Dresses in vibrant colors and prints hang on the racks at Momadou's Jewelry and Clothing.
Dresses in vibrant colors and prints hung on the racks at Momadou's Jewelry and Clothing. Credit: Deanna Isaacs

No matter what dreary business might have drawn you to the Thompson Center before Google purchased it last year, every visit offered its own rewards. For me, they included the jaw-dropping architectural splendor of the lobby (best appreciated with a hot coffee and a Munchkin from the food court), the rotating exhibits of the Illinois State Museum’s Chicago Gallery, and retail therapy breaks at Momadou’s Jewelry and Clothing.

This wonderful shop was a gallery of a different kind, stocked with flattering, easy-to-wear women’s clothing from all over the world—but especially from Africa and India—in vibrant print fabrics. I bought my all-time favorite outer garment there a decade or so ago, a long, black-lined, zip-front, mauve “sweatshirt” coat with a hood and pockets. Made in Nepal and embellished with hand embroidery, it could hold its own in any exhibit of modern art.

I’m still wearing that garment, but Momadou’s is no longer housed in the Helmut Jahn masterpiece. Momadou’s lease was about to expire around the time Google bought the building, and they were forced to leave. The good news is that they’ve relocated relatively nearby to 404 S. Michigan, where they’re still selling artful, reasonably priced clothing (some for men too) and handmade statement jewelry, along with items like shea butter lotion from Ghana and a wide assortment of fragrant, alcohol-free body oils from India and Africa. Did I mention that the store’s owner and namesake is always welcoming, even if (as is often the case with me) you’re only browsing?

Momadou’s Jewelry and Clothing
404 S. Michigan Ave.
773-407-2779 for hours

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