With the holiday season here, it's time for dressing up. That doesn't have to mean head-to-toe sequins or reindeer sweaters. To give your look a little extra spirit, we went to local boutiques for advice.

Avoid just black

Primp's Michele Henry Gudmundson and Wesley Uthus paired an aubergine dress with shiny accessories. "After you've worn this to holiday parties, you can wear a long-sleeve T under it or a little jacket over it for the office," Uthus said. "It's a nice updated classic."

Wesley Uthus wears a Hello Miss dress ($46), earrings ($12), belt ($14), bangles ($14 for the set), tights ($8) and clutch ($38). The West End, St. Louis Park, 952-303-3791, and 618 Selby Av., St. Paul, 651-414-0091, www.primpyourself.com.

Embrace polka dots

 Spots are one of the biggest fall trends, and they also happen to be playful. With this outfit, Allee Metro Chic's Kelissa Stempksi layered a subtly dotted tunic over a sweater dress and topped it with a paillettes-covered jacket. "There's a pattern, but you're not overdoing it," she said.

Stempski wears a Rinaschimento jacket ($259), Anne M. Cramer tunic ($120), scarf ($39), Parasuco sweater dress ($79), scarf ($39) and Chocolat Blu bag ($139). 493 Selby Av., St. Paul, 651-414-0274.

Add a splash of red

 Is there anything more festive than bright red? "Red isn't only for the holidays; it's a trend right now," said Sacha Martin of Bluebird. You'll find that shoes like these can punch up almost everything in your wardrobe, including neutrals and other bright colors.

Martin wears a Krisa dress ($160) and Gerard Yosca pendant ($160) from Bluebird; Rebecca Minkoff sequined jacket ($598), House of Harlow clutch ($220) and Dolce Vita pumps ($160) from Ladyslipper. 3909 W. 50th St., Mpls., 952-746-8675, and 12177 Elm Creek Blvd, Maple Grove, 763-315-6524.

Selling Chanel

When Audrey Hepburn's iconic dress from "Roman Holiday" is auctioned off next week in London, Holli Pahlen of Warroad will be watching extra closely.

The Minnesotan will be waiting for Lot 81, a Chanel couture silk suit from the mid-1960s that she found at Circa Vintage in Wayzata.

An avid thrifter, Pahlen spotted two ivory Chanel suits on the racks at Circa. She first noticed the label.

"I'd never a seen a label that old on a Chanel jacket," she said.

The suits had weighted gold chains on the hems and beautiful buttons.

The $5,000 price tag caused her to leave. Unable to get them out of her mind, she went back the same day and made a deal -- $3,900 for both.

"I knew they weren't necessarily worth all that money, but it would either be a splurge for myself or possibly something really good," Pahlen said.

She made back most of her initial investment by selling one of the suits to a collector and contacted Sotheby's to attempt to trace the history. The auction house put her in touch with Kerry Taylor Auctions, its textile consultant.

When the experts flipped the tag, they discovered a number, revealing that the suit was probably one commissioned for a client and sewn, at least in part, by Coco Chanel.

Now the suit will be part of the Passion for Fashion auction on Tuesday.

"I don't care what it sells for," Pahlen said. "But I'll be up in the middle of the night to find out."


Cranberry Joy collection

Fans of the Body Shop's extra smooth body butters ($18) have a reason to stock up, thanks to the Cranberry Joy collection. The deep berry scent smells good enough to eat. You'll also want to get a whiff of the Candied Ginger and Spiced Vanilla limited editions. All are available in everything from lip balm ($6) to shower gel ($8) to candles ($16). www.thebodyshop-usa.com.


More local shops are getting into the Black Friday business. They're hoping that after you've scooped up your middle-of-the-night electronics bargains, you'll be in the mood to keep shopping. Here's are some of the bargains you'll find Friday.

Covered: Early birds (10 a.m. to noon) and night owls (7 to 9 p.m.) get 30 percent off. There will be a 20 percent off discount from noon to 7 p.m. Many brands will offer gifts with purchase, and a raffle includes 10 pairs of jeans.

1201 Lagoon Av., Mpls., 612-825-1610.

Bluebird, Ladyslipper and the Firm: 25 percent off Friday, 20 percent off Saturday and 15 percent off Sunday.

The Firm, 1010 N. 2nd Av., Mpls., 612-377-3003.

Primp: The "black to basics" event will feature wardrobe staples for less than $30.

Both locations open at 8 a.m.

Stephanie's: For every $100 you spend, get a $20 gift card.

Through Wednesday, 758 Cleveland Av., St. Paul, 651-690-3802.

Flirt: Buy a $100 gift card and receive a $25 gift card.

177 Snelling Av. N., St. Paul, 651-698-3692.

La Rue Marche: 30 percent off regular-price clothing and shoes.

Through Saturday, 513 2nd St., Hudson, Wis., 1-715-386-1969.

Parc: There will be jewelry and accessories clearance bins of $10, $15 and $20. Everything else is 15 percent off.

320 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls, 612-353-4966.

Drama: Receive 30 percent off from 10 a.m. to noon, 20 percent off noon to 2 p.m. and 15 percent off 2 to 6 p.m. Spend more than $100 and get a canvas bag filled with products.

4949 France Av. S., Edina, 952-920-0294.

Arafina: Take an extra 25 percent off clearance prices.

Galleria, Edina, 952-925-1565.

Local Motion: Everything is 15 percent off.

10 a.m. to 8 p.m., 2813 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-871-8436.

LEN: All locations will be open at midnight. Expect additional discounts on the already-marked-down merchandise.

Southdale, City Center, Rosedale and Mall of America.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177 sglassman@startribune.com

Twitter: @sararglassman