Needs keep man alive. Wants make life worth the effort.
The most interesting shop in Chicago is P.O.S.H. on State Street. You won't find things you need, like socks, a toaster or toothbrush, but you will find things you really want, like vintage silverplate serving pieces from the Grand Hotel in London, vintage china demitasse cups from the Italian Air Force or breakfast plates that exclaim "Pancakes make people happy." They most certainly do.
Now isn't that just a tad more fun than socks?
The building itself is the former Tree Studio building built in 1894. It was actually used as artists' residences back in the early 1900's. The owners, Karl Sorensen and Stephen Weigel, opened P.O.S.H. in 1997 to share their love and reverence of discriminating and jaunty pieces from the past. I'm so glad they did.
"At some point in your life,
you want something that feels authentic,
something that speaks to you."
Well, just about everything in the shop speaks to me. Loud and clear. If you see it, buy it, because chances are, it won't be there tomorrow. I've learned the hard way.
Karl and Stephen travel to flea markets, auctions and antique markets from Belgium to Paris and London, as well as stateside, in search of vintage hotel and restaurant china and silver, one of a kind pieces and just about everything in between. The store changes constantly with their prolific eyes handpicking chic items that strike their fancy.
Fleur de Sel, kitchen towels, cookbooks from around the world, Girl Scout mugs, absinthe sugar cubes, cow butter dishes and French apricot and lavender jam fill shelves, antique sideboards and bookcases. Nothing ordinary within these walls.
It's the prime location to find unique, genteel engagement gifts, wedding gifts, hostess gifts, birthday surprises and baby welcomes. Trust me, no one else will get the same gift. Yours will be their favorite and forever cherished. Plus, choosing the gift is a treasure hunt for you.
You may also find something that speaks only to you. It happens quite often.
Smart, elegant, or fashionable; exclusive
Did I mention they gift wrap everything in gorgeous boxes with primary colored ribbons?
In our family, a box from P.O.S.H. under the tree, will be the first gift opened on Christmas morning. That you can count on.
Many of us prefer to support small businesses that treat customers like old friends, carry choice merchandise and put the pleasure back into shopping. No panic to find someone to answer a question, be made to feel like an imposition or walk down endless aisles scowling at cheap crap made in China. Here the employees are knowledgeable, personable and graciously available to assist you.
The word "posh" is said to be an acronym for Port Out, Starboard Home. When steamships traveled between England and India, the shady side of the ship was more desirable. The story goes that well-heeled passengers would request cabins port side, for departure to India and starboard cabins for the return home to England, to avoid the sun on their long journey.
History doesn't confirm this but it's a splendid story all the same. Screw history, I'm sticking with this version.
P.O.S.H. is tiny and narrow, but the treasures fill every available space up to the historic, tall ceilings. The storefront windows are works of art and change often. Plan to spend some serious time if you want to see everything. You won't want to miss that vintage Vanderbilt Hotel coffeepot from New York, a Fred Harvey dinner plate or the Baby Mouse in a Matchbox.
I encourage you to check out P.O.S.H. in the River North neighborhood, at 613 North State Street, when you're in town, online or if you reside in the Chicago area. Everyone wants Tutti Frutti Italian pencils. Wait a minute, they may actually be a need. Yes, definitely a need. Man can't live without those.
Check out their website:
See you at P.O.S.H. fellow finders of splendid stuff.