Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jenny Styles + Preserves

Photographs by Brian Kirkbride
Art direction by Jenny Kendler

OMG JENNY!! This is SO MAJOR!!! 

I'm really thrilled to say that from now on Chicago Looks will be counting with the collaboration of the fascinating artist Jenny Kendler. Being both an environmentalist and an artist, Jenny brings the best of both worlds here to the blog: high fashion consciously styled. What can be better than that? 

Read a bit about Jenny's path to a responsible (and incredible) wardrobe below:

"So, for a little while I have been wanting to write a post for Isa's blog on sustainable style. I met Isa a while ago at an event for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) where I am currently artist-in-residence. We talked about how my husband and I have for about the last 9 years been buying only second-hand or handmade products whenever we could. Of course, clothing is one of the easiest (and most fun) things to buy second-hand. When you buy something used that's "new to you" instead of a disposable piece of "fast fashion" made in a sweatshop overseas, it's an easy way to help combat the extreme wastefulness and injustice of the current clothing industry. When you buy handmade, you are advocating for a more equitable economic model, where producers are paid  well and directly for high-quality craftsmanship -- as opposed to paying a corporation which takes most of the profits, while poorly paid factory workers with little involvement in the final product work in often abysmal conditions.

This versatile striped top was purchased second-hand at Buffalo Exchange in Chicago, and the leggings, which I purchased on Etsy several years ago, are handmade from dead-stock textiles. The necklace is handmade by a jewelry artist from Singapore, and is one of my most loved adornments. The wide-sleeved top is also extremely special to me, since it is both very old and was carefully handmade with all sorts of intricate details -- like tiny soutache tassels on the shoulders and back 'tails' and the lovely panels of gray and cream striped silk. It is a 1930's-40's era top that I bought on eBay for $15, including shipping! It needed a bit of restoration and reinforcement where some of the silk was getting weak, but after some stitching, is now in great, wearable shape. I like to imagine that it was made by an artist, as it's Japanese-influenced cut would have been very avant garde for the time.

Next time you're looking for something new and interesting for your wardrobe, consider that you can do something positive for the environment and the economic system by buying used or handmade -- and that moreover, you may have a lot more fun while finding something truly unique that will stand the test of time." 

So inspiring!! 

Find out more about Jenny's work at - she'll soon have an exhibit coming up, I'll keep you posted! She's currently the artist-in-residence for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). 

Josh Illustrates #8

Check out the photograph of this fabulous look here.

Chicago Looks is thrilled to feature super talented Josh Crow's illustrations here in the blog. Check out Josh's own site Crow The Painter, and also Drawn and Coutured - which he runs along with über stylish and also contributor Alanna Zaritz. You can also get your own illustration, contact him at

Here he illustrated Jenny Kendler, certainly one of the artists I admire most in town, not only for her delicate and environmentally-focused work, but also for her incredible sense of style. She'll be talking about it more in the post above - I'm thrilled to say she'll be collaborating with the blog by regularly sharing her conscious fashion tips. Stay tuned!

Street View 164: Storm

Check out Storm's supercute oxfords on my Bleader post here


Monday, February 10, 2014

Chicago Looks Valentine's Day gift guide - cool, cheap and local!

Nerfect stuffed hot-dog eating gnome ($10 small and $20 medium) - LOVE this shop, tons of other cute stuff there!

Abbey Brown Blue Line soap and candle gift box ($20)

Need to give your significant other a hint? How about this Sugarcoma tee? ($18)

Tru Blooms Fountain of Roses, made with flowers sustainably harvested in Chicago

Chicago Street Art book by Joseph Dupre ($15) (lots more local books at Quimby's)

Brett Manning's cards, posters, T-shirts, buttons and canvas bags (varied prices)

Jazz CDs by 100% artist-run label Aerophonic Records (from $14)

And last but not least, 80's and 90's vintage shop Kokorokoko is having a buy one get one for $2 sale this February!

* This guide was not sponsored by any of the featured shops/brands. Nothing on Chicago Looks is sponsored, really...

Attention, models!

More info here

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Josh Illustrates #7

Chicago Looks is thrilled to feature super talented Josh Crow's illustrations here in the blog. Check out Josh's own site Crow The Painter, and also Drawn and Coutured - which he runs along with über stylish and also contributor Alanna Zaritz. You can also get your own illustration, contact him at

This time he was inspired by photographer Shelley Brown, can you blame him? See her picture in the post below. Many more fabulous illustrations coming up next week. Stay tuned!


My husband always makes fun of me saying that I think the solution to everyone's problems is to start a blog. And the truth is I kinda do... Not the solution per se, but it helps a lot! When I arrived from my native Brazil in 2009 I was lucky to be surrounded by my husband's creative music crowd, but I still didn't have my very own friends. I can say I found a good portion of them through this blog. Shelley is one of those people.

