Tag Archives: Chicago Fashion

Chicago Playground: Athletic Nostalgia Celebrating the Chicago Streetwear Scene

CPG1963 Board

  • Who’s the Designer:  Creative Director, Rodnell Harris founded streetwear fashion label Chicago Playground in 2008. 
  • What’s the inspiration:  The inspiration behind Chicago Playground is grounded in the belief of filling the void of capturing the “je ne sais qua” of the streets of Chicago.  The clothing’s central focus on collegiate athletics are in tribute to the core values of the brand that center around a homage to Chicago by resonating the principles of success, honor and the throwback traditional values of yesteryear.
  • Why it’s relevant:  Aside from the obvious of the cool kid vibe that Harris channels through his mens and womenswear collections, this brand is all about giving back to the community.  A key pillar of the brand’s principle is to help in spreading positivity, pride and excellence in Chicago’s youth.  Talk about resonating “Chicago je ne sais qua”!
  • Where to wear it:  Everywhere!  Sport, athletics and collegiate are the some of the key trend buzzwords right now and will definitely live into next Spring/Summer 2015.  Snag a piece now online at: www.cpg1963.com

 

 

#WWAW: Chicago Love Letter…

About a month ago I received some pretty incredible news, and in a nutshell it consisted of : We’re moving to Dallas, TX!! For some of you this may not come as a total surprise what with my recent tweets and instagrams.  Since the realization of this one phrase it’s come to represent one giant ball of emotions that have had me reeling with every single facial emoji in my phone (and maybe even a few from Harper’s Bazaar).

After the initial shock of realizing I was  leaving the place I have called home for the last 9 years I decided that the only proper and respectful way to break-up with Chicago was in a way that would ensure that he understood how much I loved an appreciated everything he’s given to me and do so in a way that would preserve the amazing friendship that we sparked those few short years ago.

Seeing that I only had a mere 4 weeks to spend with my great love Chicago 2 tasks became an immediate priority: one, making a dent in my Chicago foodie list and second, crossing off the places I wanted to visit on my Chicago tourist list.  Naturally each item I crossed off both lists were done in the only way CSM knows how with an Edgy, Comfy, Chic fashion.

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Dear Chicago,

When I stepped out of the taxi cab 9 years ago, I just knew that you and I were destined for each other.  The jaw dropping skyline that seemed to go on for miles coupled with that amazing endless blue water were what sealed my immediate infatuation for you.  While at first it was definitely all about looks for me, what with the bright lights and endless rows of beautiful boutiques stunningly framed by the majestic blue of Lake Michigan in the Gold Coast.  I found myself venturing over to the homey, yet vibrantly full of life neighborhood of East Lakeview.  While I will always be a Chicago Cubs fan by default because of the many day drinking expeditions spent on Clark & Addison cheering in camraderie for a Cubs ‘W’.   The hellacious commute out to the far northwest suburbs for work proved to be too much, but in the end brought me to my absolute favorite neighborhood in Chicago: Logan Square.  This beautifully eclectic and diverse foodie’s paradise is my soulmate.  This unassuming vibrant and unpretentious neighborhood so full of creative talent that just bursting at the seams that it’s such a common place to walk down Milwaukee and feel like I’m walking through an art exhibit.  Words can’t even begin to express how much I’m going to miss you Chicago.  Even while I was in Dallas, TX looking for a new temporary residence the only criteria I had while working with our realtor was this one statement: “What area in Dallas, TX resembles exactly or at least is a nod to the beautifully diverse artist & foodie paradise of Logan Square in Chicago?”  I don’t know what I was expecting to hear back or whether some small part of me was secretly holding on to some small hope that maybe there would be a Logan Square doppleganger in Texas but I knew.  I knew that there wouldn’t be, but I just couldn’t at that moment take in the notion that I would be leaving you Chicago.  

