Feeling California, Shopping Minnesota
August 16, 2011 3:12 PM   Subscribe

What's a good gift certificate for fashionable warm clothes in Minneapolis?

We'd like to give a collegue who's moving to Minnesota a gift certificate for a brick-and-mortar store in Minneapolis that sells decent looking cold-weather clothes and shoes. We're in California. The collegue is thirty something, female, Korean, and fashionable, (by Northern California- not New York- standards; no $1,000 sandals or anything like that).

The winter clothing around here is activity oriented (ski wear, etc). She will need things that are more waiting-for-the-bus and walking-between-buildings oriented.

Do L.L. Bean or Lands End have stores and/or cute things? Around here I think only school kids and boomers wear their stuff, but I could be wrong.

Suggestions, please?
posted by small_ruminant to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't shop there myself (so I can't speak to their collection of lady clothes), but my boyfriend loves Banana Republic. He got himself a really sharp-looking wool pea coat there a few years ago that still looks great (and we live in Chicago, so it gets worn a lot). He has a buddy who lives in Seattle and definitely dresses with more of a relaxed northern California aesthetic than a slick city-dweller one, and even he waxed poetic about the pea coat. (We tried to find him one, but coats were out of season when we were looking for one.)

Anyway, my guess is that if they have "cute" cold-weather clothing options for boys, they have them for girls, too. Give Banana Republic a look.
posted by phunniemee at 3:18 PM on August 16, 2011

Oh, also, since your friend is moving from parka/ski jacket world to the Minneapolis, I'd like to stress the importance of long, wool coats. Butt-coverage is key, and wool really does a smashing job of keeping the wind and wet out. And wool coats just straight up look nicer.
posted by phunniemee at 3:21 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's (three of the anchor stores at the Mall of America) and Neiman Marcus (downtown along with another Macy's branch) all carry winter work clothes when the weather gets cold. I mention these because I assume it would be easy for you to get those gift cards at a local store. Kohls are ubiquitous around here but they are a bit cheaper and may not be up to her standards, although they have great basics.

We don't have any LL Bean stores around here, but we do have Land's End Inlets. I think they tend to skew older in their target market.

On preview, seconding Banana Republic and adding the Gap. We have at least one Urban Outfitters uptown, too.
posted by soelo at 3:23 PM on August 16, 2011

If you want something more local:

Midwest Mounatneering is more geared towards outdoor recreation, but they have a lot of sensible winter gear as well.

If vintage is their thing, I can't recommend the "Simple Goods" store enough - sturdy used clothing sold by a woman who has an encyclopedic knowledge of every cloth that comes through her store. It's right off of Raymond and Snelling Ave in Saint Paul.

Duluth Pack is also branching into more clothing; if their clothes are made as sturdily as their famous canoe bags are, they may be worth looking into. I'm not sure if they have an outlet in the cities yet or not, but have a decent online store.

And, lastly, as a born and bred Minnesotan: Carharts can be bought for cheap -- their coats are extremely durable, they break in with time, and they can come lined with flannel. The same goes for carhart pants, which work better than gortex snow pants for most purposes in my opinion.
posted by Think_Long at 3:31 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is an H&M at Mall of America that should be putting out cool weather items soon, if they haven't already. Some of their stuff is cheaply made and/or ridiculous, but some of it is surprisingly nice (to my middle-aged perspective, I should add). I bought a cold weather jacket there a couple of years ago that I like a lot.

Note that a Nordstrom gift card should also be good at Nordstrom Rack, their outlet store just down the hall at MOA.
posted by gimonca at 3:31 PM on August 16, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, all. Keep them coming!

I understand that they're durable, but I can't imagine her wearing Carharts or Cabelas or anything like that. Banana Repubic, Gap, Nordstroms.... definitely.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:46 PM on August 16, 2011

Seconding: importance of butt coverage & cute/practical options at Midwest Mountaineering.

What about a Mall of America gift card she could use at many of the places mentioned already (Nordstroms, Gap, BR, Urban Outfitters, Macy's, H & M) and Sears (which now carries Land's End).
posted by jilliank at 4:13 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Both Land's End and LL Bean have lines for more fashion conscious folks. Both brands are known for quality items, and these diffusion lines hold true to that but have slimmer cuts and are generally less frumpy. I imagine your friend could find some cute and decent winterwear from either places.

Land's End's Canvas line is more casual prep, a little akin to J Crew with friendlier price points. The quality of the clothing is still as good as Land's End but the fit is more modern although still roomy. For example, I wear an extra small to small in Canvas, whereas I am a small in J Crew. Most Land's End stores do not carry Canvas, you'll have to go online. However, they do accept returns at any LE stores or LE in Sears.

LL Bean Signature is headed by Alex Carleton of Rogues Gallery. The Americana feel is a lot stronger here, think lots of chambray, denim, and wool. Price points here are a little higher but very stylish. Again, online only.
posted by mlo at 4:15 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have to put in a word for J.Crew. While they seem to be heading in a strange super-high-fashion (and high-price) direction, I've found that the J.Crew wool peacoat with Thinsulate to be extremely warm, and I've worn it on windy -10 degree days in Chicago in February and been completely fine.

Price points are on the higher side, but I find that their wool coats -- particularly the ones with Thinsulate -- are of very good quality and plenty stylish for work. I'm a guy, but it's my impression that they have a large variety of women's coats. It's too early for most of this, but I'd expect to see it pop up sometime in the next month and a half; I know I bought my coat last year during a Columbus Day sale.
posted by andrewesque at 4:33 PM on August 16, 2011

Thirding Midwest Mountaineering. Don't be scared off by the name - my fairly fashionable and professional wife would have no idea what to do on the side of a mountain (nor would I) but winter clothing from MM is often my go-to Xmas or (Nov) Birthday gift for her.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 6:47 PM on August 16, 2011

Sears now owns Lands' End and several of its stores have an LE section.
posted by brujita at 9:20 PM on August 16, 2011

Eddie Bauer hasn't been mentioned, but I think they have some cute and trendy winter gear. I love the knee-length down coat I bought from there last year. It has a great cut and style.
I like the Lands' End and LL Bean lines as well.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:25 PM on August 16, 2011

For the covering of the feets:

Nokomis Shoes
posted by louche mustachio at 2:52 AM on August 17, 2011

North Face has a couple shops around the TC metro, as well as Patagonia. As far as outerwear goes, they're top notch.

That's another thing - were you thinking outerwear, or warm clothing? For outerwear, there's a better selection at the sort of outdoorsy stores. The clothing/department stores tend to be more limited when it comes to outerwear, but have a much better selection when it comes to warm clothing.
posted by thatguyjeff at 6:41 AM on August 17, 2011

There's also REI: they have nice Smartwool clothes for women. Stress to her the value of woolen clothes if she's not worn much wool before: it stays warm even when you get soaked. Wool trousers in the winter rule.

Find out where Sorel boots are sold and let her go buy a pair of, oh, the Caribous are good. L.L.Bean generally sells good-looking stuff, but if you get a real cold snap then their Maine Hunting Shoes will lead to lost toes. On the other hand, they do have some good wool coats -- but why not go to the source and buy it direct from Johnson Woolen Mills (www.johnsonwoolenmills.com)?

By the way, I know that there is a Lands' End outlet store (called, cutesily enough, an Inlet) somewhere in the Twin Cities.

I miss my home state!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:28 AM on August 17, 2011

« Older Social Justice Posters   |   Quickbooks alternative? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.