The directive was simple: Pick an outfit for your sweetheart to wear to a hypothetical romantic dinner-on Valentine’s Day, or any other occasion, for that matter. We proposed this to three reasonably fashionable folks, all with different ideas about what flatters the female form. Our guys-an intrepid television reporter and the owner of a women’s boutique in Minneapolis’s Wedge neighborhood-ventured to shops new to them, whereas our lady, a noted restaurateur, had her own suggestion (naturally): Could she visit a socially responsible eco-retailer? No problem! Their picks, not surprisingly, were wildly divergent. The assembled outfits range from tailored-yet-skimpy to a modest bomber-meets-Flashdance look to, finally, a vintage ensemble brilliantly characterized as "Golden Girls fabulous."
Restaurateur, Bryant-Lake Bowl, Café Barbette, and the new
Red Stag Supper Club
Key North, a Northeast eco-boutique; 515 First Ave. N.E., Minneapolis; 612-455-6666.
Melrose Antiques, vintage décor, fashion, and accessories; 13 Fifth St.
N.E., Minneapolis; 612-362-8480.
Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop; 303 Hennepin Ave. E., Minneapolis;
Shopping for: Her girlfriend of seven years, a modern dancer.
Why Key North? "I believe people should spend money in accordance with their values."
Disposition: Flummoxed. Standing at the center of the jam-packed store, Bartmann darted her eyes about helplessly. "I never do this sort of thing. I mean, who shops for other people?"
What she’s after: "Hip-casual! She would totally wear jeans to La Belle Vie, but with something nice on top."
Velour slacks by Pure Color Jeans ($182), mostly because of the
sexy cut of the back pockets; and by Bernadette Conte, a teal nylon jacket ($337) and shimmering, translucent pink shirt with a draw-string collar ($203.70, on clearance). All at Key North. Accessories: a matching Murano glass necklace and bracelet ($85, including earrings) from Melrose Antiques.