Modern lingerie may be associated with sheer, lacy fabrics and figure-enhancing frames.
But at Soleil Toile, fit comes before style.
“If you have something that fits well, that you feel good in, you ultimately become sexier – not only to yourself, but to whoever is seeing you in it,” Stacey Lipton Schumer says. “Once you establish your size, that makes all the difference.”
Schumer co-owns Soleil Toile, a fine lingerie and swimwear shop with locations in Westport and New Canaan. Along with her mother, co-owner Marilynn Lipton Blotner, she works closely with their clientele, helping women to look and feel their best.
“We encourage one-on-one,” Schumer says. “You really need someone who’s going to take you through all of the different styles and really assess your size correctly. Because you can get a size to work, but that doesn’t mean the style will work.”
Soleil Toile was founded in 1990, after the mother-daughter duo came across a particular lingerie boutique at an event held at Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
“We walked though like 10 football fields filled with different ideas, and there was this one brand that stuck in our heads,” Schumer says. “It definitely showed a new direction in lingerie. It wasn’t just utilitarian anymore. It was something to be seen. And we said, ‘There’s something here.’”
Schumer worked at the shop during breaks from school and then on weekends, while she worked weekdays in fashion editorial and later for a designer, both in New York City. But by 1994, just four years after its opening, Schumer was working full-time for Soleil Toile.
And her passion is still palpable. With bright eyes and a smile, Schumer describes her everyday tasks, which revolve around boosting the confidence of others.
“People transform in our fitting rooms,” she says. “It’s feeling good from the inside-out, but it’s also that little push in getting the right foundation that completes not just the outfit, but the mindset as well.”
Having the clients feel comfortable during the sizing experience is a priority.
“That’s something that we wanted to make a pleasant process,” Schumer says. “Because so many people have this apprehension when they come in to get fitted… And it doesn’t need to be scary. It doesn’t need to be intimidating.”
And the shops’ small-town locations allow the staffers to connect personally with their customers.
“We go from first bras to wedding to maternity and afterwards,” Schumer says. “They say, ‘You can’t be all things to all people,’ but we really try.”
The current lingerie trends offered include a transition into peek-a-boo, delicate bras with straps that are made to be seen. For swimwear, the one-piece is making a comeback, along with high-waist bottoms, all embellished with chic details like fringe.
“Always work with your strengths,” Schumer advises. “And every woman has strengths.”
And never forego fit, of course.
Soleil Toile is located at 14 Post Road E. in Westport and 44 Elm St. in New Canaan. For more, visit soleiltoile.com.