Autumn Style on Main Street

Three Stillwater boutique owners offer tips on dressing stylishly this season.
Left to right: Julia Scherek, Angela Hudson, Lindsay Incorvaja and Katie Koerner

September is here, which means many women in the St. Croix Valley are packing up their summer clothes and enjoying the harvest of beautiful colors, textures and trends that always appear in the fall. We caught up with three local fashion experts, Sarah Stratte Quickel of Enchanté, Carol Stabenow of Sash Clothing, and Angela Hudson of Collaborations Boutique, to gather their tips on what’s in this season—whether it’s flattering layers or adding a little ’70s suede fringe to your wardrobe—and wardrobe staples that never go out of style.

Back to Basics

Angela Hudson’s shop, Collaborations Boutique, has been offering the season’s trendiest finds for the past nine years. The shop, which caters mainly to women in their 20s through 40s, offers clothing as well as shoes, jewelry and gift items.

Hudson, who attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Diego, Calif., had always wanted to own a shop. Over the years, the store’s merchandise has evolved from handmade bags and flowers to ready-to-wear outfits that reflect Hudson’s style, along with trends of the moment.

“Collaborations was the name because we wanted to incorporate a little vintage to make customers’ outfits their own. When it comes to fashion, a vintage scarf can inspire a whole outfit,” Hudson says.

Hudson strives to offer a variety of unique items to her customers. “Because of my experience at FIDM and my time in Los Angeles, I’ve found a lot of less expensive brands that aren’t mainstream, so people can find something affordable that they won’t see anywhere else.”

For fall fashion, Hudson predicts a season of comebacks. Flared and boot-cut jeans, blousy tops and chunky-heeled shoes are finding their way back to shelves. “Showing your figure is also a trend again. Women want to accent their waist,” Hudson says. “More patterns are also coming back, and a big fall color is malbec, a dark burgundy, along with navy.”

Hudson says the old-school ski look is also popular, along with light-wash jeans paired with dark tops.

Lovely Layers

Fashion was not always in the cards for Carol Stabenow, owner of Sash Clothing. In 2012, she was ready to make a shift from her teaching career, so she opened a shop that marketed to a demographic she felt had been overlooked.

“I really believed there weren’t a lot of shops for women in their 40s and beyond on this side of town,” Stabenow says. “I loved teaching, but I was ready for something new.”

She was delighted to find the perfect Chestnut Street location for her business—her sons, Matt and Nate, own Revé Bistro & Bar across the hall, as well as the men’s store, Matt + Nate: Men’s Life Style. And her sister, Nancy Haugen, owns Forget-Me-Not, a shop located just around the corner from Sash Clothing.

Known for its unstructured style, Sash Clothing is filled with pieces that are comfortable and easy, with a flattering color palette that includes many neutral tones like black, brown and gray. Influenced by the European layered look, Sash Clothing’s inventory ranges from great tunics and leggings to jackets and scarves.

This fall, Stabenow says women of all ages can’t go wrong when dressing in layers. “The layered look lends itself beautifully to the climate here in Minnesota,” Stabenow says. “It’s flattering on all women because there’s a drape and a flow that is very becoming; it works on all different shapes and sizes.”

Stabenow encourages her customers to try on the pieces before checking out or heading out the door empty-handed, because clothes can look completely different on the body than they do on the hanger. “You can have a tall or a small person, and it just hangs differently, but beautifully, on different women,” she says.

The perfect fall outfit from Sash Clothing? Stabenow favors a classic ensemble, such as a turtleneck under a jacket, topped with a scarf, cropped pants and a coat.

“People will be able to wear the same thing that they buy here [several] years from now,” Stabenow says. “They’re not real trendy, they’re more classic. You can change up the pace with an accessory, and the whole outfit changes.”

Throwback Threads

When Sarah Stratte Quickel opened her women’s clothing store, Enchanté, in July 2014, she wanted each piece to represent her business motto: Clothes tell a story; say something interesting. Since then, she’s filled her store with items that are unique, wearable and flexible enough to dress up or down.

“I pay attention to each piece,” Quickel says. “Everything is worth the space—it’s not just throwing in whatever I’ve found. Each piece helps tells a story.”

Quickel’s passion for style and clothing, coupled with identifying a local market for the garments, shoes and accessories she wanted to offer, ignited her ambition to open Enchanté on Chestnut Street. The store appeals to women of all ages, particularly to those who don’t have time to make a run to the mall for a standout dress or a special outfit for an event.

“The store is great for weddings and parties because you can find the perfect dress for any occasion,” Quickel says. “You can dress things up with jewelry and some great shoes, or wear it with a jean jacket and flip-flops, so that you’re able to wear it more than once.”

When you shop at Enchanté, you can browse in the lovely space at your leisure or work directly with Quickel, who offers expert styling tips personalized to suit your needs, whether you’re headed to a special event, dressing for your career or finding the perfect vacation outfit.

With brisk fall weather in the forecast, expect to see more ’70s-inspired pieces in Enchanté, from denim tops to leather accents. “The perfect fall outfit would include a great pair of suede boots that you’re going to wear nine months out of the year,” Quickel says with a laugh. “Plus a jacket and some comfy denim.”

Interested in adding some ’70s flair into your fall wardrobe? Don’t go overboard, Quickel advises. Slight touches like a fringed handbag or leather accents, mixed with jewel tones and plaid patterns can really piece together a look.

“In the fall, it’s all about layering and having a fun piece to make it interesting,” Quickel says.