BEST VINTAGE CLOTHING STORE (1999)
Anyone who shops vintage with any frequency knows that some stores are stocked for Twiggies with waists the size of a Bic pen. Not Lula. And some stores stink like a damp attic or sour dry-cleaning vat. Not Lula, where all of the clothes are laundered and steamed before they go up on the racks. Best of all, the duds--mostly dresses, sweaters, skirts, pants, shirts, all organized by color--won't empty your piggy bank, and the stores are staffed by real people who give unerring advice on fit and style. The owner, Hayley Bush, who works in one of the Lula shops every day of the week, is phenomenal at discerning each shopper's signature style and proportions. More than once, while we've been tangled in try-ons behind the dressing-room curtain, weeping cuz that lamé-and-eelskin teddy's too tight, the Angel of Dresses Overlooked visits us in the person of our proprietor, who quietly adds a few more frocks to our pile. These additions are often the finest choices, and the best remedy for heartbreak. But she's not out to just sell, sell, sell, like some rabid usurer: It's as much her métier to talk you out of something that seemed, well, momentarily enchanting, like that poly-blend muumuu that got banned by the fire department ten years ago. ("You can buy it, but I bet you'll never wear it" is Bush's way of letting you down easy.) Shop the flagship location on Selby in St. Paul or the newer, and sometimes more flamboyant, location in Minneapolis; either one's a winner.