Gail Joanes
Gail Joanes Credit: Isa Giallorenzo

“I kinda just threw this together,” says Gail Joanes, 73, while enjoying a sunny Saturday afternoon on the luxuriously fashionable Oak Street. “I went over to the Chicago History Museum, which I love, went to Twin Anchors for ribs, came back, and now I’m just shopping a bit, just relaxing,” she shares. 

Though Joanes might seem cozy in her burgundy ensemble and modest in her charming demeanor, she definitely knows her threads. About to stroll into the Chanel boutique, that day she was sporting brands such as Oska, Givenchy, and Gucci. Right now Joanes is excited about Texan brand Magnolia Pearl, whose romantic garments have a timeworn look: “[It] is very different. Now as I grow older, I don’t have to conform to anything. I like to wear fun clothes. And they have to be comfortable, of course,” she says. 

The relaxed and contemporary feel in Joanes’s outfit really makes her stand out. She bypasses many of the stereotypes associated with stylish folks in her age bracket. She doesn’t resort to eccentricity or polished elegance—not that there’s anything wrong with that—and ends up composing a look that any fashionista of our time would be happy to emulate. 

I don’t mean to brag about our city, but Joanes has the kind of easygoing yet savvy style that only the streets of Chicago can produce. Born and raised on the north side, Joanes says that what she saw in her hometown while doing commercials and working office jobs informed her taste.  

“I remember wearing gloves downtown with my grandmother in the 50s and 60s. Everything was pretty stringent. Now it’s just whatever makes you feel good. You can put together anything and it all works,” she celebrates. 

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