Downtown Chicago Holiday Events You Can’t Miss

The fact is that Chicago is a beautiful and exciting place every single day of the year.  But during the holiday season, our great city puts on its holiday best and really rolls out the red and green carpet for visitors and locals alike.

There are so many fun and exciting events that you may have a hard time deciding which ones to add to your already-busy schedule. So we thought we’d do the work for you – we handpicked a few of the very best holiday experiences you won’t want to miss…

Holiday High Tea at The DrakePalm Court

What’s more festive and cozy than an elegant tea service at one of Chicago’s most beautiful and storied hotels?  This holiday season, The Drake will be offering a traditional afternoon tea from 11am until 5pm every Friday from now until January 3rd.

Enjoy a lovely selection of finger sandwiches, petit fours, English Scones, Lemon Poppy Seed, Pumpkin Financier and, of course, a wide variety of teas to choose from all in the gorgeous surroundings of The Drake’s famed Palm Court.  You can even expect to find a live harpist and carolers on select days.  The cost is $45 for adults and $22 for children.

New Year’s Eve at Public Chicago

Say adieu to 2015 and welcome 2016 in the luxurious lap of the Pump Room at Public Chicago.  They’re offering 4 Public NYEfabulous options so you can have exactly the kind of night you’re after.  All tickets available for purchase on The Public’s website.

  • Early dinner (4 seatings between 5 and 6:30) at The Pump Room and a 4-course prix fixe dreamed up by acclaimed chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten ($65).
  • Main dinner (4 seatings between 9 and 10:30) in the Pump Room and a sumptuous 6-course prix fixe menu from Jean-Georges Vongerichten followed by a rocking party until 2am in the Living Room and Library Bar with a premium bar, light buffet and champagne toast at midnight ($245).
  • Party package from 9pm until 2am in the Living Room and Library Bar with a premium bar, light buffet and champagne toast at midnight ($150).
  • Stay and play at The Public by taking advantage of the VIP package, which includes a guest room for the night and two tickets to the New Year’s Eve party (from $500).

Gingerbread Decorating at the Waldorf Astoria

Bring the little ones down for a taste of luxury and fun at The Waldorf Astoria’s special gingerbread cookie decorating event happening on the first 3 Saturdays in December from 3 to 5pm in Balsan.  To register, contact the True Waldorf Service ambassadors prior to 12pm the day you’d like to go.

The Oak Street Toy Drive at Del Frisco’sToy Drive

While you’re making merry, don’t forget to take a moment to give to those who are less fortunate.  You can help make the holidays even brighter for children in need by dropping off a new, unwrapped toy at Del Frisco’s at 58 E. Oak Street on Sunday, December 20.  And just to say, “Thank you,” Del Frisco’s is offering a free dessert with purchase of entrée for anyone who donates.

Carolers on Oak Street

Get into the holiday spirit by enjoying live carolers strolling Oak Street every Saturday in December from 2 to 4 pm.  What a festive touch to your holiday shopping!

Free Valet Parking on Oak Street

Speaking of shopping, we make it easy to check everyone off your list in the best stores in Chicago by offering free valet parking (with proof of purchase from an Oak Street business) at 57 E. Oak Street every Tuesday from 10am to 2pm.  Make a day of it by coming down at 10 to shop, get a spa or salon service and then grabbing lunch before you pick your car up and head home.

We hope you’ll take advantage of all of these wonderful holiday events and we look forward to celebrating the season with you soon!

Oak Street Welcomes La Perla & Giorgio Armani!

La Perla ArmaniOak Street is one of the premier shopping destinations in the entire Chicagoland area and nothing could make it better…

Except, that is, a couple of Italian newcomers who bring with them their rich history in fashion and scores of loyal fans.

In recent months Oak Street has been fortunate enough to welcome both Giorgio Armani and La Perla, two iconic brands that fit in perfectly with the luxuriously stylish atmosphere the Gold Coast is known for.

And our newest neighbors actually have a lot in common with one another – both hail from Northern Italy and are famous for offering customers a distinctive and refined style through garments and accessories that look and feel beautifully indulgent.

We recently had the chance to speak with Suzy Biszantz, the CEO of La Perla, to discuss their new home on Oak Street – here’s a brief look into our chat…

Oak Street:  Why was Oak Street chosen as a location for the shop?

Biszantz:  When looking for a new location, the warmth and charm of Oak Street made it stand apart from La Perlaother areas in the city.

