By Kimberly Bellware
This nearly ten-year-old store tops our list as one of the best places in the city to buy a special gift or find the perfect piece for a collection.
Stores like Hazel can be dangerous. The eclectic boutique in Ravenswood has side-by-side locations, one for unique, lust-worthy gifts and one for unique (and equally lust-worthy) men's and women's apparel. Both are smartly curated and expertly staffed, making Hazel an irresistible vortex of goods where shoppers can't escape without wanting to snap up everything in sight.
While there are the affordable accessories and clever stationeries that suit modest budgets, the real gems are the one-of-a-kind specialty items that exude a feel of effortless luxury. The shops are hardly sprawling in size, but at the gift boutique in particular, there's a treasure for almost every need and occasion.
Among the shops many lovely wares, the home goods items are clear stand-outs. One visit to Hazel and you could easily set the prettiest table in Chicago: imported porcelain and metal salt and pepper shakers, hand-sewn placemats, silk-screened wine charms and hand painted glasses and carved bowls and platters that range from classic to hipster-chic. Hazel also carries a small supply of jaw-droppingly gorgeous fresh flowers of whatever particular bloom is in season, making it easy to add a touch of upscale, organic flair to your table.
The store keeps its supply fresh and unique by showcasing jewelry, purses and other accessories by local and independent artists and designers. Part of the danger in being swept into Hazel's gorgeous lifestyle brand is that the shop also refreshes its stock regularly; eye that leather purse or imported teapot for too long and you just might fine it's vanished by your next visit.
Hazel even caters to the fellas and the kids: in one place, you can scoop up fashionable wallets, watches and shaving accessories for men while grabbing old-world and environmentally friendly toys, books and clothing for kids. It's near impossible to leave the store without something, and when you do, the staff wraps it up for you in one hip package.
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