Charlotte Russe | Boutique of the Week | Chicago Reader

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Charlotte Russe

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Charlotte Russe

10 S. State

312-726-4205

For many of us high-low dressing means doing the bulk of our shopping at Forever 21 and Target so we can afford that rare Stella McCartney jacket (even on sale) or those exquisite Chie Mihara pumps. Must-have designer pieces aren't likely to get more accessible any time soon, but the good news is that now there's even more interesting inexpensive stuff to fill the gaps between them. Earlier this month State Street got a Charlotte Russe, another chain retailer specializing in trendy fashions at low, low prices. The styles are targeted at the late-teens-and-early-20s crowd, so there's less office-appropriate merch than at similar stores--and maybe more satin short shorts ($19.99). Printed cotton maxi dresses ($17.99 and up) are a deal, and there are plenty of those baby-doll tops (average $21.99) that fit almost everyone, although a pretty red one with a blue flower-and-vine print was marred by a chintzy attached faux-leather belt. I appreciate the dedicated shoe section, where I lingered over brown satin ballet flats ($18.99) and pumps in brown corduroy and a houndstooth fabric ($21.99). Rings of giant purple, yellow, and brown "gems" set on silver or gold metal bands at $6 each (or two for $8) looked surprisingly nonjunky. The store is better organized and easier to navigate than its competitors, but expect long lines for the dressing rooms--it's the price we pay for these rock-bottom prices. --Heather Kenny

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Mireya Acierto.

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