Mention “Chicago style” and more people will still think of pizza, hot dogs, or grammar and punctuation than sartorial flair. But the profile of designers who choose to base themselves here has never been higher–the New York Times and The Today Show covered the growing local industry this summer, Elle featured Lara Miller on its Web site, and Lucky is in love with Eskell. A number of local designers are opening their own boutiques, including jewelry artist Erin Gallagher in the West Loop and clothing designers Vika Brown in Lincoln Park and Beth Lambert of Scarlet Designs on Oak Street. ¥ Oh, and some of us local yokels actually know how to wear nice clothes too. To prove it, we invited a dozen regular Chicagoans with singular style into the studio and asked them to create an outfit on the spot from clothes and accessories provided by local designers and retailers–combined with some of their own favorite items, of course.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photography by Saverio Truglia.