MNG by Mango

Water Tower Place, fourth floor

835 N. Michigan 312-397-9800

If you’re accustomed to the constant frenzy across the street at H&M, the small size and laid-back atmosphere of MNG by Mango is almost underwhelming. Both chains are aiming for fashionable but budget-conscious customers, but the Spanish import’s carefully edited selection of seasonal looks, influenced more by classic style than momentary trends, may have more appeal for women in search of affordable clothes that go easily from work to play–not to mention those who prefer to shop without being jostled around to a pounding Top 40 sound track. For the most part the clothes come in beige, brown, black, and white here, with occasional flashes of bright color. There’s a rendition of the traditional double-breasted, belted trench ($185), a boxy jacket in a large houndstooth print that looks like it could have come from Jackie Kennedy’s closet ($89), and a simple black shift ($89); party-ready pieces include a large-knit gray shawl-collar cardigan with a shiny ribbon belt ($75) and a drapey Modal-and-silk short-sleeved top in a graphic black-and-white print ($55). In the accessories department, I especially liked a long silver necklace with flat silver disks ($35) at regular intervals and some black leather flats cut out on the sides ($75), but my favorite item in the whole store was a roomy leather bag with short handles and a detachable shoulder strap ($75), in olive green or black leather. Sleek, soft, and practical, it’s the Platonic ideal of the urban tote.

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