Oak Street:  Why are La Perla & Oak Street a good fit for one another?

Biszantz:  The boutique’s proximity to some of the city’s top restaurants and hotels make Oak Street the city’s most desirable shopping district and positioned La Perla amongst other luxury European brands.  Oak Street mirrors La Perla’s retail strategy to have a presence in the most important luxury shopping districts in the world.

Oak Street:  What sets La Perla apart from other high-end lingerie brands?

Biszantz:  The secret of La Perla’s appeal is rooted in the company’s heritage. Founded in 1954, the brand was born from the dreams of Ada Masotti, a skilled lingerie-maker who felt the “Creation of beauty” was her mission.

For 60 years, La Perla has followed the evolution of different fashions and trends becoming the lingerie and beachwear brand synonymous with Italian luxury. La Perla is recognized for an exquisite level of taste, sophistication and quality unparalleled by any other. The La Perla style can be expressed in unique, luxurious garments, but also in everyday feminine

armaniOak Street:  How is Oak Street different from other locations you’ve had experience with?

Biszantz:  Chicago is the Midwest epicenter for fashion and shopping.  There are luxury focused clients spread throughout the Midwest and we needed a boutique to service and create an experience for that client. We feel we’ve achieved this with the Oak Street Boutique.

Be sure to stop in and welcome both La Perla and Giorgio Armani next time you visit Oak Street.

And when you visit Giorgio Armani, don’t miss the exciting new Motif Cravats capsule collection – these gorgeous daywear pieces that all feature micro-prints that we normally see on ties.  The colors range from soft peach to antique blue and can be seen in soft trousers, tailored jackets, nappa leather pea coats, shirts and skirts.  Any piece from this collection would make the perfect holiday gift for the sophisticated fashionistas on your list.

Celebrate Thanksgiving on Oak Street

We all love celebrating Thanksgiving with a home-baked turkey and all our relatives packed in together around the family table.  But if we’re being honest, it can also be kind of exhausting.

Every so often, you think about how nice it would be to just enjoy the day without worrying about getting the house ready, following recipes or doing dirty dishes, right?

Well, this year we invite you to hang up the apron and ditch the kitchen chaos by giving thanks at one of the many Oak Street restaurants hosting special Thanksgiving day meals.


Head to Chicago Italian dining institution, Carmine’s, for a Thanksgiving feast with an Italian edge.  Not only will they be serving dishes off their regular menu, they’ll also be featuring 5 special dishes: Chesapeake Bay Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Chateaubriand, Slow Roasted Turkey, King Cioppino seafood pasta, Horseradish Crusted Prime Rib, and Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie ala Mode.  They’ll be open from 1 to 9pm, so you can do a mid-afternoon lunch, a late European-style dinner or anything in between.


If you’re already committed to hosting or attending Thanksgiving elsewhere, consider picking up a delectable dessert from Belgian bakery, Hendrixks. Try their apple cake, apple tartlets, hot chocolate macarons or order a custom cake that’s just the right size for your group.

The Drake Hotel

Enjoy a memorable and elegant experience at The Drake Hotel’s Gold Coast Ballroom, where you’ll find a whole host of delicious culinary stations, including salad, sushi, a mashed potato bar (yes, really), and a charcuterie station along with Thanksgiving classics like roasted turkey and pumpkin crème brulee.

And don’t worry, it’s not too fancy to bring along the little ones – there will be a children’s room that has a craft station, caricaturist, face painter and balloon twister on hand to keep the kids entertained.  Seatings are every half hour from 11am to 5pm and the price is $109 for adults and $30 for children.

Allium at the Four Seasons

Visit acclaimed restaurant, Allium in the Four Seasons for their Thanksgiving Feast buffet, which will feature a veritable bounty of treats such as a Fruit de Mer Ice Bar, charcuterie, artisan cheeses, carving board, taste of Asia, seasonal desserts, and much more.  Seatings will be from 12 to 6:30pm and the cost $155 for adults and $55 for kids.

NoMI Kitchen at the Park Hyatt

The Park Hyatt Chicago is home to NoMI Kitchen, one of the top restaurants in the city, so you can bet that their Thanksgiving meal will be fantastic.  On offer is a special holiday brunch buffet that includes 5 lavish chef stations as well as a la carte entrées.  The price will be $135 for adults and $35 for kids.

Nico Osteria at Thompson Chicago

Celebrate Thanksgiving Italian style at Nico Osteria – from 2 to 9pm they’ll be offering their usual menu in addition to a fixed price holiday menu for $85 per person ($35 for children).  The delicioso 4-course meal includes seasonal Italian dishes inspired by the traditional Thanksgiving meal, such as Sweet Potato Scarpinocc pasta and Porcini-Rubbed Turkey Breast.

Balsan at the Waldorf Astoria

Balsan, the Waldorf Astoria’s sophisticated European bistro, will be offering an elegant Thanksgiving buffet from noon until 7pm for $125 per adult and $45 per child.  You’ll find 5 scrumptious stations, including seafood, a delicatessen station with charcuterie, soup and fresh-baked breads, a Garden Harvest station, carving station and, of course, a sinfully delicious dessert station.  And they’ll even have a designated Half Pint Buffet featuring kid-friendly foods that are sure to please your little ones.

You’ll be guaranteed an excellent meal and impeccable service at any one of these popular dining options, so you really can’t go wrong if you decide to let the talented Oak Street chefs take over this Thanksgiving.

And be sure to check back in the coming days and weeks, as we’ll be adding even more special Thanksgiving meal options soon!

8 Crave-Worthy Comfort Foods to Enjoy This Fall on Oak Street

While the sudden dip in temperatures may have you feeling a little less than enthused about the current season, there is plenty to be happy about now that Autumn has officially arrived…

And no, we’re not just talking about the recent Cubs win!  Though summer may have fall beat when it comes to Comfort Food 1sunshine, there’s no season like fall for delicious comfort food.

As soon as there’s a slight chill in the air, we start craving those old standbys that warm us from the inside and bring back memories of seasons past.  And there’s no better place to find both traditional comfort foods and modern takes on the classics than in the gourmet restaurants right here on Oak Street.

  1. Carmine’s House Lasagna

Head to Chicago Italian dining institution, Carmine’s for a healthy dose of comfort food from the old country. Try the House Lasagna when you’re looking for something warm, rich and deliciously decadent.  And don’t worry, the portion is generous enough that you’ll be able to bring some home for lunch tomorrow.

  1. Del Frisco’s Steak & a Side

Nothing says comfort food better than a perfectly cooked steak, and Del Frisco’s ups the ante by offering mouth-watering sides like Lobster Macaroni & Cheese and King Crab Ravioli.

  1. Fig & Olive

Feel like you’ve been whisked away to a picturesque chateau in the south of France with Fig & Olive’s flawless Provence Roasted Chicken, a rustic and hearty recipe that includes Herbs de Provence, rosemary, garlic, lemon, ratatouille, roasted potato, and a basil olive oil emulsion.

  1. Gibson’s

Comfort Food 2On a chilly Chicago night, you simply can’t go wrong with a perfect Filet Mignon from this acclaimed steakhouse – get yours with a Double Baked Potato and Roasted Cauliflower Gruyere for an indulgent and delicious dinner that will leave you wanting for nothing.

  1. Hendrickx Bakery

This authentic Belgian bakery is an absolute must for brunch, lunch, dessert or even just to pick up some treats to bring home.  Everything is divine, but we particularly recommend the homemade quiche of the day, their classic Croque Monsieur and, of course, their heavenly croissants that come in a variety of flavors.

  1. Spiaggia

On an evening when the wind blows cold off Lake Michigan, head to the renowned Spiaggia and let master chef Tony Mantuano lead you through a culinary journey with one of the restaurant’s 3 fabulous, multi-course tasting menus.  It will be a food experience that you won’t soon forget.

  1. Lux Bar

This modern American restaurant could be considered comfort food experts, so you really can’t go wrong here when you’re looking for a satisfying cold-weather meal. Try the Buttermilk Half Fried Chicken with fresh chicken straight from Miller’s Farm in Indiana or the Double Cut Berkshire Pork Chop with dried cherry apricot compote and a bourbon glaze.

  1. Le Colonial

Sample the unique flavors of French-Vietnamese cuisine that manage to be at once rich and fresh.  You may have trouble choosing between all of the delicious main courses, but for a comforting fall-appropriate dish, try the Bo Sate with sautéed diced filet mignon, sate spice, yams and string beans.

Boots & Bags: Which Ones You Need for Fall & Winter

When the weather turns chilly in Chicago, we’re always sad to see summer go, but fabulous fall fashion always helps to soften the blow a bit.

