In the first of an occasional series of interviews with some of the business people who support the Trans community, we talk to Christine Irene DiMaio.
She’s the owner of Irene’s Fitting Room in Rohnert Park, Ca. which was formerly known as Irene’s Lingerie Shop located in Plainville, Ct. Christine is an expert certified fitter in bras, girdles, corsets and all types of lingerie and she and her team welcome Transgender customers.
Frock: Tell us about Irene’s Fitting Room and how did it originally come about?
She attended Warner’s School of Corsetry and learned how to measure, lift, push up and squeeze the body into a glamorous and beautiful work of art.
As the years progressed different types of foundations, garments and bras were introduced into mainstream America. As new fashions and trends came into vogue this service became an essential part of everyday life. We also offered mastectomy products and services with a certified fitter and we still do.
In 1995 Irene retired, and I took over. That’s how we started and where we are today.
Frock: 1946 was a long time ago in what way has the business changed since then?
Christine: Strangely enough although technology is so advanced these days Irene’s Fitting Room remains true to its purpose which is fittings and quality garments. The styles, fabrics and cuts; all of that has changed, but we continue to pride ourselves in excellent customer service and quality garments at affordable prices.
Frock: Presumably the clientele back in the 40s did not include Transgender people. Would your mother approve of your new direction?
Christine: Fortunately that presumption is untrue. As long as I can recall, Transgender folks have always been a part of the community; they certainly were at Irene’s. For 70 years we have taken pride in supporting each and every person who walks thru our door. No matter what the request or size, we strive to accommodate the individual shapes. My mother Irene is the one who taught me how to do measure and fit. We are honored to be of service.
Frock: What’s the fascination for lingerie to you? Is it just a business or is there more to it?
Christine: Lingerie and doing fitting runs in my blood. It has a special purpose and I consider it an honor to help make a person feel pretty through and through. Their loved ones also enjoy the looks that can be created through proper fittings and attire.
One of our tag lines is “We are the Ultimate in Intimates”. Developing a trusting, safe space for my clientele is extremely important and the relationships that happen as a result are worth more than anything. Working with people on such an intimate level is so very rewarding to me.
Frock: How do your corsets and lingerie differ from the kind of mass produced items we see being imported from China and elsewhere?
Christine: I am very familiar with most all the fabrics and styles from the companies I buy from. I hand select all of our merchandise and only sell from reputable lingerie houses that are well established. I obtain knowledge about current trends and styles and try to stay away from the big guys.
Frock: You said that getting the right fit is really important. Does that mean customers have to go to your store in California, or can they skip that step?
Christine: Oh definitely, we can help our customers on-line or via a phone call or email. As long as I have specific measurements we can provide accurate sizing.
Frock: Do you ship internationally. Can people outside the US buy from you with confidence?
Christine: Absolutely Yes, we ship anywhere inside and outside the US. I personally bring the order to the post office and guarantee delivery.
Frock: What about packaging? Is there any indication on the outside of the parcel as to what’s inside?
Christine: We offer any type of packaging needed, whether it be plain paper or gift wrap, we are able to fulfill it. No matter the request, our customer’s privacy is safe and we follow their instructions.
Frock: Is there anything else we need to know about your services?
Christine: We offer experienced, professional, specialty fitting services for people with hard to fit sizes for undergarments not available in other stores. We have bras, breast forms, shapewear, corsets, binders, sexy lingerie, bridal sets, clothing and accessories and more! We specialize in plus sizes and are also certified mastectomy fitters and will provide professional fittings for women diagnosed with breast cancer. We are sensitive to the needs of all members of our community and feel passionate about providing excellent customer service for men, women and everyone in between.
As such we always strive to provide an environment of safety for those needing confidentially around personal fittings and services.
We have the experience and knowledge that make the difference in providing personal service designed for each of our customers and them alone.
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