Shopping in the city is a challenge without parking in the city. Since the elimination of a few street spots at 50th and Xerxes in South Minneapolis to make room for a turn lane, Shop in the City says business has plunged by 40 percent. The gift/accessories/apparel store plans to close the 3018 W. 50th location by March 15 and consolidate remaining merchandise at the Chicago Avenue store (which has its own lot plus ample street parking).In the spring, Shop in the City intends to look for a new second location closer to 50th & France.

Bandluplum When Fox 9's Alix Kendall asked if I could round up some affordable plus size fashions for a segment Wednesday on "The Buzz," my goal was to avoid Lane Bryant. Don't get me wrong – I think LB has some great, trendy looks for reasonable prices – it's just difficult to imagine a curvy woman that has not already shopped there. Plus size shoppers are compelled to stick to the malls: the department stores and a couple of chains, like Torrid along with strip center staples like Catherine's – seem to be the only options. That's why I was so pleased to be able to pull spring fashions from two Twin Cities-based boutiques: Corset in Hopkins goes up to size 3X or 18 on most items and larger sizes can be ordered. Maple Grove-based Bandlu.com (pictured), an online boutique (I keep working on them to open a store) takes its inspiration from Anthropologie, but in sizes up to 5X and at prices that rarely climb over $60.
Some additional local resources for larger sizes:
- Nani Nalu at 50th & France for swimsuits that fit D-cups, and larger
- La Bratique at 50th & France and Allure on Grand Avenue in St. Paul for lingerie in sizes the department stores don't offer
- Plums Plus Size in Columbia Heights for consignment clothes (several other consignment shops have a plus size section, including Clothes Mentor with five locations and more to come and Upscale Consignment in St. Louis Park, Woodbury and Inver Grove Heights)
-Andrea's Vintage and Bridal in Minneapolis sells some plus size vintage wedding gowns
-LaRue's in South Minneapolis offers artfully made, natural fiber clothes in larger sizes
Of course the reality is, the broadest selection of plus size options are online. A few with some momentum: Abby Z. on HSN, Ashley Stewart, Roamans and eShakti. Also check out Igigi and Kiyonna.

The retailers and salons of 50th & France are pooling their resources for one giant proposal: to brides. The posh shopping district wants to establish itself as the Twin Cities bridal destination. Each month brings new promotions. February is all about "beautiful brides." To that end, Salon Aura (3915 W. 50th St.) is offering a free partial foil on the day of a bride's practice updo and Nani Nalu is offering complementary chocolate truffles and champagne for two when you book a private fitting. Cos Bar is featuring events every week this month from brands including Chanel, Sisley and Claudio Riaz. For the full list of happenings and specials this month and beyond, click here.