Boots 1The cozy sweaters, the gorgeous coats, the fierce boots… it’s all so good, it almost makes us grateful to live in a cold weather climate.

Of course we love strappy summer sandals and light, floral handbags but come fall, we can’t wait to pull out the sumptuous leather boots and rich, jewel-toned purses.  Boots and bags are some of the very best things in life, so before the leaves start changing, get caught up on the new accessory trends you’ll want to try.



1.  The Lug Sole Boot

As a harkening back to the 90s when chunky Doc Martens were all the rage, one trend this fall is the lug sole boot.  It may strike many as a work or hiking boot, but rest assured that it’s perfectly on trend for city streets.  Many designers have even featured the look in a very 90s platform style as well.


2.  The Faux Fur TouchBoots 2

Add an element of lux coziness to your wardrobe this year with boots that feature a fur element. For the daring, go full-on fur with a pair like these bold Chloé wedges.  If you’re looking for something a bit more subtle, opt for just a touch of fur at the boot shaft opening.


3.  The Embellished Boot

Many recent runway showings have featured attention-grabbing shoes with sparkly and shiny embellishments.  Pair them with a more streamlined and simple outfit that puts the spotlight on your fabulous footwear.


4.  The Velvet Boot

Nothing says cold weather wardrobe like a velvet.  And this year, boots get in on the act with soft styles that just beg to be touched.Bags 1





1.  The Handle Bag

For this season’s bags, it’s hip to be square.  Many designers have released very structured, boxy bags that feature handles instead of straps.  There’s a sort of vintage prep school look to the style, which is perfect for the back-to-school season.


2.  The Easy Carry-All

On the opposite end of the spectrum, another big runway trend was the oversized carry-all bag – totes, satchels and shoppers that are soft, collapsible and can quite easily Bags 2accommodate everything you need when you’re on the go.


3.  The Chunky Chain

We’ve long seen metal chain straps on cute clutch purses, but this fall you can expect to see thick and chunky chains on larger handbags as well.  Stand out with styles that feature chains made of modern materials like lucite and plastic for a unique and cool look.


4.  The Fringe Benefit

Get ready to go hippy-hippy chic this season with a wide variety of handbags that feature fringe.  Fully embrace the trend with an all-over fringe style or try a more understated option with just a bit of fringe on the front.

Time for a Treat: 8 Luxurious Treatments You Can Get on Oak Street

Modern life in the city is stressful, fast-paced and taxing on your mind and body.  And you spend a great deal of time and energy doing things you’d probably rather not do.

Treat 1That’s why it’s so important to spend a little time doing something nice for yourself once in a while, even if it’s just a little treat to make you feel pampered.

And the perfect place to do just that is right here on Oak Street, where there’s a high-end selection of spas and salons that are expert in the art of indulgence.  Pick one of these luxurious therapeutic or beauty treatments or check out our beauty & fitness page to find many more options.

1.  Illimunize Peel at Cadella Medical Spa & Wellness Center

Get all the rejuvenating benefits of a chemical peel without the downtime similar treatments require.  This unique service will give you more radiant, youthful, tightened skin with very little or no actual peeling at all.  It’s perfect for anyone battling dry skin, fine lines, mild acne, dullness, discoloration or the effects of aging.  And the best part is that you won’t have to hide away until the peeling process is complete – you’ll be ready to go out on the town and show off your gorgeous skin right away.

2.  Lash & Brow Care at Salon Lashe

Perk up your pretty eyes at Salon Lashe, which offers a wide variety of treatments for your eyelashes and eyebrows.  You can get mink or synthetic lash extensions, eyelash tints or a lash perm that lets you ditch the eyelash curler.  The salon also offers upgrades to your brows with tints, extensions or professional shaping.

3.  Therapeutic Touch at  Exhale

This barre, yoga studio and spa has a fantastic menu of therapeutic treatments that will help to center your mind and body.  Choose between acupuncture, cupping, Reiki, vibrational therapy and acu-organ detox to find the service that best fits your needs.

4.  Blowout at Salon O Sixty-Five

Bad hair day?  Not to worry; the stylists at Salon O Sixty-Five have got you covered.  Stop in for a professional blowout that will make your hair look salon-level perfect for days to come.

