How Style in Chicago Is Different From Other Major Cities

Although Chicago is one of America’s most popular metropolitan cities, it often gets the short shrift when it comes to fashion. While New York is the fashion capital of our country and Los Angeles has become the fashion destination du jour for some of the biggest designers, Chicago receives less love from the industry overall. But that doesn’t mean that many of the city’s residents aren’t equally in love with fashion. Case in point? Fashion bloggers like Jena Gambaccini of ChiCityFashion, Jess Keys of The Golden Girl, and sisters Devin and Emily DeAngelis of Walton & Rush.

As someone who went to college in Chicago, I got a sense of the differences in style between Chicago and other major cities like New York and L.A.—Midwestern ladies are more practical, for starters. But I wanted to pick the brains of some longtime residents, too, so I asked Gambaccini, Keys, and Emily DeAngelis to weigh in on the matter.

Scroll down to find out what they had to say.

How would you describe Chicago style overall?

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ChiCityFashion

"Us Chicagoans definitely have a practical side to the way we dress, and it really proves you can look stylish and be comfortable for whatever the weather throws at you (which can literally be anything in this city!)" — Jena Gambaccini

"I think Chicago style is a little more eclecticwe take inspiration from the trends in New York and L.A., but we don't live or die by them. Our style simply [comes from] what inspires us. Chicagoans tend to do more of their own thing, but above all (in a city that is bitterly cold a good portion of the year), it's about the balance of stylish and practical. I also think Chicago style tends to skew more on the modest side. I mean, we've got those Midwestern values to uphold, after all. ;-)" — Jess Keys

"When you think about Chicago, fashion isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Maybe deep-dish pizza, the Bean, or a Cubs game? Although it isn’t known for fashion in the way that NYC is, we have noticed that Chicago is becoming a more fashion-forward city. Since Chicago is located in the Midwest, it brings about a lot of different styles and cultures. I would say that with fashion in Chicago, anything goes." — Emily DeAngelis

How does Chicago style differ from that of cities like New York or Los Angeles?

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ChiCityFashion

"New York definitely has an edgier, more minimal style while L.A. tends to be more relaxed and bohemian. We don't really fall in either category, though. You'll definitely see a mix of both those styles in Chicago, but we're our own unique combination that incorporates all sorts of styles (again, with a utilitarian twist)." — Jena Gambaccini

"I think Chicagoans (myself included) put more emphasis on style than they do on fashion. From my perspective, the majority of Chicagoans don't pay tons of attention to the latest trends in New York. Of course, they influence us in many ways, but I don't think they're top of mind the way they are in NYC or L.A.

"Also, in NYC you see a ton of black, timeless basics. In the Midwest, people experiment with a lot more bold patterns, color, etc. I think we tend to be more casual than New Yorkers (jeans and cute heels are the basic Midwestern uniform for a nice restaurant or party) but more dressy/less bohemian than L.A., for example." — Jess Keys

"We love NY fashion, where it always feels appropriate to wear all black and to dress to impress. L.A. fashion seems a bit more eclectic and laid-back than Chicago. I would say that Chicago is somewhere in the middle. We definitely dress down compared to NYC, but being located in the Midwest makes us a bit more conservative than L.A. Although we do try to take risks here, the weather does play a huge part in our fashion choices." — Emily DeAngelis

What are the style perks of living in Chicago?

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The Golden Girl

"While I don't know if I can really consider it a perk, because I just don't know it any other way, [it's that] we do have seasons. So as much as L.A./Texas girls wish they could wear their fall clothes sooner, we are wearing them for months (and then continue to layer for winter)." — Jena Gambaccini

"I think the perk [is] Chicagoans can't tell if you're not wearing the latest trend, and even if they can, they aren't going to care." — Jess Keys

"We get to experience all four seasons! In the summer, we throw on gladiators and a dress, but in the winter, we get to wear beanies, boots, and wool coats. Each season has its pros and cons, but it's always fun to try new looks and styles." — Emily DeAngelis

What are the style downsides of living in Chicago?

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ChiCityFashion

"The downside is definitely the severe winters. When it's below freezing and icy, or we get a 50-degree day after 10 inches of snow and have to figure out what cute shoes to sacrifice for the slush, it can be difficult to choose an outfit. However, it makes me get that much more creative!" — Jena Gambaccini

"The weather, of course! How I wish I could wear things like delicate suede heels in January (or even April, for that matter) or throw on a gorgeous trench in November in lieu of my puffy down jacket, but it will never be in the cards for me." — Jess Keys

"I think it's the fact that our style has to be practical. We are sometimes limited on what we can wear, so we have to be creative and experiment with different trends." — Emily D'Angelis

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What's the style like where you live? Let us know in the comments!