To illustrate what typical winter fashion in Chicago looks like, this is basically what I saw everywhere I went during my trip:
As a California gal, snow is quite the novelty and I seemed to be the only one walking around on a Sunday afternoon when the photograph above was taken in the park (located right across the street from the Congress Hotel I stayed at). In case you’re wondering, that’s a box of leftover brunch from Yolk that I was carrying with me and I’m posing in front of the Buckingham Fountain. Since I was the only one walking around, it was an interesting experience setting up the camera on self-timer mode on top of icy surfaces!
Oh, and here’s a photograph I took in front of Yolk (on 1120 South Michigan Avenue) followed by a photo of the breakfast I had there:
The dish I ordered at Yolk is the Pot Roast Benedict ($11.99), one of their popular dishes. You can see why I needed to take leftovers to-go!
In case you wanted to know what I was wearing underneath the pink coat, I did in fact go for a more black/white color scheme to match my hat. However, if you look carefully, the tights are dark purple which helps to break up the black & white combination without it taking away from the radiance of the coat when I put it on. I also wore my houndstooth kitten heels when I was indoors to continue the black & white accent.
Here’s a breakdown of what I am wearing:
Unfortunately, I was not able to find the exact color match online for the hat I was wearing, but the designer’s website is still selling the creamier version of it:
As you could probably tell from the photos, I did get my dress shortened (part of being a “modern” vintage gal). The material of the dress is stretchy and didn’t wrinkle in my suitcase so I would say that makes for a great travel attire.
The dress can be purchased at uniquevintage.com
The houndstooth pumps with the black bow (which match the bow accent on both the dress and hat) can be purchased at 6pm.com
The coat is by Jessica Simpson but I was no longer able to find it online either – sorry!
My other look I sported during my trip was the red/blue look. In the photo below, I am ironically posing in front of the Chicago Tribune building and looking a bit Spiderman-esque.
The tower was part of my Magnificent Mile walk. The starting point was the water tower (which I would have never guessed unless I read the signs). Thankfully, I was able to get a photo of me in front of the water tower visible as a whole (the Chicago Tribune building had too much height to fit in the photo).
While I am no longer able to find the exact replica of the pieces I wore in this photo, I will mention that the coat is by Runaway Pony.
Much to everyone’s surprse, I didn’t buy a pair of boots to the trip to Paris I took in December/January and sported my usual style of tights, dresses and heels. So it shouldn’t be a surprise this time either that I once again took the same route in spite of the fact that the weather in Chicago in February/March was even colder than the weather I experienced back in Paris.
And it’s also not visible in these photos, but the black tights I wore on this trip were anything but ordinary and plain from the backside! As you can see in the photo below (to the right) they have sparkly studs and I also wore them appropriately on New Year’s Eve in Paris. In addition to being stylish, the material of most MeMoi tights (including this one) I found to be quite thick and warm so I’ve bought several since my Paris trip now.
Once again, it did help to pack a pair (or two) of ear muffs. And this time, I tried something a little different for undergarment to help keep me warm. For the first time in my life, I tried Spanx! I don’t really have to worry much about concealing jiggles, but what I did want to conceal was the ugly vertical line of the pantyhose seam (not to be confused with the horizontal waistline of the pantyhose, which could be a concern for anyone who sees a bulge in their waistline). But it occurred to me that it was a good replacement of the black shorts I was wearing during my Paris trip (underneath my dresses with the pantyhose). The material of Spanx was much more thicker than the black shorts and worked very well in keeping me warm down there.
Needless to say, I did not know that I was supposed to wear them up so high (the instructions/packaging didn’t come with that visual aid when I bought it at the store). Though I guess that might be more for smoothing out stomach lines if you feel the need for it.
I did also pack a pair of black leg warmers to wear over my pantyhose just in case (which I didn’t use once during the trip). But I do think it’s a good option if you want to opt out of wearing boots like myself (because they’re such a pain to put on and take off and with leg warmers you can take them off without having to take your shoes off inside a restaurant or wherever else you may be indoors where it’s warmer).
The other items l was able to cross off the list during my trip was finding a great place to have afternoon tea at and trying my very first authentic Chicago style deep dish pizza.
Afternoon Tea (at the Allis on 113-125 N. Green St)
The photo below is a close-up of the top tier (aka desert plate) of the afternoon tea set I got. I later saw that the deserts were made fresh upstairs at the other restaurant they have there. The reason I found out was because I wanted to go use the restroom and they’re located upstairs.
The full tier is visible in the photo below. Like my previous dining experience at Yolk earlier that day, I did have to take some of the food to-go. (Don’t worry, I did eat all the food within the day) The afternoon tea set is $24 and the sparkling afternoon tea set is $30. You can also order the plate items a la carte.
I was photographed before I decided to pour myself the African Amber (a type of roobios tea) I ordered.
If you want to take a look at the list of “8 Must-Try Afternoon Teas in Chicago” according to Zagat, here’s the full list here.
The Deep Dish Pizza Experience
To top it all off, here’s the individual sized deep dish pizza I had at Lou Malnati’s (on 805 South State Street) where I got the “Lou.”
Surprisingly, it wasn’t that heavy like I imagined a deep dish pizza to be and it was very vegetable-rich instead (it was in fact meatless). And it might be hard to figure out the size of the pizza based on this photo, but it’s basically like a tart and was very much the size of a generous individual sized tart that you would eat in the form of a sweet or savory tart that you would order at a cafe.
Exploring Hotels in Chicago
Like the Congress Plaza Hotel I stayed at, the hotels in the area have a bit of history to them. They were built during an era when it was hip to live in hotels and I could see that being the case since the room I stayed in was spacious enough for me to practice cartwheels several times over.
I also got to admire the GORGEOUS ballrooms of both the Hilton Hotel and the Blackstone Renaissance Hotels right next to it. I got to see the one inside the Blackstone because of the seminar I attended there but I also got lucky and wandered into the Hilton one as there was a rehearsal for a ball for the Polish community in Chicago to be held the following weekend. They were kind enough to let me stay for a bit to watch even though I wasn’t Polish. (Oh, the things that happen when this girl purposely wanders and gets lost in her adventures)
The photo below might give you a better idea of what the ornate walls and entryways look like:
Even the lobby of the Hilton was gorgeous looking towards the ballroom from the outside. And as if it wasn’t enough that there was already a grand piano inside the ballroom for the rehearsal, there is another one visible outside of it:
I do regret not having photographed the inside of the Blackstone ballroom. The closest thing I have is the group shot I received from the photographer Jameson at the event I attended.
And here’s an image I found of it online (courtesy of herecomestheguide.com):
If I had more time, I would have liked to visit the Four Seasons in Chicago (a bit further up north than these hotels) as it was also amongst the list of afternoon tea places to try in the Zagat list I mentioned earlier in this posting. One of the things mentioned in the list was that the Four Seasons afternoon tea is apparently enjoyed by the fireplace they have there.
In the spirit of ending this travel blog entry similar in fashion to my Paris blog entry, I want to include some photos that may have not done the beautiful snow-covered scenery I saw at the park justice: