(RE)FRESH your wardrobe

Ellen Futterman

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

(RE)FRESH your wardrobe

Last week, I received a call from a woman asking for the names of some bar and bat mitzvah planners in the area. Having just planned one of these events, I told her I would be happy to assist in any way with my first-hand expertise.


Turns out she wanted professional bar and bat mitzvah planner to help with these events at a new kind of resale shop in Brentwood. It’s called (RE)FRESH and all proceeds from clothing sales, parties, whatever, go to the St. Louis Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition.

Dawn Belizaire, director of major gifts for the organization, explained that (RE)FRESH, located at 1710 S. Brentwood Boulevard across from Whole Foods and REI, will open within the next few weeks, with a grand opening planned for sometime in June. The store hopes to be “a fashion adventure of new and repurposed clothing, shopping, parties, music, and a million other things,” with a focus on young adults between the ages of 15 and 23.

“We designed the store around this audience,” said Belizaire. “We will carry clothing from youth size 12 through adult sizes. The first floor will have more of an urban, hip vibe while the top floor is special occasion dresses.”

In addition, Belizaire said the store has a DJ booth smack in the middle of it. The hope is that young people, most likely girls, will want to hang out, shop and hold parties there.

(RE)FRESH will be open Thursdays through Sundays, although Thursdays only adoptive and foster families can shop there. Belizaire said foster families get an average of $340 a year clothing allowance per foster child, so the hope is that the store will help these families stretch their dollars. The Coalition currently runs the resale KIDSTORE in south St. Louis for children from birth to youth size 11, though it is only open to adoptive and foster families, not the general public.

In February, members from seven area congregations joined together for the Jewish Social Action Network’s first Volunteer Day, whereby participants sorted clothes for (RE)FRESH and were given a tour. Belizaire said donated clothes that don’t fit the store’s demographic (excuse the pun) will be sent to other area resale shops, including the one run by the National Council of Jewish Women – St. Louis Section and the Scholarshop.

Uplifting information

Speaking of puns, who could resist the bazillion that go with the territory of this next item? Thank goodness Michelle Gralnick has a good sense of humor, even though she is not joking about the new business she hopes to launch -producing a line of bras size 28E to 50M, designed for women of all ages and ethnicities.  These garments would be engineered to provide proper support of the bust (thus diminishing neck, shoulder and back pain) and be available in a variety of styles and colors, at an accessible price. 

Gralnick explained that while there are some manufacturers that make garments to fit women larger than size DD, the options are limited; and most focus primarily on functionality rather than comfort and aesthetic appeal.  “None offer the range of sizes I am proposing, nor do they incorporate other unique features which will be standard in my line,” she said.

In an effort to be supportive (told you it’s impossible not to succumb), I agreed to publicize Gralnick’s idea because she really needs your help. She hopes Light readers who could benefit from such a garment will participate in a confidential survey asking about their current bra choices (what they like, dislike, tolerate); brands that have not worked for them (and why); personal fit challenges; features that would comprise their “ideal” bra; etc. While the results will be shared with others involved in Gralnick’s business venture, she promises that individual’s names will be kept completely confidential, and those who participate will always be referenced by an ID number.

“Their responses will help me to develop the prototype for my bra line. I will then ask select focus group participants to wear test sample garments, using their experiential feedback to ‘fine tune’ my line,” she said.

If you’re interested in taking part, send an email to [email protected]. “Any assistance you can provide in spreading the word beyond St. Louis – to other states as well as countries and continents – would be especially appreciated,” she added.