We Ask, They Answer: Q&A with fashion expert and Shopping Girl XOXO founder Lora LaPratt about summer trends, eye-catching boutiques and Chicago’s best neighborhoods for shopping
By Trent Modglin
Lora LaPratt, founder of Shopping Girl XOXO, is one of Chicago’s preeminent stylists, fashion experts and shopping concierge. She prides herself on being able to work with all budgets, all ages and all sizes of women, utilizing local designers and boutiques to avoid cookie-cutter looks. Open by appointment only, the Shopping Girl XOXO showroom is located at 4847 N. Kenmore in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago.
Shopping Girl XOXO has partnered with Genevieve Boutique to “Style for a Cause” on Thursday, May 2 from 5-9 p.m. for a pampering girls night out benefiting Hope For The Day. Enjoy sweet treats, cocktails, spring fashion and complimentary styling sessions with Shopping Girl XOXO. ShoppingGirlXOXO.com
Q: Tell us a bit about your showroom and work as a personal stylist concierge
A: I decided to become a personal stylist just over 11 years ago after a lifetime of having a passion for fashion and deciding to get a second degree in Fashion Merchandising. I help women to not only look but, most importantly, feel confident and beautiful in their own skin through fashion.
Soon after starting my business I realized that there were two main things that I really wanted to set me apart from my competition and were the reason that I absolutely love what I do as a stylist, so they have become my main focus. The first thing is that it can be an overwhelming world out there with beauty and fashion standards, so I pride my business on really getting to know my clients on a personal level and helping them learn what their own unique personal style is rather than throwing the hottest trends on everyone. The second thing is that I really enjoy styling my clients in local Chicago designers and pulling from local Chicago boutiques before all else.
Because of this, I decided to open the Shopping Girl XOXO Showroom, where I carry all local Chicago designers. It is a fabulous space to meet with clients, hold styling sessions and pull unique and sometimes one-of-a-kind pieces they will have trouble finding anywhere else.
Q: What are a handful of fashion trends we should be expecting for women (and men) this summer?
A: There are some really fun trends this year for summer! Just remember, if it feels a little intimidating, try it out in small doses by adding it into your wardrobe with an accessory. You don’t always have to rock the looks from the runway head-to-toe. Often, subtle details make a bigger impact.
The print: polka dots! Fun and fashionable this summer, especially in black and white. I love this print in a dress for women and a casual, short-sleeved button down for men.
The color story: neon. Yes, neon may scare some people away, but if done in moderation, this trend is sure to make a statement. Try in an accessory like a great clutch or watch.
The neckline: asymmetrical. If you love a cold shoulder, try an asymmetrical neckline instead of the peek-a-boo shoulder trend that was so last season.
The accessory: belt bags. Belt bags are still all the rage this season. Try one as a fitted crossbody for a modern and more wearable take on this trend.
The jewelry: chunky gold moon hoops. Try this modern take on the classic hoop earring. These statement pieces are the perfect way to glam up any look.
Genevive Boutique carries a fabulous assortment of easy throw-on pieces that instantly take your look to the next level, and I love her selection of great tops to pair with a jean and heal for a night out.
Q: If you’re looking to add some creative accessories to an outfit, where are you headed in Chicago?
A: The SGXOXO Showroom is a great one-stop-shop for unique, locally made accessories! Some of the best-selling designers you can find in the showroom are…
Tania Rodamilans: She does edgy/Bohemian statement jewelry perfectly and often makes her pieces with precious gemstones.
Argaman and Defiance: A fabulous scarf designer who has recently expanded to clothing. Her super modern take on hand-dying silk scarves is to dye for! (see what I did there?!)
Brynn Capella: A great leather purse line that keeps the designs simple, making for super versatile bags that come in any color of the rainbow and can often be worn multiple ways.
One of my very favorite spots other than the showroom for super funky unique accessories is The Mexican Shop in Evanston. I’ve been going there since before I started my business and always find special pieces I’ve never seen before when I pop in.
Q: What are three Chicago-based clothing stores that have caught your attention of late in terms of their style and substance?
A: Oh man, it’s hard to narrow down the list because I work with so many really great local Chicago boutiques. But three of my very favorite “go-to” spots for different reasons are:
Genevive Boutique: Genevieve opened her Lincoln Square boutique just over a year ago and is killing it. She carries a fabulous assortment of easy throw-on pieces that instantly take your look to the next level, and I love her selection of great tops to pair with a jean and heal for a night out. I’m also a sucker for friendly owners who make their clients feel special, and Genevieve does that for sure.
Cinnamon Boutique: Emily, the owner, does an amazing job at selecting some of the most special pieces you’ll find in Chicago. They carry everything from great basic t-shirts to unique cocktail dresses and everything in between. They are a high-end, one-stop shop for your entire wardrobe. Plus they’re in the midst of doing some fun design updates to their interior.
Londo Mondo: This fun River North boutique carries the best bathing suits year round, as well as super cute athleisurewear for the gym to errands, and ready-to-wear clothing that has the perfect combination of soft and edgy.
Q: What’s a Chicago neighborhood or two that are particularly appealing for fashion-focused shoppers right now?
A: Oak Street downtown is a great little spot with big-name stores mixed in with local boutiques. I think people often assume that once you get downtown you won’t be able to find any local spots, but one of my very favorite local boutiques just opened on Oak Street: The LBD Chicago. It is right next door to Prada, St. John, Armani and Maje (a favorite shop that will always have a special place in my heart ever since shopping there in Paris).
If you’re looking for something a little more casual and away from downtown, I also love Roscoe Village. They have fun boutiques with a little bit of something for everyone like Cinnamon (a stunning women’s clothing store), Kickin (great modern maternity boutique), Denim Lounge (men’s and women’s jeans plus so much more), A Pied (shoes) and Winnie Couper Boutique (a new addition to the strip with women’s clothing).
Q: What’s a favorite big-name store or mall downtown that is a must-stop for tourists?
A: The 900 Shops is always a good “go-to” if you want to shop big-name stores. It’s at the north end of Michigan Avenue, so it’s a great starting point, and I like that it has some fun little stores that you can’t always find in every other city. I love L.K. Bennette and Kendra Scott for example, plus their MaxMara and Michael Kors Collection shops are killer.