1814 W. North Ave.


Since the first Akira opened in Bucktown four years ago, offering supertrendy, street-influenced style at reasonable prices, the company has spawned a mini empire, with four boutiques on one short stretch of North Avenue–men’s, women’s, shoes, and accessories–as well as storefronts in Lincoln Park and on State Street. Recently the Bucktown women’s store moved across the street to huge new digs–three rooms of flouncy skirts, skimpy tops, and skinny shorts, most under $100 and arranged by color, making it that much easier to zero in on what you’re looking for. The store is roomy and pleasant, decorated in deep pastels like blue, yellow, and lavender, with damask sofas for the weary. Track pants with chevrons up the side, blousy striped 80s-inspired dresses, and tees printed with a skull-and-crossbones pattern are typical, but a short-sleeved pin-striped shirtdress and a cable-knit cotton sweater with dolman sleeves could go to the office. There are hundreds of summery cotton dresses in white, floral prints, polka dots–options too many to list. One room is devoted to denim, with available brands helpfully listed, and this is the place to go for trendy touches like wide belts and studded metallic clutches.

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