Elaine Felag, owner of the upscale boutique Feminine Fancies in Barrington, has found her niche in the kind of personal styling service that forms lasting bonds. Celebrating 30 years in business, the shop’s motto is, “Big city fashion, small town charm,” and her customers are loyal (she even refers to them all as her friends). From the moment I walked into her beautiful store I immediately felt like I wanted to be a part of it all.
Having grown up in Barrington and now a resident of Warren, Elaine is a true local in the best sense of the word. Originally, she studied to become a social worker but soon realized that her passion was in retail.
The boutique began as a lingerie and maternity apparel shop, but after a fire burned down the entire place in 1999, Elaine had to rebuild. Rather than feeling defeated, she reopened after several months and even knocked down a wall in order to expand. With the added space – and the fact that her customers repeatedly told her they trusted her taste and style – she decided to add clothing to her repertoire. She now sells dresses, denim, shoes, jewelry and of course, lingerie.
It just so happens that I was in need of a nude bra for my own wardrobe (an essential for any woman). Elaine asked a few questions about fit and then measured me with no more than her eyes and hands, the mark of a longtime professional. She set me up in a dressing room and I watched as she scurried around the store pulling plenty of options. As I tried them on, she helped me check the fit and she ran back and forth fetching new items every few minutes to be sure I was getting exactly what I needed. After trying bra after bra, I had found the one, a perfect fit and cute to boot.
With a clear love of fashion, Elaine says she is never afraid of color. (She even told me she has a zebra front door on her purple and blue trimmed house.) She says that this season is all about color blocking, colored jeans and anything tangerine; for summer, she says to look for bright colors mixed with pastels, colorful wedges and vibrant dresses that make you feel confident. “Women follow trends and they want to feel they are wearing what’s in, even if they are living in a small town,” says Felag.
Visit Feminine Fancies for their 30th anniversary party and sale Sunday, April 1 from 11am-5pm, including special giveaways, cupcakes, candy, a bar and champagne. The sale runs through May 5. The Village Center, 290 County Road, Barrington. 401-247-1087.