Massage therapist-turned fashion designer Michele Kennelly thinks searching for stylish, flattering clothes shouldn’t be a chore for women of a certain age.
Yet she recalls looking for tops that could camouflage upper arms and a lower waist that weren’t too dowdy and being disappointed with her findings.
“I turned 50 and my body started to change and I was not happy with what I was finding in apparel for women my own age,” she said.
So she designed her own and contracted a Brooklyn manufacturer to make them.
She held a fashion show for friends and family and sold quite a few pieces in December 2016, but much leftover inventory remained.
That’s how her new boutique, Kennelly Kouture located at the Shoppes at East Wind in Wading River, was born.
The store, which opened in March, is a well-curated space with a feminine and dainty flair. There you’ll find items like wrap dresses, boatneck blouses and tops with lace trim.
Every piece of clothing in the store, about 60 percent of which are Kennelly’s own creations, has an elbow length sleeve. Although the inventory is geared toward women roughly around middle age, she said the designs could appeal to a wider age range.
Kennelly sells shirts and dresses (no bottoms) in addition to bags, scarves and bras by Essential Bodywear.
“The whole idea is giving you support from the foundation up,” said her longtime friend and business partner Joanie LaFemina. LaFemina’s jewelry line “Moonchild Creations” is the other half of the new business.
LaFemina crafts her pieces, which frequently incorporate natural stones like geodes or aquamarine, at a pastel Baroque-style table inside the shop. Every piece is one-of-a-kind, she said.
“I’ll never make the same ring twice,” La Femina explained.
The pair, who lived in the same Holtsville neighborhood as children, said the concept came organically to them as they both felt ready to pursue creative ventures in their lives.
“It wasn’t just to open a store. It had meaning for us,” Kennelly said.
Find Kennelly Kouture at 5768 Route 25A, Unit V4 in Wading River. Call (631) 886-1036 or visit kennellykouture.com for more info.