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Ali Shops Blog

Archive for December, 2010

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Shopping predictions for 2011

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Year end recap lists are fun, but I’m more intrigued by those that dare to look ahead. Ann Mack is director of trendspotting for JWT marketing group. These are just a few emerging trends she says we should watch for in 2011:

The Nail Polish Economy: The old story goes, women treat themselves to lipstick during times of economic uncertainty. But Mack says nail polish sales continue to rise, making it the “it” accessory. Look for unusual takes, like leather nails and purposefully chipped nails. And watch for unexpected brands to get in on the trend: Volvo, for example, is offering polishes that match three color options for the new S60.

High-end temporary tattoos: One has only to look at Eva Longoria Parker’s tattooed ode to her soon-to-be-ex to shy away from permanence. “We’re a non-commitment culture,” Mack says. As such, temporary skin art is gaining popularity…beyond grade-school birthday parties. Chanel and House of Dereon are among the fashion houses doing limited addition temporary tattoos.

Virtual Mirrors: A camera displays a customer’s image on a screen, which then overlays various types of makeup, allowing shoppers to preview products and play with options. It works with clothes, too – and allows shoppers to share looks via mobile and social media. Shiseido is rolling out the technology in Europe; Wal-Mart is testing it in the U.S.

F-Commerce: Look for more opportunities to buy and sell without ever leaving Facebook. Victoria’s Secret, 1-800-Flowers.com and Delta Airlines are already doing it.

Costlier Cotton: The global cotton supply has taken a hit due to a severe drought in China, floods in Pakistan and other disturbances. As a result, Mack says consumers will likely feel the effect with higher prices.

Bamboo: It’s already touted as the sustainable building material of the future. Now, Garnier Nutrisse Hair Color is using bamboo extract in its HerbaShine for “radiant color.” Mack expects to see more bamboo everywhere from bicycles to clothing to kitchenware.

Tube-Free Toilet Paper: Toilet paper is undergoing its biggest change in a century, Mack says. Kimberly-Clark’s Scott Naturals is coming out with a tube-free version (currently being tested in select U.S. stores), and we’ll see more brands follow suit in a bid to better compete on the green front.

More to love at BlackBlue

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

I was thrilled to have to wait in line to get close to the Penguin shirts and Alternative Apparel hoodies yesterday at BlackBlue. This fantastically styled Selby & Dale men’s boutique – where American heritage was cool before J. Crew said so – deserves to thrive. From the flannels draped over wooden rods to owner Steven Kang’s cuffed skinny jeans and untied Red Wing work boots to the leather bags artfully displayed beside old photographs on the white walls – it’s the sort of place that makes you want to embody the whole look. Now, women will be able to do just that: Kang is carefully adding a small assortment of women’s apparel including A.P.C. and Hyden Yoo. And BlackBlue turned the lens on local fashion photographer and Minneapoline blogger Ellen Dahl Lawson to model the first arrivals. Love it all? See more here.

Macy’s around the clock

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

It’s 9:30 p.m. and the malls are getting ready to close – but not Macy’s. The Rosedale Center store and select others nationwide will be open straight through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Who shops Macy’s at 3 a.m.? Apparently enough insomniacs that it justified bringing this Christmas campaign back for a second year.

Give and get pretty

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Twin Cities salon/spas are making it worth your while to give the gift of pretty (or massage!) with buy one, get one gift card offers, product discounts and other incentives. Just a few specials worth considering this week:

Jon Charles Salon: Buy a $100 gift certificate and get $20 for yourself plus a Euroshine blow-dry ($35 value).

Smart & Chic Beauty Lounge: Get 20 percent off all beauty products and receive a Love + Toast Lip Balm ($10 value) when you buy a $25 gift certificate. Sparkling wine and treats will be served. Wed., Dec. 22 and Thurs., Dec. 23 only.

Spalon Montage: Buy a $100 gift card and get $285 worth of gift cards to partner businesses including Arthur Jewelers, Nash frames, Mulberry’s cleaners and more.

Nature of Beauty Eco Boutique & Spa: Buy a gift certificate for $50 or more and receive 30 percent off your next treatment in January. (And plan a return trip next week for free makeovers on New Year’s – appointments required.)

