It's not easy to be the newcomer in a neighborhood packed with established salons. Bespoke has distinguished itself both with expert stylists who've worked backstage at New York Fashion Week and an environment that does them justice. Bespoke's elegant, English-inspired gallery-style space has garnered national accolades.
Best New Designer Boutique: Arrow
No need to lament the loss of Neiman Marcus when we have independent boutiques such as Arrow offering a modern mix of designer apparel for women and men from brands you know and ones you'll want to know.
Best Kids Store: Pacifier
It's our go-to for the coolest strollers, contemporary nursery dÈcor, and adorable baby gifts, but Pacifier also is giving us reason to keep shopping even as the kiddos reach school age. Clothes now go up to size 12. The best selection for bigger kids is at the new 50th & France location.
Kickin' It Old-School: Best places to indulge in '70s trends that are all the rage again
Mustaches: Hate to break it to the hipsters, but babies have stolen your mustaches. Patina
Critters: Squirrels and other furry friends are on mantels, pillows, glasses, and walls. Ceramic, of course! Honeyshine
Typography: The digital age has made us appreciate pretty fonts and real paper all the more. Lunalux
Gold: After years and years of wearing cooler metals, we've warmed up to yellow gold. StyledLife
Wool: The recently reopened Faribault Woolen Mill
is making its nostalgic blankets and scarves a necessity again. faribaultmill.com
Wallpaper: Find lots of clever collections and fun designs at locally based online shop Hygge & West
The ultimate in classic menswear and tailored finery, Heimie's hasn't been around long enough to qualify as a historical landmark, but go inside and you'll feel like you stepped back in time to an era when men always wore suits and tipped their hats.
Updating the modern man in the latest looks and coolest brands, the meticulously designed North Loop shop expanded its space and its fashion lines in a major way this year. Now there's even more to love.
Best Old-School Haircut: Sportsman's Barber Shop
Generations of St. Paul men and their sons have been shorn at Sportsman's, where the magazines are all about sports and guns, the small talk is about politics and small-engine repair, and you're in and out of the chair in less than 10 minutes.
An expertly edited selection of women's designer shoes with accessories to match.
Best Contemporary Fashions: Stephanie's
Always on trend, without trying too hard. A go-to for casual and dress.
The heritage trend is personified at this warm boutique filled with high-end jackets, gear, and more from Fj‰llr‰ven, Stormy Kromer, and others.
Best Accessories: N'etc
From new bags to designer shoes to the sweaters and scarves you'll return to again and again, this upscale boutique is full of delights.
Best Preppy Looks: Melly
Where color and cardigans are always in style. Go for the Lilly Pulitzer; stay for the Kate Spade accessories and fun jewelry.
No one understands a Minnesota winter better. Hoigaard's has outerwear and gear for both seasoned athletes and those of us just trying to keep warm.
Others may come and go, but this venerable boutique has been pushing our fashion boundaries for decades and continues to keep us on our toes, in style.
Premium denim sold by a knowledgeable staff is just one of the many reasons we love this local institution.
Best Blow-Dry Bar: Wow Bar
It's been one good hair day after another since five blow-dry bars opened in Minneapolis this year. We truly love them all, but, when pressed, we have to hand it to Wow Bar for the complete experience. No detail has been overlooked. Relax with hot towels for your neck, iPhone chargers at every station, and a lovely glass of prosecco. Then there are the adorably striped walls, an upbeat vibe, and, most important, the highly trained staff led by industry vet Jason Deavalon. thewowbar.com
Looking for a limited-edition Fender American Vintage '62 Stratocaster to add to your guitar collection? Or how about a 1920 Martin 00-18? Old guitar or new, electric or acoustic, Willie's is the place. williesguitars.com
Even after 20 years on top, the mall never gets too comfortable with its success. This year MOA
welcomed Henri Bendel
, Juicy Couture
, Pinkberry, Intelligent Nutrients
, Cupcake, and a monstrous Forever 21
store. There's more to come: Radisson Blu, the first hotel connected to MOA
, will open by spring. And the mall promises more hot fashion brands for the empty Bloomingdale's space. We have reason to believe they'll deliver. mallofamerica.com
Best Mall Makeover: Southdale
We've been rooting for the nation's first covered mall to get its groove back, and it seems to finally be happening. Southdale is in the final stage of a massive facelift, including contemporary dÈcor, a new food court, a play area, and many new stores. It won't feel as upscale as it did back in the day, but then, modesty is the new ritzy, even in Edina.
Best New Lifestyle Store in Uptown: Motto
Bringing the corner of 31st and Hennepin back to life with a West Coast-influenced mix of home decor, gifts, and fashion for women and men. 3105 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-545-5636, shopmotto.com