What I have discovered over the course of the last 4 weeks is that it is just not physically, mentally or emotionally possible for me to break-up with you Chicago.  Our love affair runs way too deep and let’s just be honest my heart couldn’t take it.  So for right now I’m going to be on a really, really long vacation so this is not goodbye, it’s see you later!

Love Always and Forever,

Ana xoxo

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P.S.  While I was eating and sightseeing my way through my lists I wore some pretty fabulous ensembles because when you go on dates with Chicago the only right thing to do is step it up and no better way but in my Edgy, Comfy, Chic style!

photo 1P.P.S Even more of a bonus?  Here’s a funny outtake because you know I had way more outtakes than actual blog ready photos lol

photo 3What I’m Wearing: ASOS Run DMC Tank/ ASOS Midi Camo Skirt/ Melissa X Gareth Pugh Sandals/ Givenchy Pandora Bag/ House of Harlow Sunnies (Similar)

 

 

 

 

 

PRIN Spring/Summer 2015

PRIN

  • Who’s the Designer:  PRIN is designed by Prina Bagia
  • What’s the inspiration:  Downtown electic meets high fashion glamour was the inspiration for Bagia’s third collection she has debuted this year.  
  • Why it’s relevant:  Bagia’s color palette of choice in utilizing soft beige and cream to juxtapose the rich and luxe colors of deep reds and vibrant pinks aide in cementing the transition of pinks and reds as being a key color for spring next year.  While many viewed the emergence of pink on the street style scene as a micro trend Bagia along with the rest of the fashion industry are seeing a very permanent seat at the table for soft pink and pastel pink.
  • Where to wear it:  This collection showcased 30 different looks ranging from stunning evening wear gowns to great ready-to-wear pieces.  Bagia’s vision of marrying downtown electic chic with high fashion glamour allows you to have so much versatility in being day time ready at work and easily transition into a fabulous night out on the town.   So gear up and shop local and get ready to be ushering in Spring wearing PRIN Sp/Su 2015!

 

 

#WWAW: Pampering is The Cure For Anything!

Being always on the go traveling for work coupled with a hectic work schedule that demands a lot out of me during the week it’s such an amazing treat for when the weekend hits to spoil myself with a little pampering.  This past Sunday not only did I indulge myself in a blow out but I topped my day off with champs, lots of laughs and all while feeding my nail crack fix with stunning nail art.

meFirst Stop: I’ve been a fan of the Drybar ever since they tamed my tresses for New York Fashion Week last year.  Long story short, I committed a major hair faux pas and forgot my hair product.  I literally did a small prayer to the beauty gods that I would be able to get in on a last minute appointment and with a lot of amazing customer service from the Drybar team they secured me an appointment with plenty of time for me to get my tresses treated before I hit my long day at the tents.  When I heard they were opening a location in Chicago I squealed with joy because with that one accommodating appointment they had secured a customer for life (I mean seriously, the pricing is unbelievable and coupled with customer service that is out of this world what more can a girl ask for right?)  So on this trip I decided to change up from my ‘Cosmo-Tai’ and opted for some glam & volume and chose the ‘Southern Comfort.’

me 2Second Stop:  Set with my Hollywood glam hair I made my way over to the #AuthenticBliss being hosted by Authentic Noise PR media event.  What better way to continue my day of pampering than attending an event all about mini massages, make-up consultations and nail art manicures by Astrowifey & Notable Nails featuring beautiful nail lacquer by LVX.

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photoAll in all Sunday was such an amazing day filled with glam hair, some new nail crack and all with bottomless mimosas and bellinis with amazing company.  Never underestimate the power of little pampering treatments and I would highly recommend treating yourself to some glam hair & nail crack!

 

#WWAW: Spring’s Biggest Trends? Rocked it!

So it’s officially Spring and long overdue for a #WWAW (What Would ‘Ana Wear) post.  With Spring temps finally gracing us with it’s presence and Memorial Day weekend around the corner it’s time to get a handle on what Spring trends to try out and work into your wardrobe rotation.  Ready, set let’s go and explore some trends shall we?

