Places to Shop

North Avenue Collective Review

On a lonely stretch of North Avenue, three-quarters of a mile due west from the bustling center of Wicker Park, boldly stands a gem of a vintage shop. Nestled amongst phone shops, liquor stores and tattoo parlors, North Avenue Collective is an unexpected aesthetic treat.

North Avenue Collective in Humboldt Park, Chicago.

It was by happy accident that I stumbled upon North Avenue Collective on a dreary December afternoon. While headed to Richard’s Fabulous Finds to pick out some Christmas gifts for my stylish brother, I passed the gloriously merchandised store front of North Avenue Collective. Although the purpose of this outing was to shop for others, I couldn’t help but treat myself to a stop inside the store.

North Avenue Collective featuring vintage decor curated by Strangelovely.

Upon entry, my shopping companion and I were offered freshly baked cookies by the attentive sales person (I believe she was Kim, proprietor of Strangelovely). But cookies were only the beginning of this delicious shopping experience. Vintage decor, expertly curated by Strangelovely, sets the tone as apparel provided by Hopscotch & Soda Vintage completes the experience. The delightful combination of cotton-candy colored angora sweaters and romantic glassware transported me to a time when purchases were treasured.

Clothing by Hopscotch & Soda Vintage.
North Avenue Collective is a well-curated and expertly merchandised oasis in Humboldt Park.

Excited to see what treasures awaited, I visited each alcove of merchandise stationed around the shop. Methodically sifting through each luxurious coat, embellished sweater set and silky night slip, I grew my dressing room pile.

Silk delicates and unique party dresses.

Framing each rack of clothing was beautiful decor: shimmering crystal chandeliers, grand mirrors in gold frames, vintage flatware and lamps for every taste and purpose.

An opulent chandelier framed by a full-length trifold mirror.
Pink tassel trim draped across a tall shelving unit frames timeless knick knacks.

Once I had managed to leave some pieces on the racks for other customers to peruse, I headed into the draped dressing room. My companion, perched on a cream chair, voiced her wise opinion on each look.

Una Voce Equa Founder, Emma Westfall
Pink angora sweater with rainbow yarn.

After trying an armful of looks, I narrowed my purchases down to an embellished knit sweater dress and cardigan set ($125) and a purple crepe dress ($65). For under $200, I snapped up some stunning pieces that work well with my existing wardrobe.

Keep vintage fresh by making unexpected pairings, like ladylike dresses with cool sneakers.
A matching cardigan? The possibilities are endless!
Gorgeous vintage details on the sweater dress and cardigan set.
This purple crepe dress floats like a dream… How can you not dance while wearing it?
Ready to party in a crepe frock paired with gold suede kitten heels.
Starry explosions of pink and purple on crepe.

While our culture encourages us to churn through trends, sanctuaries like North Avenue Collective invite you to take your coat off and stay awhile.

Give yourself permission to slow down and enjoy the entire experience.

Doing so allows you to discover all the little surprises Strangelovely and Hopscotch & Soda Vintage curated especially for you. Experiences like this show choosing quality over quantity does not have to feel like a sacrifice! Purchases in hand, I continued on to my intended destination, grateful I stumbled upon this little gem on North Avenue.

A well-merchandised shop means an enjoyable experience for patrons.
A knit sweater dress is an essential in my book.
How you style your vintage finds is all your own!

© 2021 Emma Westfall

By Emma Westfall

Founder of Una Voce Equa, a fair fashion blog.

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