Waconia’s The Stash offers lots of looks for little cash

A Waconia shop outfits customers with 20 looks for about $200.
Classic Colors: Summer Jensen and Becky Melchert help editor Liz Potasek, center, brightern her wardrobe post-baby.

Every woman’s had that panicky feeling as they search their closet and realize they have nothing to wear.

I was tired of having nothing to wear, so when Summer Jensen and Becky Melchert, co-owners of The Stash in Waconia, called me up and said they could outfit a customer with about 20 different looks for $200, I decided to take them up on it.

After one morning, a mountain of tried-on clothes and a new respect for skinny jeans, I emerged with something to wear—and a little shopping fatigue.

Here are 5 things I learned:

1. My pants are too big and yours are too.

When you want to gather some new looks for your wardrobe, Jensen and Melchert recommend starting with pants or skirts, and building the look up. But as you search for those pants, keep this in mind: “Ninety percent of women buy pants too big,” Jensen says. “Denim should be tight and will stretch.”

I kept picking up jeans that were two sizes too big. If you’re worried about “muffin top” like I was, Jensen suggests using a belt to keep your jeans from slouching and wearing tops that conceal your midsection. Bigger jeans won’t help—they’ll just make you look bigger.

2. Scarves are amazing.

For $10–$15, a scarf can liven up a basic look, and if you Google “scarf tying,” there are roughly a million different tutorials on how to tie your scarf. Turn a regular scarf into an infinity scarf, “braid” your scarf, hide the knot, make a boa… The sky is the limit. Best of all: a scarf will always fit!

3. Try it on multiple times.

Every time you grab a pair of jeans or a top, save yourself a trip and bring multiple sizes into the fitting room. A lot of women are looking at themselves in circus mirrors, Melchert says. A body image that might not reflect reality compiled by the fact that everything’s cut differently, makes it difficult to pick the right size the first time.

Jensen and Melchert aim to find clothes that fit almost every body, and they carry clothes that are up to a size 24 at The Stash.

4. Layer, layer, layer.

Layering pieces is the key to getting multiple looks out of one piece. A simple jacket and a white shirt can be dressed up or down and worn in a variety of ways.

5. Experiment with color.

Jeans in a rainbow of hues continue to be on trend, and it’s possible to actually wear them without looking like a preschooler dressed you. Melchert, who has a knack for pairing colors, says the easiest thing to do is pair the color with a neutral, like white, black or brown. Another trick: think about the color wheel when you pick out clothes, and remember that colors on opposite ends of the wheel (yellows and purples, blues and oranges) look good together.

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About The Stash

The Stash caters to women who want to look on trend without looking like they’re still shopping in the juniors department or raiding their daughters’ closet. Co-owners Summer Jensen and Becky Melchert, say they use their “gut, heart and wallet” when buying clothes for The Stash. They also shop with six different women in mind—otherwise they shop would be filled with stripes and cardigans, they joke—to make sure they end up with an inventory for just about every body. The Waconia store is in its third year of business.

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What I found at The Stash:

White shirt, $24.50

Brown cardigan, $15

2 pairs jeans, $29.50/each

Scarf, $10

Brown blouse, $22.50

Brown striped shirt, $24.50

Khaki jacket, $28.50

Navy t-shirt, $9.50

Total: $193.50