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retail profiles // classy // sylene


Sylene - Front


Many lingerie stores claim to have the best bra-fitting technique.

Sylene's claim is a bit stronger than the norm. It has the Oval Office behind it.

"When Nancy Reagan had her mastectomy, they called us and had us come fit her," says Cyla Weiner, who owns the Chevy Chase, Md., boutique with her sister, Helen Kestler.

It also has decades of experience to back it up. Weiner's parents owned three intimate apparel stores in Trenton, N.J. - one called Roses and two named Sylene's - and the girls went to the market with their parents and worked as salespeople. When Weiner was just 26, she opened her own store, whose sleek moniker is both an homage to her parent's stores and a combination of her and her sister's first names.

Thirty three years later, Sylene is the go-to spot for the Washington ritzy, where businesswomen and politicos easily drop $300 in one trip. It's 3,000 square feet of the upscales - La Perla, Arex, Le Mystere, Chantelle, Simone Perele, Prima Donna and Anika among them.

It's big, it's posh, but it's also a break from the hustle and bustle. A pale green metallic ceiling, waterfalls, candles and smooth music (think Ol' Blue Eyes, Barbara Streisand and Andre Bocelli) create a simple, calming ambience.

In addition to priding itself on fitting (all 15 employees are fitters), Sylene also touts its year-round swimwear collection. The simple beauty of La Perla, the unorthodox style of Gottex, the fun girliness of Red Carter, the getaway brought by Shoshanna, all here, all year, for the taking.

The typical customer goes home with basics and something prettier, Weiner said. But Washington women aren't perfect, and the appeal of shapewear is growing. Popular choices are Sassybax, Cass & Co. and Body Wrap, which Weiner likes because it's seamless and "has really excellent control."

"Everybody hates some portion of their body," Weiner said. "Everyone wants to suck something in, to be thinner somewhere."

If you can't get to the store, you can purchase Sylene's products online at its new e-commerce website, If you can, prepare for the internal kind of service that can only come with years of - from nearly a lifetime of - experience.

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