As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block is on indefinite hiatus. The site will remain up in archive form while we evaluate our options, which may include a redesign or sale.
✶ Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. ✶
Thursday, May 26
If you're the type who might buy $55 luxury socks for a man on your list, Nick'Socks might be just what you're looking for.
Today, for $9.99 on Groupon, you can buy a clip-on man bun. More than a week after Halloween.
Cards Against Humanity launched its Eight Sensible Gifts for Hannukkah today. It's the last time they're doing it, so get while the getting's good.
Benjamin B. Green-Field was known as "Chicago's Mad Hatter," using all manner of materials for his creations, from feathers to silver cutlery. He passed away in 1988. You can buy one of his amazing hats, modeled after a beehive, for $895.
Mitch O'Connell has a couple of Donald Trump t-shirts that fans of They Live will appreciate.
It is nice to wear your city pride, and the Chicago star is obvious. But, sometimes subtle is better. And Allyson Dykhuizen, owner of The Sweatshop of Love has created a knitting pattern for a cardigan named Sweater of Broad Shoulders, which has eight stitch patterns, each representing a different neighborhood from the South Side to the North Side. It's one of 13 patterns in Midwestern Knits. Winter is coming, after all.
Iron Heritage's all-natural men's grooming products honor the traditions and aromas of the old-school barber shop.
After 11 shows in 12 years, the DIY Trunk Show is calling it quits. Gapers Block has been in the show every year since the start; it will be sorely missed.
Beef bacon, a micro-bakery, a cast-iron bread oven, a musical about the "Where's the Beef?" lady, and a book about living with chronic illness are among the campaigns on GB's curated Kickstarter page.
As you may have heard, SkyMall has filed for bankruptcy. Maybe it's because their carved wood map of Chicago is $330 and only shows a portion of the North Side, while you could get a carved wood map of the whole city for $248 elsewhere.
These Bears ugly sweaters are for die-hard fans only -- and considering how bad the team is this year, that's probably all that's left willing to wear them.
This Chicago flag soccer scarf will be great in the winter as well as at Fire and Red Stars games.
It's gift guide season! Chicago magazine, the Reader, RedEye, Sun-Times' Splash and Time Out all have theirs out. Here at GB we'll be posting items throughout the next couple weeks -- see all our gift guide recommendations in the archives.
The cold and the snow are true signs that winter is approaching. And with the start of winter comes the holidays and the beginning of the holiday craft show season. The DIY Trunk Show returns this year with more than 130 craft, art and handmade vendors, food sold by Wishbone, free beer donated by Lagunitas and Brooklyn Brewery, live music and several djs from CHIRP Radio. So grab your list and get a jump start on gift buying tomorrow at the Broadway Armory (5917 N. Broadway) from 10 am to 5 pm.
Kymberlee Ricke of Wizard at Work makes spooky and sci-fi themed soaps, bath bombs and crayons that'll help make Halloween more fun.
The popularity of menswear is on the rise, with many boutiques appealing to guys by serving booze to shoppers.
Taste of Chicago includes something more this year besides turkey legs and concerts: Made in Chicago Market, a showcase of local fashion and accessory designers and boutiques. The festival and the market open today.
It doesn't appear to be available online, but Old Navy's State Street store is selling an almost hysterically inaccurate Chicago map on a t-shirt. At least they didn't flat-out steal Ork Posters' design.
This weekend there are two big events to consider: the Ravenswood Manor Garage Sale featuring more than 100 participants throughout the neighborhood, and the Great Parker Garage Sale benefiting Francis Parker School. [via]
A Chiberia t-shirt has been created to commemorate the harsh Chicago winter that won't quit. The shirts run for $25 and sales will be donated to help those who hurt the most this winter: the homeless.
Not good with words, but want to express your feelings to that special someone? Local wordsmiths at PixieHammer Press will help you create the perfect love letter (or hate letter) written on a vintage typewriter after interviewing you via phone or Skype to gather the necessary details.
Chicago-based ZipFit Denim helps guys find the best fitting (high-end) blue jeans for their measurements.
