Real estate consultants told her she was crazy—but when Stephanie Morrissey decided to open a women’s fashion boutique she bucked the “west of the river” trend and insisted on St. Paul. She knew Highland Park was the right home for her namesake shop, Stephanie’s (758 Cleveland Ave. S., 651-690-3802). And just as she thought, Minneapolis women will sniff out a cool new store—even when it’s tucked within a narrow storefront next to the Highland Theater in St. Paul.
Morrissey, a first-time retailer, has a winner on her hands. She has an eye for mixing current trends—embellishments, tweeds, ruffles, denim—with classic styles. The selection here is wearable, fashionable, and affordable. Morrissey keeps it mostly in the $50 to $200 range. It’s Town & Country meets Marie Claire —tasteful, flirty, fun, functional, and sexy. Customers are both boomers and Xers—even traditionalists—so Morrissey relies on the style instincts of her mom, interior designer-cum-assistant buyer Pat Sauer. Standout lines include Cyrus knitwear, Nougat London, To the Max, and denim from Citizens of Humanity, James Jeans, and Jelessy, a colored denim line worn by Uma, Madonna, and Halle. Morrissey makes shopping easier by merchandising by color instead of by designer, so it’s obvious how the different lines she carries work together to create an outfit. And Stephanie’s covers all the wardrobe basics: skirts, trousers, sweaters, jackets, suits, jeans, T-shirts, handbags, accessories, lovely cocktail dresses from Nicole Miller and David Meister, and blouses by MK Solo—worn by Eva Longoria on Desperate Housewives .
Morrissey has found her niche and customers are finding her—they include women who work in such fashion circles as Target’s corporate offices, Marshall Field’s, and Nordstrom and are looking for something unexpected.