5 Ways to Celebrate Spring on Oak Street

Ah, springtime in Chicago…it’s as if the whole city has been sleeping and suddenly we wake up and hit the streets with a literal spring in our step and a renewed zest for life.

All of our wintertime grumblings of leaving this freezing city and moving somewhere warmer are mysteriously forgotten as we break out the Nomi Gardensandals and start taking our meals al fresco.

If it weren’t for this magical time, The Windy City might have very few permanent residents indeed.

So as the bitter memories of the frozen tundra season recede, it’s time to think about how to enjoy spring in our fair city, and we have a few ideas…

1.  Nomi Garden at The Park Hyatt

If there’s anything better than being outside on a warm, sunny Chicago afternoon, it’s being on a rooftop that looks out over our gorgeous skyline.  And the Nomi Garden at The Park Hyatt is a stunning example.

Meet friends here for a refreshing happy hour craft cocktail, a seasonal local brew or a glass of wine.  Or make it your destination for a romantic dinner – choose from their diverse menu of sushi, small plates and contemporary American classics as you and your special someone are dazzled by the city lights.

2.  Gotta Wear Shades

We don’t know about you, but one of our favorite parts of spring is the return of sunglasses weather.  Jet setting around the city just feels cooler when you’ve got on a fabulous pair of shades that add instant glamour to your look.  Stop in to Morgenthal Frederics or Glasses Ltd. to peruse their selection of distinctive, designer frames and you’ll be ready for all the sunny days to come.

3.  Fig & Olive Terrace

There’s something about a balmy spring day that just makes you crave fresh and flavorful Mediterranean fare.  And if you want to do that while enjoying the weather, the ideal place is Fig & Olive’s beautiful terrace.  Savor a delectable meal and bottle of wine inspired by the cuisine of France, Italy and Spain while you bask in the shady calm of the terrace overlooking Oak Street.Salon 065

4.  Tavern on Rush Patio

This casual upscale Chicago classic has one of the best patios in town – in fact, it was even voted “Best Outdoor Dining” by Chicago Scene Magazine.  Not only is it the perfect place to grab a delicious meal, but it’s prime real estate for people watching on the always bustling Rush Street.

5.  Spring Makeover Day

New season, new look.  That’s what we say anyway.  After a long season of bundling yourself up against the cold and putting up with the effects of dry air on your skin and hair, it’s high time for a warm-weather makeover.  Make a day of it by getting a revitalizing spa treatment at Elysian Spa at The Waldorf Astoria, a new hair style at Charles Ifergan or Salon O Sixty-Five and a few fun outfits that don’t have to protect you from Arctic blasts.  Then show off your new look as you enjoy drinks and dinner outdoors at one of these fine outdoor dining spots.

Every year, Spring comes to Chicago just as we begin to lose hope of ever seeing the sun again.  We recommend celebrate the chirping birds, blossoming flowers and warm breezes this year on Oak Street and soaking it all up while it lasts.

Bespoke on Oak
The Best Custom Services in Chicago

Alton LaneThere’s just nothing like having something custom-made for you, is there?

In days of yore, ordering a customized item was standard – it’s how most people bought clothes, shoes, household items and more.  And this was for good reason; people knew exactly what they wanted and weren’t willing to settle for less.

Nowadays bespoke items are a little less common, but no less desirable.  Having something created precisely to your specifications and measurements is a lovely luxury everyone should experience at least once.

Fortunately, Oak Street is home to several distinctive businesses that offer customers a bespoke shopping experience.

Alton Lane

With showrooms in several major cities in the country, Alton Lane is a master of the bespoke men’s suit.  When you walk into one of their shops, it’s immediately apparent that you’re in for something special.  The proffered glass of scotch and beautiful, masculine décor make you feel right at home.

Next, prepare to be seriously impressed by the process of customizing every single detail of your suit – you’ll have a huge range of choices for everything from the fabric to the lapel width to the cuff vents.  After all of your choices are finalized, you’ll enter their state-of-the-art 3-D body scanner and get hand-measured as well.

