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It's All About Accessories

STYLEDLIFE takes a new perspective on fashion

It's All About Accessories
Photo by Ingrid Werthmann
When we talk fashion, most people undoubtedly think of clothing. Our minds race to get a visual of that trendy new sweater or that haute new denim wash. But there’s more to fashion than the obvious “ready-to-wear.” Fashion is about uniqueness and creativity and to achieve that calls for more than just your average sweater.
 
It’s called STYLEDLIFE. The recently opened shop in Minneapolis’ Gaviidae Common recognizes accessories as some of the most important pieces in fashion. And because accessories are seen as essentials to the world of fashion, store owner Kevin Quinn has created a shop to house just that. The recently opened shop is staffed by fashion experts who have been in the industry for many years. Quinn, an avid follower of fashion for the past 20 years, holds a strong belief: “It’s not about how much you have, but rather how much you enjoy what you have.”

STYLEDLIFE carries both men’s and women’s accessories in designer brands such as Jack Gomme, Lambertson Truex and Dunhill—the only shop to carry these high-end brands in the state of Minnesota. The boutique is stocked with hand-selected belts, handbags, jewelry, cufflinks and neckties, not to mention the fashionable tunes that so feverishly grace you with their presence.

Quinn is extremely passionate about his music and considers it to be a significant asset to STYLEDLIFE. “Music and fashion are symbiotic,” says Quinn. “They complement each other—hence the music video world.” Perhaps what may have developed his passion for music, Quinn recalls a time when he was working a runway show and was bombarded with people coming up to him demanding to know what song was played in Scene 2, Look 4. Typically, most of us think of clothing when we think of runway shows, but as Quinn quickly learned, music plays a rather important role.

At STYLEDLIFE you’ll find a complete wall dedicated to some of Quinn’s favorite CDs, along with several iPods allowing you to preview each song. When asked, STYLEDLIFE employees know the music they’re playing (unlike other stores’ employees who may be clueless). Simply put, “music and fashion is the DNA to the shop,” says Quinn.

Although much of what Quinn sells has a designer label attached, he also sells some highly unique and inexpensive vintage accessories. “Style is not a price point,” says Quinn. “Something for $30 can be just as cute, if not cuter than something marked at $130.” STYLEDLIFE carries all sorts of vintage accessories including belts, handbags and jewelry. “Trust your instincts,” he says. “One of the most inexpensive accessories is standing up tall.” Ultimately, regardless of the price, Quinn’s hope is that his customers fall passionately in love with what they purchase.

As a belt collector since the tender age of 7, it’s obvious where Quinn’s passion lies. “My lens has always looked at fashion as this vehicle for self expression—very personal and powerful,” says Quinn. He began his fashion journey as an intern at Nordstrom after attending graduate school in Washington, D.C. Soon thereafter, he became fashion director of Nordstrom, putting together million-dollar runway shows. “Even when I wasn’t working in it, I was in it,” says Quinn. “That’s just my mindset.”

Later he developed Styledlook, an at-home business consulting service that he’s been offering for the past year-and-a-half. His business flourished simply by word-of-mouth and referrals. As Quinn sees it, “everyone needs a little expertise in their lives.” Whether it is the Geek Squad coming over to fix your computer or the landscaper arriving to design your yard, we need that expertise, says Quinn. Styledlook offers just that—fashion experts ready to bring some flair to your wardrobe.

Styledlook, Quinn’s inspiration for creating STYLEDLIFE, is currently on hold but will be reworked into his new shop and ready to launch in spring 2007. It’s so popular that there’s already a waiting list for this specialized, custom service soon to be offered at STYLEDLIFE. The focus is to create brand new looks from what you already own. Styledlook will guarantee at least 10 fresh, head-to-toe looks from your existing wardrobe. “I want to tackle the existing problem,” says Quinn. “Ultimately, it’s about editing.”

After the editing takes place is when you can add the STYLEDLIFE accessories to give each outfit that extra bit of glam you’ve been yearning for. And the best part about it: You could be the only one in town parading the accessory. Quinn could easily sell about 30 of each product, but chooses to buy sparingly to give his clients that “special” feeling of being the only bearer.

Because of his meticulous taste, Quinn goes about picking product for his store very carefully, filtering decisions through what he calls the “STYLEDLIFE lens.” First and foremost, Quinn looks to his clients. “I make sure there are enough options so there is a breadth of selection based on personal style.” According to Quinn, the key is to listen and lead—a very important dance he has learned to master. The shop offers style options not just for the size 2 and 4, but for plus sizes as well. Other factors he takes into consideration when purchasing products include price point and uniqueness.

Quinn is especially choosy when selecting vintage accessories. “For every one handbag I buy, I reject about 30,” says Quinn. “Everything must be in mint condition.” Quinn is very particular about his purchases, but for good reason. After all, who wants to purchase a handbag covered with stains that have been soaking in for the past several decades? Certainly not the average fashionista.

Not only is Quinn fussy about his fashion finds, but he’s also rather persnickety about his location. “Sometimes you find it, and sometimes you make it,” says Quinn. The 41-year-old Edina, Minn., resident has made it. He considers STYLEDLIFE to be the filler of that white space missing in the Twin Cities. Having just opened a few months ago, STYLEDLIFE has already achieved the early success Quinn was hoping for, and he’s anxious to see what lies ahead. Quinn’s regular customers want a wardrobe expert, and STYLEDLIFE offers just that.

Defined by modernity, STYLEDLIFE offers varied looks for the accessory-conscious consumer. When you step inside this classy new shop, you can expect to receive first-class service from Quinn and the rest of his employees. “I like to treat every customer as though they are the only one who has walked through the door,” he says. “That’s important to me.” w

STYLEDLIFE, Gaviidae Common II, Sixth Street and Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, 612-746-5400, www.styledlife.com


Quinn's Fashion-Forward Tips

Belt Expression:

Tune into the way a belt can transform or update your look. Pay attention to whether a belt is contoured and adapt appropriately.


Understanding the Mix:

Unique, personal style derives from the authentic mix people put together—it’s less about one designer or one look and more about assortment. Create this look by layering, mixing new versus old, and designer versus mass.


Adaptation of Accessories:

Creatively find unique uses outside of an accessory’s main purpose. For example, use necklaces as belts, bracelets as boot charms, cufflinks as pins through a button-hole and wraps as sarongs.

Final Bit of Advice:

Stand up tall, pull your shoulders back and own your own power.

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