo for a black tie wedding. We suggest a modern design with black bow tie, cummerbund and shoes in patent leather. You can add a bit of personality with unique cufflinks, a subtly colored or patterned cummerbund or stand-out pocket square.
Formal/Black Tie Optional
If you see these words on the invitation, know that black tie attire would be perfectly appropriate but that you can also go slightly less formal.
- Ladies – For women, this is pretty much the same as black tie but you may feel more free to wear a formal cocktail dress instead of a gown, if you’d prefer.
- Gents – You can absolutely still wear a tux, but you can also get away with a dark, formal suit and tie look. Just make sure it fits like a glove and looks dressier than your standard wear-to-work suit.
You might see this on an invitation to a beach wedding in which the hosts still want to maintain an elegant air that’s a bit above flip flops and sundresses. Think of what you might wear to a fancy restaurant on a summer night.
- Ladies – It’s best to choose a knee-length or tea-length dress in a light fabric with pretty, flat sandals and a more natural hair and makeup look.
- Gents – This is the perfect time to wear your linen summer suit or khakis with a lovely linen shirt and simple leather sandals.
Essentially, this means that you should dress nicely without going overboard with formality. If you don’t see any reference to attire on the invitation, then you can safely assume that it falls into this category.
- Ladies – You’ll be right on target in a pretty cocktail dress in any color of your choosing (except white of course) and a cute pair of heels or wedges.
- Gents – Guys should wear a suit and tie. Depending on the season and time of the wedding, it can be a light or dark suit.
In most cases, a casual wedding means you can wear whatever you’d like but you should avoid things like jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. For a wedding, take “casual” to mean “business casual.”
- Ladies – Go with a simple sundress or even a nice top with a skirt or pants.
- Gents – It’s appropriate to wear a nice button down shirt or polo with a pair of dress pants.
Once upon a time, Chicago may have been a basic, Midwestern, meat-and-potatoes kind of town.
But there’s no denying now that The Windy City has become a legitimate and renowned foodie city.
Second only to New York, according to the prestigious James Beard Foundation (40+ chef and restaurant winners), Chicago is one of the world’s premiere cities for innovative and delicious eats.
On the heels of playing host to the 2016 James Beard Awards, our fair city will also soon be welcoming the National Restaurant Association Show.
Most would agree that, for Chicago visitors and residents alike, dining out is an important event. So, we thought we’d help you prepare by suggesting a few fashions that are the perfect match for some of Chicago’s hottest restaurants.
If You Love:
Cutting-edge Molecular Gastronomy from culinary superstars Alinea, Grace, Elizabeth and Schwa…
The meticulous craftsmanship of Hermes and Buccellati as well as the bold, playful designs of Stella McCartney and Maison Margiela.
If You Love…
Italian cuisine with a modern twist from top-rated restaurants like Fig & Olive and Spiaggia…
Giorgio Armani’s fresh, structural takes on the classics. And when you’re feeling like channeling a bit more of the indulgent, romantic side of Italy’s culture, try the ultra-feminine fashions of Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini.
If You Love:
Fusion cuisine from the likes of culinary mix masters Le Colonial, DeQuay and Thalia Spice…
The eclectic and unpredictable designs of Dolce & Gabbana, who use traditional luxury textiles (brocade, embroidery, lace) in inventive and, at times, whimsical ways.
If You Love:
Traditional, high end steakhouses like Gibson’s or Del Frisco’s…
Bespoke suits and luxury fabrics from Paul Stuart and Alton Lane for gentlemen and the timeless silhouettes of Escada for ladies.
If You Love:
An enchanting atmosphere when it comes to restaurants like 3 Arts Club Cafe, Nico Osteria, The Allis…
The cheerful, photo-ready styles of Kate Spade and the bold colors of Versace would be a perfect fit for you.
The list of amazing Chicago restaurants seems to grow longer by the day, so we know that this is just a small sampling.
What are your favorites that we didn’t mention? And what designers or styles do you think are a good match? Let us know your thoughts by posting your picks on our Facebook or Twitter page.
Bon appétit, friends!
Graduating from high school or university is a momentous occasion and a major milestone.
The walk across that stage is a symbolic one that often represents the transition from one stage of life to another. Not to mention the fact that finishing school is an important achievement worthy of recognition.
Put simply, graduates deserve big, hearty pats on the back. And fabulous gifts don’t hurt.
But what to get the accomplished academic who has everything? We’ve got a few ideas…
If your high school grad is off to university, think about getting them something that will be either very useful or very fun in their new lives as college freshmen.
A Timepiece for Him and Jewelry for Her – When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful watch or piece of jewelry that your graduate can enjoy for many years to come as both a useful accessory and a tangible reminder of the occasion.
