april francis


Chicago’s Favorite Fashion Stylist

Love this new mag from Jason Binn + Gilt, DuJour. Many thanks for the feature, Anna.

It’s about that time … get your Haute Closet in order for FW12!


Stump the Stylist?!

There’s nothing that gets us going like a challenge! At THC, we like to think know there isn’t a styling situation we can’t handle. Jumpstart the season with THC this Tueday, September 4th to get your butt in gear for 9/6’s FNO + the always exciting Fall season.

From 6-8pm on 9/4 we’ll be guerilla styling in the In Fashion Lounge at Water Tower Place, leading the Stump the Stylist Fashion Challenge, part of the Magnicifent Mile Shopping Festival. I mean, there isn’t a happening we’d like more. We’ll be working out your fashion issues in the friendliest way ever. Oh, and we’ll be giving away our signature styling service, The Initial Edit, to an attendee. You gotta be there!

Want some of this? Register here!


Stump the Stylist Fashion Challenge with Haute Closet’s April Francis

Haute Closet’s April Francis has styled celebrities and civilians alike, but does she have what it takes to style you?  Find out at this FREE event!

April style five lucky shoppers LIVE on stage in Water Tower Place’s In Fashion Lounge on Level 7.

Guests at this event can enter for a chance to win a personal styling session with April, and all guests will receive a gift bag filled with fabulous finds from select Water Tower Place retailers.

For more information, call (312) 440-3166 or visit us online at shopwatertower.com/events.


#madebynike outtakes


#madebynike all day

Nike is and has always been #1.

How do I love’ the swoosh? Let me count the ways:

  1. Cool collaborations (Michael Jordan, et al.)
  2. Global influence and expression (my beloved Sky-His are Japanese, British + American.)
  3. On top of technology (have you seen the Vapor Flash or worn any Nike gear? So good.)
  4. It always looks great. And performs like a winner every. single. time.
  5. They keep great lady company (hi Anastasia Pivovarova, Allyson Felix + Sofia Boutella.)
  6. Phil Knight is a TRUE champion.
  7. And this:


I need the best and best looking technical apparel for all the adventures I get into on every kind of turf. THC comes complete with an all-Nike athletic trunk featuring the freshest fabrics, kicks and silhouettes.

We go together. Very happily. So developing a relationship with Nike over the past couple of years and being on the testing end of the sporty chic NSW collection: heaven.

I’m so honored to be one of the Made by Nike girls and had a riot shooting this video in Miami. Incredible teamwork they’ve got going on up there in Portland and around the world.

Click through to madebynike.tumblr.com and peer into the lockers of the coolest girls around. This is the only destination you need for women’s sport.

Just do it + feel good doing it. No excuses. Ever.



THCIYH: Volume 18

Hello, warp zone! January, didn’t know you had it in you, but it’s true, we’re resolute — a LOT has happened since the dawn of 2012.

Woke up VERY early on the 1st to hop a ride over to Laguna Beach … once there, was taken into the loving embrace of Geo and Katresha at Blue Pearl Laguna who went ahead and changed it all.

Seven days filled with 10-mile hikes, twice-daily yoga, personal training, veggies and fruits and nuts and sheep’s milk, kefir and yogurt, lemons and alkaline water … Not sure if we’re fun anymore!

But of course we had a mobile Haute Closet with us, entirely composed of the choicest Nike gear … and a Camelbak. Glamorous.

Point is, we turned off our phone and got in tune with our glutes. We’ve been renewed.

Here’s the fresh list (click to play on Spotify or download to iTunes):


Packing for Paris

We get asked about packing a lot.

Basically, you’re taking a mini version of your Haute Closet on the road. Thus, everything should already be a perfect fit and in great condition.

The evening before leaving for Paris market ss12 we snapped our packing session:

Allow us to illustrate via the alphabet and caution: you should never get to Z unless you are packing to start a closet in your second home.

OK, so (a) belts. An essential accessory if you’re into belts. And if you’re not into belts ask yourself why not and are you sure about that … right now. Ok. So. One black, one oxblood, both working with all the shoes and bags and both easily transition from day to night and expand from short to long. Tricky … and trusty.

On to the shoes: we’ve brought four, a pair of Nike high tops (f), tough little boots (b), a sleek pair of flats (h), and (d) a Céline oxblood bootie. Notice how there is only one pair of heels, the Célines. Make this your packing ideal. When you’re on a trip you’re walking. A lot. If you plan for it, this one heel can drive a diverse set of evening looks.

Moving along, foundation. You’re going on a trip — take things that are functional, beautiful, ripe for layering AND laying on the seduction a la (c) this corset can work as a bra, a top with a high skirt or pant OR a surprise piece of lingerie. See also: fresh hosiery (g), an essential foundation for every trip unless you’re traveling to the equator, and even then. Basically, stockings serve as insurance against the chills and can also incite another (excellent) kind of chill. Purchase wisely and with abandon (not to mention they’re totally fun and can transform a black tunic in a second.) Undies and bras, you got this.

On to globe-trotting garments. Your selection should be basic, minimal and versatile in the biggest way, a la: your favorite jeans (i), a non-fusty flannel (j), essential sweatshirt (k) and a style-driven piece (l). There’s also a Topshop tank in there sporting Chicago Art Deco — it goes without saying, represent when you’re away. The takeaway: 3:1 tops to bottoms, think strategically, make sure you have solids and a few signature prints and they all play nicely together. This is the KEY.

On to the handbags and the other half of our case:

With the Jerome Dreyfuss (m) and pink (e) and white bags from above, handbags are covered (although our never-dies, apparently camera-shy LeSportsac serves as our carryon and secure day bag, this bag is black nylon but really it’s gold bullion). We could have edited out the white one, but we didn’t. We love it. Purses are perfect places to store your hair accessories and jewelry, saving space and ensuring the safe passage of all that is precious. (Also, dust off the dust bags — essential to cover all your shoes and bags if traveling commercial.)

Then there’s the dresses: a dressy black for that very special evening or every evening (q), one that goes day to night (r) and a signature piece (white leather, yes.) Again, here is that 3:1 rule: when it comes to packing and eliminating the bulk, soak in the fact that there are three flimsy dresses and one basic black coat (s) here. The dresses are easy to stow. Jackets, not so much. Everything works with the black jacket and the black jacket works with all of the accessories. Can’t wear dresses every moment, though, so we added, in addition to the jeans, two more highly versatile bottoms, a leather A.L.C. skirt (o) and a pair of shocking blue silk shorts (t). Both tightly packable, both interchangeable with all of the tops and the hosiery, which brings us to (p) socks. Socks are so often overlooked but one of our favorite categories. Don’t overlook.

Going back to (n), that’s where we’ve stowed our nonbreakable/nonspillable personal items. It’s a little Baggu ziptop, infinitely useful on trips, this one came in a set of three.

The lesson: when packing, less is more. All things in the case working together = yes. You can indeed take four pairs of shoes and three handbags without feeling badly, you just need to make certain each has its purpose. And always, always leave room for more. What’s a trip if you aren’t shopping to score some flavor from your destination du jour?

Perhaps that won’t be necessary if you’re going to an ashram, but that’s a whole ‘nother packing lesson. As in life, just remember your purpose. And don’t be too fussy when it comes to the clothes — bring out the best of your capsule wardrobe with smart accessories.

X April

PS: We were photographed a few times working a certain outfit concocted of the above.


A Whole Lot of Love

Fall 2012: Topshop debuts in Chicago and asks AF what she likes most about Topshop.


Print on Print

We love it. We’ve been doing it forever. The pleasures of color and dynamism trump everything, especially when the skies turn dull and grey.

Recently, the Wall St. Journal asked us for our opinion about print on print. Check out the article, here.



Mix a coloful print with a black & white print.

Mix a big print with a tiny print.

Keep prints in complementary color schemes.

Blend florals with geometric patterns.

Get funky with print socks, hosiery and accessories.

Have fun with texture while you’re at it!


photos by Jon Shaft



Lolla Style

We took 2,000 photos at Lolla this year. Here, our favorite style snaps:

The cuteness of Tennis’ Alaina — she’s from the school of American Apparel. Dov, you must be delighted.

Taylor Momsen was lots of fun, scowl and all. She “did NOT get fired” from GG, y’all.

From her archive of vintage Heatherette, rockin’ blue is the manager of the Drums. Wish we had re-styled her band …

Lolla love, Chicago-style, via a molecular biologist and her band beau.

Tall drink in Forever21, head-to-toe. This is not something we condone but here, bien sur, mais ouis.

Nathalie is an aspiring actress from LA: excellent look on her.

We liked him and his Jay style.

The reigning mamacita of Grouplove, Hannah Hooper, and her four boys:

the fantastic brooder, Mr. Sean Gadd …

the awesomerocket of schlub, Ryan Rabin …

the cold quiet dreaminess of Mr.Christian Zucconi …

christian zucconi, grouplove, lollapalooza 2011. photo by april francis

 … and …

the most playful and curious, Andrew Wessen.

Now, for the up close and personal portion of this post:

grrr … hark

rock & roil

bunny mouse


A few more. First …

our favorite Torontoans, the lady presenters of Much Music

a little rockin’ bb

the adoration of Lykke Li



The Kills


See also: our Lolla coverage on refinery29.


THC does FNO in Chicago at VINCE.

Join me Thursday, September 8th from 5-8PM at Vince on Oak for some bubbly and dedicated personal shopping from THC.

It’s FNO – the most fun you can have when it comes to retail. For the past two years, Anna Wintour has been stoking the flames of this fantastic party in NYC and Chicago is finally on board with more than one awesome Fashion’s Night Out event.

But! This one at Vince is the BEST and a can’t miss …

If you don’t already know, Vince is hands-down the best place in Chicagoland to pick up the staples that will make your wardrobe sing, season after season. From their leather and fur to their very best t-shirts, the cuts are divine and my associates who work in the store are even finer. And bring your boyfriend/hubby/lover — Vince stocks the best for gents, too!

