Fripperies Boutique Turns 20!

Fripperies Fripperies Ltd., the beautiful boutique filled with tasteful lingerie in downtown Mystic, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. In two decades, the stylish retailer has nearly doubled in brick-and-mortar size and added a website and Facebook presence, but still focuses on great old-fashioned customer service.
Fitting is definitely a Fripperies specialty.
When owner Deb Jaccarino bought Fripperies 20 years ago, she was looking for something she could handle while being a stay-at-home mom. She went to Mystic to sell children’s clothing on consignment and was introduced to Fripperies, a happy and life-changing experience, it turned out.
“I thought it was something I’d like to do—and be good at,” Deb remembers. She got rid of the department-store brands and brought in the elegance and quality of better brands from around the world.
“Fripperies prides itself in customer service and bra fittings. We carry peignoir sets for brides as well as the foundations for the wedding dress as well as bra–sized swimwear and—new this year—sports/yoga wear. We are also certified mastectomy fitters,” she said, “and Fripperies carries swimwear as well.”
“Our most popular sleepwear lines are Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, Eileen West, Carole Hochman and Hanky Panky; for bras it’s definitely Wacoal, Simone Perele, Aubade, and Cosabella.”
Jaccarino has noticed changes over the past 20 years; mainly, she observes, the manufacturers have been playing with the sizing.
“Yesterday’s 34B may now be a 30-32D, DD. They hopped on the trend that a women with a small cup size wanted to be larger so they made adjustments. Today’s customers are also looking for good shapewear and every women wants the perfect t-shirt bra,” Deb says.
Bra companies, she says, “have set a challenge for us as far as educating the customers in the different sizes. Just because you were a 34B when you were 16, and you don’t feel you’ve changed that much, you could definitely be in a different size today.”
Fripperies’ customers have changed as well. “While we’ve always been a staple with the 32- to 60-year-olds, now we do a lot of fittings with the younger and older,” she said, “A lot of the moms that we started with are bringing their daughters in to be fitted for their first bras.”
This loyalty counts; even in a tourist town locals are definitely the boutique’s mainstay. “Our loyal customers are what keep us in business,” asserts Deb.
FripperiesAmong the keys to success for this long-lived establishment is good, understanding, sales help, she reflects. Deb loves selling, and she loves buying and ordering even more. Her store manager, Barbara Ibrahim, has been with Fripperies for the full 20 years.
As with most businesses, the biggest challenge today is the slow economy, which can be summed up as, “People are still coming in but they’re spending less.” However, Deb notes that one way she keeps her regular visitors is the loyalty program, in which customers earn $5 off a future purchase by spending $65 or more.
Despite the changes and challenges over the years, fitting remains their specialty.
“People come in with shoulder pain or backaches, yet most of the time it’s because they’re in the wrong size. It’s a well-known fact that eight out of ten women are not wearing the right size,” says Jaccarino. “Everybody should come in to be re-fit at least once a year, whether or not you think you’ve changed and even if you’re not interested in buying anything.
“Just make sure you’re in the right size and your bras are in good condition, she advises. “ It makes a big difference—if they’re worn, they stretch and they don’t give you support. Especially, young girls who are active in sports really need to know that their regular bra is not going to do the job of a sports bra and they really need to purchase one.”
Fripperies Ltd. can be found at 15 West Main Street in Mystic, by telephone at 860.536.7858, online at fripperiesltd.com, and on Facebook.
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