Fashion and history of Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago

The neighborhood of Lincoln Park provides an ideal mixture of serenity and bustle for both shoppers and residents alike. This charming neighborhood is bounded by Lake Michigan to the east, the Chicago River to the west, Diversey Parkway to the north, and North Avenue to the south.

Until the 1820s Lincoln Park was nothing more than a forest and a swamp. But as transportation in the city advanced people began to flock to the neighborhood. Then in the 1950s families all over the city began an exodus to the suburbs and by the 1970s the streets of Lincoln Park were covered in graffiti and the parks were unkempt. Around the 1990s families began to move back into the city, and when they did, Lincoln Park was one of the most desirable locations for young wealthy families. Today Lincoln Park is a mix of young professionals, recent college graduates, new families, and students.

The streets of Lincoln Park are lined with upscale boutiques, both local and national. Depending on the type of shopping experience you desire you can either choose to stroll down Armitage Avenue or take a walk on Halstead Street. Once surrounded by the boutiques on Armitage it can be easy to forget that you are in the middle of a big city. This street possesses a cozy neighborhood feeling with its mix of little boutiques, whimsical gift shops, bookstores, dry cleaners, and local bars. Even the chain stores on these blocks seem as if they have been tailored for the neighborhood. In these stores stylish knickknacks and house wares are often sold right alongside clothing and jewelry. Halsted Street, on the other hand, is more akin to shopping in the Loop. This bustling street is filled almost entirely with chain stores.

Although many of the boutiques only carry national designers, there are a few who stock local artists. Eclectic Chique, located at 807 West Dickens Street, caries many locally designed one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, in addition to the items that have been crafted by the store owner herself. Over on Armitage Avenue the Green Goddess Boutique (located at 1009 Armitage Avenue) stocks an eclectic mix of home accessories, clothing, and jewelry, some of which are designed by local artists. Further up the street is a boutique called the Thread Lounge (located at 918 Armitage Avenue) where shoppers can choose from clothing designed by Chicago designers as well as pieces from boutique designers from all over the country. Comfort Me, located at 651 Armitage Avenue, also features a unique mixture of local clothing and jewelry as well as pieces by national designers.

Even if everyone doesn’t know everyone else in this neighborhood it feels like they do. The stores are not overly trendy or hip, rather they are inviting and unimposing. The boutiques are sophisticated, stylish, and so are the women who shop there.

Photos by Hannah Howcroft. Illustration by Teya Bozhilova.

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