In a storefront window in the heart of Boystown, Paris Hilton stands in all her convicted glory, orange jumpsuit and handcuffs on proud display. One window over, a smoking Lindsay Lohan stands beside a post-shaving-incident Britney, while further down, a Barack Obama look-alike stands in little-boy undies, holding one end of a rainbow flag. Let the mannequins in the windows of Beatnix be your first clue: a shopping trip here isn’t for the faint of fabulous-ness.
“You name it, we’ve got it,” says store employee Myron Haynes. He isn’t kidding. There are racks of sunglasses. Bundles of boas. Tons of tiaras. There are sections for all things country western, leather or—oh, yes—pimpdaddy. In the back, makeup, eyelashes and wigs beckon the beauty queens. Shoes of all kinds are stacked to the ceiling. The place is a Halloween-lover’s dream. And if the Halloween-lover happens to be a dude—who happens to like dressing like a dame—well, all the better: “We have shoes for the bigger [boy or] girl, [and] we have dresses for [them],” Haynes says, adding that shoes go up to size fourteen and dress sizes climb to twenty-six. And if those sizes don’t make the cut, there’s always the in-house tailor, who can custom make any outfit. Missing a pair of breasts? Beatnix has those, too. “We’ve got everything to take you from boy to girl,” Haynes assures. “Give us an hour. We’ll take you there.”
The store’s basement houses a large collection of vintage gowns. “Our owner is an amazing shopper,” Haynes says of Beatnix mastermind Keith Bucceri. It was Bucceri’s love of all things vintage that led him to open his first Beatnix store in Ann Arbor, Michigan at 21 years old. He later moved to Chicago, bringing the store with him. It has been in its current location for ten years now, with another store opening in Miami soon.
But despite its multiple locations, this store is totally one of a kind. (Nicole Briese)
Beatnix, 3400 North Halsted, (773)281-6933