Finally, your measurements and specifications are sent off to be hand drawn and laser cut before being put together and sent to your doorstep.  Trust us, you’ll feel and look like a VIP when it’s all said and done.

Brioni

When you get a bespoke suit from this Italian men’s fashion icon, you’ll be joining the ranks of men like Clark Gable, Cary Grant, John Paul Stuart BespokeWayne and Al Pacino, just to name a few.  Brioni has been in the business since the 1950’s, when they opened their first shop in Rome and began designing for the Eternal City’s elite.  When you visit their Oak Street shop and take advantage of their Su Misura (“to your measurement” in Italian) services, you’ll see just how seriously they take craftsmanship, quality and custom tailoring.

Paul Stuart

This company has been in the custom fashion business for nearly 80 years and continues to be a leader in bespoke style.  Their ready-to-wear collection is always custom-tailored to each man, but you also have the option of Mad-to-Measure and Paul Stuart Custom. The latter involves a Lester Lampertmeticulous process that results in a hand-cut suit and a unique paper pattern of your measurements that’s kept on file for life.  Paul Stuart prides itself on getting to know your preferences, aesthetic, and vision for your personal style, and making sure that the end product is a perfect expression of your taste.

Lester Lampert

When it comes to jewelry, many women like to have one-of-a-kind pieces that they’ll never see on anyone else – it makes a special piece feel all the more special.  If your style is this unique, consider having something designed and created just for you by an independent jewelry store that does all of their own designing and manufacturing on-site, like Lester Lampert.

When you work with their expert jewelry designers, you’ll see your piece come to life from a drawing to a wax mold to the final product that’s presented to you.  And part of what makes Lester Lampert so special is the fact that every step is done on premises in their Oak Street workshop, which means unparalleled quality control and craftsmanship.

These are just a few of the bespoke style experts that call Oak Street home.  Next time you’re looking for something truly distinctive, consider the amazing possibilities of custom-made.

9 Perfect Wedding Gifts You’ll Only Find on Oak Street

Spring is in the air… and for many couples- that means wedding bells. While wedding registries can take the struggle out of finding a good gift for the bride and groom, they can also tend to be a bit, well, boring or impersonal.

If you’re looking to provide the bride and groom in your life with a wedding gift that’s a little different and shows just how well you know the couple, Oak Street has got you covered.

To save yourself some stress, check out these 9 perfect wedding gifts, all of which you can purchase locally while you peruse Oak Street’s shops at your leisure.

Some Endearing Décor

Even though the newlyweds will be taking some time away after the wedding, they’re ultimately going to be returning to the home they’ve decided to build together. What better way to show your support than to help decorate it with tiny tidbits that are useful, thoughtful, and pleasing to the eye?

  • Kate Spade’s Take the Cake Ring Dish makes a perfect bedside or sink-side accessory, especially for couples who lose things easily or are at high risk for dropping their dearest accessories down the drain.
  • The Silver Street Roll of the Die from Kate Spade will be a lifesaver for those pairs who are perfectly matched in every way- including when it comes to being incredibly indecisive.
  • Also sold at Kate Spade are some great Food for Thought Placemats to remind the bride and groom to ‘kiss the cook’, ‘save room for desert’, ‘dance on the table’, and ‘eat cake for breakfast’. This particular gift is a surefire success, no matter the couples’ choice in décor, as the placemats are available in a variety of color schemes.Barneys Office

A Stress-Free Zone to Handle their Business

All too often, couples who are new to joint finances, social calendars, and business arrangements wind up easily overwhelmed. A great home office can counter that, and what better gift than one that keeps on giving? Oak Street has plenty of presents that can improve the new couple’s home office.