What’s the Inspiration:  Mixing and matching Spring’s biggest trends such as crop tops, florals, cut-outs and bucket handbags.  Every designer from Proenza Schouler to Christopher Kane had sprinkles of each of these key elements in their Spring/Summer 2014 collections.  There are so many trending zeitgeists that initially I tried to narrow down and figure out which one to start with as a focus and possibly do a series and then had an ‘aha moment’ to incorporate them all into one outfit.

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Why it’s Relevant:  So the whole idea of trends is that they are temporary fads, but what causes the transition to style is to not have any restrictions and to embrace being a rule breaker.  As a style & fashion rebel I took on the challenge to not only incorporate 4 trends into one ensemble but to make them my own.  While many would not mix florals with cut-out spikes or stripes and ripped jeans I believe all trends can cohesively be worn all together.  The trick is to ensure that you stick to one color palette especially if there are a number of different juxtaposing trends. I chose to stick with the modern black and white palette with a pop of color accent in my blazer and complimenting this accent color in my accessories.

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Where to Wear it:  These trends are key elements in my Spring/Summer wardrobe and the big bonus?  This ensemble is food/music/art festival ready.  Why you say, because any style maven who lives in Chicago knows that means you have mastered the art of layering and fully appreciate any ensemble that allows you seamlessly adjust to any change in Chicago’s bi-polar weather.

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What I’m wearing:  ASOS Floral Blazer/ ASOS Striped Bandeau (Similar)/ ASOS Ripped Skinny Jeans/ Marc Jacobs Bucket Handbag (Similar)/ Jeffrey Campbell Spiked Cut-out Booties/ Mirrored Sunnies 

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The Glass Slipper Project

GSP Logo

This time last year I decided to finally start crossing off items on my bucket list of goals and experiences I’ve wanted to accomplish and have.  Like a lot of people I always try to pull from my bucket list every year when New Year’s eve rolls around and the infamous “New Year’s Resolutions” start to become the buzz phrase of the day.  So near the top of both lists was to do some volunteer work.  As weird as this may sound you would assume that deciding to do volunteer work should be simple as pie.  But for me it wasn’t because I really wanted to give of myself and my talents and knew that I needed to find an organization that would allow me to do so.  Upon the recommendation of my best friend I discovered the phenomenal work of The Glass Slipper Project.

The Glass Slipper Project is an organization that gives away free prom dresses and accessories to high school juniors and seniors in the Chicagoland and other surrounding areas.  The unique and stand out experience that this organization provides for all of the girls they help is so awe inspiring.  GSP creates a “boutique” like feel by enlisting volunteers to work as personal shoppers who give each girl a personalized shopping experience by helping her find the perfect dress then ushering her throughout the “boutique” to find the perfect fashion accessories (handbag, shawl, jewelry, shoes and make-up).

Volunteer PicI volunteered last year as a personal shopper and helped 3 beautiful girls find that perfect look that they will have memories about for the rest of their lives.  It was such a fulfilling experience to be able to bring so much joy and excitement into these girls lives that it reminded me of why style and fashion are so important to me.  It’s not simply because of the stunning aesthetic of artful design that is brought to life by fabrications and texture but it is the idea that style and fashion aide to give all of us a renewed confidence and echo so loudly CSM’s mantra of, “Using fashion as armour to walk life’s runway”.  