5.  Mani-Pedi at Salon BuzzTreat 2

A little attention to your nails can go a long way in making you feel pampered and pretty.  Salon Buzz’s long list of manicure and pedicure options range from a quickie express to hot stone treatments that make you look and feel wonderful.

6.  Paraffin Handfix at Marianne Strokirk

If manicures are not for you but you’d still like a little love and attention showered on your hands, try the super moisturizing Handfix treatment from Marianne Strokirk.  Your hands will be massaged with intensive moisturizer before being coated with paraffin wax, which helps the moisturizer to penetrate deep into the skin, leaving your hands softer than they’ve ever been before.

7.  Makeup Lesson at Charles Ifergan

For those who feel a little clueless about cosmetics, this is the perfect way to indulge and learn at the same time.  The makeup experts at Charles Ifergan will give you a completely custom lesson in a look that suits you and your lifestyle.  You’ll walk away looking fantastic and feeling confident in your ability to recreate the routine on your own.

8.  Body Polish at Waldorf Astoria Spa

You never have time to exfoliate and moisturize your whole body like you should, so you might as well leave it to the pros.  This heavenly treatment involves scrubbing salt and shea butter that’s customized with an essential oil blend of your choosing.  By the end, your whole body will feel soft, supple and rejuvenated.

Now that we’ve got you dreaming of a little “you time,” we suggest that you seize the moment and make an appointment today before you get so busy that you forget to treat yourself.

Fall 2015 Fashion Trends for Ladies & Gents

FryeIt’s that time of year again; fall is in the air! Don’t let your spirits drop along with the temperatures, though. Oak Street has just what you need to heat your look up on the upcoming cooler days. Look fabulous while flaunting these five fantastic trends that have been handpicked to help
you keep warm and look cool all season long.

Brilliant Boots

Frye has boatloads of beautiful boots in sizes, colors, and styles to suit every shoe-lover in Chicago!  However, it’s their chukka boots that are guaranteed to help you stay on trend and beat the bulk this season. Their height is just right to keep you looking long and lean, without cutting you off at the knees. Ladies should look for the Ruby Chukkas or the Kendall Chukkas.  Both options feature a lace-up style and a classic and timeless look. Meanwhile, men should seek out Frye’s Jack Monk Chukkas or Phillip Lug Wingtip Chukkas for their daring details and unique ability to accent any outfit.

Chic Sweats

Hoodies and sweat shirts have long been considered a sacred staple of chilly fall nights for their comfort and casual appeal. However, who Sweatssays that sweats must come in shirt form? And who decided that they need to be baggy and boring? Barney’s is out to change these old stereotypes with sweats that will make you stand out. The Ladies’ R13 Sweatshirt Dress and the Men’s NLST Cargo Drop-Rise Sweatpants from Barneys are both stylish options that will elevate your casual lounge style.

Belts with a Bam!Belts

Belts might seem like benign accessories you can never go wrong on, but why not use them to their fullest advantage?  Fall is all about layering, so use belts with big textures and bold colors to take your look over the top. Women should try the B-low the Belt Leather Ribbon Belt at Scoop, and men should go for the Paul Stuart Ostrich Belt for something  that’s a little out of the ordinary but still a great fit for the office.

Luxe Lamb Leather

Everyone knows that leather is a suitable staple for crisp fall weather. It keeps the wearer warm and dry, and it looks luxurious and sleek. And as if it wasn’t edgy enough, Vince has taken it over the top with new silhouettes and shapes. Men can master the trend on weekends with the new Leather Moto Jogger pants, which feature zippered ankles for easy styling with a variety of shoes. Meanwhile, women can test it out tastefully at the office with the sleek and sexy Belted Leather Dress with Ponte Panel.

Staple Scarves

VinceThough you might soon be lamenting the loss of your summer wardrobe, you should be cheered by the fact that scarf season is coming.  Soon, there will be a slight chill in the air that will allow you to gracefully drape that beautiful, outfit-making accessory across any outfit. Scarves

And at Loro Piana, the scarves are works of art! Lora Piana scarves will be more than just a worthy staple in your wardrobe, because they’ve been designed to be the star! They feature sumptuously soft fabrics and accents that make them both unique and versatile. Ladies will feel luxurious in the Sciarpina Chinchilla Fur Scarf and men can add a rugged edge to their outfits with the Cancale Mink Scarf which is lined in plaid perfection.