  • Kate Spade’s Expletive Paper Clips are more than just novel. Even though they are simple in style, these paper clips make for colorful communication between couples. They can actually improve upon an office’s organization. For example, the ‘$’ clip may be used for bills, the ‘!’ clip may be used for urgent matters, and the ‘?’ clip may be used to remind one spouse to ask the other about a particular document on the desk.
  • Barneys offers countless colorful agendas durably designed with concrete purposes in mind and printed with helpful and fun titles like “Frankly, My Dear,” “Address and Telephone,” “Make it Happen,” and “Inspiration and Ideas.” These are a much better option than colored sticky notes for keeping notes and important dates organized.
  • The IWoodDesign Empty Your Pockets Tray from Barneys keeps clutter under control and hurried, stressful searches for the car keys from ever happening.
  • Barneys also carries a variety of office sets, including mail holders, letter openers, pencil cups, and more in lines they’ll love like Pacific Connections, Connor, and El Casco.

An Experience to Remember

When it comes to wedding gifts, you don’t always have to go for a tangible object either – the happy couple will likely be overwhelmed with new things for their home, so a fun experience can be a more unique and special gift.

From fancy hotels, to spas, salons, and gourmet restaurants, the right gift certificates could treat the bride and groom to a much appreciated date night a month or two after the honeymoon. Book them a suite, makeover, meal, or massage, and they’ll be sure to thank you!

Shopping for a wedding present doesn’t need to be difficult, even if the gifts listed on the registry aren’t what you had in mind for the bride and groom. Opt for something interesting and practical from one of the many shops at Oak Street and your gift will surely be appreciated.

Discover Your Signature Spring Style on Oak Street

For years upon years, all of the most well-known women in fashion have had one thing in common: a signature style!

It’s only natural to envy the iconic looks of Miuccia Prada, Anna Wintour, Delphine Arnault , Aerin Lauder, Floriane de Saint Pierre, Kate Spade, and Gucci Westman, but don’t sell yourself short.

Spring is a time of rebirth and it’s time to reboot your wardrobe with pieces that will serve as staples in a new signature style that showcases your physique, flair for fashion, and good taste flawlessly. Where will you find such stupendous statement pieces? Oak Street, of course.

Read on for a guide full of goodies that will have you stepping out in a style people will remember this spring.

For the Simmering Seductress

‘Naked’ Dresses are all the rage on the runways and in Hollywood lately, but they can be tough for the average Jane to pull off. Fortunately, Agent Provocateur has a wide range of options both opulent and effortless.

The Emie Slip and Dimiya Dress both conceal a bit more of the figure, but large swaths of unlined lace make them positively magnetizing and reveal the skin with good taste. For the seductress that’s just starting out, the Chii Chi Dress is a faux naked dress with a delicate keyhole pattern and flesh-toned chiffon lining that will give you the look everyone’s crazy for without the risk of any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions.

For the Bohemian BeautyBoho Dresses

Spring is the best time to break out fun patterns and flowy silhouettes. Barneys has everything you’ll need to add a Bohemian flair to your wardrobe in a way that’s boho chic, with an emphasis on chic.

The Ulla Johnson Anjali Dress features soft colors, a layered look, and a flattering silhouette for all shapes. The Stella McCartney Ricrac and Pleats Asymmetric Hem Dress provides the flow and fun that you desire while still showing off your shoulders and sternum. Meanwhile, the Ulla Johnson Embroidered Voile Maxi Dress shows just enough skin and draws attention to your waist and collarbone with a strategic cut and embroidered neckline.

For the Eco Chic Eccentric

SaraRose on Oak is the place to shop if you’re into making a more political style statement. The products are made in the United States, and Sara Rosethe shop offers Fairtrade, vegan, handcrafted, and sustainable products to shoppers with big hearts and strong consciences.

Eccentric fashion is all about interesting accessories, so if that’s the signature style you’re going for, stylish and eco-friendly Deeter tote in citrus, graphic tees with messages like “Are You Making the World Better Today?” and Turkish T Tie-Dye scarves that SaraRose has to offer.

Other great options include the Oslenhaus Peace Pump, Awake Third Eye flats, and Meeka Numbered Rings and Necklaces.  Whatever your style, you’re sure to find something at Sara Rose that you love for its look and its conscientious philosophy.

With the return of warm weather, you can embody any style you choose.  Go with what’s tried and true or explore a new trend that’s a little out of your comfort zone.  Take a sunny Saturday to visit Oak Street, browse, try on and find something fabulous that inspires you!

