{Small Business Saturday} Milk Handmade: Crowds Not Included

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Did you avoid the frenzied, febrile crowds on Black Friday? My thought: if the sun deems 4am too early an hour to rise, I wholeheartedly concur, and I'm staying in bed.

But giving gifts can be as much fun as receiving gifts, especially when the shopping is made easy. I like a nice, intimate space where I don't lose my friends under the glare of fluorescent bulbs or forget my name amidst crushing club music. Andersonville in Chicago is home to a new independent women's boutique Milk Handmade, a serene and inviting shop, defying the sluggish economy with whimsical, well-crafted and handmade apparel and one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.

Hallie Borden is the venturesome proprietress who left corporate America to take on the world of fashion, and aren't we glad she did? Hallie is bringing the women of Chicago a well-edited shop full of sophisticated, unexpected items from new and up-and-coming designers

My favorite pieces were precisely-tailored silk blouses from Shanghai designer Ella Lai {a Project Runway hopeful}, who hand sews each garment from her home with the help of a trusty friend. And while I've never found pant shopping to be an electrifying experience, Hallie's discriminating eye has brought us some pantaloons with personality.  

You'll find day-to-night essentials {must-haves from Three Little Ducks}, uber feminine pieces {multitasking swing skirts from Chicago brand Squasht}, and gift-worthy baubles {Michelle Starbuck is a Chicago lass who reconstructs vintage finds - the perfect sigh-inducing stocking stuffer}. Sprinkle on top some soothing and soulful music {Ray LaMontagne, I hear ya} and you've got Milk Handmade

You'll find everything the big-box shops promise and more: sans the waves of crowds and blinding, neon lights. Corporate America's loss, the slow fashion world's gain.       

{photomontage by f+d} images via Stockholm Street Style + Gift Shop Brooklyn + Little Minnow Designs + Michelle Starbuck Designs

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