As you can see, this season is all about putting unexpected twists on old classics. See how far your fashion can take you, with sophisticated styles from the shops at Oak Street.

5 Ways to Enjoy the Last Gasp of Summer on Oak Street

Chicago SummerSeptember is soon approaching, and many in the Windy City are feeling real remorse for not making the most of their summer.

But the good news is that there’s still one last gasp of gorgeous warmth ahead, so why not make the most of it?  Whether work or a great summer season of your favorite television show has been keeping you indoors, it’s time to get out and get moving!

We’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to enjoy the last gasp of Chicago summer to get you started.

Dress Up & Dine Alfresco

Fig and Olive is well known for its open-exhibition kitchen, but it also offers an expansive open-air terrace where you can dine under the stars on delicious, authentic European cuisine. Le Colonial is another amazing alfresco dining destination, with 1920’s sophistication and a seductive bar and lounge complete with a charming terrace and gorgeous view. If neither of those suit your fancy, you can always take a trip down to Carmine’s, for some classics: perfectly seared steak, chops, and seafood with an Italian edge.

Get Away for the Weekend

Even if you live in Chicago, take a two-day trip to the Four Seasons or Park Hyatt Chicago where you’ll find five star views of the city’s famous scenic waterfront. Spend your days out on the water, soaking up the sun, but keep in mind that the fun doesn’t have to end at dusk. Both hotels are simply steps away from sophisticated spas, superior shopping on Oak Street, and some of the city’s very best night clubs and bars.

Go See Something New

Where Chicago Publications can help you choose where to go and what to do. As the affluent travelers’ local information resource, Where Traveler can supply you with fresh inspiration on the coolest new things to do in Chicago.

Shake Up Your Wardrobe

Enjoy the warm weather and soft sunshine as you stroll from shop to shop. Oak Street is the biggest and best luxury shopping destination in Chicago. Enjoy seasonal sales and high end clothing, shoes, and accessories from brands like Jimmy Choo, Emporio Armani, Prada, and Agent Provocateur.

Prepare for the New Season

Being on a mission to enjoy the last few days of summer doesn’t mean you can’t look forward to Fall! Embrace change. Take a trip down to one of Oak Street’s many salons and spas to upgrade your look. Salon O Sixty-Five offers full nail services, as well as hair coloring, Brazilian Keratin Treatments and eyelash extensions. At the Elysian Spa and Health Club, you’ll be able to relax to the fullest with facials, massages, and a full fitness facility. Finally, Marianne Strokirk Salon specializes in sleek and easy-to-manage cuts perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

You can also pick up some new home décor to breath new live into your surroundings just in time for the start of a new season at Barneys, Kate Spade or Tory Burch.  And the most ambitious among you may even want to get a very early jump on your holiday shopping so that you’ll have nothing to worry about come December.

The last gasp of Chicago summer poses a plethora of unique opportunities; don’t let it pass you by! Whether you’re wandering from shop to shop, seeking out a new style, or simply catching some much needed R & R at a local spa, Oak Street has plenty of ways to soak up your summer to the very last drop.

Normcore: What is It & How is it Impacting High Fashion?

normcore1Did you ever think you’d see a fashion trend that emphasized being “normal” and fitting in with the masses? Neither did we.

Fashion trends have almost always been about standing out from the crowd and doing what no one else is. But with everyone always trying to find the next new thing, maybe the best way to stand out in high fashion these days is by being normal.

Enter Normcore, a trend that swept the fashion industry in Spring 2014. It’s gained popularity, but many inside and outside of the industry seem to be confused by the whole thing.

What is Normcore?

Some people find the idea of an anti-fashion trend a bit contradictory but K-Hole, the New York trend agency who first came up with the term, says that people have got it wrong.

Style writer Jeremy Lewis summed up the inspiration behind the trend well: “Fashion has become very overwhelming and popular. Right now a lot of people use fashion as a means to buy rather than discover an identity and they end up obscured and defeated.”

To reject the possibility of fashion as a tool for posing as a certain type of person, one rejects the obviously fashionable in favor of something almost, in Lewis’s words, “conspicuously unpretentious, maybe even endearingly awkward.” Some say the inspiration comes from the Millennial generation, who grew up in the 90s and find comfort in the easy, nondescript clothes of the slacker and grunge decade.

Normcore in Practice

Who are we to complain if our everyday outfits suddenly make us fashionable and part of the ‘cool crowd’! Even Kate Middleton, a member of the British Royal family, has been nicknamed the Duchess of Normcore with her comfy and casual styles.

