I barely looked at the map before I flew to Chicago. I never quite studied the geography of America and only really start doing research before I know I am visiting a new place. But this trip was so unexpected – I’m going to a presentation of the New Faces at Factor Models – I didn’t think to situate myself or learn more about my destination. We flew over masses of water I mistook for sea and beautiful landscapes where I thought beaches should be. Chicago was one huge mystery to me. As far as I was concerned, this was the “Windy City” and it was big.
I’m meeting Jaclyn Slimm, a New Jersey expat, who moved to Chicago about a year ago when her band Mahogany signed a contract with BLVD Records. She saw my cries for help on Facebook and decided to show me around. We’re going vintage shopping in Wicker Park, a commercially entertaining neighborhood a good 15 minutes northwest of the central “Loop” where my hotel is located. As I pull up I find Jaclyn on the stoop of Store B Vintage, with a bouquet of roses and mint leaves she brought for me. Adorable!
Jaclyn doesn’t mind living in Chicago. “People are a bit more conservative here,” she admits, “so I am mindful of those adaptations. The pace of things is more relaxed here, which can be good. While I love the excitement fueling everything on the East Coast, the anxiety levels are sometimes lower here in Chicago.” She’s a cute girl with bangs like Francoise Hardy and the flair of a 1960’s flight attendant. She’s wearing a printed “neckerchief”, a mini skirt and suede platform sandals. The way she’s sitting there with the flowers you’d think she’s going to an audition for “La Piscine” . She used to be a ballerina (“My feet love heels!”), modeled in New York while she was in high school and blogged for WGSN. And while she gave it all up to go to college, she still ends up in front of the camera plenty, whether it’s on stage wearing her staple YSL Tribute pumps or getting the Joos treatment today.
Store B is a vintage shopper’s dream. It’s a large but charming space, with colors, beads, ruffles, textures and prints winking at you everywhere you turn. The store owner and his partner sit around with their dog and tell the story behind each garment we try on. The best one was the lady who sold them over 200 bags she got from her lover – must’ve been some closet! “Store B is also amazing for kitchen and household items,” finds Jaclyn. “They really nailed down their niche in Wicker Park. I found my partner some fantastic 1970s brown loafers and an amazing pair of Ferragamo suede knee-high boots for myself.” Jaclyn started to love vintage shopping when she was in high school, “mainly because of the affordability, but also because I wanted to dress like Twiggy!” And though she doesn’t quite look like that, somehow every outfit I put her, unmistakably conjures up images of that era. Goes to show, the girl inspires the clothes as much as the clothes inspire the girl.