Once Upon a time there was a Plus Size Princess who rarely left the island of Manhattan… that PSP, is me.
On the list of things that will get me off the island, quality plus size fashion is number one. I’ve been making trips to Re/Dress, a plus size vintage-consignment store in Brooklyn, for about a year now. I had no idea that 10 blocks away there was a charming plus size boutique called Lee Lee’s Valise.
Once I discovered that Lee Lee’s Valise existed, I knew I had to go, so I devised a plan that would make the most of my trip to Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood:
1.) Drop off some of my gently used clothes at re/dress for some possible store credit
2.) Check out the selection at Lee Lee’s Valise
3.) Head back to Re/Dress to see what I could get with my store credit.
4.) Live fashionably ever after!
I dropped off my bag of clothes at Re/dress and told them I’d come back in about an hour once they’d gone through my clothes and decided what they would keep. (p.s. On the way out, I had a plus size celebrity sighting when I ran into designer Monif C., I was nervous, but I said a quick hello to her and she was really nice.)
Now onto step 2 of my plan:
Eight minutes after leaving Re/Dress I arrived at Lee Lee’s Valise. I walked in and I wanted to cry. If I could have dreamed up a store for Plus Size Princesses… it would look just like this. There were huge black chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, exposed brick walls, chairs upholstered in Damask fabric… the space was cozy, chic and inviting. Looking around, I wasn’t sure where to begin. I made my way from one end of the store to the other.
I let my hands run over the beautiful fabrics and saw labels from Olivia Harper/Lee Lee’s Valise, Anna Scholz, Donna Ricco and newcomer, LucieLu. As I draped dresses over my arm that I wanted to try on, I couldn’t hold them for more than a minute before a man (who I later found out was Jim, the owners husband) would come and take them from me. “I’ll put this aside for you,” he’d say, hanging my selections together on a rack until I was ready to take them into the fitting room.
I pulled a variety of items that ranged in price from $60 to $200 and just as I was about to slip into one of their plush fitting rooms a woman with thick dark brown hair and a beautiful turquoise cardigan came out from the other fitting room. She asked customers how they were doing and if they needed anything and I could tell she actually wanted to know.
I was in the dressing room with all of my lovely selections when Lisa checked in on me again. She brought me a dress that I’d skimmed over earlier. “This is our LuLu dress,” she said handing me a purple dress with a tiny confetti-like print. I tried it on and was pleasantly surprised. Looking at the dress on the hanger, I assumed it was similar to some dresses I had picked up last summer, but the while the cut of the LuLu is similar to other low-cut/empire dresses, the execution is impeccable. My boobies looked fantastic, because the bust was cut for fuller breasts using more fabric in the right places. My tummy was slimmed because of the way the draping was done and my legs were accented perfectly as the dress brushed my knees. “I love it,” I shrieked coming out of the dressing room to show Lisa.
“See!” Lisa replied grabbing one of their signature belts and wrapping it around me. “…and you can add a belt, or a cardigan. You can even wear it with boots and tights in the winter… its very versatile.” She was right, I saw three different girls try on the LuLu in a variety of prints and it looked amazing on all of us (they even have a plus-petite version). I don’t know if it was the clothes or the beautiful space, but I stayed in Lee Lee’s Valise for hours longer than I had planned.
I learned that Lisa and Jim are a husband and wife duo who run the store themselves. Lisa (aka “Lee Lee”) is a very hands on designer/boutique owner. In the time that I was there, I saw her doing bra fittings, approving swatches for her next collection and explaining in detail how her pieces were constructed. Jim is pretty hands on too, (he’s probably the most heterosexual man I’ve seen working in a dress boutique, so cute!) he takes care of the women who come into the store; from grabbing a coffee for Lisa to running out to put quarters in the parking meter for customers so that they can shop uninterrupted.
After trying on piles of clothes, I was torn between a LuLu dress and a vintage inspired Donna Rico dress. I ended up going with the Donna Ricco, because there was only one left in my size. But, for those of you that are curious about the LuLu I have some good Twitter/Giveaway news for you (click here to find out what it is!).
I got caught up in the Lee Lee’s Valise shopping experience and by the time I left, Re/Dress was closed, which of course means another PSP voyage to Brooklyn, but I don’t mind. I left Lee Lee’s Valise with a gorgeous dress.
…and I lived Fashionably Ever After!