Where Life Meets Style: Secrets and the city

Aaron Leth

Given that the “U” boasts a student body size that rivals the populations of most of our hometowns, saying “people come from all over” to study here is a true understatement. As a blooming first-year, I knew nothing about the Twin Cities shopping scene; I was excited to make it to Gap at MOA on the light rail and found Rosedale Center a treasure trove of all things sexy. You see how easy it is to go wrong? One can miss out on quite a bit of fantastic retail here in the cities if you don’t know your way around, and let me just say Charlotte Russe is only good for Ö well, nothing, except cheap, glittery shoes that hurt your feet.

That’s why I’ve wanted to disclose my favorite “style secrets” in the cities, rather, the four greatest stores you’ve never heard of. While some of you native Minneapolitans might be familiar with them, hush hush to those who haven’t. That’d be like ruining Christmas morning for your youngest sister! NOT OK.

1. Grethen House. Located in the 50th and France district of Edina, this arty boutique features some edgy names in the fashion biz, like Jean Paul Gaultier and Stella McCartney. The prices are steep, but the selection is so well edited that you’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto the sunny sidewalks of Rodeo Drive. But since I’m real and I know most of you were spending any disposable income on dollar drinks at The Library on Friday night, I suggest sallying over to GH2, the lower-priced, but equally as fashionable, sibling to Grethen House.

2. Via’s Vintage. I’m simply not going to ignore that several of you jumped on the vintage movement, and for those who want their own slice of the pie (boysenberry, of course), check out this Uptown joint on Hennepin Avenue. It carries some of the most creative – and oldest – clothes of vintage vendors in the cities. Seriously. I one time heard of Victorian-age garments passing through here. Of course, I don’t advocate wearing them down the Northrop Mall, but do look here for that special, oh-so-you piece to give your wardrobe an extra “wow.”

3. Len Druskin Man. While Len Druskin has been outfitting suburbia for quite some time, the enterprising Druskin’s just opened a new all-men’s store in Gaviidae Common in downtown. I had to put one on here just for the guys, and for one-stop, eye-popping duds, this is the place. I especially like the metro feel this store has, too. And one other thing, you don’t smell like a baby prostitute after patronizing the place like you do at other frat favorites, like Ö eww Ö Hollister.

4. Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th. This is, perhaps, the most well-known of all on this list since it’s in Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, but it is my personal favorite. Why? I found a Missoni scarf here for $80, marked down from $150. And the sunglasses selection, albeit a tad last season, is still to-die-for. The only thing I question is whether this little marvel mecca will last in its location. While Neiman Marcus is to its north, and the juggernaut Macy’s is to its south, the store seems bound to replacement any day now in a dying downtown scene. Can I get a Barneys anyone?

So there you have it. I guess that’s the beauty of a retail city: It’s always changing, which leads to countless surprises. I noticed the November GQ named Minneapolis one of the United States’ best art cities. Perhaps someday it’ll be one of the best fashion cities. I think we’re nearly there; the closest thing we’ve had thus far is Katherine Gerdes, who appeared on Bravo’s Project Runway.

Speaking of, the fourth season premieres tonight! For me, this is my Christmas morning Ö err night. Well, you know what I mean. And on a parting note, I enjoyed meeting many of you this weekend while I was out and about in Dinkytown. Don’t ever hesitate to come up and say hey, unless, of course, you’re wearing you know what. Rhymes with fuggs Ö Yeah, that’s right.