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Ali Shops Blog

Archive for January, 2009

Tight times, fewer totes

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

The store owners are blaming the economy, but I wonder if the rise of Lillian's might have had a little something to do with the demise of Totes & Treasures, a lesser-known St. Paul resource for designer inspired bags and accessories. Just got word that this sweet little shop will close at the end of February. A big sale is underway – get the details in Sales/Specials. Of course, there are still plenty of places in town to get trendy bags for $50 or less: Lillian's now has 16 Minnesota locations, and growing. Then there's the veteran, Fun Sisters, the promising newcomer, Zida Fashion Accessories, and a smattering of smaller shops like Lori's Little New York, Ooh La La and Fringe. For more Twin Cities bag shops, click here.

Harry Connick Jr. looking suave at MOA

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

I should be angry with Harry Connick Jr. for not making time to shop with me at Mall of America this evening, and not only because he has daughters and a gorgeous wife who undoubtedly would have appreciated a few pretty things purchased with no sales tax. Harry arrived at the mall an hour before I did! By the time Siobhan Fallon – who did shop with me – got there for their joint appearance to promote the new movie "New in Town," Harry was so bored, sequestered in the windowless mall management office, that Siobhan was summonsed to say hello. What about me?, I asked politely, standing, as I was, next to Siobhan. "Oh, there's no time," I was told by a gaggle of publicists. "Harry is about to go on stage!" Honestly. Even so, I can't stay angry at the handsome devil. Wow, does he look good in a suit!

Zellweger’s co-star defends that dress

Monday, January 26th, 2009

When the fashion police lambasted Renee Zellweger’s odd see-through dress over corset at the Golden Globes, her co-star Siobhan Fallon from “New in Town” (out on Friday) called and said “The cream rises to the top.” Zellweger’s reply: “I love you.”
“It’s got to hurt her feelings,” said Fallon, who plays a New Ulm, Minn. secretary in the upcoming release. Fallon, who remains fairly anonymous despite her long list of film and TV credits, was able to shop with me at Mall of America this evening. Aliandsiobhanfallon
She’s a great reminder that not everyone in Hollywood is consumed by designer fashions ("I've got this black dress that I wear to a lot of things," she says). She caught just a few moments of the SAG awards in her Minneapolis hotel room Sunday night and says she thought they all looked good – especially her friend Tina Fey, who is not exactly a fashion critic's favorite for her safe, dark dress choices. “She’s a New Yorker,” Fallon says. “Black is what we wear.”
Find out what Fallon wears, and where she shops in my “Shopping With…” column Sunday, Feb. 1 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Not another look

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Another Look consignment boutique at 50th and Xerxes in South Minneapolis is out of business. The message when you call the store blames "disappointing holiday sales, rising costs and the poor economic climate." The only surprise is that those very conditions have been said to make the market ripe for consignment shopping, with more shoppers looking for deals and cleaning out their own closets to make some spending money. Consigning is suddenly chic, and "green." The past few months have seen the opening of several new Twin Cities consignment stores, including June in Minneapolis, Karma Clothing Co. in Stillwater and Boomerang Kids in Hudson. Let's hope they fare better. South Minneapolis is home to several other popular consignment shops (which could have been part of the problem for Another Look), including Nu Look and Fashion Avenue.

I want to be like Michelle Obama

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Michelle Obama nailed it. The dress, a white chiffon one-shoulder Jason Wu design with a ruched bodice and sparkling train, was absolutely exquisite. Love that she wore her hair down. Love that she looked so comfortable and confident dancing close with her husband in front of Beyonce and the rest of the world. Love that she pulled it off seemingly minutes after sitting out in the cold at that never-ending parade. Rock on, First Lady. This is going to be fun.

 Expect to see a lot of yellow at Twin Cities boutiques in the coming months. Yellow has already been declared the color of the year by the Pantone Color Institute and First Lady Michelle Obama cinched its fate Tuesday, by wearing a citron dress and jacket for Inauguration Day. Dare I confess that I didn't instantly love the ensemble? It seemed a bit awkward on first glance, but grew on me throughout the day. The color was flattering and unexpected. Love that she went with a dress rather than a suit, and the fact that it was embellished was a subtle nod to fashion without being over-the-top. Plus, the fact that it was designed by little-known Isabel Toledo had our own Joy Teiken jumping for, well, joy. She's just gotta get the first lady in a Joynoelle dress!

Makeup wipeout

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

In case you were thinking you still had time to swing by a department store to collect your free cosmetics, forget it – or at least, call first. Macy's in St. Paul was down to a couple of remaining products by lunch time. Bloomingdale's at Mall of America is wiped out. "It was a mob scene," a manager said. Amazing how "free" motivates us. Beauty companies ought to keep that in mind.

There ARE shoppers in downtown St. Paul!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Want to see the downtown St. Paul Macy's spring to life? Give away cosmetics. Smartly dressed women came out of the woodwork in St. Paul on Tuesday morning. Honestly, I thought I'd taken a wrong turn into Minneapolis on my way to the sorry downtown store, which is usually a ghost-town at 10:30 a.m., and could barely be called "bustling" even over the lunch hour. But it's not for lack of downtown workers who are interested in beauty and fashion. As I observed a line that snaked around the entire first floor, I thought, if only Macy's could get these ladies in here on a typical day, the state of downtown St. Paul shopping would be a whole lot healthier. Stop saving the better merchandise for the suburbs and we won't have to wait until the weekend to shop! Of course it goes both ways. If the same crowd had supported Il Vostro Boutique when it set up shop in town for the RNC, perhaps we'd have more fashionable stores downtown. Don't wait for free night cream to get out of your cubicles, ladies!

Everyone wants to look like Eva Longoria Parker. Her red-hot strapless mermaid style Golden Globes gown is proving to be the most popular for Unique Vintage, which is taking pre-orders on a $238 version "inspired by" the Desperate Housewife's Reem Acra dress. The other Eva, Eva Mendes' white dress is also being copied – er, "recreated" – but it was that spectacular turquoise and diamond necklace that made the look (Mendes being in it didn't hurt), so Unique Vintage owner Katie Echeverry tells me she's on a mad hunt to find something similar at an affordable price point. Echeverry's L.A. boutique and online store is also selling Jennifer Lopez's I'll-show-my-creepy-husband-how-hot-I-am slinky gold dress. All will be available to ship in time for prom. Not that teens are the only ones wearing them, Echeverry says. She even sold some celeb look-alikes for Inaugural balls. Speaking of which, Echeverry says Michelle Obama's Inaugural ball gown will be copied and practically in production before the new first lady even takes hers off. It really doesn't matter what it looks like – Echeverry says everyone is going to want it.

Free cosmetics!

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

It's true: on Tuesday, Jan. 20, some of the biggest cosmetics counters at department stores will be giving away $175 million in products. It's part of the settlement in a class action lawsuit in which consumers claimed beauty manufacturers were fixing prices (think about it: makeup virtually never goes on sale). Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, Coty perfumes, Clarins, Chanel and Christian Dior are among the manufacturers named in the suit. They will each give away an allotment of product – such as a 6.7 oz Lovely Sarah Jessica Parker shower gel or a 15 ml Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair  – at major department stores across the country including Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Herbeger's, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. All you have to do is walk up and ask. Technically, you are eligible if you made a purchase between May 29, 1994 through July 16, 2003, but no proof is necessary. The products will be given away on a first come first serve basis. Don't expect them to last long! For more details, click here. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved