The Shop Girls, Allison Kaplan and Alexis Walsko, chatted with Denise about plus size fashion.
Myth Buster: Fashion is for the skinny.
Denise Alden '94 said her St Kate's education empowered her to open Bombshell, a plus-size boutique on Grand Avenue in St Paul, in 2010. She had been using her nursing degree as a midwife, but her dream was calling. "Some women of a certain size have been taught that fashion's not for them," she says with a dismissive laugh. "The subtext is: 'You are not beautiful, it is not open for you.' ". Alden is determined to uproot that idea, one size 20 dress at a time.
Glamorous. Vivacious. Inclusive
Bombshell is for the stylish, sophisticated woman who wears a size 14 to 24. Located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, the boutique has clothing for cocktail parties, brunch with the girls and, of course, date nights. Bombshell offers warm, personal service in a luxurious environment and was highlighted as one of the best plus-size boutiques in the country by Lucky magazine in July 2011.
Denise Alden's boutique looks like all the others: a small, thoughtfully curated grouping of beautiful clothes. It's this "average-ness" that makes it the best, because Alden specializes in clothing sizes 14 to 24. No out-of-proportion patterns or ill-cut armholes. No frumpy floor-length sparkle tents or godawful muummuus. No, this is actual fashion. Alden specifically seeks out both work and party clothing from designers that make plus-size clothing with plus-size specific cuts. All that attention to detail and fit means you walk out looking your absolute best, and confidence looks great on everyone.
Gretchen Ditto features clothing from Bombshell on her model Jen, who wears a Melissa Masse dress with an Igigi bolero. Doesn’t she look great?
Denise Alden seeks out pieces that manage to be both sophisticated and comfortable, like Zen Knits deep V-neck tops, Lucie Lu's flower-embellished tanks and Jibri's summer wrap dresses.
The Shop Girls, Allison Kaplan and Alexis Walsko, broadcast their weekly show live from our shop on 4/9/11. They chatted with Denise about plus size fashion and what’s new for Spring.
Denise joined Jodie Maruska on her show “Belly Laughs” at KFAI on International Women’s Day, along with Sara Bartlett, to discuss plus size fashion.
The Twin Cities’ only plus-size boutique has dropped its bomb on Grand Avenue. Bombshell, owned by Denise Alden, carries dresses, work wear, and special-occasion pieces for women size 14 through 24.
Alden, a former midwife, was tired of shopping online or choosing between two unflattering items in the back corner of straight-size stores, so she carefully pulled style-conscious, plus-size-only brands such as Igigi, Jibri, and Kiyonna to stock her shop.
This selection translates to a better fit. Typical plus-size concerns, such as gaping armholes and teeny-tiny prints, have gone by the wayside. But don’t expect to find basics—or sequined tent dresses. Instead, expect modern, figure-flattering wrap dresses, trousers, and embellished tops. “It’s called Bombshell for a reason,” Alden says.
“Our impulse is to add beauty to and adorn ourselves,” she adds. “And that’s not limited by how big or how small you are.”
Bombshell is for the stylish, confident woman who wears size 14 to 24. They are located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, and carry exclusive plus size clothing lines like Anna Scholz, Kiyonna, and Igigi for every occasion.
A locally owned women's plus-size boutique is scheduled to open today on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. It's called Bombshell, and its presence alone is exactly that, as any woman who wears a size 14 or larger knows.
Shopping the mall for plus sizes is limited enough, but finding an entire store with fashion-forward clothes sizes 14 to 24 in a boutique district like Grand Avenue, well, that's extremely rare. For years, Denise Alden of Inver Grove Heights has dreamed of being able to shop on the avenue she adores. "It finally dawned on me, maybe I'm supposed to do this," says the health care worker turned retailer.
Bombshell, at 794 Grand Ave., will target sophisticated women over 35 who crave fashion beyond basics. "Target and Lands' End do a great job with casual, but it's the great dress, the beautiful fabrications I'm looking for," Alden says. "At 47, I feel a little old for Lane Bryant."
Bombshell will offer contemporary brands typically available in the Twin Cities online only, like Kiyonna, Igigi and Wisconsin-based Lucie Lu, designed by a former Twin Cities resident. Alden sought out labels designed especially for plus sizes because she says they fit better than a shirt made for a size 6 and stretched to a 16.
Presenting the goods isn't going to be good enough, Alden knows. While plus-size women often complain about the dearth of options, they are reticent to spend when something fits. Alden understands the issue firsthand: "A straight-size (2 to 12) shopper may spend $150 on jeans without blinking, but a plus-size woman doesn't want to spend a lot because she doesn't want to stay that size. She thinks, 'I'm not worth it, I shouldn't spend that much.' "
Alden is determined to change the mindset of plus-size shoppers.
"Plus-size women have been educated forever that fashion is not really for us," she says. "I don't believe that. Beauty is open to everybody."
Allison Kaplan of Shop Girls on FM107.1 has the scoop on our new shop, Bombshell.