Archive for November, 2011

Shades of Greige

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

One wunderbar thing about Holiday Shopping is it tends to send you into stores you wouldn’t think of stepping foot into any other time of year.

Had I not foraged into the fast-fashion disaster zone known as Forever 21 this weekend looking for jewelry and jeggings or something for my tween-age niece, I wouldn’t have found these grey-beige sunglasses for myself, buried in a bowl in the microscopic men’s department.

Smoky grape lenses and discounted down to $2.99, it made all the mallrat madness incredibly bearable.

‘Tis The Season For Fleet Farm

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Tough guys nearby stomp into Mills Fleet Farm for macho-man basics like jerky, deer bait, and cordless chainsaws. I, on the other hand, tend to trot on in when I need strange boxes of ginger snaps or silly chocolate rabbits for the girls in my films to snack on as period-perfect props.

But I am particularly drawn to the timeless charms of The Farm this time of year when stocking stuffer season comes ’round.

Fleet Farm’s somewhat random, retro-tinged merchandise offers up everything from suspenders to saskatoon jam, and 1980s board games to Brokeback-ready wrangling shirts.

So while you may stop by in full-on Santa mode to scope out rugged, all-weather gifts for the dudes and Dads and dunces in your life…

It’s likely you’ll end up leaving with some marshmallow fluff, Carhartt carpenter pants, or bubbling Christmas tree lights for your own greedy life.

I mean, maybe it’s better “to give than to receive”, but what’s totally best is shopping someplace where you can do both at once.

I mean how could you seriously be expected to pick up a quirky-cool can of saskatoon jam for your divorced Aunt LuAnn, and not snatch some up for your own amazing self?

A Downside to Upgrading?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Next week I’m eligible to upgrade my phone, which I’m only partially excited about because the subpar camera on my iPhone 3GS has taken some really above-par images the past year that it’s been stashed in my pocket. The fuzzed up photos it captures I’ve found to be rather dreamy and almost Polaroid-like. (With or without post-effects apps.)

I’m crossing my fingers that the three extra megapixels, better optics, and built-in flash that’ll be heading into my hand next week won’t perfect away all the awesome imperfections I’ve gotten so used to.

Because I don’t really want to document my daily life in crisp, accurate reality. I want to keep capturing it abstracted and veiled, like it all took place 25-extra years ago on the sets of strange Sissy Spacek movies.

Speaking of which, I now present a series of never-before-seen images from the past seventeen months, taken and never Tweeted while on the sets of strange Sissy Spacek movies while I lazily lived my life.

Goodbye, ol’ phone!

Sweater Weather

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Fall comes pretty early up where I live, and generally I don’t mind rushing in the season early with the heartier outfits I wear the second that Labor Day ends.

But since our Winters are deadly serious and seemingly ceaseless, I try and hold off on wearing sweaters until November. Otherwise by March I’m sick of every cardigan, cableknit, and cowichan I own.

Now that sweater season is in full swing, I’m finally able to break out the Gant Rugger Dot Jacquard V-neck I spotted at the label’s Soho store.

A little bit Newsies, a little bit Network, it blends a 1930s coziness with a 1970s swankiness that lets the late Fall know I’m good and ready for it, at last.

Boldly mismatching its maroon hue with drab olive and inky turquoise amps up the Autumn palette to the extreme, and suggests a dweeby, inherited-at-boarding-school backstory for the sweater.

Come the final and still-frozen days of March, I’m sure I’ll be fully fed up with the sweater and its red-brick thickness. But for now/for November it couldn’t feel more perfect.

Talking Shop: Askov Finlayson

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Any serious shopper has surely (sorta-seriously) imagined opening their own little retail spot. This week I was able to live the daydream through conversations with Minnesotan brothers Eric and Andrew Dayton, whose vibrant new clothing and accessories shop Askov Finlayson opened last month in a 130-year-old building the brothers have carefully converted into an elegant model of the non-Mega Mall.

Capping off a space that also includes the brothers’ buzzy but cozy eatery The Bachelor Farmer and underground watering hole Marvel Bar, the arrival of the Daytons’ compound of cool in the warehouse district of Minneapolis has officially turned the ever hipper ‘hood into our city’s own mini-Williamsburg.

Stocked with revered/revived heritage brands like Penfield and Wm J. Mills & Co., as well as up-and-coming labels like Salt Lake City-based Zuriik Shoes, Askov Finlayson takes timeless style and tips it playfully toward tomorrow.

Eric (above, right) and Andrew (left) were kind and candid enough to sit down and describe their exciting transformation from avid shoppers into savvy shop-owners with the opening of Askov Finlayson.

Where did the idea to open Askov Finlayson originate?
Eric: I worked for Target before business school and got a great retail training there. However, much like opening a restaurant, the idea of opening a store grew out of the opportunity to buy the (Marvel Rack) building and bring it back to life. With my brother as my partner on the project, we wanted to fill the space with businesses that aligned with our personal interests and also would work well together. We hoped that putting a restaurant, bar and shop all under one roof and then programming the second floor with events would create something of a clubhouse for the neighborhood.

How did you go about selecting the brands and products you’re stocking?
Andrew: Our focus has always been on quality of design and construction. It also has to be something that my brother and I both really like, which tends to narrow our search considerably.


I’m curious how your past and current experiences as shoppers, in Minneapolis and beyond, maybe influenced your decisions as new shop-owners.
Eric: There are a lot of great stores in the Twin Cities and we’ve become friends with many of the owners behind them. That said, there were a number of amazing brands that we admired and that were not being offered locally. We saw an opportunity to introduce those brands and add another point of view. We wanted to be complementary to the existing stores in town, not duplicative.

What’s been the best thing about opening your own shop?
Andrew: We get a great mix of customers coming through the store and I find myself spending much of my day interacting with interesting people. Our building is in such a vibrant neighborhood that what’s most exciting to me is simply being a part of it.



What product/products have been the biggest hit with the shoppers at your store?
Eric: People have been responding positively across the assortment, which is a huge relief to Andrew and me! It’s hard to identify a stand-out after only a few weeks, although I will admit that we drastically underestimated the appeal of Vilac balloon boats.

What insight have you gained from interacting with your customers so far?
Andrew: People respond to a perspective. I think that trying to appeal to everyone can ultimately make a store (or a bar or restaurant) less appealing. Even if someone doesn’t buy what we’re selling, they almost always appreciate that we’re taking a position. Fortunately, though, so far a lot of people are buying!

Speaking not as fashion business-owners, but just as dudes, what have you added to your wardrobes this season that you’re super keen on?
Eric: We have spent so much time and energy filling the store with what we believe is a great assortment of merchandise that our own closets haven’t been updated in quite some time. One exception is an awesome jacket that our friends at Epaulet designed in partnership with Vanson. We each got one (different colors of course).

What’s coming up still, this first year, for Askov Finlayson that you’re especially excited about?
Eric: I’m really excited to add local designers Annie Larson and Kenton Sorenson this fall, and then brands like Quoddy and Vilebrequin in the spring. We also have some collaborations with artists in the works, and those are a lot of fun.

Askov Finlayson
200 North 1st Street | Minneapolis, MN 55401
612.206.3925