The owner of a children's clothing store in Southport says she's closing up shop because she's tired of dealing with snobby locals who yell, throw shoes, and let their kids pee on the floor.
Annie Mohaupt's wooden sandals are cute and comfortable -- but that didn't save her from being a bad business person. After a disastrous attempt at outsourcing to China, Mohaupt is Kickstarting a factory stateside.
If going by the name of Madame Platypus isn't enough to get you intrigued, the pendants prints and all things platypus from this local crafter and musician (with copy that reads "Mommy drinks because you're bad" and "Bitches be craftin") should be enough to fill a stocking for that special someone who like things a little edgy. Catch her this Saturday at Empty Bottle's Handmade Market and Sunday at the Urban Folk Circuit for gifts for that person who just doesn't like lotion from Bath & Body Works. You can also find some of her work on her Etsy page.
Everpurse charges your smartphone for you, and looks stylish doing it.
Need a Christmas tree? Uber and Home Depot are delivering them on demand today, from 11am to 8pm. The price is $135, but hey, you don't have to shlep out and get it.
Further blurring the lines between rap, sports, and fashion branding, Kayne West announced in an interview with Hot 97's Angie Martinez that he dropped Nike -- makers of the upcoming Air Yeezy II Red Octobers -- to partner with Adidas, citing Nike's refusal to give shoe royalties to non-athletes.
Vintage suitcase boom boxes, cigar box guitars, and the Bake and Destroy vegan cookbook are just a few items on the Reader's all-local holiday gift guide- one of the first of many (including our own) such guides of the season.
As they've often done when disaster strikes, Threadless is offering up a t-shirty option for those who are looking for a way to help out people in the Philippines who've been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. 100% of net shirt proceeds from the sale of the tee will be donated to Architecture for Humanity. (You can also donate to nonprofits like the Red Cross, UNICEF and other organizations.)
From an alarm clock that screens your calls while you sleep to a wireless iPhone flash, this list of indie products made here is great for early holiday gift list inspiration.
For the first time in its nine-year history, Chicago Fashion Week dedicated an entire runway show to menswear.
The Randolph Street Market returns to the West Loop this Saturday and Sunday. An amazing show featuring the best antique pickers selling their latest finds -- along with live bands, interesting food and a full bar.
Reelagram will turn seven of your Instagram photos into a ViewMaster slideshow. (2-D only, unfortunately.)
Fashion Outlets of Chicago opens on August 1. The mall, which "broke rules that needed to be broken," will run shuttles to and from O'Hare and also allow shoppers to ship their baggage from the mall to the airport, in addition to offering 130 retail options.
RedEye trawled through Zazzle to find some pretty awful Chicago t-shirt designs; the ones we found on Amazon last year were pretty bad, too. At least none of them are as expensive as Kanye's new t-shirt.
Elephant-shaped coat hooks designed by eighth-graders, a magnetic bottle opener, a children's book about thunder and lightning and a carnival-themed art installation are among the projects on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.
Alison Cuddy profiles some of the locally made fashion options for those hoping to avoid sweatshop labor.
"'I'm not going to lie,' says Jenna Lyons, the president and creative director of J. Crew, who is an admirer of Goldman. She scares me a little bit.'" "She" is Ikram Goldman, Chicago boutique owner, "fashion ambassador", and the subject of a profile in the New York Times magazine.
Local chainmaille artist Vanessa Walilko saw a pile of abandoned cards from a library's card catalog and turned them into a fantastically ridiculous dress/art object called a drum farthingale with a matching corset. But not everything she makes is unwearable. She also helped make some costumes for American Repertory Theater's production of Pippen this past winter.
Medill takes a multimedia look at Bronzeville's arts-filled past and present, including three galleries: Gallery Guichard, Blanc Gallery and Faié Afrikan Gallery. Another important area gallery is Milton Mizenberg's gallery and studio.
Depending on how quickly you go through notebooks, Out of Pages' subscription service could be very attractive.
Streetware boutique Jugrnaut teamed up with Million Dollar Mano to produce the limited edition "Treated" satin ballcap, which has proven popular with celebrities including Kanye West, Jay-Z -- and Justin Bieber.