Choose pieces that are high-quality but not too fancy. Remember that most college students spend the majority of their time in pretty casual environments, and you want your gift to be one they can enjoy using on a regular basis.
Cool Clothes – If there’s one thing that all college freshmen-to-be have in common it’s their desire to make a good impression on new friends and crushes. Help the cause by visiting a hip store and enlisting the advice of a cool, young salesperson who can steer you in the right direction. But if you want to err on the side of caution, go for a gift certificate so your grad can choose his or her own looks.
Coffee – Remember college? Probably only vaguely amidst the haze of all-night study sessions and all-night parties. Either way, there was a lot of coffee involved. Show your support by gifting a Starbucks card or supplies for making their own java in the dorms.
The best thing you can offer a freshly minted college grad is something that will help launch them into adult life as a successful, prepared and responsible grownup.
Home Stuff – Help your favorite new college degree holder graduate from the ragtag college apartment to more elegantly-appointed digs by gifting both useful and beautiful items they’ll love but probably not think to buy for themselves.
Work Wear – The required wardrobe for college lectures is dramatically different from that of most offices. Get your grad ready for interviews and jobs by giving the gift of professional clothes. And don’t forget classy extras like cardholders and bags.
A New Look – Speaking of presenting a professional appearance, a new hair style or makeup look is an important part of any grownup makeover. A gift card to a high-end salon or the makeup counter at Barneys will come in handy for a big boost of confidence before setting off on an important interview.
By the time most people earn a master’s degree or doctorate, they have most of the stuff they need. What they probably need more than anything is a little fun now that the hard work is over. Show your love by giving them a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant (such as Del Frisco’s, Gibson’s or Spiaggia) gorgeous hotel (like The Drake, Four Seasons or Waldorf Astoria) or luxurious spa (try Cadella Med Spa or NoMI Spa at The Park Hyatt).
One of our very favorite annual events is just around the corner and we could not be more excited!
The Oak Street Council is proud to host the PAWS pet adoption event, Angels with Tails, on Sunday, May 22 along Oak Street, Rush Street and Delaware Place. Come by anytime between noon and 4pm to meet more than 100 puppies, dogs, kittens and cats who all need forever homes.
This is a wonderful opportunity to find a new furry friend and to support a local organization that saves the lives of thousands of animals each year by caring for them and facilitating their adoptions.
PAWS has several adoption requirements, but they make the process easy. The only difficult thing will be choosing which pet to take home, so we thought we’d give you a little guidance…
You: A meat & potatoes type of guy or girl who loves a steak at Del Frisco’s and an oversized watch from Geneva Seal. You have a classic, timeless style and enjoy an active lifestyle.
Your Pet: Chance is a 4-year-old shepherd mix male whose favorite pastimes include playing fetch with a tennis ball and being on the receiving end of endless belly rubs. He’s been dealt a tough hand because his first owner became ill and could no longer care for him, so he’s eager to get back into a loving home.
You: A social single who loves meeting up with friends for happy hour on the patio at Tavern on Rush, going on long walks in the city and staying in shape with the latest fitness craze, like the Bar Method.
Your Pet: Champagne is 2-year-old Pekinese mix male that offers a big personality in a small package. He is playful, affectionate and absolutely adores people. He’s crate trained and a star in obedience class, but he’d prefer to be your only pet. Oh and he likes long walks too – can go for miles in fact!
You: A fun couple who epitomize the phrase, “opposites attract.” You like to be out on the town and your partner is a homebody, but you make it work by bringing out the best in each other. Your shared passions include luxurious spa treatments at the Four Seasons Spa and comfy, buttery soft leather shoes from Tod’s.
Your Pet: Lucy and Ryan come as a pair, just like you and your sweetie. Lucy is 2 years old and Ryan is 3, so you won’t have to deal with crazy kitten chaos, and both are litter box trained already as well. Ryan is the outgoing one and Lucy is a bit shyer at first, but once they feel at home, they both enjoy human cuddles.
You: A sophisticated urbanite who enjoys the finer things in life, like a perfect handmade pasta with imported parmigiano from Spiaggia or a sumptuously silky Hermès scarf. You may not be a social butterfly but you hold your close circle near and dear.
Your Pet: Sister is a beautiful 2-year-old tabby who can be a little shy when you first meet her, but opens right up when she learns she can trust you. She would love to be in a one-cat home without any kids, who can be loud and scary. You’ll have to be patient at first, but once she feels at home you can bet on seeing Sister’s playful and affectionate side.
These are just a few of the wonderful pets who are up for adoption at PAWS now. But rest assured that if you visit our Angels with Tails event, you’ll find the one that’s just right for you.
Although Mother Nature seems determined to remind us that we live in Chicago, a place where it can and does snow in April, it is officially springtime in the city.