Brick Alley Studio of Massage and Bodywork: Gift cards for 1-hour massage are just $49 through Dec. 31.

Free shipping day!

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

It’s not too late to order online for Christmas delivery. In fact Friday, Dec. 17 is likely the very best day:  nearly 2,000 online retailers, national and independent, are participating in Free Shipping Day – waiving shipping charges and guaranteeing delivery by Dec. 24. Get the details here.

Jake’s jacket

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Patagonia got a nice bit of pre-holiday publicity courtesy of love-struck Jake Gyllenhaal, who was with Taylor Swift on the Dec. 13 cover of UsWeekly wearing the Patagonia Down Sweater. Ryan Seacrest gushed about the “good lookin’” jacket after seeing the pictures of Jake – and one of his sidekicks bought it for him for Christmas. He won’t be the only one: Patagonia has been receiving numerous inquiries about the jacket, which comes in several colors and is a longtime favorite for the brand. It sells for $200 -  and that’s what Jake must have paid. “We don’t put clothing on people,” said Ellen Grady, manager of the St. Paul Patagonia store. Jake shops both New York locations – especially the store on the Upper West Side, Grady said.

Despite its down fill, the jacket isn’t quite warm enough for shoveling snow in Minnesota…but it is apparently perfect for a winter stroll with a young country music star.

Patagonia Men's Down Sweater, $200

Holiday shopping: Nola Home

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Full disclosure: my dad (Joel Kaplan)’s art show was the main reason I visited Nola Home on a recent night. And in my unbiased opinion, I’d say his watercolors are worth the trip. But I was also enchanted by the festive atmosphere at this Bryn Mawr gem. Kelly Dorsey is a master merchandiser – able to mix jewelry, books, textiles and decor in an original way that makes you want it all. (Interior designers are known to shop Nola for inspiration). Known primarily for home goods, you’ll find the shop brimming with affordable gifts including scarves, locally made jewelery, candles, ornaments and, of course, original artwork.

Holiday shopping: Casa Verde

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Fresh destinations, fresh inspiration for gift ideas. Before the holiday shopping panic sets in, I’ll steer you to some unique spots for clever prezzies.
First up: Casa Verde in South Minneapolis. This luxury kitchen and bath showroom stocks its sleek space with home furnishings, artist creations, and gifts in keeping with Casa Verde’s commitment to promote stunning, sustainable design in everyday objects.
Just a few examples of what’s currently in store:

Birch Bark Napkin Rings, $55 for set of four

Hand Carved Olivewood Salad Scoops, $35.00

Windsor Tankard (handblown glass), $55.00

How a furier does a snow day

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Adapt to survive in Minnesota! Ribnick Fur isn’t sulking about losing one of the last big shopping days before Christmas to a blizzard. The Minneapolis retailer is launching its first online auction today: $165 leather gloves – starting bid: $1! Bundle up- and click here for details.

Worth a visit: Maria Rivolta

Friday, December 10th, 2010

I’ve been mulling a column idea this week about the proliferation of accessories stores, both locally owned and national chains. So many stores now specialize in affordable baubles and trinkets – which are also readily available at virtually every clothing store, discounter and outlet, too. When I asked friends on Facebook where they go to accessorize in a hurry, the answers ranged from specialty chains like Charming Charlie and Francesca’s to J.Crew, Opitz Outlet and locals like Fringe. The numbers support the trend – I did my homework, and accessories sales are up. You know the reasons: accessories are an easy, affordable update, a justifiable indulgence and one size fits all. But I have been wondering if we’re all so well accessorized at this point, that what we really need is some new clothes.

With this in mind, I was delighted by the new Maria Rivolta store at Southdale Center – it’s the first U.S. location for the Argentinian jewelry designer and is filled with bracelets, necklaces, rings and more for less than $50. But this new boutique really stands out in the increasingly crowded field. Color. Unique design and distinct point of view. Pieces seem current, yet not-to-trend – and look like they may survive more than a handful of wearings. You’ll find yourself needing a copper and black leather bracelet or a sculpted gold ring or a bright red watch. And I suppose that answers my original pondering: there really is no end to our appetite for accessories.

Maria Rivolta is 25 percent off this weekend – details in Sales/Specials.

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