Shop Eco-Smart Without Looking Like A Scoutmaster

If you think shopping with the planet in mind means you'll lose all memory of vibrant colors and that luxe fabric options go out the window, Lara Miller is here to set you straight and style you flawlessly. Chicagoans know her designs don't sacrifice an ounce of style for their eco-friendliness and that she maintains responsible, earth-friendly production and still makes her customers look really, really good. Click through for two lookbooks covering fall '11 clothing and accessories. We also chatted up the designer to find out how she balances style and sustainability and how her new collection contains fall essentials you've been waiting for. Pick a favorite piece—we dare you.
1 of 16
What inspires you most as you work from collection to collection?

"In general, I always begin with geometric shapes and colors pulled from my surroundings, especially architecture and the intersection of architecture and nature here in Chicago. I love to think about my favorite pieces and re-interpret them from one season to the next. Working from collection to collection is sometimes challenging because the following season has to be designed before the previous collection gets to stores or customers, which is why I love having the chance to preview collections through shows and through social media."

Kit Dress
2 of 16
Wallie Dress
3 of 16
Claire Cape, is also a dress and/or skirt.
4 of 16
Helen Berkun Miss Red Photography
Model: Valentine Kopjo
Hair/Make-up: Jessica Maxwell and Rue Dufkis
Styling: Lara Miller assisted by Janine Garcia and Melissa Scot
5 of 16
Dylan Chain
6 of 16
How do your designs work specifically for women in Chicago?

"Women in Chicago celebrate individual and functional style. They're smart, savvy, fun, and their wardrobes celebrate that but also respond to the realities of day-to-day life. The city is full of a rich cultural landscape, supported by Chicagoans, which means full work and social schedules. For example, a cardigan that can be their go-to cover-up at the office, then worn upside-down as an elegant shawl to the symphony, and then also work as a comfy top with boyfriend jeans, a striped shirt, and boat shoes on the weekend is the Callie Cardigan. A dress that works with a belt and heels for dinner or a gallery opening, flipped upside-down with wide-leg dark jeans for a Friday at work with a movie after, wrapped around their neck as a scarf over the weekend is the Eva Flip Dress Sleeveless."

Giles Flip Cardigan with Pleated Dell Gauchos
7 of 16
Lennie Box Tunic
8 of 16
Victoria Cardigan
9 of 16
Lexus Tube Scarf and Piper Stripe Tank Dress
10 of 16
What are your favorite trends and classics to spot in Chicago?

"Functional Layering—an art that has been mastered in Chicago thanks to our weather. It's either super-hot in the summer, which leads to sub-zero air-conditioning in buildings that demands a cardigan at all times, or actual sub-zero temps in the winter that allow for really fun ways to layer knits that keep us warm."

Milo Infinity Scarf
11 of 16
Cole Gathered Convertible Cap
12 of 16
Dylan Chain
13 of 16
Yollie Stripe Scarf
14 of 16
Aileen Box Sweater
15 of 16
What's you favorite thing about working in Chicago?

"There's so much that I love about working in Chicago! The people here are so encouraging and supportive, whether in the fashion community, the business community, or in education, I find people here just want to help and share resources, which is why I think our small boutiques continue to thrive, our emerging designers continue to grow, and our schools educate some of the best talent out there! I find we all try to be as generous as possible with our time and our resources in hopes of growing our great city even further. It's a great place to work and live!"
16 of 16
Val Cardigan with Hannah Leggings