Best Places For Fashion Inspiration In The Twin Cities

August 20, 2011 10:00 AM

There are thousands of stores, boutiques and outlets in the Twin Cities, each with unique style and taste in clothes. When you’re in a fashion slump, however, the choices can be overwhelming. The first step? Find your inspiration. Head to one of these fashion hot spots for a dose of stylish people-watching and shopping.

Grand Avenue

Grand Avenue is like St. Paul’s six-mile long runway. This stretch of shopping, gyms, food and residences makes it a Twin Cities destination worth devoting a day to exploring. The best part is the variety of people you see along this street: whether studying, leaving a workout, eating out or shopping, a stroll down this avenue can give inspiration for every part of your life.

Style: Preppy, comfortable, trendy
Shopping: Picky Girl, Stella.blu, Karma, J.Crew, Patagonia, The Bibelot (websites, plus more click here)
People-watching: Tea Garden, Punch Pizza, Grand Ole Creamery, Dunn Bros. Coffee (websites, plus more click here)

nicolletmallgeneric Best Places For Fashion Inspiration In The Twin Cities

(credit: CBS)

Nicollet Mall

Before I started my internship at WCCO, I had no idea how to dress for an office. But every morning when I walk down Nicollet, I’m treated to a living lookbook of fashionable workaholics and have been able to update my wardrobe accordingly. The best day to walk around downtown is on a Thursday: peruse the farmers market then grab coffee or a meal al fresco. Let the people watching begin!

Style: Business-casual, cutting-edge, urban
Shopping: Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue-Off Fifth, Neiman Marcus, Gaviidae Commons, Marshalls (websites, plus more click here)
People-watching:Barrio Tequila Bar, Brit’s Pub, The Local, Dunn Bros. Coffee (websites, plus more click here)

Selby Ave. & Snelling Ave.

This St. Paul intersection is a Twin Cities destination for vintage shoppers and quirky gift seekers. Quaint specialty boutiques like Flirt stand only steps away from funky vintage stores like Everyday People and Lula, offering a way to pick up all types of apparel. Find the best of both worlds at Patina, a treasure trove of unique gifts and Up Six a hybrid antique furniture/vintage clothes store. Plus, the surrounding neighborhood is a generally young mix of students and urban St. Paul residents with an eye for style on a budget. Sit on the sidewalk at the corner Starbucks and people-watch for inspiration, then start your shopping.

Style: Sweet, vintage, bohemian-chic
Shopping: Lula, Everyday People, Patina, Up Six, Go Vintage, Flirt, Tennis on Selby (websites, plus more click here)
People-watching: Starbucks, Neighborhood Café, O’Gara’s, Cosmic’s Coffee (websites, plus more click here)

Hennepin & Lake

If Selby & Snelling is the most fashionable intersection in St. Paul, Hennepin & Lake is the Minneapolis equivalent. Fun, hip and urban style rules these streets and the local shopping reflects the feel. Check out Heartbreaker for affordable, trend-focused threads, Urban Outfitters and American Apparel for your hipster fix and Ragstock for unique vintage picks. Plus you’ll be nearby a plethora of restaurants and coffee shops, so you can take a breather when you need to.

Style: Urban, hip, eclectic
Shopping: Urban Outfitters, Heartbreaker, Ragstock, American Apparel
People-watching: Chino Latino, Barbette, Stella’s Fish Cafe

bluepeg Best Places For Fashion Inspiration In The Twin Cities

(credit: Facebook)

50th & France

Now that we have identified the most stylish street corners in the cities, what about the suburbs? Edina’s most famous intersection is the epitome of suburban chic, with quaint boutiques and preppy shops that tailor to those who aren’t afraid to splurge on quality designs. Check out Bluebird Boutique and Bumbershute for contemporary women’s style, and Blue Peg and J. Novachis, Inc. for men’s apparel. Stuck on what to buy? Before you shop, take a seat at Salut and get inspiration from the fashionable shoppers strutting around the neighborhood.

Style: Preppy, classic, put-together
Shopping: Bluebird Boutique, Bumbershute, Blue Peg, J. Novachis, Ladyslipper Boutique, Dana’s Apparel, Fashion Avenue (websites plus more click here)
People-watching: Salut Bar American, Beaujos, Edina Grill, D’Amico’s (websites, plus more click here)

ilikeyou Best Places For Fashion Inspiration In The Twin Cities

(credit: Colgan)

Northeast Minneapolis

Voted “best neighborhood” in’s 2011 List issue, this urban enclave has it all. From upscale boutiques and consignment shops, like Parc Boutique and GH2, to shops specializing in homemade local pieces, like I Like You, Northeast is a great neighborhood to hit when you want to diversify your wardrobe. If you’re feeling really ambitious, there are even options to completely do-it-yourself: visit Bella Lana, a yarn shop, for the materials to craft your own wardrobe. Not sure where to start? Sit outside and enjoy a tasty Neapolitan-style pizza from Pizza Nea while checking out the eclectic local style.

Style: Funky, local, do-it-yourself, casual chic
Shopping: The Bibelot, I Like You, Parc Boutique, GH2, Key North Boutique, Bella Lana (websites, plus more click here)
People-Watching: Panera Bread Company, Pizza Nea, The Bulldog NE, Ginger Hop, Tarracino Coffee (websites, plus more click here)

84579982 Best Places For Fashion Inspiration In The Twin Cities

(credit: WCCO)

Mall of America

Complain all you want about the crowds and tourists, but you can’t talk about Minnesota style without mentioning the biggest mall in the nation. Plus, MOA has been putting a noticeable effort into bringing more unique and upscale stores, maintaining its status as a destination mall over local shopping centers like Rosedale and Southdale. In addition to classic mall staples and anchor department stores, new brands include Armani Exchange and Lulu Lemon, with Michael Kors, Vera Bradley and Desigual opening soon. These more exclusive and unique stores draw a clientele that is on the cutting edge of fashion, so take advantage of it! Walk a few laps around the mall for wardrobe ideas before you start purchasing.

Style: Brand-conscious, trendy, contemporary
Shopping: Armani Exchange, Lucky Brand, Forever 21, H&M, Nordstrom Rack, Nike Store, American Eagle Outfitters (websites, plus more click here)
People-watching: Magic Pan Crepe Stand, Tiger Sushi (websites, plus more click here)

Karis Hustad is an intern at and a journalism student at Loyola University Chicago. She gets her inspiration for “Best of” posts from 18+ years living in and exploring the Twin Cities. Comment below to let her know what you think of her suggestions!

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