Tilly Vintage, 5232 N Clark St. My rating: 5 out of 5 stars Pluses: beautifully curated, unique, clothing is in great condition Negative: small physical store Summary: Go during the week, either by yourself or with one other friend. Shoot for the quieter times. Give yourself at least thirty minutes, preferably about an hour. Don’t be shy, and be willing to get help, it’s more fun that way. This is an ideal place to find something stunning for an upscale event, and you could potentially find the entire outfit in one place. Be open to trying new things, and TRUST Susan. It will pay off. Be bold. Love yourself. 🙂 Full Review: Tilly is a hip, vintage store in Andersonville, about a 15 minute walk from the Berwyn stop on the Red Line. I was immediately drawn to it because of the clothing sitting outside and how obvious it was that the owner trusted people on the street to not run off with it. I browsed through some of the items outside, and I liked what I saw, so I decided to walk in. Get ready to be overwhelmed. Her store is packed, quite literally. The closest comparison I can think of is when I’ve been in large costume shops in the back area of theaters, shuffling through aisles and aisles of fabulous clothing. It’s overwhelming, and even for someone who loves to search to find just the right thing. Quantitatively, she doesn’t have an excessive amount of inventory. It’s a great selection. Everyone can find something. The overwhelming aspect is the extremely small size of the store. Once I psychologically adjusted to the situation, I fell in love. Susan, the owner, is fabulous. She’s understanding and not pretentious. She obviously loves what she does, and she knows a lot about the history of the clothing. She immediately told me that she was in the midst of processing new clothing from an estate of a previous Vogue editor. She has an absolutely gorgeous Balenciaga dress hanging right by the door, as a sort of the figurehead of the store. Susan had me take off my bulky coat and looked me over. Usually, I would feel quite uncomfortable having someone do this to me, but with Susan it was clear she was just analyzing me to see what the best shapes and colors would be for me. We started. I let her know that at this point in my life I have enough fancy clothing (from singing opera), and I really just want interesting things that I can wear on the street. She quickly was able to find a few options for me. She showed me about ten dresses that could have worked; I chose three of them. I found a couple of dresses for myself and a beautiful green coat. The coat was a part of a set with a dress, and I asked if she would be willing to break up the set. She said yes, which was very nice of her. As for the dresses, we chose some casual floor-length dresses, mostly based in black, a few of them with some bold, flower patterns. They were a good balance of, “Hey, I’m wearing a really cool vintage dress”, and “Hey, I’m a practical human.” I ended up looking great in 3 out of the 5 dresses that were chosen by Susan and me, which was quite the accomplishment based on my very specific size and shape. I felt like Susan and I were officially a team, and it was a lot of fun. I won’t mention specific prices, but I wasn’t willing to drop money on three dresses and a coat, so I ended up going with just the coat. Then I moved on to accessories. Susan has them displayed in all the remaining cracks and crevices of the store, and they are all quite fabulous. She had a plethora of purses, mostly small or medium in size. Susan must have something close to a photographic memory, because she’s able to tell you at least one thing about each piece you have in your hands, and she’s clearly passionate about everything she’s curated for the store. She can tell you what top designers are doing now and what items in her store reference that specific trend. What mattered the most to me though was how nice and patient Susan was. I’ve dealt with enough divas in my life. She will remind you, often, that she can have anything taken in or let out by a friendly seamstress nearby. So don’t let something that almost fits throw you off; it can be fixed! All of her clip-on earrings can be transferred to posts for free, so don’t be afraid to ask. Tilly has a great rating on Yelp, 5 out of 5 stars. You can check out her Yelp page here. You can find her Facebook page here. You can browse through her Instagram page here. Below I have saved some of my favorite photos from the Tilly Instagram page. Click on the photos to get a better view of them.
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How to Really Get Away with Murder I got out of my crammed studio apartment: aimlessly, plebian and selfish in thought. I was thinking about how much I hated my job, while I profusely sweat in the July heat. My skin felt too exposed and my toes looked awkwardly inflated in my 1970's-inspired wedge sandals that I teetered in. My first apartment in Chicago had burned after someone set a duffle bag on fire by my front door. I loved living in Lincoln Park, but my post-fire apartment was suffocating, so it felt good to be outside even with the heat. I wanted to take a cab to my job, but instead opted for the bus because of my bank account. I lived next to a clinic where I would often see elderly people come in and out, looking moderately miserable, some hopeful, some hopeless. They all had a look of death on them, or perhaps that was just what I saw. Even on a good day, they were at least three quarters of the way through their lives. What did they have to look forward to? What did they most regret? What skeletons were in their closets? I sat on the bench underneath the bus overhang, waiting for what felt like forever. I had Andrew Bird playing, ringing his sweet violin riffs in my ears. And then she came. A beautiful older woman came and asked if she could sit next to me. She was wearing a purple, jewel toned poet shirt, straight-legged black pants and black and yellow polka dotted ballet flats with trouser socks. The 1980’s were back, with a vengeance. The large beads on her dark red costume necklace reflected the little bit of light left peeking out from the shade. Her hat cast a dark shadow on her face, and I could see her eyes poking out from under, looking like they had lived through one too many sad stories. She asked if she could sit next to me; I said yes. We went through the formalities, how I was doing. Per usual, we were both doing well. The first turning point was when she became deeply sentimental regarding her family. She started to talk about her children. She has a daughter, who she very clearly adores. Her daughter is her pride and joy, the achievement of her life. Her grandson loves to play basketball, and he is an honors student heading off to college. Her daughter is a nurse who worked hard to move up in the world, earning a college degree. She, the grandmother, wasn't able to pursue her dreams like she would have wished, so seeing her daughter do it filled her heart with joy. And then there was her husband... She started factually with a tinge of pain, "He was a bad man. He was a fucking asshole, you know? The type of man you wouldn’t want to know. He took advantage of me. He hurt me. He hurt my daughter. In the middle of the night he took advantage of her, you know, he raped her. I wish I would have never known that mother fucker.” She paused with a bit of terror in her eyes, masked with a gingerly familiarity. “So years later, I decided to go get a cocktail with my dad. I didn’t want to be around my husband. My dad and I had a great time. It was one of the greatest nights of my life. We had a blast, just a blast. We got back to the house later that night, and all of a sudden the cops came rushing in. They came and told me and my daddy that my husband had been murdered. But, I do have to let you know that the cops were our friends." With a huge smile she turned to me, and looked me straight in the eye for the first time. "I did it with a pistol, and that son of a bitch deserved it." Like magic her bus arrived at that very moment, she told me it was nice to meet me, and wished me well. She walked like a queen onto that bus. She didn’t look back. There were clearly no regrets in this woman’s life. This woman made my heart stop. At first I was in shock, and then as it sunk in I started to smile. How my aura, in my perspiration-induced coma, had attracted this woman to tell her story was beyond me, but I was so happy she had. She shocked me out of my closed, selfish world. My stifled world view. The longer I thought about it, the more I thought that she did the right thing. Murder? Probably not the best choice, but that woman had her reasons, and I respected her for it. That son of a bitch probably did deserve it.