Crave Chicago helps brings local women entrepreneurs and their great ideas to you and for this holiday season they are bringing it all together this Saturday from 10am to 3pm at their Holiday CRAVE-ings shopping party at Belle Plaine Studio, 2014 W. Belle Plaine Ave. Browse jewelry, clothing, handbags, gourmet food and more from local artists and business owners. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. PS: The Chocolate Shop will be pouring free samples of their chocolate wine. Yes, chocolate wine, and it's delicious.
FeltWerker is the brainchild of Denise Handwerker, a crafty lady who repurposes old wool sweaters and offers a stunning array of colorful, cozy scarves, fingerless gloves that are perfect for keyboarding during the long winter months, and eye-catching pins and handbags. FeltWerker can be purchased on Etsy, at a number of upcoming craft fairs in and around Chicago, and on Facebook, so you can keep current on where to see these creations in real life.
The cavalcade of gift guides continues with Chicago magazine's all-local edition.
Time Out's annual holiday gift guide might give you a little jump on the Black Friday frenzy.
Though it's going to be 70 degrees tomorrow, it'll be 36 on Tuesday. Dig out your winter coat -- or better yet, donate it to Heartland Alliance's Refugee Health program. Through November, the Old Town School of Folk Music will be collecting gently used hats, coats, gloves and scarves in any and all sizes. Then hurry up and treat yourself to a new jacket before it gets cold and stays cold.
I was kind of expecting the Magnetie magnetic reversible necktie to be some sort of next gen clip-on. Instead, it's a neat solution to a common problem. The inventors are currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo.
The second annual November of Dressing Nicely starts Thursday. Are you ready?
Don't forget, Gapers Block sells a couple Chicago t-shirts, too. ;)
Chicago-based deal-a-day site YouSwoop has a special on "Gangnam Style" Halloween costume jackets and bow-ties. Get yours in time for the party.
It's never too early to start thinking about Halloween costumes. Jennifer No gives you a head start with these skeleton socks.
Fashion Focus Chicago prepares to bring the catwalk to Millennium Park from October 15-21. The 8th annual festival of fashion is a week-long celebration of the city's emerging upscale garment industry.
Crain's lists a barrage of new commercial venues to open in the Clybourn corridor, and a New York developer uses an odd metaphor about developers using their limited bullets at North and Clybourn. If you don't have time for the full article, the map is a great summary.
Neighborwoods' map of the city etched in (what else?) wood would make a good gift, eh?
Mildblend Supply Co., the store that was the target of a "flash mob" robbery during Wicker Park Fest last month, is bouncing back with a party tonight from 7 to 9pm to celebrate the launch of an in-store pop-up shop for Nudie Jeans. The Kickback and DJ Jesse De La Pena perform.
Are you a Mac user? Do you use Orbitz? If so, the Chicago-based company probably didn't steer you to the best deals.
Want to make sure everyone knows you got a real "Chicago dog" in Chicago? This tee on Fab.com proudly states the fact for all to see.
Calling it "gangster-style clothing," 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts introduced a resolution denouncing saggy pants, sideways baseball caps and excessive jewelry at Chicago Public Schools. Saggy pants are already against CPS dress code, but the rule's enforcement has been lax in recent years.
If you have an unused Groupon bought between November 2008 and December 2011, I've got a class action settlement for you to ponder joining.
Some downtown office workers were reportedly advised to "look like protesters" to avoid being "targeted by protesters" during next week's NATO summit.
Michigan Avenue Magazine and Oak Street Design are looking for fashion-forward types to weigh in on their favorite downtown window displays for their third annual PROJECT windows contest.
Apparently Obama and Romney should be shopping with Mayor Emanuel to get away from their "mom jeans" reputation.
If you're itching to stylishly transport that new iPad or maybe an iPhone or MacBook Air or Pro, check out the lovely "Biblio" handmade covers offered via Kickstarter by FoGB George Aye (he's shot some inspired photos at Pitchfork over the years for Transmission) and David Hull. The sweetness is in the video on the campaign page (also after the jump). See other GB-curated Kickstarter campaigns.
