September is game time for retailers as fall shopping spills straight into—gulp—holiday season. Here are just a few of the boutiques making news this month.
MILLE: More, and Less
Finally! The so-chic south Minneapolis boutique we love to follow all week on Instagram is now open on Saturdays. Mille is part of the reverse-digital movement: It started out online-only, became a studio that hosted special events, and, by popular demand for its modern aesthetic, has bumped up to regular retail hours. So what's on the racks for fall? Rachel Comey, Ulla Johnson, Ace & Jig, and Black Crane—lines you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in town—are among the collections owner Michelle LeBlanc is excited about this season. "Our mantra was edit, edit, edit," LeBlanc says. "I really aimed to not do any filler, just pieces you really want to wear to death." M-W 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Th 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sa 12 to 5 p.m.; or by appointment.
Beyond Dresses at DUGO
We're constantly sending people to Dugo for special occasion dresses—from Carmen Marc Valvo to Marisa Baratelli, they've got mothers of the bride covered. But don't wait for a wedding to shop this Galleria boutique, which continues to add sophisticated sportswear from Armani, Fuzzi, Saint James, and many other labels you won't find elsewhere in town. And if you're still missing StyledLife for accessories, you'll be delighted by the jewelry assortment at Dugo, which is becoming a showcase for establish local designers including Laurie Luehmann, Donna Beck, Nancy Golden, and Wells Gustafson.
Pumped for PUMPZ
Even before we glimpsed Pumpz & Company's sophisticated new corner space at Galleria, we knew it was going to be a showstopper. We got to peek into the stock room over the summer, and every day was like Christmas with arrivals of 3.1 Phillip Lim bags and Robert Clergerie flats in anticipation of the larger storefront. But it's not just the fancy brands that make Pumpz special. Owner Marlys Badzin and store director Amy Rich travel to New York, Paris, and Milan every year to stay a step ahead of the trends, shoes, and accessories with impeccable service and grace. This fall, Pumpz is also adding a collection of outerwear, and a broadened assortment of jewelry, including vintage Chanel. A grand opening event is planned for Sept. 20.
KARMA on the Move
St. Paul's boho boutique Karma is making the move from Grand Avenue to Selby and Snelling. "We were ready for a fresh start," says owner Jada Bruer, who is updating both the look of the store and the merchandise—adding more contemporary lines, such as Raven + Lily. Of course, longtime favorites including Velvet and Weston Wear will still be on the racks. Karma opened in its new location—the former Painted Table space—on Aug. 31.
These are the pieces we intend to buy in bulk and live in all season.
Chunky knits. Fancy knits. Unexpected knits—like this denim-meets-Chanel jacket we spotted at not one, but two of our go-to local boutiques. Knit/denim jacket ($335), by Maison Scotch, from roe wolfe; and bluebird boutique
Crank up the Nirvana—this staple of the '90s wardrobe is back, and boutiques like Maha! in Wayzata are expecting it to be a big seller. Who doesn't love a soft, cozy plaid shirt? The 2014 version is more fitted, and less angst-y than our grunge days. Plaid shirt ($129), by John Eshaya, from Maha! Boutique
Skinnies are a staple, and they're the perfect pairing with fall's chunky sweaters and boxy coats. Now you need to add a boyfriend style—loose and laid back, but very of-the-moment with a dressier top and heels. Skinny jean (left), "the looker" ($210), by Mother, from Grethen House; slim fit boyfriend jean, "Stetson Emerson" ($258), by Citizens of Humanity, also from bluebird boutique
1. Nirvana by Elizabeth and James
Leave it to the Olsen twins to introduce the best scent duo of the season. Nirvana Black boasts woodsy notes of violet, sandalwood, and vanilla, while Nirvana White is a sophisticated floral musk laden with the scent of peony. Wear individually depending on the season, or layer. $55 each at Sephora
2. Purely Perfect
"No Poo" shampoo isn't really newsworthy anymore—it seems most brands tout a suds-free hair-care option these days. But when former Bumble and bumble founder Michael Gordon begins to peddle his own variety, we pay attention. Purely Perfect Cleansing Creme is designed to replace your shampoo and conditioner, and leave your hair fresh, clean, and amazingly soft, sans suds or detergents. purelyperfect.com
We love our indie boutiques, but now and again we do venture online to stock up on basics, and our new resource is the California-made essentials from Everlane.com. Less expensive than James Perse and better made than some of the cheap-o brands we've at times resorted to, Everlane sells perfectly fitting T-shirts, boyfriend sweatshirts, and now, even cashmere sweaters, for surprisingly affordable prices—starting at $15 for T-shirts. Plus, they wash really well. Trust us—we've been through several cycles already.
LINES TO LOOK FOR
These are the new brands boutiques are buzzing about.
|"She hand sews everything out of her studio in Nashville," says Thao Nguyen, owner of Parc Boutique.|
|"Our favorite new brand—a line of luxe sweaters, fur jackets, and full skirts," says Lora Horgen, manager of Stephanie's.|
|"A smart, sharp, sexy Italian line that any man drools to own," says Erick DeLeon, manager and buyer for MartinPatrick 3.|
|"This USA-made brand is becoming well-known for their soft fabrics and flattering fits," says Heidi Martin, owner of Sisu.|
|"It's efforless, feminine, and cosmopolitan," says Veronica Clark, owner of retail collaborative D.NOLO.|
|"The clothes are modern without screaming 'fashion,'" says Sarah Dwyer, co-owner of Arrow.|
|Grethen House is first in town with the new eponymous line from the former J.Crew designer.|
BIG TRENDS AT LOCAL BOUTIQUES
What we love about shopping small stores is their independent point of view. They don't just follow every big trend, rather, they pick what works best for their customers and aesthetic. So here's what jumps out this season at many of our favorite spots.
"The whole heritage trend is really dead. We are interested in evolving Minnesota menswear."
"We actually have a lot of pastels coming in for fall. A suede pencil skirt in mint is so good, and so unexpected."
"Not seeing a lot of tight! We are excited about the easy/relaxed, sometimes oversized, ladylike silhouettes for fall."
"Oversized sweaters and coats are going to be very strong."
"Rich texture and specialty construction technituqes are the highlights of our fall/winter offering."
"We are obsessed with full midi skirts. It's the perfect alternative to a gown or cocktail dress for a special occasion, but it can also be paired with a cropped sweater for a more casual look."
"There is more attention being paid to tailoring/suiting again. Nothing honsetly excites us more because we like our men clean and sharp."
"Pops of neon and plaids from Helmut Lang and Alexander Wang are taking us in a new direction for dresses."
"It's all about textures: leather, fur trim, cashmere, quilted accents."