Spring Style Secrets From 3 Real Chicago Girls

After a winter of heavy layers, coats, and gray days, you might be searching for a little advice and some clever inspiration to get you in the mood for spring dressing. Every lady in Chi-town has the potential to really bring it, on the fashion front, in super-early warm weather, and to prove it, we're chatting with three real Chicago girls with stellar style. This trio can seemingly do it all: They work, stay on top of side projects, fashion blogs, you name it, and still turn out some amazing outfits on the reg. Click through to see snaps that prove their sartorial prowess — and don't worry, they're spilling all of their favorite and most-creative styling secrets. Who knows how they'll inspire you!
1 of 13
Kortnee, Melissa, and Flavia are three Chicago residents with stunning personal style, and serious skills when it comes to dishing out sartorial advice. Read on for spring tips from your new BFFs.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
Advertisement
2 of 13
Melissa Arnstine, Special Events Planner for Macy's

How long have you been a Chicago girl?
"Three years."

What are some of your favorite ways to transition your winter wardrobe to spring, when it's still too cool for sundresses but too warm for parkas?
"For me, nothing is off limits. I don't think of my wardrobe as seasonal, I'm always incorporating color and bold patterns into my outfit regardless of the weather."

On Melissa: Zara blouse, Rag & Bone pants, Topshop bomber jacket, Michael Kors boots.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
3 of 13
What are your favorite layering pieces for spring?
"A leather moto jacket and my growing collection of silky kimono jackets are total staples for spring outfits. I'm a sucker for outerwear, living in Chicago it's become a huge part of my wardrobe. With these jackets, I can add either an androgynous or bohemian quality to my look, and they are a great alternative to the standard blazer."

What spring style trick do you wish Chicago gals would try more often?
"I'd love to see Chicago girls break out of their comfort zone. Whether it's swapping out their Sperry Top Siders for leopard loafers or wearing a bold trouser instead of dark skinny jeans, it would be a nice breathe of fresh air. You have to consciously keep pushing the envelope and updating or you hit a wardrobe rut, it happens to the best of us."


Photographed by Julia Stotz
4 of 13
What style faux-pas do you keep seeing around Chicago that you wish would die?
"Bandage dresses. Can those just go away already?"

Where do you love to shop in Chicago?
"Zara, Topshop, and H&M, the European style influence and price point are a winning combo. Locally, I love Penelope's for stand-out basics and Elements for jewelry. For my vintage fix, I swing by the Randolph Street Market, there are so many treasures there, I always leave with a gem or two."

What is the first thing you pulled out of your closet to wear this spring?
"For spring, I'm gravitating towards anything and everything that's pastel or neon. Accessories, blouses, denim, nothing is off limits. I'm totally smitten with pattern-mixing looks too, whether it's stripes paired with florals or leopard with plaid it feels fresh, I am pretty much obsessed."

On Melissa: Hermes cuff, BCBG bangle, Michelle watch, ring from her Grandmother.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
5 of 13
What keeps you busy when you're not at Macy's?
"When I'm not planning events, I enjoy cultivating my fashion blog Stylissh."

What is the piece of styling advice you find yourself giving over and over again?
"Invest in statement accessories, always. Whether it's my Prada Baroque sunnies or Alexis Bittar bangles, their re-wear value justifies the price. Once you have the basics covered in the clothing department, it's accessories that make an outfit. They're total game-changers."

On Melissa: Forever21 Necklace, Lagos ring.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
6 of 13
Kortnee Quiza, Owner of 7thMarket Agency and Quiza Group

How long have you been a Chicago girl?
"I'm originally from the west suburbs of Chicago. After high school, I studied in Atlanta and London for four years, and I bounced between Spain and New York after that. I have been based in Wicker Park for the last three and a half years."

What is the first thing you pulled out of your closet to wear this spring?
"My three-quarter length sleeve coat from Hoss Intropia. I don't like to get too carried away when the season begins because I know how the weather in Chicago fluctuates throughout the day."

On Kortnee: Vintage hat from her Grandmother, Pull and Bear blouse, Mink Pink shorts, Hoss Intropia coat.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
Advertisement
7 of 13
What are some of your favorite ways to transition your winter wardrobe to spring?
"I would have to say that I am pretty brave when it comes to bare legs. You have to find your balance though. Like topping it off with a cable knit sweater, or a lovely coat dress. Shivering for the sake of fashion is never chic."

What spring style trick do you wish Chicago gals would try more often?
"Color. Anything from the lips, the shoes, the handbag. Instantly makes your outfit fresh and chic."

What style faux-pas do you keep seeing around Chicago that you wish would die?
"Flip-flops. I believe they should be used only en route to yoga and the beach."

On Kortnee: Deena and Ozzy shoes, Pull and Bear socks.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
8 of 13
What are your favorite layering pieces for spring?
"Anything cashmere because it's breathable but keeps me warm on chilly nights."

On Kortnee: Vintage belt.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
9 of 13
Where do you love to shop in Chicago?
"My closet. Haha! I've acquired so many great pieces from my travels and when I had my store that I have built up quite the wardrobe. I love the challenge of taking some of my favorite pieces and remixing them so that they feel fresh."

What is the piece of styling advice you find yourself giving over and over again?
"Don't overthink it. Just wear what feels true to me and my aesthetic."

On Kortnee: Drapes by Ashley Scott earrings.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
10 of 13
Flavia Borges Robinson, freelance writer

How long have you been a Chicago girl?
"I moved from Rio de Janeiro to Orlando, in 2006 and just landed in Chicago last August, so I'm still adjusting to the low temperatures."

When you're not freelancing, what keeps you busy?
"Lulu Abroad is a personal style blog where I channel my love for fashion, home decor, and DIY projects. I'm also fashion and beauty editor at Brazilian magazine Vitrine Minas."

On Flavia: Vintage cardigan, Topshop blouse, skirt, and hat, necklace purchased in Brazil.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
11 of 13
What are your favorite layering pieces for spring?
"I love the contrast between a rugged cropped leather jacket paired with a feminine floral dress. It's my basic recipe for spring fashion."

What is the first thing you pulled out of your closet to wear this spring?
"A mint sleeveless blouse from Topshop. I've admittedly fallen for anything pastel this season."

On Flavia: Akira socks, Baker boots.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
12 of 13
What spring style trick do you wish Chicago gals would try more often?
"I felt the whole colorblock trend wasn't a major hit with Chicagoans during fall, perhaps colorblock jeans presents a new twist and will ease the crowd in this spring."

What style faux-pas do you keep seeing around Chicago that you wish would die?
"The 'leggings instead of pants' phenomenon. It's tragic when I see a girl walking around in leggings and nothing else to cover her butt. Not a pretty picture."

On Flavia: Michael Kors watch, bracelets and rings purchased in Brazil.


Photographed by Julia Stotz
13 of 13
Where do you love to shop in Chicago?
"The vintage shopping phenomenon is a new thing for me, but with Chicago's history comes the best vintage shopping experience a girl from Brazil could wish for. I find myself skipping around in treasure hunts in Wicker Park more often than I care do admit. "

What style advice do you give to friends over and over?
"Your style is what you have in your closet, not what's sitting on hangers in department stores."


Photographed by Julia Stotz
Advertisement