After a long summer outdoors with months of tanning, boating and bathing in pools or one of Minnesota’s beautiful lakes, heading back to school can seem daunting. Though the freedom of summer does end, there’s always a silver lining: back-to-school shopping. After months away, you want to head back looking your best. While you can pick up all of your practical school stuff at big box stores and malls around the state, sometimes you need something a little extra, something that lets you walk into that classroom feeling comfortable, confident and ready to take on the school year. Before the homework, classes and teachers, visit these boutiques to start the year off right.
618 Selby Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Stylish while remaining affordable, Primp is where you want to go to for all of your shopping without breaking the bank. With skirts, dresses, blouses and all the accessories you need to complement the perfect outfit, Primp is the antidote to the notion that to look good, you have to spend hundreds of dollars. The knowledgeable and friendly staff is always on hand to help you find what you’re looking for, so you can shelve those back-to-school nerves and leave the store feeling ready for the fall.
1104 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
Tucked away on Saint Paul’s Grand Avenue lies one of the most creative, fun and fashionable boutiques in the state. From playful and fun summer dresses to casual tanks and tees, to shoes and sandals, you’ll be able to create the perfect back-to-school look. The store receives new merchandise daily from designers both local and from fashion meccas New York and Los Angeles, so if you don’t find what you want on day one, don’t be discouraged: you can always try again tomorrow. And you’ll get a kick out of the kitschy gift options available at the store as well, making back-to-school shopping even more fun.
2403 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405
A mainstay in Minneapolis’ trendy Uptown shopping district, Cliché is one of the best places to find the hottest fashions from Minnesota designers. Featuring an array of local designers, Cliché has become known as the place to go for high fashion. If you’re looking to turn heads when you walk into the classroom, Cliché is the place for you. Hosting an annual fashion show, Avoid the Grey, Cliché stays at the forefront of Minneapolis fashion and it guarantees that you will too.
758 Cleveland Ave. S.
St. Paul, MN 55116
Located in Saint Paul’s Highland Park, Stephanie’s features the fruits of native Minnesotan Stephanie Morrissey’s experiences on the east coast and in Europe. While you certainly couldn’t call anything in the store thrifty, it’s the ideal place to find that outfit that will make you and your friends say “wow.” This is your “Sex and the City” store, so grab some girlfriends and use your summer savings to create that truly special look. You’re certain to head into class with all of the style and confidence of those HBO gals.
2813 Hennepin Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Before the Twin Cities had developed the shopping scene that we know today, Local Motion was quietly selling unique and fashionable clothing from all over the globe. Owner Barbara Heinrich’s unique taste has created one of the most memorable stores in the state. The quirky storefront is a landmark in the Uptown shopping district, and even after 25 years, the store still offers some of the most unique and elegant fashion around. From bohemian casual to upscale chic, Local Motion has got you covered.
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.