If you're a White Sox fan with marriage on your mind, why not propose to your sweetheart at US Cellular Field? The Chicago White Sox Proposal package from Gilt City costs $5000, which includes flowers, a champagne toast, limousine, and other goodies.
If your indoor plants are seeming a bit lonely, why not get them a set of wee Obamas to keep them company.
Speaking of workforce development, the Public Media Institute is launching the Small Manufacturing Alliance (SMALL), and they want you to join. SMALL will promote and support local companies and individuals who make stuff: bikes, clothing, food, media, whatever. The first public event will be the SMALL Showroom, which will feature member products in the Co-Prosperity Sphere throughout May.
Bespokeable is a new local startup promising custom-tailored clothes via the interwebs.
The street-wear shop, Leaders, carries crewneck sweaters featuring the city's favorite bull masked for either the blistering cold or an old-fashioned mugging. Its title suggests the latter.
In what I insincerely promise to be one of the last 'Best of' lists, The Huffington Post picks the city's best brands, labels and boutiques for the year.
Zerobird has a nice selection of Chicago-themed items, including pillows screen-printed with images of the L.
Can't decide which is your favorite film of all time? Show your appreciation for both your favorites with Two Film T-Shirts.
The only time you'll get something with "Hot Doug's" on it, without waiting in the occasionally epic line outside the encased meats emporium, is when you buy one of these cute Hot Doug's shirts or hoodies online. There are no better words than "no line," my friend.
Apparently, these have been re-invented over in the UK.
What better way to start off the holiday season than with a pumpkin and yam facial? Mitchell Dental Spa is offering 50 percent off the treatment for the entire month of November.
Threadless has created a t-shirt line for UNICEF in which the shirts cost the same as what's depicted on them. So this one, with a cargo flight, costs $300,000. This mosquito shirt (for insecticide-treated mosquito nets) is probably more in your price range.
Web folk, you have less than 24 hours to buy the United Pixel Workers Illinois Local 21 t-shirt.
Adidas' latest iteration of Derrick Rose shoes, the adiRose 2.0, debut Thursday, Oct. 6 at Footlocker. In the new commercial for the shoes, Rose breaks for the hoop against several defending bullfighters.
As part of its new exhibit, FashioNext: the Charles James Project, the Chicago History Museum is holding a fashion contest in collaboration with CS magazine. Voting just opened for the four finalists.
Oak Park area high school student and fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson was profiled by New York Magazine.
Football season is almost here: Strange Cargo has some fun new tees to help you bear down.
"My t-shirt? It's for the Duffy Florals. You've probably never heard of them." It's rare that sports fans get to play the hipster superiority card, but Peoples Garment Co. helps make it happen. (Duffy Floral, the team's sponsor, still exists, incidentally.)
GQ couldn't be bothered to get a fresh photo for their "Worst-Dressed Cities in America"
feature linkbait, so they ran with an image of a 15-year-old SNL skit while declaring us fourth worst, in between Manhattan and Pittsburgh. LA is number 2.
Tavi Gevinson, the teen fashion blogger behind Thestylerookie.com, is shopping a book. The proposal for "Diary" suggests "the book will be one part make-your-own scrapbook, one part feminist manifesto for girls and one part celebrity memento collage."
GQ ranks us 4th on its slideshow link-bait list of America's Worst Dressed Cities. And includes a photo of SNL's "Da Bears" sketch. Of course. Thanks for nothing.
Not a phrase you often see in America, but it fits Erika Neumayer's German-inspired fashion perfectly.
Urban Outfitters responded to local jeweler tru.che's accusation (previously) that the company ripped off her "United World of Love" pendant design, aided in part by Regretsy's roundup of similar designs on Etsy. UPDATE: Further thoughts from Regretsy.
The Lincoln Park Costco will soon be selling gas. No smoking near the pallets.
Rogers Park comic book and gift store Evil Squirrel Comics is facing some tough financial times these days. Come out for Free Comic Book Day tomorrow, and also help keep them stay open by making some purchases. You'll get 30% off (cash or credit) plus you can buy back issues for $1/lb. all weekend. More on Facebook, including a heartfelt video plea (after the jump).
