Photos by Jonathan Chapman, unless indicated
Thao Nguyen inside her boutique, Parc in Northeast Minneapolis, MN
What the Twin Cities lacks in designer brand stores, we more than make up for with our stellar boutiques, which not only offer top labels, but show us how to mix them into our wardrobes—from special sizes to special occasion, fast fashion to fashion forward.
Urban Oasis: Room No. 3 50th & France
Once you enter the tranquil, white surroundings of this chic lingerie and loungewear boutique, you’ll never want to leave—especially now that it’s adding more home textiles, like cashmere throws. Owners Beth Boucher and Jessica Strong want shopping to feel like a treat, and they’ve succeeded.
Leader Of The Class: Grethen House 50th & France & North Loop
Mary Brindley has been dressing the Twin Cities’ most discriminating fashion enthusiasts for almost 35 years at her cozy Edina shop. But with the addition of Grethen House North Loop, she says she’s learning the city all over again. “That [North Loop] customer likes to stay downtown. It’s more item-driven, less about wardrobe. We’re still testing the waters, but that’s what’s fun about it.” You’ll find more minimalist pieces and casual apparel in the North Loop. At both stores, this fall is all about bigger tops, slimmer bottoms, and oversized coats.
Photo by Caitlin Abrams
True Gem: Mille South Minneapolis
This is the pretty little shop the Internet built. Michelle LeBlanc started with a website, but her standout collection of women’s apparel, apothecary, and home objects with a West Coast vibe was so popular, customers wanted to shop it in person. Mille favors indie designers and hosts frequent trunk shows. Store hours are short, so check first, or schedule an appointment.
On The Rise: Primp Six locations
September marks the fifth anniversary of the locally owned company that proved fast fashion could be done in a boutique setting—paving the way for a whole crop of local shops selling trend apparel for less than $100 (find them all at mspmag.com/shoppingguide). Key fall trends: high waist lines, mid-length skirts, and vests.
The Special Occasion Go-To: Dugo Galleria
This Galleria boutique has become a destination for sophisticated mother-of-the-bride (and groom!) dresses. That’s because owner Nancy Shank understands what women want. Namely, sleeves. “Almost everyone says they want their arms covered. We have several options for short fitted jackets or we can work with different shawl ideas— even sometimes making them winto jackets. And we always have dresses with sleeves.”
The Collaborator: D.NOLO North Loop
Turns out, a bunch of established independent retailers with distinctly different points of view can coexist in harmony. Lucky for us, this upscale collective keeps growing. InVision Distinctive Eyewear created a beautiful shop within the shop, and home furnishings are the latest addition, from Witt + Bliss by Martha Dayton and Ciel Loft & Home. They join a couple of our longtime 50th & France favorites, bumbershwute and bluebird boutique, as well as some newer merchants—each distinct, but aesthetically compatible. Founder Veronica Clark is really onto something.
Best In Shoe: Pumpz Galleria
Perhaps we don’t have more dedicated footwear boutiques in the Twin Cities because no one wants to compete with Pumpz. From Tory Burch to Alexander Wang, the selection is unparalleled. The designer handbags, jewelry, and outerwear make it that much harder to leave empty handed . . . and that much easier to give accessories the starring role.
Day Brightener: Melly Galleria
Honestly, we were a little worried for this mother/daughter–run Lilly Pulitzer signature shop when Target unveiled its lower-priced Lilly Pulitzer collaboration earlier this year. Lilly Pulitzer for Target blew out of stores with a swiftness that surprised even Target execs. But since then, Melly co-owner Caryn Kelly says she’s seen traffic increase to her upbeat boutique. “Target introduced a younger generation of shoppers to Lilly Pulitzer,” Kelly says of the iconic Palm Beach–inspired brand. “We’re still getting new customers who want to see the line. Maybe they started with a Lilly Pulitzer day planner, and now they’re moving up to a dress.” Melly introduces another popular line this fall: Rebecca Minkoff—bags, and apparel. It also stocks the Cadillac of winter jackets, Moncler.
I’m excited about the textures and attention to fabric detail for fall. Norse Projects is debuting its women’s line so we are bringing them on. It will be a nod to Scandinavian simplicity and work really well with the lines we currently carry.” — Dahlia Brue, owner of the modern, minimalist boutique Idun
Brand We Love To Claim: Evereve Eight metro locations
The Edina-based chain formerly known as Hot Mama now has 55 stores around the country with plans for five more by year’s end, including one opening next month at Ridgedale Center. If the multitude of locations isn’t convenient enough, Evereve just launched Trendsend, an online personal styling service.
Photo by Caitlin Abrams
You Should Be Shopping At: House of 365 Wayzata
A one-stop shop on the lake, from fragrance and lingerie to contemporary apparel, dresses, and all the accessories to complete the polished look.
Fashion Avenue 50th & France & Wayzata
Offering a comprehensive assortment of moderate and high-end consignment fashion and accessories for men and women.
This designer consignment shop offers a boutique experience and top designer labels.
Because one size does not fit all, it's nice to have local specialists.
La Bratique 50th & France Find larger bra sizes not available at department stores.
Amalli Talli Eden Prairie Center Contemporary apparel for tall women, inseams 34 to 38 inches.
Bombshell Grand Avenue Designer fashion in plus sizes, 14 to 24.
Style Savior: Stephanie Morrissey
Stephanie Morrissey has a great eye for fashion, but the Nicole Miller dresses and the Tibi tops are not the primary reasons her St. Paul boutique has endured for more than a decade. It’s the hands-on service that makes this a neighborhood favorite, and a destination from around the Twin Cities. “We are not salespeople,” Morrissey says of her staff. “We’re personal stylists, personal shoppers, closet consultants, and trend forecasters.” Long known for her small but standout selection of dressy dresses, Morrissey introduced a dress rental program a few years ago to accommodate customers who don’t want to invest in a piece they might wear only once. She continues to find new and interesting lines at accessible prices.
More than anything, Morrissey’s genuine excitement about helping customers look and feel their best is infectious. “Fall is always my favorite season and I love that my dress designers are showing so many everyday dresses with sleeves. It’s what our clients constantly ask for.”
Photo by Caitlin Abrams