I will be returning again this year to GSP as a personal shopper volunteer and would love to see you all there too!  Visit their website to get more info and details on different volunteer opportunities and boutique dates as well as more information on submitting donations.  They are a 100% volunteer based organization that relies on the donation of dresses, shoes, jewelry, make-up and purses as well as monetary donations.  www.glasslipperproject.org

 

 

 

8 Tips to Score Big Outlet Mall Shopping!

With internet shopping becoming more and more popular we often forget about the amazing savings to be had shopping actual brick and mortar stores.  Living in Chicago we have such great access to a number of different outlet malls but most notably we are within minutes to the Fashion Outlets of Chicago.  They’ve just recently added Burberry to their collection of designer outposts and will be new neighbors to the likes of Prada, Gucci, Tory Burch, Ermengildo Zegna, and Trina Turk just to name a few.  So with such an impressive top-tier assortment of designers to shop at this outlet mall it’s best be prepared with key tips on how to both effectively and efficiently shop so you will guarantee that you score big.

  • Develop a shopping game plan:  Be sure to check online before embarking on your shopping expedition for information that can help you determine your shopping game plan.  Some outlet mall stores offer discounts that aren’t advertised so if you’re curious about a particular store, call them up and ask what discounts they are offering—you may be surprised to learn that stores are offering 60% or more off of already reduced prices.
  • Dress comfortably:  Comfort is key! Pick an outfit that’s comfortable and definitely wear layers that slip on and off easily so you can speed through dressing rooms.  The same goes for shoes:  Choose walkable, comfy footwear that’s easy to get on and off.
  • Arrive Early-Or late:  The best time to avoid crowds and long dressing room lines is early in the day or later in the evening–between 10 a.m. and noon, and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.   I highly, highly recommend trying items on.  Often times it’s final sale so it’s best to be on the safe side and try things on.
  • Do some research:  Enter an outlet mall armed with some money know-how.   This means doing a little research beforehand about how much designer pieces actually cost at retail, so you’ll know if you’re really getting a bargain at the outlets.  Also, keep in mind that some merchandise at outlets are actually made for outlets and factory stores, they aren’t all leftover from what you saw last season in stores, so keep that in mind.
  • Be flexible:  While you might have a set list of items you are specifically looking for based on the great research you’ve done, be flexible.  While outlets do have both current as well as past season merchandise it’s best to be open and flexible in your search because if you are too rigid in what you are looking for you might miss out on that great pair of Fendi heels that are now 80% off original retail because your heart was so set on finding a pair of Miu Miu heels.
  • Move from front to back:  The biggest clearance items and deepest discounts are always located in the back of the store, so be sure to start your hunt there.
  • Double or triple up on savings when you can:  Outlet merchandise is already discounted by 25% to 65% and many stores offer special promotions and coupons throughout the year to help you save even more.  For instance, Premium Outlets has a VIP Shopper Club with additional store savings.  By using all of your savings options, you can compound your discounts and get killer deals—there’s no shame in bringing your calculator or smart phone to make the math easier, I actually highly recommend this!
  • Throw buyer’s remorse out the window:  Don’t wait —that YSL dress will probably be gone tomorrow.  Merchandise in the outlets sell faster than in regular department stores, so don’t let a hesitation keep you from that next wardrobe building piece!

Two female friends with shopping bags having fun while shopping in a mall, close-up on bags

 

 

 

#ShopLocal: Remi Canarie Spring/Summer 2014 Exclusively at Roam!

Remi_Canarie 2

  • Who’s the Designer: The design duo behind Remi Canarie, Lisa Rigney and Liz Patelski met while students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).  
  • What’s the inspiration:  Continuing with the brands aesthetic of blurring the lines between menswear and womenswear giving way to an androgynous approach to clothing.  In playing with traditional menswear silhouettes and re-purposing the shape by slimming the cut or focusing in on fabrications that give more drape instantly ooze femininity.  Stand out details of this spring/summer 2014 collection is a series of prints that they developed based on photos Patelski took during a road trip last summer.  The prints are used in number of different ways and speak to the wanderlust in all of us. 
  • Why it’s relevant: Rigney & Patelski have been dubbed the next creative genius to come out of Chicago that will be this town’s next Creatures of the Wind.  This notoriety was cemented by being one of only two runners up in the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards in 2011.
  • Where to  buy & wear it: This spring/summer 2014 will only be available exclusively at Roam Boutique.  Roam seem familiar?  Well it’s because I featured this shopper’s dream last year.  Mallory Ulaszek, owner of Roam strongly believes that Remi Canarie has a “great range, textiles and craftsmanship”.  This in turn sparked the need to become the exclusive destination for the brand.  Pieces that you should be added to your closet for spring to ensure you usher in spring with laid-back ease are their short ‘power suits, shirt dresses and the bustier.