You may still want to keep your boots and scarves handy, but you should also be contemplating your spring wardrobe and choosing a couple of this season’s hottest trends to try.
Here we present 8 of our favorites along with a couple of gorgeous, hand-picked pieces from Oak Street shops to give you a little inspiration.
Many of the top designers’ spring collections feature fashions that put the shoulder in the spotlight. Embrace this trend with X-neckline dresses and sexy tops with shoulder cutouts.
> Diana Dress from Tory Burch
> Givenchy Flutter-Sleeve Camisole from Barneys
There’s just something about pleats that feels very feminine and classic, so we’re happy to see this style getting fair play this spring.
> Marc Jacobs Tieneck Pleated Peasant Blouse and Accordion Pleated Skirt from Barneys
> Loya Pleated Top from Maje
The holidays tend to be high on the shine and sparkle factor, so we’re delighted to see spring fashion get an infusion of glittery glamour.
> Paco Rabanne Lace Up Chain-Mail Tank Dress from Barneys
> Cotton Lamé Shorts from Lanvin
Cast a Net
You’ve got to love a look that both covers and reveals at the same time, walking a fine line between modesty and sex appeal. And this season’s net and mash fabric trend does just that.
> Reve Dress with Mesh Yoke from Maje
> Rag & BoneTaryn Mesh Knit Tank from Intermix
Lingerie style is not just for the bedroom this spring. But before you start worrying that the trend may prove too revealing and risqué, rest assured that many designers offer styles thathave all the luxury and seduction of lingerie without baring all.
> Charles Youssef Organza Wrap Dress from Barneys
> Darcia Short Slip from Agent Provocateur
Orange is the New Black
Enjoy the season with a bright, cheery color trend inspired by the blossoming of spring. For the more daring, pick bold shades of bright orange or go more subtle with muted, pastel hues.
> Dion LeeCut Out One Knit Dress from Intermix
> Cedar Street Maise Handbag from Kate Spade
Spring 2016’s runways saw a lot of Latin spice, so feel free to embrace your inner Flamenco dancer with pieces that abound in lace and ruffles.
> Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini Ruffle-Trimmed Lace Dress from Barneys
> Embroidered Wraparound Skirt from Giorgio Armani
To Dye For
With 90s and 70s style coming back in a serious way, it’s no surprise that old school tie dye textiles are experiencing a comeback in high fashion. We’re just glad they’re getting a modern, high-end upgrade.
> Valentino Compact Knit A-Line Dress from Barneys
> Cloud-Dye Tee from Madewell
There’s only one terrible thing about visiting Chicago…
The city has so much to offer that it can be truly challenging to figure out what to do and see if you only have a limited time to spend here.
As dyed-in-the-wool Chicago lovers, we could write a whole book on what visitors should do, but one thing that all of us at the Oak Street Council agree on is that this part of the city is not to be missed.
The Gold Coast is one of Chicago’s oldest and most historically notable neighborhoods in the whole city and, in fact, much of the area is even protected as a historical landmark since it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The Gold Coast’s architecture and place in history is what makes it so special.
In addition to being home to landmarks like the original Playboy mansion and the Drake Hotel, it’s interesting to note that this neighborhood was home to the city’s richest residents in the early 20th century. A stroll around the area will leave visitors in awe of the stunning homes that the Second City’s original elite built for themselves here.
Perhaps what Oak Street is most famous for is the fact that it is the undisputed epicenter of upscale shopping in the city. There’s no shortage of great shopping opportunities on the nearby Magnificent Mile, but Oak Street offers something special. Unlike Michigan Avenue, Oak Street is quiet, intimate and feels exclusive.
That’s no surprise considering that it’s home to designer boutiques like Hermès, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Giorgio Armani and many, many more. After all, Oak Street is known as Chicago’s Rodeo Drive. Visitors love the fact that they can walk into any of the gorgeous shops and know they’ll get the very best in personal customer care while they browse everything from luxurious leather handbags to bespoke Italian suits – it’s a special experience you don’t find just anywhere.
There’s no question that Chicago is one of the preeminent food cities in the world, so we don’t blame you if you have a hard time narrowing down your choices when you’re here. There are only so many meals in a day, right? But just make sure that your itinerary includes at least one meal at one of the many acclaimed fine dining establishments on Oak Street.
If you want a classic Chicago steakhouse experience, there’s nothing better than Gibson’s or Del Frisco’s; for delicioso Italian fare, there’s Carmine’s and Spiaggia; and if you like contemporary American cuisine, LUXBAR and Tavern on Rush are sure to impress. And those are just a few of the many great restaurants in the area to choose from.
We might be a little biased but we sincerely believe that no visit to Chicago is complete without a day spent on Oak Street, where history, style and luxury come together to offer a unique experience you won ‘t soon forget.
