May 27, 2011
When it comes to style, Chicago is definitely not Los Angeles. And for sure it's not New York. But what exactly is Chicago style?
Like New Yorkers, yes, we wear a lot of black. Who doesn't?
And just like the sun-kissed people of Southern Cal, we, too, wear sandals and show lots of skin when the weather is great. (Total Chicago days that fit that description? Maybe … six.)
Sure, Chicago style — in some circles — is a Sox sweatshirt under a parka on opening day. In fact, it's a parka well into May.
But, of course there's more to it than that. There are Bears jerseys and sweatpants. Just kidding.
Stand on any corner of any neighborhood and you'll see Chicagoans with great panache and originality.
In pizza and hot dogs, certainly there's an undisputed Chicago style. But is there an easily defined, unique Chicago fashion style?
"It's a very hard question to answer," says Shani Silver, Chicago editor of the fashion and style blog Refinery 29. "It is not a town fueled by fashion like New York or LA."
The weather makes us "more practical," she says. "We learn to adapt to conditions." But there's another side to Chicago style. "It's experimentation ... no rules to follow," she says, with people more inclined to do their own creative thing.
Amy Creyer, the DePaul University grad student who photographs fashionable everyday Chicagoans for her blog Chicago Street Style, says, "If I had to say one thing that defines Chicago style I would say color. Chicagoans love explosive color. I wonder if it's the Midwestern attitude. People here are bright and cheerful, and that comes through in the clothing."
In search of other opinions, I stopped well-turned-out Chicagoans and asked them to describe Chicago style — and define their own style in one word. Click on the linked text to see what they said.
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