 

 

 

 

#WWAW: Fur with a Maxi?

Twice a year the style elite kick off the fashion month festivities celebrating the medium of movement art and showcasing for all of us a preview of what we can look forward to wearing in the upcoming season.  New York Fashion Week starts this Thursday and after four consecutive seasons at the tents I will be bowing out this season.  I’m not taking a permanent vacation from the tents but after all of the hustle and bustle it takes to prepare to attend the beautiful chaos that is New York Fashion Week, the demanding back to back schedule of shows and industry events that make up my fashion week agenda, coupled having a full-time career I needed a break.  Last week I made the hard decision to take this season off and cover the New York Fashion Week shows from the comfort of my home and bonus? Automatic front row seating!

What’s the inspiration: Since my decision of whether or not I’d be attending New York Fashion Week wasn’t officially solidified until last week I’d already begun the preparation of attending.  One of my favorite tent ensembles that I’d planned on wearing is inspired by re-purposing my maxi pleated skirt which was one of my favorite pieces from last spring/summer.  I can’t get enough of this amazing piece so I thought, “Fur with a Maxi? Sure why not!”

1Why it’s relevant: Mixing of fabrications and textures is a refreshing way to incorporate interest and newness to a drab winter wardrobe.  I’ve made this ensemble season appropriate by pairing my favorite pleated maxi skirt with a warm & cozy pull over sweatshirt, a faux fur vest layered on top of leather motorcycle jacket and boots of course.

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Where to wear it: Not only is this tent appropriate, especially considering the weather but it’s perfect to wear to any event and should be worn everywhere.  Mixing of fabrications and textures add so much interest while at the same time ensure that you are dressed up/down the right amount for any occasion.

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What I’m wearing: KENZO pullover sweatshirt/ ASOS Pleated Maxi Skirt/ BB Dakota Faux Fur Vest/ ASOS Moto Leather Jacket (Similar)/ Chloe Susanna Booties/ Givenchy Clutch/ River Island Sunnies

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#WWAW: All black (almost) everything!

So it’s 2014 and time to usher in new habits and routines.  One new habit I want to make a consistent practice here on CSM: A Style Maven’s Diary are regular entries to my style diary.   I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from you all about my straight forward recaps I’ve started to use for my fashion week coverage so I’ll be adopting a similar format for my style diary entries.

What’s the inspiration:  Wearing socks with sandals or heels is nothing new but I’ve been intrigued with this trend and decided to take it for a spin and incorporate it on my terms.  I’ve got quite a few beauties in my footwear closet that are not Chicago winter proof so the idea of wearing socks for warmth immediately became enticing due to warmth and bonus, made it a little bit more practical and less of a fashion forward trend.

1Why it’s relevant:  Miuccia Prada’s Spring/Summer 2014 women’s collection was an ode to celebrating free thinking, empowered women and this look of socks and legwarmers were donned on every model who walked in this fashion presentation.

2Where to wear it: Everywhere and with everything, well minus if it’s a serious polar vortex outside and in that case I would highly recommend a pair of winter boots.  This fashion forward trend is definitely not for the faint of heart so if you are going to wear this, then I would empower you to own it like the strong women that Miuccia drew inspiration from for her collection.

3What I’m wearing:  Criminal Damage Tee/ River Island Over-sized Coat (Similar)/ BDG Jeans/ Carthartt Beanie/ Prada Heels/ Clutch/ House of Harlow  Sunnies

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