Doncaster turns 80 this year, but it doesn’t look a day over 35. I’m talking about the women’s clothier, of course. The family-run business has been dressing women for the better part of a century, but the spring line for 2011 is as current and contemporary as ever. Marjorie Barnes, the District Business Development Leader for Doncaster, walked me through the latest collection recently, which she was showing in her home. Doncaster doesn’t operate any brick and mortar stores, opting instead to offer highly-personalized attention from local consultants who work directly with customers. More than retailers, these consultants act as personal stylists. They work by appointment only, and are as well-acquainted with the clothes as they are their customers. When I visited with Marjorie, she shared some of Doncaster’s secrets for helping women look their best.
“One of the most unique things about our collection,” says Marjorie, a Westport resident, “is that we run a full range of sizes in all our styles. We go from size two to a size 24. Many women find that when you go to a store, they stop at size 14. But at Doncaster, we know women come in all shapes and sizes. We also carry a very good selection of petites.”
Doncaster’s sping line explodes with all the same colors, cuts and patterns you’ve seen on the designer runways. And the haute couture overlap doesn’t end there. “Our designer, Patricia Clyne, comes out of the couture market. And Doncaster has always been known for offering couture quality. Our fabrics come out of the same mills as some of the best designers. But our price points aren’t nearly as high. Detailing and quality are paramount,” she says, showing me a beautiful cotton/linen tweed jacket with smoke troca shell buttons and silk chiffon trim.
Marjorie’s eye for quality and detail comes from having spent her entire career in fashion. “I used to travel to Europe quite a bit, to all the color and fabric shows, and sometimes the prêt-a-porter shows, too. It was very exciting. And I would go to Asia and work on production. But I spent all those years in fashion and I never got to work with the customer. Now I get to help women look and feel great. That’s the best part of what I do.”
If you’re interested in shopping Doncaster’s spring line, or even finding out how you could become a consultant and build your own stylish business, contact Marjorie at .
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