Dinkytown denim

Making your butt look fabulous since 2006

Kara Nesvig

Take a look at the butts on that flock of pretty girls walking down the street. Chances are you see a round-faced Buddha beaming above horseshoe-emblazoned pockets, the trademarks of True Religions or maybe a rock ‘n’ roll behind courtesy of Taverniti. Either way, the girls swish and sashay confidently; the denim covering those derrieres gives them the extra spring in their step to make their struts totally irresistible.

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ADDRESS: 402 14 Ave S.E., Dinkytown, Minneapolis
HOURS: Mon: Noon ñ 7 p.m., Tues. ñ Thurs.: 11:30a.m. ñ 7 p.m., Fri.- Sat. ñ 11:30 a.m. ñ 6 p.m., Sun. ñ noon ñ 5p.m.

The Dinkytown boutique Covered is responsible for those posteriors. Since May 2006, the small but super-stylish store has been a shopping destination for those seeking both designer denim lines like Taverniti, Hudson, William Rast and True Religion, as well as cute, flirty tops and dresses. Owner Stacy Larson, who had previously spent time as a buyer for St. Louis Park boutique Q, opened her store in Dinkytown because, as she says, “The area needed it. There’s nothing like this (here).”

And by “this,” Larson means a shop filled to the brim with fashions straight out of the pages of Lucky magazine. Besides their gigantic selection of jeans, Covered also carries midpriced jackets by Tulle, T-shirts from LA Made woven from superior-quality cotton, and fanciful tops and dresses from celebrity favorite Ella Moss. Larson also carries designs by Lauren Conrad, star of MTV’s “The Hills.”

Speaking of Lucky, Covered made the magazine’s pages in its February issue as one of several Minneapolis shopping hotspots. “What’s cool about this place,” says assistant buyer Jody Larose, “is that we get lots of people from all over. Grandmas come in and say ‘Look at my butt!’ People come in on Friday for an outfit for Friday night.”

The ladies at Covered are so well-versed in denim that they can find you a perfect fit as soon as you walk in the door. Their favorite line is Serfontaine, a smaller eponymous line designed by Mick Serfontaine. “We sell it because we love it,” says Larson. “It’s universally flattering. It’s tough to find someone who doesn’t look good in Serfontaine.”

Covered has done so well that Larson is planning to open another branch in Uptown at the end of April. Not only will this second Covered follow in its older sister’s denim-focused footsteps, but the Uptown location will also offer men’s fashion. Denim for dudes includes Rock & Republic, William Rast (which Justin Timberlake has a hand in designing), and True Religion, as well as offerings from luxe-basics line Splendid.

When buying for the boutique, Larson and Larose say they must consider their geographical standpoint as well as the spending habits of a Minnesota customer. “If we love something and it’s too expensive, we have to pass,” says Larson. Tops generally retail for $40-$80, while jeans run from $150-$300.

“We have to be careful. Trends we see at market sometimes don’t translate to Minnesota,” adds Larose.

The practice of spending upwards of $250 on denim is a relatively new concept, and Larson attributes it to the quality of the product. “The denim itself is imported from Japan – Japanese denim is the best you can get – and Italy. It is produced in L.A., and fit, washed and sanded.”

“(The designers) use a fit model, and cheaper brands don’t,” Larose adds.

In fact, most of the lines Covered carries are U.S.-made. “Is it conscious to wear a shirt once and then throw it?” Larson asks. “You have to think about the impact.”

Of course, for many, dropping $200 on a pair of jeans is truly outrageous. However, it’s becoming more and more popular for young women to don these pricey pants.

Many buy for the fit; it’s a well thought-out, painstakingly created aspect of premium denim that retailers like Gap lack. Whereas those mass-market retailers create a design for many and must produce this as cheaply as possible, premium denim lines have the freedom to carve out a niche. Joe’s Jeans, which you can find at Covered, is one of the best examples. They have a veritable smorgasbord of denim styles for all sorts of bodies, long-legged, curvy, or in-between. You pay a bit more, but finding a perfect-fitting jean is akin to discovering the Holy Grail.

Others buy for the design; some fashion-savvy girls like the triangular flap pocket of Hudsons, while others choose the simplicity of clean, classic J. Brands. (Covered no longer carries this celeb favorite, but has in the past.) And then there are some who buy for the name and the prestige of owning something not everyone else can afford. “Sometimes girls come in who look great in a pair of Serfontaines but they’ll buy the True Religions or the William Rasts,” says Larson of the two brands that can run up to $300 a pair.

Either way, the business of premium denim is booming, and if you decide to stop into the chic Dinkytown boutique, rest assured that Larson and company have got you – and your behind – covered.