Bethany Clough

New stores at Fashion Fair sell ‘fancy underthings’

Bralettes like the yellow one pictured here are popular sellers at Aerie, part of the American Eagle brand. The American Eagle store at Fashion Fair is expanding and will feature an Aerie store.
Bralettes like the yellow one pictured here are popular sellers at Aerie, part of the American Eagle brand. The American Eagle store at Fashion Fair is expanding and will feature an Aerie store. SPECIAL TO THE BEE

Can we talk about fancy underthings – or “intimates” as the apparel industry calls them?

Changes at Fashion Fair are bringing in a new store, Aerie by American Eagle, that will carry bralettes and boxer shorts with ruffles for women. Another store, Aéropostale, has survived bankruptcy and is back with a revamped look, body suits and a whole lot of other clothing that’s worn on top of the fancy underthings.

Aerie will open next to the existing American Eagle Outfitters late this spring, taking over the former GameStop space. (Game Stop has moved to the western end of the mall next to Hot Topic. American Eagle will move temporarily to the former Gap spot while construction work happens on the sister stores.)

Aerie is a growing part of American Eagle, with its bralettes leading the way. Bralettes are lightweight, frilly bras with lots of lace and pastel and bright colors.

Unlike days past when women hid their bra straps, these bralettes are designed to be seen when worn under tank tops and T-shirts with cutouts that are popular these days.

Aerie bralettes range from extra small to extra large, but don’t expect underwires or heavy duty support from them.

Aerie also sells swimsuits, leggings, regular bras, underwear and other underthings.

Aerie is the brand that got major kudos for announcing it would not Photoshop its models in 2014, followed by major sales increases. Its #aerieREAL campaign now includes young models whose stomachs aren’t always flat, who have freckles, moles, tattoos and different skin colors.

Aéropostale

Aéropostale, the clothing store selling hoodies and graphic T-shirts geared toward 16- to 22-year-old men and women at Fashion Fair, has reopened. It had closed for six days after an “everything must go” sale during the holidays with a puzzling “This isn’t goodbye” sign.

The backstory: The company with 800 stores filed for bankruptcy last May and closed a bunch of stores. Valley Aéropostale stores were spared.

A group of new owners bought the company and is keeping the remaining stores alive. The owners also discovered some of the stores were doing better than they thought, and about 200 stores on the chopping block were saved.

So, what does this mean to you, the shopper?

Well, not much has changed on that end of things. The store has some new colors of clothing and more women’s activewear like sports bras and leggings.

The “factory pricing” remains, with T-shirts for $9.87 and sweat pants for $14.87.

The rest of the store features denim, long-sleeved tops, polo shirts for girls and body suits.

I can just hear you asking, “a body suit, huh?”

I owned one in the 1980s. Did you? The one-piece bathing suit-like contraption with sleeves and a crotch that snaps shut is back. It has been for a while, thanks to Beyonce and the Kardashian sisters.

Women like body suits, reportedly, because they’re flattering to thin waists, tuck into pants without any of the lumpy bumpies that happen with some shirts and because they can’t accidentally ride up to show skin when you don’t want to.

Aéropostale has short-sleeved bodysuits in classic black, gray, light purple and striped pink and gray, along with ones that look more like traditional tops with long sleeves.

You know who else has body suits? Inspire, the store that replaced Macy’s Woman at the mall, which you may have read about here back in September. The other Macy’s stores remain open.

You may also remember that The Limited at Fashion Fair has closed, along with its 249 other stores. No word on who will replace it, but the mall’s senior marketing manager says “interesting things” are in the works for it and the empty Urban Outfitters.

Five Guys

On the eat-while-you-shop side of things, Fashion Fair is a getting a Five Guys restaurant. The burger and fries joint will open in a former store space that’s just east of the entrance to the food court.

Instead of a tiny food court restaurant, it will take up 2,000 square feet with indoor and outdoor seating. A patio is in the works, similar to the one that already exists at the food court.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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