Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Looking for the perfect interview outfit, but don't want to pay designer prices for that Theory blazer? Need some good running shoes, but don't want to shell out at the Puma store? Want to stock up on basics or statement pieces, or find your new favorite outfit? Nordstrom Rack has your back. Here you can score name-brand designs at up to 70 percent off what you'd find at other stores, which makes the Rack your one-stop shop for just about every occasion. For years, waiting to check out at the Rack was an epic quest. These days, you can ring up your items just about anywhere, thanks to pay stations and staff strategically placed throughout the store. The only bad part is that it's too easy to find "just one more thing" on your way out. But at these prices? We're sold.
Shopping locally can be tough for guys who care about fashion. Thrift stores can be a time-suck, and there's no guarantee that you'll find what you're looking for. Meanwhile, many men's clothing stores sell items with price tags way beyond what the average dude can afford. Enter Atmosfere, a shop where dapper gents, Uptown hipsters, and pulled-together fiftysomething dads can go to shop high or low. The Calhoun Square location offers a little of everything. There are suits and accessories both for formal events and day-to-day work; there are coats that could qualify as art pieces, and there are nice ones that will keep you warm; there are jeans and T-shirts priced from $20 to $185; and the sales racks often offer deals under $100. Atmosfere grew as a business this year, too. The store recently added a second location in the North Loop, and both spots now carry women's clothing.
High-end style trends usually last about a season. Meanwhile, kids go through clothing faster than a fashionista. Fortunately, there's a consignment store where you can cycle through designer clothing as your little ones continually grow out of their duds. In recent years, Nu Look Consignment has expanded its offerings to include women's, men's, and maternity fashions, but the baby and children's selections are especially great. The store has been growing since the early '80s, and now is housed in a huge, 6,000-square-foot space ready for you to explore.
A handful of mannequins clad in the chicest retro wear will draw you in to Via's Vintage from Hennepin Avenue. Once you're inside, the shop will take you back in time with its gorgeous stock: pillbox hats, crinolines, kimonos, winter coats, Hermes scarves. The savvy staff know their stuff at Via's, and stock only the best of truly old-school fashion — no moth-eaten sweaters or stained prom dresses here. Don't expect to find any steals; you're paying for high-quality hand-me-downs. But when you're coveting a pair of mint-green pumps and a mid-century party dress that would look at home on the set of Mad Men, sometimes you just have to open up your wallet and pay a little extra for that Joan Holloway look.
Back in the dark ages, visiting multiple stores required a shopper to navigate (shudder) the outdoors. Here in the frozen tundra, that just wouldn't do. Luckily, Minnesota is a state of innovators, a land where brilliant minds can spitball ideas like "how about a giant building filled with different retailers and surrounded by acres of free parking" and not get laughed out of town. Of course we are the home of the country's first enclosed shopping mall, Southdale, which opened in 1956 and still stands today. It has three department store anchors (Macy's, Herberger's, JC Penney). It landed Minnesota's first Madewell store (now one of two). There's Coach, Apple, even a shoe repair place and a tailor. Renovations in 2012 brought Southdale's look into the modern era and added new tenants including a Smashburger (which is part of the mall's Dining Pavilion, no mere Food Court here). As you walk its temperature-controlled environs, thank your hardy Minnesotan forbears for their inventiveness.
There's something about that old Hollywood boudoir look, all lace and silk robes, that has remained certifiably sultry for more than half a century. Flirt Boutique, with its charming pink walls and chandelier sparkling in the sunlight, creates a fun, bubbly atmosphere in which to find something worthy of smoldering bedroom eyes. At Flirt, the staff will make you feel pampered and unique, which is exactly what the goods are like, too: one of a kind in each size, with new styles brought in regularly. Whether you're looking for a matching set complete with a sophisticated garter belt, or just a little special something for everyday wear, you'll find it at Flirt.