I’ll be on hand to help you make decisions about the best pieces to add to your own wardrobe for Fall/Winter.

See you then!

XX April

And … the rest of the best FNO events coming to you in Chicago on September 8th:

Yes, Mr. Brad Goreski himself. We’ll be heading over there for a little post-Vince hosting at the 900 shops.


And, of course, we recommend this Brian Atwood event at Saks — we’re big fans of this homegrown shoe tsar.


Chicago Mag or black/francis 2.0

So, black/francis is no more, but it doesn’t mean Heiji and I have parted ways. Below, our first collab post-b/f, with Heiji as new contributing editor to Chicago Magazine. I helped style, capturing Laura Letinsky and friends at a garden lunch at Laura’s fantastic Hyde Park home. Great idea, H! Looking forward to your future pieces in Chicago, far and away our fave Chicago mag!


Where do we begin with Lori’s? We have a special relationship – we at THC have gotten to know Lori and her team via modeling and guestblogging for her site – and love this spot (all her spots) because they afford the instant pleasure of coming away with something seriously fantastic and righteously affordable.

From the essential basics – loads of neutral flats, pumps and boots – to the trends du jour a la explosive colors, brilliant sparkles and eye-popping platforms (Lori is not shy about serving trendhunters), Lori’s has something for everyone at every age and every instance. It’s a fun stop on your seasonal shopping tour.

But, really, the best thing about this homegrown Chicago empire is that it’s built with love. Respect.

Lincoln Park: 824 W Armitage / 773.281.5655
Northfield: 311 Happ Road / 847.446.3818
Highland Park: 585 Central Avenue / 847.681.1532



THC’s Year in Review

We kicked off 2010 with lots of fashion inspiration; were disappointed by the tsunami that didn’t happen while in Maui in February; March was mad, naturally, and even more so with an interview with retail icon Nena Ivon and the untimely passing of Alexander McQueen; in April we were featured in Real Simple and celebrated our birthday with more of our multi-color nails at Blackbird; in May we went to Israel and discovered amazing boutique Sharon Brunsher and also released Volume 10 of The Haute Closet In Your Head; in June we hosted a soiree at GUESS to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago; in July we posed for a photo in a seriously cool outfit with some major bling; in August we went styleseeking for Lucky and Refinery29 backstage at Lollapalooza; in September we redesigned the THC site and hit up (capsule) NYC for N PRPA while discovering the awesome crowns of Lara Vincent; in October we posed for Vavoom Pinups for a Chicago Magazine party, styled at Modern Vintage and started guest-blogging for Lori’s Shoes; in November we got weird with Simon Doonan; and in December we trekked to NYC to hook up Gilt Groupe founder Alexandra with a Haute Closet and re-up our cup of style inspiration with some NYC shopping.

Most importantly, though, it was a year filled with lots of Haute Closets and their happy owners. And us trademarking the term Haute Closet! And then there was the launch of black/francis, the AF team up with Heiji Choy black, owner of the former Hejfina which was our absolute favorite Chicago boutique. And a bunch of modeling gigs for Lori’s, LuLu’s and Toad Lillie.

We love you and will see you in the New Year with lots more on the THC blog!

In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the more memorable shots we took this year:


Winter Whites!

Click through for our latest post on Lori’s Shoe Blog!

Pieces of April


Check it out on DailyCandy here. Thanks, DC!


Heart Thumping Vavoom Pinup Posing

Chicago Magazine contacted us to host a party and pose for a set of pinup shots with Chicago’s pinup poster girl, Heather Stumpf of Vavoom Pinups.

We have worked with a lot of photographers and we have to say Heather is a dynamo! We arrived, were transformed by her team of talented hair and makeup people and jumped into the set! But first we had the pleasure of picking out our wardrobe from her racks of clothing and shelves upon shelves of pinup girl props!

Below you’ll find the shots that came out of the shoot … and when we say Heather is an ace photographer, each of these was gotten from only one or two clicks of her camera before we moved on to a new prop or outfit. Efficiency on a photoshoot? Viva la Vavoom!

We highly recommend your booking some time to get your own Vavoom shots done: who doesn’t want shots like these to be saved for posterity?


Denmark by Sam Edelman for Lori’s



Wearing the Denmark by Sam Edelman for Lori’s Shoes, we rocked an Alaia skirt with a Garde leather and then changed into an Electric Feathers dress from Roslyn and socks from Robin Richman. We had a riot shooting with JC, Coree and David from Lori’s!

Where’s Yvie?

Where’s Yvie? Hitting the Streets of Chicago With Stylist April Francis!

Name: April Francis
Occupation: Stylist/Writer
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
DOB: April 18
Distinguishing Feature: My laugh.
Likes: Cowboy boots, rock n’ roll, hemp granola, cars & driving, making out
Dislikes: Cheap stuff, haters, local Chicago boutiques closing, fast food
Favorite Film: Masculin Féminin
Theme Song: “Ball & Biscuit” by White Stripes
Dream Affair: An affair like the one in the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Two Minutes With April Francis

For the rest of the tips and photo inspiration, click here!