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Recognized those plaid shorts with the palm tree imprint on Gwen Stefani’s little guy Kingston in some recent mag shots – my toddler has the same ones, purchased for $10 at Old Navy! Good to know that even though she designs boutique line Harajuku Lovers for Baby, sold locally at Pacifier, our gal Gwen recognizes good style at a great price. (Trying to picture Stefani at Old Navy…does she bring the bodyguards? Does she change a diaper in the family restroom? Maybe she orders online.)
Now, about those Ugg booties Kingston wore with his cool shorts. Seems just a bit affected, don’t you think, Gwen? The poor kid’s feet must have been drenched. Not to mention stinky. Next time, take a cue from my little man of style and go with Tevas. I cringed when he first pointed to the pair with orange trim in the store, but I’ve got to give him credit: they’ve got edge.

What’s even more difficult to fit than jeans? Bras. So, popular denim finder (it helps, seriously) has added a bra recommendation service – no measurements necessary. Does it work? Read all about it in my Savvy Shopper column in Friday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press. Try it out yourself and let me know what you think. Just be sure to have a pencil on hand. You won’t need it for writing.

I stopped by the Summer Salsa Party last night at Russell + Hazel’s flagship store at 44th and France in Edina. The place was packed with extremely well-dressed women. This was not the jeans-and-lingerie top crowd. Most of the women, who looked to be professionals in their 30s to 50s, were wearing chic pantsuits or playful dresses with killer heels. And free margaritas weren’t the only draw – these girls were buying! The 20 percent off store-wide discount was enough for me to finally pick up the clear acrylic address holder I’ve been eying for some time. So much more attractive than a bulky black Rolodex. The sleek desks and colorful paper sets inspire more than an organized office — it’s the organized lifestyle we’re all seeking, where everything seems so tidy and modern. Locally based Russell + Hazel, sold nationally, treats office supplies like a fashion statement (introducing a new color palate every season), and clearly, people respond. I couldn’t help thinking that if Alfred’s – the former "boutique department store" that occupied this great space – had been able to draw such a crowd, it would still be in business.

Well whaddya know – Jimmy’Z is still in business! I wrote about the store in the St. Paul Pioneer Press when it first opened at MOA (second level, north side) a couple of years ago – the plasma TVs on every fitting room were more interesting than the American Eagle-ish clothes. But I happened by today (good to veer off the usual route now and again) and was fairly impressed with the on-trend apparel – tunic tops, halter dresses – at reasonable prices. Jimmy’Z is the big sib to Aeropostale with a California vibe. For teens, it’s a good alternative to Abercrombie and the like for graphic tees and jeans that look just a little bit different from everybody else’s. And for grown-up girls like myself, it’s worth a peek for the occasional fashion top or dress at a reasonable price. On the sale rack today were simple short sleeve, v-neck knit dresses, perfect for the office or frolicking around town – just $50, and 30 percent off. I’ll have to walk this way more often.

Needed some bangles in a hurry for a fashion shoot. When I’m organized, I make arrangements to borrow merchandise from stores and most, local or national, are happy to accomodate. Without time to go through proper channels, I ran to Mall of America and gathered up everything I needed at For Love 21 (sister store to Forever 21) where $20 could buy you five bracelets, a hangbag and sunglasses. I found all the current looks I wanted to show — wood bangles, clear bangles, silver and gold. I was feeling quite satisfied at the cash register – until the salesperson mentioned that there are no returns on jewlery. Come again? No returns? As in, never? Not with a receipt? Not within 14 days? Nope. Never. Handbags and a few other things can be returned for store credit only. Yikes. I suppose that’s the price we pay for cheap accessories – (perhaps they know they’ll fall apart in two minutes, and don’t want to chance returns?) – but, wow that seems extremely unfriendly. I took my business to Aldo Accessories – equally cheap, not nearly the selection, but they do take returns with receipts.