Waldorf-Astoria’s Pop-up Patisserie

pop up patisserie

It is no longer necessary to stroll the streets of Paris to sample flights of macarons or bite into a sugar dusted scone as the Waldorf Astoria Chicago is serving up the classics in its patisserie pop-up. 

From macarons to the buttery Kouign-Amann cakes of Brittany, the Waldorf’s pastry team is making your sweet dreams come true. The Parisian-inspired hotel is upping its breakfast game as Executive Pastry Chef Andrew Johnson and his team creates their delightful twists on French pastries from scratch each day (items range from $5-7). From Thursday through Sunday, guests and locals alike can delight in Waldorf’s “pastry happy hour” in the lobby from 7-10am.

Patisserie Pop-Up Menu:

o   Cinnamon Coffee Cake

o   Seasonal blood orange golden raisin scones

o   Chocolate and hazelnut French macarons (rotating flavors)

o   Waldorf’s version of the buttery Kouign-Amann cake filled with homemade almond cream

o   Plain croissants, giant chocolate chip cookies and cream cheese Danishes

o   Gluten Free Items:

  • Nut, chia, flax-seed packed bread
  • Banana walnut chocolate chip muffins

o   Sunraysia bottled juices (apple, orange, cranberry)

4 Beautiful Work Outfits Inspired by Red Carpet Looks

Red Carpet 1It’s easy to get swept away in a fashion fantasy each year when the Golden Globes and Academy Awards are on. What’s not easy, though, is figuring out how to strut your stuff in similar styles without seeming ‘overdone’ for your normal life which, unfortunately, doesn’t take place on a red carpet!

Never fear, Oak Street offers a variety of gorgeous fashion that will allow you to channel your favorite celebs’ red carpet gowns with a few terrific touches that are all your own.

  1. Gwen Stefani’s Jean Paul Gaultier gown at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards

Wanna mix things up with a mod look like Gwen’s? Armani has got you covered with the Mid-Calf Length Dress in Wool and Silk.  It isn’t a turtleneck by any means, but its sleek silhouette, cap sleeves, and waist detailing are all great contemporary ways to channel Gwen’s gown.Red Carpet 2

Pair the dress with metallic shoes just like she did, but with closed toes to make the look appropriate for the office. Jimmy Choo’s Anouk Light Gold Embossed Mirror Leather
Pointy Toe Pumps serve the purpose perfectly!  Finish off with a killer brow and lip
combo made easy with the Sara Rose on Oak VA Yourself Essentials Subscription Package.  Just be sure you opt for the Love Thyself classic red lipstick while checking out!

  1. Emma Stone’s Pretty-in-Peach Calvin Klein gown at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards

A soft shade like that of Emma’s dramatic dress can be made more appropriate for Red Carpet 3the office with a bit of color blocking and simple structure. Try combining Escada’s Dress Dacking with a pair of Christian Louboutin Senora T-Strap Pumps and Kate Spade’s Madison Ave. Catch a Spark Long Scatter Necklace. Finish with a soft makeup look, and you’ll look even
lovelier than Emma!

  1. Jennifer Garner’s Eye-catching Ebony Jumpsuit at the  5th Annual Thirst Gala in Beverly Hills

Garner’s jumper proves gowns aren’t the only way to go when you need to look chic. You can steal her style with the Elodie Sleeveless Jumpsuit from Scoop NYC paired with Jimmy Choo’s Deckle Black Nappy Suede and Patent Sandals.  The Elodie Jumpsuit doesn’t have a keyhole detail like Jennifer’s does, but you can still channel the same style with simple but stunning diamond accents like the Harry Winston Sunflower Small Post Earrings, Small Diamond Bracelet, and Rondelle Diamond Necklace.

Don’t forget to finish the look with a fun polish like Garner’s to lighten things up. You may find that Trust Fund Beauty’s Money Buys Sarah MichelleHappiness from Sara Rose on Oak is an especially motivating shade to wear at work.

