“At some point in your life, you want something that is real,” quotes tableware boutique P.O.S.H. on its website. Real things, designed in bygone times are plucked from flea markets, auction houses, and the occasional warehouse basement to find new life for sale at P.O.S.H.
An acronym for chic Victorian travel, P.O.S.H. takes you back to a time when table settings mattered. The space isn’t extensive, but the intricate and whimsical displays require circuitous wandering to absorb. Registering the myriad motifs and the stories behind the lovely curiosities is part of P.O.S.H.’s charm. Yet, not everything at this Near North Side shop is vintage; it’s a mix of old and new novelties.
A huge oak hutch offers open drawers lined with gleaming antique silver. Its upper-shelf holds a 1920’s tea service from the Chicago athletic Association [the “C” within a circle logo was later adopted for other use in Chicago athletics]. Vintage china is stacked on the floor, bone-white and glossy featuring a potpourri of patterns.
I enjoy examining vintage United Airlines appetizer plates, feather dusters from Germany, a bucket of antique French skeleton keys, and Hall China teapots circa 1950. Period maps from the world’s great cities adorn one wall, while a case of gorgeous vintage jewelry glitters beneath. 1920’s-era industrial marbles were found in an abandoned glass warehouse on the south side. Now a basket sits brimming with these algae-colored orbs.
The walls of the back nook are splashed with saucers and teacups in a Mad Hatter array and I’m craving every size and design. Many of the store’s finds are affordable and I find myself comparing china patterns, sizing up for an impulse purchase, suddenly wishing I had rows of cupboards to fill. Maybe I am looking forward to the holidays at home, but I find comfort surrounded by these chic symbols of domesticity.
I restrain from cabinet cramming purchases [they are, after all, not conducive to train travel]. Instead I settle on some vintage buttons from French Navy and Swedish Tre Kroner uniforms, perhaps to be used in some crafty future accessory. The friendly shop attendant admires my ability to balance coffee, camera, handbag, and merchandise with a single non-cast hand, and I discover she attended my alma mater as we chat. P.O.S.H.’s appeal is grounded in its lovely atmosphere and thoughtful pieces which are always changing. I recommend visiting soon to peruse displays of ornaments as well as unique and charming gifts for the holiday season. I spy some turquoise mason jars which I will be returning for, along with quirky Christmas gifts for a lucky few – that is if I can ever settle on a pattern.
613 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60654