Evil Squirrel Comics is located at 6928 N. Glenwood Ave. just steps south of the Morse Red Line stop (west side of the train tracks).
The official "Derrick Rose MVP" T-shirts have hit the market, but it's hard to beat Nike's new "Hair-itage" collection of hirstute baseball players, including '80s vintage Andre Dawson and Ozzie Guillen.
Today we release the second feature in GB's short film series, The Grid. "Textile Discount Outlet" roams the aisles in the Pilsen fabric destination. As fabric cutter Chris says, "Bring some trail mix and a bottle of water."
Rock & Roll apparel, etc. company Assault has come out with a line of old-timey gangland Chicago-themed, highly-detailed graphic t-shirts. Every order comes with a free mixed CD featuring local bands. Check them out here.
You might be able to find some cool clothes at the Sometimes Store -- if you can catch it when it's open.
Chicago's Bear Brand Hosiery Co. (whose Gary factory was finally torn down in 2009) once sold socks that grew with, um, you.
The latest in controversies: The Robert Morris University competitive dance team performed in straitjackets, offending a mental health advocate. No word on the banging your head issue, or how metal health may, in fact, drive you mad.
Local artist (and friend of GB) Phineas X. Jones has crafted a new print to help raise funds for earthquake relief in Japan.
Local plush maker Steff Bomb's created a soft-yet-deadly Han Solo blaster, so well-made any intrepid hero would be proud to have it at their side. Pick up one of these limited edition stuffed sidearms this weekend at C2E2: 2301 South Lake Shore Drive, Booth #1026, 2pm-3pm. Did I mention it comes with a holster?
Tired of reading stories about how the recession is killing America? Then go read about Blue Buddha Boutique, the little business that could.
Tim "Make It Work" Gunn stopped by Vive la Femme on Tuesday. Store owner Stephanie Sack said the "adorable" Mr. Gunn had heard great things about her boutique that specializes in larger sizes of very stylish clothing. Tim is in town to do a makeover show for Oprah.
According to NYT coverage of the fashion industry's criticism of the red Alexander McQueen dress that Michelle Obama wore to the January 19 state dinner, the First Lady is reportedly no longer working with stylist Ikram Goldman.
New York fashion site (and first ever Tumblr store) Of A Kind was started at the end of last year by two U of C alums, and is already selling out its limited editions within 24 hours, or less. A piece by Chicago-based Cursive Design is still is in stock...for now.
Just because it's cold out doesn't mean there's no fashion to be found. Chicago Streetstyle Scene finds some great examples for you.
Meet Sky Cubacub, a freshman at SAIC with a penchant for unconventional materials and a good amount of fashion experience already behind her.
Margaret Vinci Heldt created the beehive hairdo on Michigan Avenue just over 50 years ago and will be celebrated throughout the year.
If you were wondering about where to get the Chicago-themed hat from Monday's Rearview photograph, you weren't the only one. It's made by Chicagoan Allison Lower, who has a Chicago knitting company with a friend. Until their website is online, you can order your own through her etsy page. (Thanks. Matt!)
Adding to the Chicago style hot dog art genre is this t-shirt by Know Your Flag.
Harebrained's period panties might give you super powers (or at least a good laugh) when it's, um, "shark week."
Cultural weekly NewCity gives us their 2010 top picks in vintage TV shows filmed in Chicago, food trucks, indoor make-out spots, and many more.
Ambitious young fashion designers, unsatisfied with the glaring gaps in the production and advocacy of cutting edge fashion in Chicago, are taking matters into their own hands. Learn more in A/C.
I'm trying to think of the exact person who should own this shirt, but with 20 mayoral candidates, it could probably be any of us.
Fashion designers Santino Rice and Austin Scarlett, who battled it out during season two of Project Runway, are in town promoting their new show, "On the Road with Austin and Santino." They will be at Block 37 from 5:30 to 7:30pm; stop by to say hello and to enter a contest for a $1,000 shopping spree.
Go check out Threadless' costume contest -- and vote for your favorite by "liking" the photo!
I'm not sure if "for Brian Urlacher" means they're dedicated to him or he ordered them, but these customized shoes are pretty slick.