  1. Sarah Michelle Geller’s Monique Lhullier Gown at the 2012 Golden Globes 

Either you loved it or hated it, but Sarah was proud to sport something chosen by her then-two-years-old daughter at the 2012 Golden Globes and she stood out, if nothing else. You can put a similar pop of color into your work wardrobe with the Dusk Clouds A-Line Skirt from Kate Spade, the Light Blue Tattersall Check Shirt from Paul Stuart ($247) and Jimmy Choo’s Tish Violet Suede Pointy Toe Pumps with Tonal Heel.  Add an extra sparkle to your new, eye-catching work attire by tucking the Alexis Bittar Blueberry Marquis Multi Strand Necklace with 18K gold Marquis under your collar.

You may not strut a star-studded red carpet in your day-to-day, but you can certainly borrow a little star style the next time you’re on Oak Street.  And with these gorgeous looks, who knows – you may just fool a few paparazzi into thinking you’re famous.

3 Things You Need for Your Winter Escape Vacation

According to our favorite (or least favorite) animal meteorologist, Punxsutawney Phil, we’re going to be facing six more weeks of snow and slush this winter.  But dry your eyes and take heart – a great deal of the rest of the world isn’t dealing with blizzards and sub-zero temperatures.

So instead of lamenting the groundhog’s shadow, you should be planning your great escape.  After all, a week in warmer climes can make the wait till spring just a little more bearable.

Whether you want to show your significant other some love with a lavish getaway for Valentine’s Day, or your whole family has an insatiable craving for some sunshine and sand, there are a few items you’re going to need for a winter escape south:

  1. Swimwear:

For Her:

Obviously, a trip to the beach or even just a quick visit to your hotel’s indoor pool is going to require a statement making swimsuit! Because it is still winter, you needn’t worry about the task of hiding unsightly swimsuit tan lines when you return home. (Chicago winters do call for cashmere, rather than crop tops, unfortunately.)

This gives you the perfect opportunity to choose a stylish and sexy one-piece silhouette from Agent Provocateur’s selection! The Lyssandra Swimsuit comes in three separate colors and has sweetly sheer panels that will allow you to customize how much skin you show! Meanwhile, the Mazzy Swimsuit will provide a gorgeous graphic element to your snapshots in the sunshine with bold lines and color options like the classic Agent Provocateur ‘pink/black’ combo or the newer, brighter ‘popstar’ style in sharp neon blue, pink, and orange.

For Him:

Most fellows may not feel that the ‘statement’ their swimwear makes is incredibly important, but their female companions may think otherwise. Fortunately, Scoop NYC has got men’s swimwear options to leave any female companion (or bystander!) impressed. If you’re into chic simplicity, the Orlebar Brown Bulldog Classic Swim Shorts come in solid white, black, and navy. Meanwhile, if your style is a bit more eclectic Scoop NYC offers a variety of patterns that are guaranteed to turn heads, like the Vilebriquin Octopus Swim Trunks or the Etro Paisley Swim Trunks.

  1. Luxe Luggage

When you are taking your favorite fashion staples several hundred miles away from home, you want them to be perfectly protected. What better way to accomplish this task and add an incredibly sophisticated accessory to your ensemble than to pick up some Rimowa luggage from Barney’s?

Their Topas Stealth line was designed especially for tropical travel, so it Winter Escape 3excels at protecting against heat and humidity while still being very lightweight.  And for a roomy carry-on, we suggest Barney’s own Weekender Bag, that’s large enough for your tablet, some snacks, magazines, and the valuables you don’t want checked.

  1.  Sunglasses

There’s no better feeling than stepping off the plane somewhere warm and sunny and digging your long-abandoned shades out of your bag after months of not needing them.  For your vacation, you may want a new pair to debut.  Head to Glasses Ltd. and check out their huge collection of designer frames from the likes of Chanel, Ray Ban, Tom Ford and many more.  We like these unique, stylish wooden frames from Gold and Wood and these modern aviators from Mykita.

A few sweet staples are all you really need for an easy escape to more welcoming temps this winter. And because your trip may still be weeks away (you’re counting the days), a little pre-trip shopping may be just what you need to endure the wait, and Oak Street has got you cover