At first glance, Kathryn Kerrigan seems like just another tempting shoe store in Bucktown. However, once you step past the all-glass storefront you’ll notice that the boutique is a bit grander than all the others. Literally, bigger is better at Kathryn Kerrigan; the store only carries shoe sizes 9-13.
Have you ever noticed how, at a sample sale, all the frenzied women are battling for the size sevens, eights and nines while it’s all calm and collected in the size-twelve aisle? Although the majority of women do wear sizes seven-to-nine, as the new store’s owner Stephanie Sack puts it: “women of size are an underappreciated and overlooked market.” And Sack is capitalizing on this notion.
In 2002, she opened Vive la Femme across the street, a store that caters to women with curves, selling only sizes 12- 24. And while she presumes that most designers consider these women to be “bad consumers, not into fashion, and not into appearances,” she knows that it is quite the opposite. It is because the market has such a limited commercial availability that her clients are actually very loyal consumers, as long as the boutique in question evokes “fun and frivolity”; and so began her affiliation with shoe designer Kathryn Kerrigan.
Kathryn and Stephanie shared a similar vision, and thus decided to join forces and make this corner the corner for women of size with style. As the granddaughter of a Chicago socialite, Kerrigan grew up with an appreciation for chic and elegance; she also grew up with size-eleven feet. And so after years of disappointment and disapproval of the shoe options offered to her, she got herself an MBA at Loyola and did something about it.
With a boutique presence already established in Libertyville and Winnipeg, Canada, Kerrigan, by partnering with Sack, will now endow her passion for beautiful footwear with Chicago fashionistas who share her same plight. It seems like an anomaly these days to sell shoes that are hand-crafted in Spain yet available in America for less than $300, but somehow Kerrigan does it. Her signature style is a lovely elasticized leather ballet flat that contours to your foot, perfect for daytime use since, as Sack notes, “walking is pivotal.” Every collection is inspired by Kerrigan‘s grandmother, whose wardrobe was comprised of Prada, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel. And so, the shoe only goes into production if “grammy Dottie would have worn it.” In the words of Dottie, “confidence is a woman’s best friend,” and for all the leggy ladies out there, with the help of Kathryn Kerrigan, your shoes can be your best friends too. (Rhianna Jones)
Kathryn Kerrigan, 2031 North Damen, Kathrynkerrigan.com