Shopping + Style

Breakout boutiques, splurges, steals, and favorite addresses.

Best of Shopping 2009

Hair Blowout

Our days of leaving the salon with a shellacked beauty-queen bouffant are over, thanks to Jon Charles Salon and its fabulous blowouts. Stylists trained in a “European” technique (big round brushes and quick moving hands) tame frizzy curls and make limp locks lush and full. Best of all, because they use minimal product, a Jon Charles blowout lasts for three to four days. Starting at $25–$30. 1221 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-724-2444; 1313 Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata, 952- 767-9979, joncharlessalon.net

Source for Funky Flowers

For a bouquet of flowers that perfectly mixes modern arrangement techniques with vintage sensibilities—and a healthy dose of spunk and irreverence—look to Bastian+Skoog Urban Flower Studio. The arrangers play with textures, shapes, and colors, and often find tasteful ways to use feathers, fabrics, and metals in their designs. Plus, every arrangement is custom-made. 310 N. 2nd St., Mpls., 612-333- 6450, bastianskoog.com

Couture Bridal Gowns

Forget Chicago and New York—local brides searching for their dream dress need only head to L’atelier Couture in St. Paul. Owner Amanda Kautt stocks such an amazing mix of couture bridal designers that brides fly in from as far away as Singapore and Australia. Find body-skimming, all-over Valenciennes lace gowns by Elizabeth Fillmore; romantic Chantilly lace gowns by Claire Pettibone; and lovely ball gowns from Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta that inject just the right amount of sensuality into virginal white and ivory. 493 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-602-9492, lateliercouturebridal.com

One-Stop Shop for Designer Wallpaper

Located throughout Minnesota, Hirshfield’s Design Studio boasts an unrivaled selection of paints, wall coverings, fabrics, and window coverings. But the downtown Minneapolis location also offers a seemingly endless selection of high-end wallpapers that are usually only available to the trade, including styles by Osborne & Little, Designers Guild, Thibault, Cole & Son, Zoffany, and Romo. 721 2nd Ave. N., Mpls., 612-374- 8901, hirshfields.com/designstudio

Bra Fitting

If you need help finding your perfect fit, the ladies at Nordstrom are happy to help. Their personal service and expertise guarantees you’ll leave feeling more comfortable and confident. Mall of America, 952-883-2121,nordstrom.com 

Local Designer to Hit It Big

With trunk shows at Henri Bendel and editorial mentions in In Style Weddings and Daily Candy—not to mention her participation this past fall in New York City’s Fashion’s Night Out—local handbag designer Laura Nelli of Nelle has exploded onto the national stage. Her evening and special-occasion clutches are made of silk charmeuse and petersham and silk ribbons, and feature such elegant embellishments as Swarovski crystal and flower appliqués. Find a special collection at local Juut locations or shop online at nellehandbags.com.


Denny Kemp Salon’s Jill Fettig loves to give pedicures. She has such a passion for them that she rarely does manicures any longer; she’s wholly focused on feet. Fettig is attentive to the individual sensitivities of each hoof, whether that’s ticklishness, arthritis, bunions, or worse—and her touch is as gentle and easygoing as her personality. 605 Central Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-676-0300, dennykempsalon.com

New Consignment Store

This year, upholsterer Kendra Anderson opened a charming new shop called Movables, a consignment store for home furnishings. The fashionable folks of Northeast Minneapolis were quick to notice. Not only did they flock to ogle the leopard-print chairs that decorated the storefront, but many went so far as to haul over their own castoffs. The happy result is a shop stocked with all manner of affordable second-hand treasures—from bejeweled chandeliers and sleek table lamps to funky sofas and mid-century dining sets. Shoppers will also find some of Anderson’s own idiosyncratic creations. 1228 NE 2nd St., Mpls., 612-746-2929, movablesconsignment.com

Art Supply Store

Some things never change, thank goodness—and one of them is The Art Cellar, the on-campus book and art supply store at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. This gem of a shop is open to the public and well worth the trek for throwback pricing on crayons, paints, pencils, pens, papers, and glossy coffee-table books. The biggest draw is The Art Cellar’s retro ambience: The student-workers are always cranking ’80s rock tunes, and they’ve bedecked the store with old-fashioned hand-lettered signs that advertise sales and staff picks for best art materials. 2501 Stevens Ave., Mpls., 612-874-3775, mcadartcellar.blogspot.com

One-Stop Shop for Mad Men Style

Situated in downtown St. Paul, Heimie’s Haberdashery is a veritable lifestyle center for politicos and Atticus Finch types. Where else can a fellow shop for ties, shoes, belts, shirts, and custom-made suits and hats, then end his trip with a shave from master barber Mr. B? The place has a well-earned reputation for natty suits and tuxedo rentals, though we also favor the selection of casual sweaters and sportsman-style travel bags. 400 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-224-2354, heimies.com

Sex Store

If the thought of visiting a sex store makes you squeamish, The Smitten Kitten is for you. The helpful employees and non-creepy environment make customers feel at ease. Owner Jennifer Pritchett staffs her store with sex educators and, in 2005, started The Coalition Against Toxic Toys, which advocates for safer sex-toy manufacturing. This boutique isn’t just a sex-toy shop, it’s also a place to explore, learn, and experiment—and feel comfortable doing it. 3010 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-721-6088, smittenkittenonline.com


