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My Sister-in-law had been telling me I needed to check out the new boutique in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. I've meant to for months. Friday I travelled into Cannon Falls to do a little early gardening in the local graveyard, and afterwards, my husband and I went for lunch at the Mill Street Tavern on 6th Street North. We had the salmon on a sour dough with a pineapple slice and pineapple sauce, bacon and cheese. It was fantastic!! We walked around the Falls and saw the swans. They're a new young pair to the city park. One of the former pair had passed away last year and since swans mate for life, they sent the remaining swan to a sanctuary and got a new couple, in hopes of seeing cygnets.

It was warming up outside and I was in my gardening attire but, it dawned on me that I had time to stop in and check out this new boutique. I thought, I'll avoid being noticed and just be subtle, take some pictures and get out without being seen in my garden clothes. (I didn't look very fashion-forward). But, Julie Anderson, the owner, is a good host. She greets her clientele as they come in and finds out what they're looking for; I didn't keep my secret for long. She showed me around her showroom and told us some history of the building and her journey to opening the store. She had driven by this building for years and dreamed of having a clothing store in this location. Her opportunity came at the perfect time and the emporium just celebrated its one year anniversary.

Swan and Bower Emporium is on the corner of 4th Street and Main. Coming into Cannon Falls from Hwy 52, you can't miss it! The beautiful building stands proudly on the corner. When I walked in the front door my eyes were delighted with the beautiful displays of candles and honey, ceramic birds and flower vases, art and children's novelty toys and books. If you need a gift, this is the place to come. Each section had displays that drew me in to investigate and see what was offered.

Beyond the front room was a larger room with women's clothing and a small section for men's. Julie said that since she was a mom of sons, she wanted to remember the guys, too.

The first item I picked up was this Kut from the Kloth denim jacket for $109.00. Kut from the Kloth is a quality on-trend brand that I often pick up for clients at Nordstrom. Cannon Falls is about an hour from the Mall of America and I thought to myself, "how great to have a retail option of this caliber in town"!

As I moved from section to section I saw the jeans hanging above on display and pulled a pair out to see the embroidery detail on the cuff. These Charlie B. jeans were selling for $79.99. This is why I love small-town boutiques; I can find unique pieces with details and personality that the chain stores aren't carrying. I can see Julie's good eye for product that women want.

I moved on and took several shirts to the fitting room to try on. This teal flouncy short sleeve top by MINE sells for $29.99 and this THML golden floral patterned top sold for $54.99. I took home the floral top.

As I purchased this blouse Julie told us about the luxury short term apartment on the upper level that had been made into an Airbnb; the pictures are lovely.

I will be returning to Swan and Bower Emporium next time I'm in Cannon Falls. I understand why my sister-in-law was giving it rave reviews. It's worth the stop! Even better, make a girls trip of it. Stay at the Airbnb and come shopping, get lunch at the Mill Street Tavern and walk across the street to the Cannon River Winery for a little music and a glass of wine. I love Cannon Falls!

Happy Shopping!

Shopping is what I do and I'd love to shop with You!

Twin Cities Wardrobe Consultant Kathy Banta

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Updated: Mar 4

Women hire me to come into their closets for a number of reasons. Often they have hit a wall and like their clothes but, are having a hard time putting them into outfits. Other times they've gotten a promotion and they're wardrobe is too casual. Maybe they've gained weight or lost weight and they're not sure of fit anymore. Here are a few things that I often find in closets that could be helpful to you.

  1. Foundational Pieces - When women say they are having a hard time putting outfits together that often means they're missing foundational pieces. I love wearing blazers! If I'm gonna buy something, I'm drawn to a fun statement piece blazer. But, a statement blazer is worthless without the shell top underneath. Shell tops are kind of boring to buy but, they make your wardrobe come together.

2. Textures and Patterns - Sometimes when I'm in women's closets they have quite a few shell tops but, they've collected shell tops with patterns that are dated or so busy that they're hard to pair with third piece items (blazers, cardigans). If you have a jacket with a heathered texture, you won't want to pair it with a textured top or an overly busy pattern. The texture and pattern will compete with the texture or pattern of the jacket. (Rules are meant to be broken and sometimes this does work but, most of the time it doesn't.) On the other hand, if you lean towards solid colored suiting or third piece items, you may want to add some interest to your outfit with a print in your foundational tops. Remember, prints cycle in and out with the color and print tends. They will only be useful for about five years.

