Memorial Day weekend is here, which means that dreaded thing has finally arrived: swimsuit season. If you are anything like me, trying on swimsuits after a long and dreary winter is a wake-up call for the ego. That body that looked perfectly fine under skinny jeans and sweaters is so unsightly when exposed!
But swimming pools and beaches are calling, so swimsuit shop we must. And one of the best ways that I’ve found to segue into near nakedness is with a flattering one-piece. I’m all for bikinis, but sometimes it’s nice to have something cover (and zip up) your tummy.
One of my favorites this season is by Maria Cornejo. It’s not easy to find a swimsuit that is simultaneously edgy and sexy, and this one manages to be both. But most important, it's flattering. A little spray tan beforehand, hat and sunglasses in hand, and those skinny jeans and sweaters will be ancient history.
$395 at Ikram, 15 E. Huron St.; or shopbop.com
Photo: courtesy of Urban Decay
Like most Chicagoans, I have romantic delusions about summer. I spend so much of the year fantasizing about al fresco dining, sun-soaked rooftops and outdoor festivals that I completely forget about the sticky, humid, 95-degree reality of it all.
While I can keep wishing for sunny with a high of 75, it’s best to be prepared for anything. And in Chicago's hot summers, the De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray by Urban Decay is my weapon of choice. The formula mattifies, cools and sets makeup all at once—I can’t sign its praises enough. A quick mist before an event, and my face stays shine-free all night.
Pretty slick, eh?
Jay Gatsby believed in the green light. He also believed in dressing impeccably, as can be seen by Leonardo DeCaprio’s dashing portrayal of this literary character in the film version of The Great Gatsby, now in theaters.
As for me, I believe in the showstopping Gatsby line just launched by Brooks Brothers. Designed by double-Academy Award winning designer, Catherine Martin, who produced all of the men’s costumes in the Baz Luhrmann film adaptation, the collection does more than capture the nostalgia of roaring ’20s style—it inspires one to rethink all that’s beautiful about men’s fashion.
Picking one item to recommend was as difficult as corralling Daisy Buchanan. The spectacular linen suits, the sumptuous shirts and equally sumptuous ties; the dazzling red, white, and navy regatta blazer. Browsing the pieces, it’s tempting to do anything to have it all—including becoming a bootlegger.
I’ll just highlight one beauty: These white and brown spectator loafers. Crafted in England with tone-on-tone stitching and creamy calfskin, with leather insole and lining, they will turn a pair of taupe linen trousers into a spring/summer head-turner.
Don’t take my word for it. Visit the store, breathe in the luxuriance, toss aside any inhibitions of looking like a dandy, and get something.
Gatsby, in the end, was a deeply tragic figure. You, by contrast, will be a fashion hero.
$598 at Brooks Brothers, 713 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago-based bracelet e-tailer BusyWrist has a motto—”the busier the better." I can get behind that motto. And, thanks to this company, I can wear it on my sleeve.
The idea is to go gangbusters mixing, matching, and stacking bracelets. The site is packed with wrist candy made of semi-precious stones, leather, and all sorts of prettiness, but it’s the pre-selected “stacks” that won me over.
There are those of us who wonder: “Does this clash in the effortlessly stylish way, or the trainwreck way?” Don't worry. The three-packs (which look awesome together but are far from matchy-matchy) are the way to go.
Because who has time to stew over bracelet coordination?
$50 at busywrist.com
While summer is the season of whites, white bags can be tricky—not only can they look a tad granny, but they get dirty in a twinkling.
No such problems with this Ferragamo stunner, which arrived at the Michigan Avenue store just a couple of weeks ago. (It's technically from the Fall 2013 collection.) The python exterior is black around the edges—where wear and dirt is most likely to show—with an irregular white blaze down the center. What's more, its leather-lined interior is roomy enough to hold your iPad (and other essentials).
A beautifully crafted Italian bag that you can carry from now through fall—without worrying about stains? Sign me up.