What better way to spend a lazy Saturday than immersed in the dusty hardcovers at Magers & Quinn? Thanks in part to the work of recently ousted David Unowsky (the former proprietor of St. Paul’s bygone Hungry Mind bookstore), Magers & Quinn became an important venue for national authors on tour, so there was always a sky-high pile of new releases. Under Unowsky’s reign, no one supported local authors more enthusiastically. Let’s hope it stays that way. 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-4611, magersandquinn.com

Exercise Invention

Phil Martens, co-owner and founder of 501Fit in downtown Minneapolis, figured there had to be a better way to lift weights than work a circuit of bulky machines, so he invented his own workout contraption, the G-Werx Gym. With this single machine, Phil can cover strength-, circuit-, and core-training exercises. And since all he has to do is change the weights on the machine for different purposes, it also allows him to offer “personal training in a group,” so that all levels of students can take his classes simultaneously. 501 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-767-4415, 501fit.com

Athleticwear That Lifts Your Spirit—and So Much More

We don’t need articles in New York Magazine and Fast Company to tell us that Canada-based yoga-wear company Lululemon Athletica has a cult following. Its popularity is evident: Just pass by the southwest Minneapolis storefront on any Saturday and you’ll see Luluheads downward dogging during a free yoga class or checking out their backside in the $98 Groove Pant made of luon, a fabric celebrated for its ability to shape and display the bum. The showroom isn’t quite as expansive as Lululemon’s boutiques in other cities, buttthe quality of product and unique atmosphere are definitely worth a trip. 2313 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-929-2014, lululemon.com

The Perfect Address for . . .

A Holiday Party Dress
Spend: Stephanie’s/Arafina. It’s a toss-up between Stephanie’s and Arafina.Try Stephanie’s for romantic styles by Catherine Malandrino, Soshanna, and others. Socialites, head to Arafina. Stephanie’s, 758 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul, 651-690-3802; 5005 France Ave. S., Mpls., 612-929-2087, stephaniesshop.com. Arafina, Galleria, 952-925-1565, arafina.com

: Fashion Avenue. If you crave designer duds, check out the pre-owned selection at Fashion Avenue at 50th & France. All the big names are there—Missoni, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana—but at budget-friendly prices. 4936 France Ave. S., Mpls., 952-929-7919, fashionavenueresale.com
Torturous Footwear
SpendNordstrom. There are plenty of designer shoe stores around, but it’s still hard to beat the selection at Nordstrom. Find platform booties by Lanvin, six-inch metallic pumps by Jimmy Choo, equestrian-style boots by Chanel, and timeless styles by Stuart Weitzman, Sergio Rossi, and Ferragamo. Mall of America, 952-883-2121, nordstrom.com

SaveJune. If you haven’t discovered the resale boutique June, you’re in for a treat. Besides designer dresses and handbags, you’ll find never-worn to lightly worn shoes by Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, and Yves Saint Laurent. 3406 Lyndale Ave., Mpls., 612-354-3970, juneresale.com
Mid-Century Modern Furniture
SpendSpinario. At Spinario, you’ll find mint-condition mid-century and Art Deco furniture (not reproductions) from designers including Knoll, Eames, Milo Baughman, and Vladimir Kagan—as well as perfectly preserved sofas, wood bureaus and buffets, lighting, and tons of home accents. 1300 NE 2nd St., Mpls., 612-396-1860, spinariodesign.com

SaveSwank. If your style is more DIY, and you don’t mind reupholstering or refurbishing, check out the ever-changing offerings at Swank in St. Paul’s Retro Loop. The owners are constantly scouring estate sales, so there is always something new. 1910 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-646-5777, swankretro.com
Xmas Gift Coffee Table Books
SpendWalker Art Center. The Walker Art Center Shop boasts books that look great and are intellectually stimulating. With topics ranging from Japanese anime to Chuck Close’s self-portraits, you’ll get major props for giving the smartest and coolest gift around. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-375-7633, shop.walkerart.org

SaveJames & Mary Laurie Booksellers. Here’s a store that boasts a stellar selection of hard-to-find coffee-table books, old and new, on every subject imaginable, including many out-of-print titles. Also, there’s an amazing collection of LPs in the basement. 921 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-338-1114, lauriebooks.com

Close? No Way!

Less than a month after Stacey Finnegan shuttered her 50th & France shop, il Vostro Boutique, fans demanded that she reopen—and she did. “Our customers really made this happen. I couldn’t believe the letters, e-mails, and customers actually coming in and crying. Their outpouring of support was truly remarkable,” Finnegan said at the time. In addition to bringing back many of her most popular lines—Hale Bob, Hazel, and Sonia Fortuna—Finnegan also brought in a selection of shoes and a private-label jewelry line by local jeweler Helen Wang. 5045 France Ave. S., Edina, 612-920-3167, ilvostroboutique.com

New Shopping Corner

During the darkest months of the Great Recession, the busy corner of Selby & Snelling Avenues in St. Paul emerged as a shopper’s destination. First, the cities’ fifth outpost of gift and housewares emporium Patina joined corner mainstays including vintage clothing and furniture shops Lula Vintage Wear, Up Six, and Go Vintage. Then came a third location of resale shop Everyday People. Add to that the relocation of lingerie shop Flirt Boutique and the antique store The Drawbridge and you have one of the densest, most well-rounded shopping corners in the Twin Cities. While you’re there, check out coffee shops Cosmics Coffee and Cahoots.