3. Sizing - Another problem I often come across is women being modest or doubtful of their proper size, erroring on the generous side, wearing a size, or two, too large. When we wear clothing too big it makes us look frumpy and sloppy, and it puts the appearance of weight on us. I worked with a beautiful petite professional woman who had bought a lot of clothing just before I visited her closet. She was little in stature. Wide leg pants are really in right now and she'd bought about six pairs with pleats. You have to be really careful with pleats because if they don't land in the right place on your tummy, they just make it look rounded. She could totally rock the wide leg pant but, she had purchased too large of a size and the pleats were overwhelming her small body. Maybe the pleats would have worked in a smaller size but, all I had to go off of was what she had in her closet and it wasn't flattering.

4. Shoes - I'm amazed at how long women keep their shoes. My former boss, Carly Gatzlaff use to say, "Start your outfit with your shoes". I don't know about that but, I can tell you that your shoes tell a lot about you. They aren't a finishing touch; they are just as important as the blazer or the pant. Here are signs you need to replace your shoes.

  • the heel is scratched

  • the toe is peeling

  • the lining is disintegrating

  • you avoid wearing them due to discomfort

For a professional attire, basic shoe needs are black, brown, and nude.

5. Finishing Touches - Rarely, but sometimes, the only thing a client needs are some finishing touches to complete their looks. A watch, belts, a necklace or purse. These are items that can be used over and over completing an outfit.

Basic for belts, watches and purses are just like the basics of shoes; it's good to have a black, brown and colorful option.

Basics for necklaces are a long and short option.

It's always interesting going into women's closets, listening to what their frustrations are and figuring out solutions. Every woman is unique.

If you find yourself stumped and are finding it frustrating to dress each morning, maybe it's time to make an appointment with me.

Twin Cities Wardrobe Consultant Kathy Banta

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  • Writer's picturekathrinkim

We hear about Spring Cleaning but, a new year always inspires me to go to my closet and clean up. In preparation for Christmas, I keep a lot of the gifts hidden in the closet so, with all that extra stuff stashed in there the order of the closet goes out the window! It gets messy!

I have a very typical walk-in closet that I share with my husband. I get two-thirds of it. I thought about converting our exercise room into a huge closet for me but, I've seen some overwhelming closets and I've decided the best way to control the collection is to limit the space. My closet is full but, it is orderly. I go through it several times a year and purge items that are tired, out of date, or I've not worn for one reason or another. I do switch out clothing seasonally and keep the off season items in our guest room closet. I love beautiful clothes!

Last Spring I started buying shoe cubbies for my shoes at The Container Store. The price adds up if you have very many shoes that need to be housed, and I do. So, I've been buying four at a time, every so often, as a treat to myself. This morning when I started cleaning up my closet, I started by pulling my shoes from each cubby and dusting the inside of the cubbies and the shoes. As I went through my shoes, I looked them over. I saw a sticker that I hadn't removed from the bottom of one of my heels. It sure can look tacky to have a polished outfit and then stickers visible on the bottom of shoes. I removed the sticker.

Next, I went through my tops and re-organized them by color and sleeve length. I pulled any hangers that were not uniform and replaced them with the space saving thin felt covered black hangers.

Below my tops I hang my skirts. I have a shelve for my denim but, I hang three of my cropped denim at the front of the skirt section. It makes them easy to find. I keep them in my closet all year round because they're great in the summer with sandals or sneakers but, they're even better in Fall and Winter with high heel booties.

At the front of my dress section I keep my designer clothing. I hang them together, some in garment bags to protect them.

My favorite section of my closet is the back wall where I have about thirty outfits pre-assembled and hanging together ready to go. I can tell which ones I've already worn this season because I put them to the left side of the rack and I turn the hangers backwards once I've worn that outfit. This section has saved me time. I've found outfits that I've worn several times because I just felt so good in them AND, I've found an outfit or two that when I put it on, I didn't like at all so I put the items back in their individual sections (tops, pants, etc.). By the end of March, I'll be able to tell what items I didn't wear and will have to decide whether they're worth me keeping or if I should donate them.

So, If you are cleaning up your closet. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

  1. organize your tops by color and sleeve length. This is helpful to see what you have repeats of and what you are lacking for choices. And, it is pleasing to the eye to see them organized together.

  2. Keep hangers uniform. When the hangers are all the same size and color, you see the clothing options, not the hangers.

  3. Dust shelves and storage containers.

  4. Vacuum the floor for freshness. Keeping items up off the floor gives the closet a lighter feeling.

  5. Pull items that you find yourself avoiding and donate them.

And...If you just don't know where to start or want some expert help, reach out to me and I can help you.

Happy New Year!!

Twin Cities Wardrobe Consultant Kathy Banta

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