$1,950 at Salvatore Ferragamo, 444 N. Michigan Ave., 312-397-0464, or at ferragamo.com. (Note: This is Ferragamo's temporary location while it refurbishes its permanent digs at 645 N. Michigan. The move to the larger space is scheduled to happen in a few weeks.)
With all the hoopla around The Great Gatsby lately, Art Deco jewelry is having its moment. The loose, glittering glamour of the ’20s is hard to resist, and this piece from Lanvin is one of the best of the bunch.
The pompom has a satisfying shimmy that makes you want to break into the Charleston, and the design is minimal enough that it can be paired with pieces inspired by any era.
$950 at Lanvin, 116 E Oak St., 312-765-7075
I love the idea of a cheek stain, but it can be tricky to apply (“stain” being the operative word, here). And I like the velvety consistency of a cream blush, but it often lacks staying power.
Which is why when Josie Maran released a new Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée, my eyes lit up.
The gelée combines the long-lasting pigment of a stain (up to 14 hours) with the softness of a cream for a luminous finish. Because it’s infused with coconut water and argan oil, it’s also incredibly hydrating. A splash of coconut water is just what these cheeks ordered.
$22 at sephora.com
Thirty-year-old Eli Naeher founded Inland Clothing in Chicago last year with the idea of selling high-quality, classically-styled men's basics at a fair price—and all crafted in the U.S. The one-man operation has an online presence only, and ships all orders out of its Chicago warehouse, but Inland has shown up at pop-up markets like NorthernGRADE and this past Sunday's Dose.
Naeher seeks out the best small-batch manufacturers across the country (New Jersey-based Individualized Shirts provides Inland's men's dress shirts, the only item they have made in-factory for 50 years) but keeps it local too (Chicago-made clothing from Domestic Workwear.)
"Well-made clothing shouldn't be a luxury," says Naeher. "It should be accessible to everyone."
Closet fixtures like bridle leather belts and twill work pants are easy on the eyes, but it's the no-frills pocket knife and rubber-duck-yellow duffel (pictured) that will stop you in your mouse clicks. The humble bag's durability will not let you down, and Inland's collection is sure to follow suit.
$70 at inlandclothing.com
Short shorts can be the base of sexy getup or the culprit of a fashion no-no. I think the key to pulling off the bare-legged look (other than the obvious—toned gams) is what you've got going on above the shorts. Translation: When showing a lotta leg, it’s probably wise to show less arm, chest, and midriff.
That’s why this oversized top—made right here in the city by Edith Hart—will soon find its way into my closet. With a bit of understated detail (scooped neckline, dolman sleeves), it's the ideal mate to my new lacy mini-shorts. Now, to work on these pasty-white legs...
$60 at Edith Hart, 1917 N. Damen Ave., 773-252-3350
As regular readers of the Classics blog know, I am a wee bit obsessed with scarves. Specifically, 36-inch-square silk-twill ones. And for summertime, there are few better bets than Pucci.
If you haven't been lucky enough to receive a groovy 1960s version from a beneficent aunt—or don't have the energy to score one on eBay (worth checking out, for sure), never fear: Saks always stocks a good selection of the Italian label’s latest. Here is a great example. No matter how you tie it, this stylized floral print looks terrific. Plus, it's perfect to tuck into your luggage for a trip—it can turn a simple black or white dress into a completely different outfit, while taking up very little packing space.
Bonus: It’s also ideal for those over-air-conditioned spaces, when you need just a little something extra to cut the chill.
$375 at Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan Ave., or saks.com
About this blog
Style Sheet is Chicago magazine’s blog devoted to all things stylish. Every weekday our trusty columnists track down the best offerings in men’s and women’s apparel, beauty, and grooming so you can just sit back and click.
Carly Boers | An associate editor at Chicago magazine, Boers loves a bargain and is addicted to new jeans and cute accessories. Look for her $100-or-less Cheap & Chic pick on Tuesdays.
Heiji Choy Black | Always on the hunt for the new, the exceptional, and the avant garde, Black edits Chicago magazine’s fashion coverage. Look for her Fashion Forward pick on Fridays. Twitter: @heijiblack