The whispers started a few weeks ago, when the sign popped up on the building on lower Rt. 7, across from Michael’s and Mrs. Green’s. “Coming Soon,” it said, with the image of a shapely corset.

Now that Lace Affaire, an “elegant lingerie and shapewear boutique” has opened at 23 Danbury Rd., Wilton is definitely atwitter, judging but comments spotted on Facebook:

“That’s the funniest thing I have heard all week. ‘Lingerie’ and ‘Wilton’ aren’t two words that you would usually see in the same sentence,” Jacky Panagiotopoulos 

Diane Kuczo replied with a smiley emoticon: “Maybe a lingerie store is just what Wilton needs!”

The wittiest observation?  “If only there was a town vote on it, then we might get more [residents] coming to budget and town meetings!”

Carline Dean, who opened the store just two weeks ago, must have known that she’d get buzz with a lingerie boutique.

She and her husband, Christopher, purchased the building last October, with the goal to open a 3,200 sq. ft., full-service hair and beauty salon in early summer. The space designated as the salon on the top floor at the front of the building is getting renovated and redesigned right now, but they decided to also open something entirely different in the space on the ground floor.

Thus was born Lace Affaire. Dean used to work in investment banking; after a successful 16-year career on Wall Street, she was up for something entirely different–including going to cosmetology school two years ago. But her business background helped her identify what she felt was a niche in Wilton that needed to be filled. “It was just a smart move. It was a good fit for the salon and for me. I’ve always been interested in hair and makeup and fashion, since I was 12. I enjoy shopping for other people. I have an eye for quality.”

For the store, Dean has aimed to carry a wide selection of lingerie, stocking bras, underwear and undergarments for casual everyday use and more intimate, sexy styles, in all sizes up to plus-size. She said she’s tried to fill the store with many high-end lines, all great quality at really good, affordable price points. “I have a great selection of bras, really beautiful and sophisticated. Everything has matching bottoms. I also have a whole line of bridal accessories and nightgowns, from something special that a mother might give to her daughter as a gift, to more sexy stuff, like garters and sheer, sexy things.” Dean also has a discreet display case with an upscale French intimates line called Maison Close, that she says, “is for the more risqué client.” Among the other lines Dean carries are Natori, Wacoal, Cosabella and Va Bien, and more.

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For comfortable loungewear, Dean wanted to include Oprah’s favorite line, PJ Harlow, and a couple of other well-known brands, including Bra:30, which Dean said is “very popular, and selling out already; it’s for just hanging around,” as well as KnockOut Panties, a line that was also made famous by Winfrey. She also has pajamas, robes and other “comfy” items.

The store also has other sports wear, including wrap dresses, tunics, bathing suits and cover-ups–some of the swimwear lines carried in the store include Becca, PilyQ and Helen Jon. She’s got a range of accessories as well, from sandals and high-end flip flops to raffia beach bags and sun hats, plus jewelry and scarves too.

Dean wanted customers to know that the boutique will carry plus sizes as well as a line of nursing and maternity items. “Gorgeous and sexy, even if you’re pregnant. It’s something special, I want them to know we’re here for that.”

The space used to be occupied by a karate studio, so Dean has had to oversee a complete renovation, tearing off the wall-length mirrors and creating a different mood altogether. “I wanted an intimate feel,” she said, “and welcoming.” The atmosphere in the store was very important to her, and Dean’s imprint is felt everywhere, from the custom-designed cabinets to the tiled powder room. She loves that the store is at the rear of the building so the windows look out toward the river rather than at Rt. 7:  “When you’re shopping you see the river, it’s absolutely beautiful!”

The dressing rooms are private, each one stocked with a robe, slippers–and chocolates. “You can stay in the dressing room, and I can keep bringing you items, or if you want to come out you can slip on the robe so you don’t have to keep getting dressed and undressed.”

Of course, Dean welcomes any requests to book Girls’ Night Out events and private shopping nights. “Absolutely. Plus it’s wedding season and proms are coming up, so we have everything you need.”

Lace Affaire is located at 23 Danbury Rd.  They can be reached at 203.529.3793 or online, and are open Mondays-Saturdays.