As the aim of Normcore is to blend in, typical staples include: jeans, cashmere sweaters, tracksuits, with socks with heels, skate shoes, khakis and polo necks, generic baseball hats, and fleece pullovers. Basically if you’re wearing clothes that middle-aged parents might have worn in the 90s, you can now consider yourself trendy.

However, you don’t have to buy your plain clothes from the thrift store or a discount department store to achieve this look.  Normcore has spread to many high profile brands and designer names with top, luxurious designers like Valentino taking part.

Normcore Gone Designer

In fact, Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Chanel catwalk by sending model Cara Delevingne out in sneakers and pushing a shopping cart. The basic clothes from Adidas, Birkenstocks and Crocs were widely worn during New York fashion week and international street brands such as Gap, and even Zara, are joining in with the plainer look.

The aesthetic has also been making its way onto the pages of high fashion magazines: Looks that combine Louis Vuitton with Adidas or Alexander McQueen and Nike. Even the likes of Patrik Ervell and Marc Jacobs have recently debuted simple, Patagonia-inspired jackets in recent menswear runway show.

It’s quite understandable if you’re a fashion lover who wants nothing to do with the trend.  But for those who eschew fussy style and ever-changing trends, you can proudly go out in a plain cotton t-shirt, faded jeans and sneakers and say that you’re doing the Normcore thing.

6 Things You Never Knew About Oak Street & The Gold Coast

Chicago is a city rich in history, legend and stranger-than fiction-secrets.

From the chilling chapter told in the book Devil in the White City to tales of Al Capone’s secret underground exit at The Green Mill, it’s clear that this city has a fascinating past.

But what about our neck of the woods?  Do Oak Street and the Gold Coast neighborhood have any secrets you might not know?  Read on to find out…

1.  An Isolated History

These days, the Gold Coast couldn’t be more central or well-connected – its dream location is at the very heart of The Windy City.  But that wasn’t always the case.  Up until the early 20th century, it was a sort of isolated enclave that was home to some of the city’s richest residents.

When the Michigan Avenue Bridge (now known as the DuSable Bridge) was built in 1920, however, it connected this lovely lakefront area to the rest of the city, which resulted in massive new developments, like high-end shopping that the area is still known for today.

2.  The Astor Connection

This might surprise you, but the Gold Coast wasn’t always the Gold Coast.  In fact, it was once The Astor Street District.  And no, it wasn’t because the famous businessman John Jacob Astor resided here, but rather because his name conjured up the image that the area wanted to be associated with.

3.   The Playboy ConnectionGold Coast 2

The Playboy Mansion is now synonymous with Beverly Hills, but the original was here in the Gold Coast.  Hugh Heffner bought the place at 1340 N. State Parkway in 1959, and it served as the center of his infamous and luxurious lifestyle throughout the 60s and early 70s.  In 1974, Heffner donated the building to the Art Institute of Chicago for student dorms.  The building was bought and turned into 7 condos in 1993, one of which sold for nearly $3 million last year.


4.  Landmark Achievement

Much of the Gold Coast neighborhood is protected as a historical landmark as it was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.  This is due to the area’s many notable architectural landmarks and its significant role in Chicago history.

5.  The Palmer CastleGold Coast 3

Potter Palmer was arguably the founder of the Gold Coast neighborhood.  While the vast majority of his wealthy contemporaries, like Marshall Field for example, were building magnificent homes in the Prairie Avenue district (now the near south side), Mr. Palmer was snapping up swampy lakeshore property to the north.  Here, he built the Palmer House Hotel as a gift to his wife and the Potter Palmer Homestead, a Gothic-style urban castle that presided over 1350 N. Lakeshore Drive before it was demolished in 1950.

6.  The Crème de la Crème

Michigan Avenue as famous shopping district was born in the minds of city planners at the start of the 20th century.  They widened the street and began to build a commercial center inspired by Paris’s Champs-Élysées.  Progress went along swimmingly until the Great Depression brought it to a halt.  But 1947 saw a resurgence and a plan to make the avenue into “The Magnificent Mile.”

Over the years, the area established itself as a world-class commercial district.  And its development brought about the transition of Oak Street from elegant residential block to the upper echelon of Mag Mile shopping, where exclusive boutiques could find charming spaces that were a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the avenue.