“You want to look as good on the outside as you feel on the inside,” says Linda Martin, owner of Flutter Boutique in Pennington. Opened last March at 20 South Main Street, the boutique has become a favorite of customers from all over the area.
“We don’t target any particular age group,” points out Ms. Martin, who has had a long career in the fashion industry, “Our customers can be mothers and daughters who have come in together, have fun shopping, and each one leaves with something. It is everyone, 16 to 60-plus and everyone in between. It’s really about attitude. It’s your attitude toward fashion that matters, not your age.”
Formerly head of human resources for all the Macy’s Department stores and also for The Children’s Place, Ms. Martin had always dreamed of having her own store. “I knew I wanted to do this and have a boutique. This is where my heart was leading me.”
Even as a toddler, Ms. Martin knew what she wanted to wear. “I kept changing my clothes all day,” she recalls, with a smile. “And when I was six, my godmother gave me an Easter outfit, and nothing went together. I didn’t want to wear it! Clothes always mattered to me. I had a subscription to Vogue when I was 13.”
When the Pennington space became available, Ms. Martin knew it was the right place to be.
“People started coming in right away, and there has been great word-of-mouth. I’ve really been surprised at how quickly people have embraced the store. We have lots of regulars, and many customers have become friends. It’s so nice when I see a customer and know their name. I think people really wanted a store like this.”
You don’t have to be a “fashionista” to enjoy yourself at Flutter. Ms. Martin and the friendly, knowledgeable staff are there to be fashion advisers for customers who are looking for advice. Others may know exactly what they want, and find it right away.
“We take what is ‘in fashion’ and interpret it for you, the individual client, and focus on your style,” explains Ms. Martin. “Style is not defined by your size, your age, or your budget. Style is personal and unique to you. I want women to find fashion they love at prices they can afford. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look great.”
It is also important to Ms. Martin that the selection at Flutter is unique, with items not found in other shops in the area. “My goal is to carry a great selection of quality sportswear, dresses, and accessories that you won’t find anywhere else. Every week, we have new things coming in, so there is a fresh look in the shop. And many items are exclusive to us in the area. When they go to a party, clients can be confident that others will not be wearing the same dress.”
In fact, dresses of all kinds — from informal to party glam to Mother-of-the-Bride and Mother-of-the-Groom styles — are all on display.
“Our customers like dresses,” notes Ms. Martin. “We’re really a destination place for dresses. What makes dresses so appealing is a no-brainer. With women so busy, it’s a relief to get up in the morning, and just put on a dress. You don’t have to worry about what top will go with the pants or skirt. It’s a time-saver.”
Indeed, Ms. Martin does not want customers to be stressed about getting dressed at all. Helping them to look their best is a priority
at Flutter. Versatility is key, she adds. Clients want items that can be worn for more than one occasion or purpose. “We focus on wearable fashion that customers are comfortable in.
“Customers can go high/low,” she adds. “That is, you can put a great outfit together, perhaps incorporating one expensive piece and one less expensive. It’s very individualized today.”
Fall is always a highlight of the fashion scene, with new energy and excitement in the air. “Fall is all about leather,” says Ms. Martin. “Pants, skirts, tops. It’s also about leather accents, trim, shoulder detail, etc. And lace is still very important. Lace has really moved from fashion to a basic. You can wear lace with a leather skirt. Again, it’s so individualized.”
Another popular fashion piece is the peplum, she continues. “It’s very feminine, and you see it with dresses, jackets, and tops. It’s great with a narrow pencil skirt, and with embellishment.”
Sequins and beading also lend a bit of glitter to a variety of the items, including tops and dresses, at Flutter. And fashion is nothing without color! Important fall colors are burgundy, cobalt blue, and black “with a shot of color”, reports Ms. Martin. “A black dress with black suede shoes will look great with opaque panty hose in cobalt or teal. Navy and black together are a great combination. A navy dress with black leather shoulder treatment is a terrific look.”
Skirt lengths are up to the individual, she points out. Adapting the length to what the customer wants is the trend today. “They can be everywhere — what looks best on you. Below the knee, mid-calf, even longer, and if age appropriate, above the knee.”
In addition to dresses, an appealing selection of pants and tops is available. Tunics with tapered slim-cut pants are very popular, and there are many choices in color, style, texture, and pattern.
Accessories, such as a wonderful piece of jewelry or an intriguing scarf, complete the fashion statement. The display at Flutter offers many options.
“Statement necklaces, such as large dramatic pieces, or pendants with tassels, are popular right now, and dangle and drop earrings as well as more tailored basic jewelry are all in demand,” says Ms. Martin. “People are also stacking lots of colorful, vivid bangle bracelets together. This is a popular look.
“Our scarf selection offers a variety of textures, patterns, and colors for every season, and we also have outstanding handbags. Studding and embellishment are popular now, and we have all styles — shoulder, across the body, and clutches. Portfolio clutches are big favorites. They are thin, but larger, and you can fit more in them.”
Ms. Martin is often asked about the origin of her boutique’s name, Flutter, and the explanation is intriguing. I had heard the expression: ‘Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.’ That is exactly how I feel. I had retired from one aspect of the fashion industry, and now could do what I had always wanted.”
Beauty and Grace
It so inspired her that she wrote a poem to express her feelings.
“The wings of a butterfly are delicate but strong, its power deceiving.
It is said that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can turn the tides of an ocean.
And while the life-span of a butterfly is brief, it savors every moment as it moves from flower to flower, enchanting us with its beauty and grace.
What we learn from the butterfly is this: Live every day creating beauty, never underestimate your power and when you can ….. Take flight!”
“I love everything about what I’m doing now,” says Ms. Martin. “I know that every day I get to go exactly where I want to go and do exactly what I want to do. I can’t wait to get here in the morning. What I absolutely love is this: I love fashion; I love selecting merchandise; and I love interacting with customers.
“I also believe in giving back to the community. We support a variety of organizations and charities, including Christine’s Hope for Kids. We sell Christine’s bracelets, and all the proceeds go to the foundation.”
Flutter offers complimentary gift wrapping in addition to very pretty gift bags. Special end of the season sales and shopping nights are other also available. “We always emphasize attention to detail,” notes Ms. Martin. “It says to customers that we care about them.”
Flutter Boutique is open Monday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 10 to 9, Sunday 12 to 5. (609) 737-2236. Website: facebook.com/flutterstyle.