Spring is in the air here in the Windy City.
In fact, it’s been in the air for quite some time now due to our unusually warm winter. But it’s almost to the point where we can put our snow boots away and stop fearfully checking the weather forecast for sub-zero temperatures.
Although that’s reason enough to be excited, there’s a lot more to look forward to besides sunny days…
1. Eating Out…side!
No matter how frightful the weather is, Chicago residents and visitors love going out to eat. With the bounty of amazing restaurants here, who can blame us? Yet dining out takes on a whole new joy when we have the option to do so alfresco. Soak up the nice days and nights as much as you can by opting for a table outside at top notch restaurants like Carmine’s, Gibson’s and Fig & Olive among many more.
2. Shopping Alfresco
One of the nicest parts of the return of warm weather is the ability to truly enjoy our city’s gorgeous shopping districts like the Mag Mile and Oak Street. Instead of rushing from store to store just to get what you need, spring days allow you to stroll the streets, window shop and leisurely explore the fabulous boutiques you may have missed when your main concern was frostbite.
3. Baseball Season
There’s no denying that Chicago is a baseball town – with two professional teams and millions of die-hard loyal fans, Opening Day is always a much anticipated occasion around here. Whether you take in the games from behind home plate at The Cell, in the bleachers of the Friendly Confines or at the bar of Tavern on Rush, you’ll be glad to see the return of America’s past time.
4. Happy Hour with a View
Enjoying a local beer or craft cocktail after work (or anytime) is always made better by stunning surroundings. And Chicago isn’t short on those. As soon as spring hits, it’s time to take happy hour to new heights… literally. On the first truly warm day, we suggest heading to a rooftop to enjoy a drink or two to toast the return of spring – one of our favorites is the NoMI Lounge at the Park Hyatt.
5. Street Festivals
If there’s one thing all Chicagoans look forward to as winter winds down, it’s the city’s packed calendar of neighborhood street festivals. Major thoroughfares are transformed into outdoor playgrounds full of great food, unique artisan goods and live music. Celebrate the start of street fest season with Lakeview’s Mayfest on May 20-22.
6. It Means Summer is Coming!
And, of course, one of the very best reasons to be excited about spring in Chicago is that it means that summer in Chicago is not far behind. Visit us often to stay up to date with all the exciting events happening on and around Oak Street this summer, like our annual Ferraris on Oak event, which is on Sunday, July 10, 2016 – more details to come!
The days may still be a bit chilly, but warmer weather is waiting in the wings. So, be sure to make time to enjoy it by taking advantage of all the city has to offer.
Adult friends don’t always get one another birthday gifts, but bringing someone a lovely present to celebrate a new home or thank them for throwing a lovely dinner party is absolutely de rigueur. It doesn’t have to be anything
extravagant, but it ought to be something special that shows you put in a little thought.
It’s always best to pick out something distinctive for each individual, but it’s not a bad idea to keep a few of these thoughtful gifts on hand for those last minute invitations or hectic times when you don’t have time to shop.
You can never really go wrong bringing your host a delicious treat that they can enjoy themselves and share with guests. Try your hand at putting together a personalized collection of gourmet olive oils, vinegars and spreads offered by the Mediterranean cuisine masters at Fig & Olive. Or pick up a beautiful tea set from Dammann (2 & 4) and indulgent and exotic Vosges chocolate bar gift set (3), which are all are available at Barneys.
Pleasure to Serve
If there’s one thing that every party host will almost certainly adore getting, it’s stylish serving ware. A successful party often means running out of food, drinks and dishes, but you can make sure your friends are covered by giving them a gorgeous piece like the Mackenzie-Childs Courtly Check serving bowl (5) or an elegant, Simon Pearce hand-blown glass pitcher (6) from The Perfect Setting. You may also want to opt for this pretty Malmo rose gold 4-piece serving set from Kate Spade (7) or whimsical lettuce-inspired serving dish from Tory Burch (8).
A Special Touch
If you don’t know your hosts very well or you’re just not quite sure what their home’s style is, you may be best off choosing a classic gift that you can be sure will please anyone. What does that mean exactly? Well, they’re those things you can never have too many of like candles, picture frames and cozy throws, for example. A few of our favorite picks include this virgin wool Ibiza throw from Barneys New York (9), a Tory Burch Cedarwood candle (10), leather picture frame from Barneys New York (11) and Andy Warhol Polaroids coffee table book.
The shops on Oak Street are so full of amazing gifts that we had trouble choosing just 12. These are only a very few of the many treasures you can find on Chicago’s premiere shopping street.
And if you’re still stumped about what to get your favorite hostess with the mostess, we advise browsing around until the right thing calls out to you. But if you need an expert’s eye, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll be happy to provide some hand-picked recommendations just for you.