After shooting her this day we sat down for a tea, and the next thing I know I'm crying my eyes off to her since I was having a really rough day. She listened patiently and lovingly gave me a list of things she did that helped her go through tough times. You can find that list in her website,

But that wasn't the first time I spotted her. I met her while she was photographing on Oak St, marveled at everything she saw (see Bleader post here). I thought she was from out of town due to her excitement, but it turns out she is a seasoned Chicagoan. She just happens to see everything with fresh eyes - she had a surgery that stopped her from walking for a while and came back to vertical life with renewed enthusiasm. She shares some of that in her wonderful photos displayed at Also see some of her musings in her blog,

Shelley was featured in the Chicago Looks Newcity column, read her interview here and find the latest issue all over town.

Love you, Shelley! Thanks for all your support!

Newcity drivers wanted!

Chicago Looks is a proud contributor to Newcity, a locally owned arts and culture biweekly that you can find all over town. Here's a great opportunity to all freelancers out there who own a car and don't like to be stuck in an office: 

"One day, usually every other Wednesday, we rent vehicles and deliver Newcity to just under a thousand locations around Chicago and Evanston. The steady, regular work has proven to be a solid gig for several of our longtime drivers who are musicians by trade—with some doing this as long as fifteen years. 

Why does this work for them?

It's a concentrated (one long day), regular batch of work and income

It's physical but not unduly taxing, offering a respite from a too-often sedentary life

It's a way to engage, face to face, with the city around us in a time of increasing digital isolation. Drivers are in and out of vehicles breathing fresh (well, Chicago) air; interacting with shopkeepers and getting to know parts of the city in great detail. 

It's a way to contribute to a publication you read, with a mission you believe in. (If you don't, forget the rest: this is not for you.)

This job is the perfect fit for free spirits who need paid work without being bogged down by everyday commitments. Are you an artist? An entrepreneur? Need a leg up while you pursue your dream? Earn some extra cash with us.

If you are available, always reliable and have a good driving record, email

If you can't commit on a regular basis, but would like to be called upon as a substitute from time to time, please let us know that as well."

Check out Chicago Looks latest columns in Newcity's renewed design section, and also in print in select locations such as libraries, Whole Foods, Epic Burger, Myopic Books, John Fluevog, Old Town School of Folk Music, Gene Siskel etc etc etc, and in those black newspaper boxes all over downtown. See distribution map here.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Caroline Styles #4

"Hello! Long time no see, but this year you'll be seeing lots more of me (hey that rhymes)! I found this gorgeous black lace dress while rummaging through some of my mother's old clothes and she was nice enough to give it to me (thanks, mom!). It has sort of a witchey vibe, which is pretty rad. I love this dress, it's definitely a new favorite! I wore it with a thrifted little cape coat, some old and very destroyed boot, a choker that I got on sale from Topshop, and my black button earrings. I also did my hair in some milk maid braids (one of my go-to hairstyles) and braided some black ribbon in to them as well. I hope yo enjoyed this wonderfully wintery witchey outfit!"


HELL YEAH, girl! Quite a stylish and gorgeous witch you turned out to be. Gotta raid your mom's closet, way to go!

Caroline is one of Chicago Looks fabulous collaborators - see her previous contributions here, here and here. More coming soon, stay tuned!

Street View 163: Vincent

Chicago Looks hearts Vincent Uribe! This artist, curator, LVL3 gallery director and overall cultural agitator is totally happening! Plus the dude can dress... Check out his whole look for Party on my Bleader post here - also read a bit more about the #figureandground work he curated for the event. If you missed it, the After Party opening reception will be happening on February 17th from 4 to 6 pm. More info here.



Collin was shot at Party, an event promoted by SAIC's Student Union Galleries, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. If you missed it, the After Party opening reception will be happening on February 17th from 4 to 6 pm. More info here.

He's standing in front of #figureandground, a backdrop gallery featuring the artwork of 30 School of the Art Institute alumni, curated by Vincent Uribe and Chelsea Culp.


Grace was shot at Party, an event promoted by SAIC's Student Union Galleries, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. If you missed it, the After Party opening reception will be happening on February 17th from 4 to 6 pm. More info here.

Street View 162: Rachel

Rachel shows how layering is done on my Bleader post here (honorable mention to her socks).

80's princesses + super sale at Kokorokoko

Mulan ready for her aerobics class with leggings and legwarmers, crimped-hair Rapunzel (this must have taken forever!) and not sure who the last one is (Tiana maybe?), but she looks fabulous with her 'fro!

OMG hipster Alice!!

Bare midriff and peplum, totally back now! Ariel knows...

Cinderella ready for the prom!

I've always been a huge fan of the 80's. I love its unabashed flashiness, femininity and fun spirit. I am crazy about floral Laura Ashley dresses, peplum, bows, lace, pearls, ruffles, acid wash denim and big hair. Bold colors and prints, bold everything. So nothing more natural than getting really excited about the above illustrations by Kathryn Hudson, featuring Disney princesses sporting the raddest 80's fashions.

Another thing I'm super excited about is Kokorokoko's February sale: BUY ONE GET ONE FOR $2!! They're my official 80's fashions supplier...

1323 N. Milwaukee Ave, close to the Division blue line station.
© CHICAGO LOOKS ***** a Chicago Street Style + Fashion Blog*****. All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig