Middletown Lingerie Store Proves a Good Fit
This past windy Saturday afternoon, I set out with an Anonymous Correspondent (a female friend who prefers to remain unnamed) to peruse the racks of Main Street’s own Tina’s Fine Lingerie and Swimwear. After spending the past month oscillating between libraries, dining halls, and our residence halls, a fun shopping outing seemed like the perfect solution to the February blues. And what better way to brighten my day than with a new set of lingerie?
We made our way down to Main Street à la Clueless, finally stopping in front of the purple storefront populated by confidently-posed, lingerie-clad mannequins. The styles they model ranged from bra-and-panty sets to racier items like costumes and negligees. We were apprehensive, faced with a quandary that many young women must confront when choosing their intimates: how can one straddle (pun intended) the line between sexy and outlandish?
We entered cautiously, but once we got to the racks of chiffon, satin, and lace, we searched them eagerly and our worries were absolved. The small space is intimate but alive with color and fabric, almost as if it were a performer’s closet. Painted in the same purple jewel tone as the storefront, the store’s interior is divided into two sides, one for lingerie and one for swimsuits, with clothing rising toward the ceiling on both sides. The number of items is exciting, but potentially overwhelming given the layout; my Anonymous Correspondent and I were sure, despite our best efforts to thoroughly canvas the store, that we missed some things.
Saleswoman and partial owner Tina Lun approached us as we browsed. Well-coiffed, but clad in a navy hooded sweatshirt, she looked as if she was showing us around her own closet. She proved an indispensable resource for figuring out size, fit, and even style. As my Anonymous Correspondent picked out a fire-engine-red babydoll (which is a sexy, sometimes see-through minidress with a built-in bra) and held it against herself, Ms. Lun quickly spotted that it was the wrong size and pointed her toward the babydoll she would ultimately buy, a black one with pink trim.
“I’m very good [at helping customers],” Lun said. “I have to know what you like. There’s a certain taste for it. If you tell me what you want, I’ll be able to get it for you.”
Her sharp eye proved not only helpful, but also necessary for sifting through all of the options available in the store. There were costumes (sexy nurse, sexy priest, and an elaborate sexy ’50s waitress costume), floor-length see-through nightgowns, swimsuits, corsets, and chemises with clasps hanging from their hems, presumably to connect to a thigh-high stocking or garter.
Equally impressive was a display in the middle of the racks that touted massage oils, lubricants, sex toys, and other items intended to enhance the sexual experience. The store seemed unabashed in its commitment to the pleasure of its patrons.
“I like helping people look pretty and walk out smiling because…they’re gonna have some fun later, right?” Lun said.
Tina’s Fine Lingerie and Swimwear opened on Feb. 2, 1997, and is in its fifteenth year on Main Street. We learned that many a University student before us has come to the shop in search of some element of fantasy. My Anonymous Correspondent and I would have preferred if more space had been allotted for more simple items, but we both found great and very affordable bras and underwear from among the choices.
I ended up buying a striking red bra with black trim and a few other lovely, lacy underpinnings, all for under $40. My Anonymous Correspondent walked out equally satisfied with the black babydoll and a subtly gothic purple bra sheathed in black lace. As we were checking out, Ms. Lun chatted with us about Wesleyan.
“A lot of Wesleyan students come in for occasions,” she said. “You guys have a lot of parties. The Halloween party is big—you’re all here. And you guys have other stuff like sex parties.”
We countered that lingerie parties are actually more common now, looking pointedly at our wares. She laughed and wrapped our items in pretty blue and gold paper sleeves. In fact, as a thank-you to her University customers, she is offering 10% off any purchase to students who mention this article.
We were disappointed by the somewhat limited selection of bras and underwear—the more accessible lingerie items for college students—but we ultimately found Tina’s Fine Lingerie and Swimwear to be a great shopping experience. The store was inviting and bold, and we recommend it highly to Wes students looking to add a bit of flair to their undergarments, and their weekend soirees.
Tina’s Fine Lingerie and Swimwear is located at 394 Main Street and online at www.tinasfinelingerie.com.