One way that people of all ages use to gauge a town is its diversity of downtown shopping options. For years, Elmhurst has provided a home for a variety of stores, some hearkening to older, more classic sensibilities, and others with newer, more avant-garde tastes.
In 1931, a young German immigrant, only a scant four years into his time in the U.S., began a fur shop in Elmhurst on York Road that came to be known as York Furrier. Drawn to the town based on its strong German community, Joseph Wagner began to sell fur and offer tailoring services in a store that managed to endure through the difficult times presented by the 1930s. More than 75 years after Joseph Wagner began his store in a very different Elmhurst, York Furrier continues its traditions in fashionable clothing. On the cherry wood brought in to help showcase the fur as of 2001, York Furrier remains a driving force in the world of fur clothing, able to offer professional advice on the premises in case of tailoring or even a need to rework older garments. Its staff searches the world over to find the highest quality and styling in fur to present to its customers in York Furrier’s own birthplace, Elmhurst, and beyond.
Another downtown fixture with years of experience is Leonard’s Fine Men’s Clothing. The store has consistently offered a wide selection of moderate to upper end clothing for 42 years at its previous location near York Theatre, and when it came time to relocate, “It just seemed logical when we relocated downtown to stay downtown,” related Bill Patterson (pictured above) of Leonard’s. There, men can find dapper attire from the likes of Hugo Boss, Jack Victor, St. Croix, Allen Edmonds, Jhane Barnes and Tommy Bahama, among many others. Whatever the need, ranging from high-end shoes to tuxedoes, Leonard’s and their full-service, in-house tailoring can accommodate. “We’re a full-service store,” said Patterson, “so start to finish, it’s a done product.”
Dee Doyle may not have decades standing behind her Camden Boutique, but drawing on styles and energy from Camden Town in England, a place she visited during solo shopping trips as early as age 15, Doyle still channels a simultaneously classic and chic look and her journey bringing her to Elmhurst covered quite a distance, as well. Growing up in Beverly on the south side of Chicago, Doyle eventually graduated from the Harrington College of Design with a degree in interior design, but in time she grew fascinated with fashion and came up with the idea to open her own store. By serendipitous occasion, Doyle found a place for her store in Elmhurst.
“Basically, I know the owner of the shoe store, and she’s been here about a year longer than me at Bianca Rose Shoes,” related Doyle. “I was just looking for a perfect space, and the space next to her opened up, so it kind of worked out.” As to how she opted for her Camden Town style, Doyle had the story of an industrious immigrant to tell, as well—her mother’s. “My Mom was born in London and she moved over to the States when she was in her late twenties, so half my family is in London. I have friends there, and ever since I was a baby, I’ve been there one or two times a year.”
From the vibe she appreciated in Camden Town as a teenager, Doyle has since then created a hip, new store providing for women as young as teens and as old as in their 70s, whoever can appreciate a look that is unique but still classic. “The main inspiration just comes from that feeling you get when you’re in Camden, you know, like an energy and being able to find something unique that not everyone’s going to have,” said Doyle. “I try to have a few European brands and a few British brands just to keep the inspiration, but a lot of my clothes are from all over.”
Doyle’s neighbors at Bianca Rose also provide an interesting selection of women’s and men’s footwear, besides accessories including belts, handbags and jewelry, and even a full line of organic skincare products in Pangea Organics. Sunglasses from Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Dior and Valentino sit comfortably in the same space as shoes from Jeffrey Cambell, Charles David, and Arcopedico, all in the hopes of creating the right look to fit an individual’s sense of style. Bianca and Aaron Moore have set the atmosphere for their downtown luxury boutique and endeavor to inspire their shoppers with their selections.
Elmhurst shopping options offer a gamut of different opportunities, reflecting its denizens’ varied tastes. From the longstanding and classic looks of York Furrier and Leonard’s Fine Men’s Clothing to the chic stylings of Camden Boutique and Bianca Rose, Elmhurst certainly has enough shopping to suit any style.