Rouge is a place where friends and fashion lovers can meet, and sales associates can’t wait to help them find their perfect fashion piece. And it’s a boutique where it’s all about finding the right product mix for you, owner Collie Jennings said.
“Customers come here because they have a lunch break, or they just got off work or finished up yoga, and they want to come and have a lifestyle of shopping and meeting their friends,” Jennings said. “It’s all about having that interaction and that relationship.”
The biggest section of the boutique’s merchandise is its selection of denim, particularly J Brand denim.
“Denim is really our core — it’s amazing. Everyone comes here for their designer jeans,” said Jennings, who described a new line called Genetic denim. “It’s all about the skinny legging. They’re super soft, they move with your body and use different slimming techniques to slim you up, but they’re very fashion forward.”
Customers can special order almost anything in the store, even jewelry lines and denim pieces, Jennings said, which is one of the advantages of knowing all of the designers featured in the store. Princeton-based jewelry designer Sloane even stopped in on a December afternoon to go over designs and chat with the employees.
The store itself is like a small social gathering point, where customers and employees look forward to seeing each other and discussing the latest fashions and designers in the shop. And buyers can appreciate what’s special about each designer and what the must-have pieces are.
“It’s an eclectic mix of designers and apparel. It’s really focused on lifestyle day-to-night,” Jennings said about the store’s content. “It’s all about being chic and comfortable; it’s wearable every day of the year.”
Because many brands featured in Rouge are new brands or smaller, more focused brands, the boutique is transformed into a trunk show or event once a month.
At a trunk show, customers are able to sip champagne, indulge in treats and listen to music while they learn about a specific brand or designer. Each brand’s fit specialist will help them find the right clothing size and style and talk about the designer’s purpose and their intent in creating the line.
“The whole point of the trunk show is bringing them to you,” Jennings said. “It’s saying, you want that more personalized touch, you want that exact fit and you want to know exactly in this designer’s realm what they’re known for and what’s special.”
Jennings, 28, was already firmly entrenched in the fashion world of New York City when she landed the opportunity to become a business owner. She bought the business in July from its original owner, Paige Petersen, when Petersen’s husband took a job in Australia.
Over the past 10 years, Jennings worked as a menswear buyer for Ralph Lauren and then as a womenswear buyer for Calvin Klein.
“My goal in mind was to always build a corporate background and understand that buying and that business aspect, and bring it to something on my own that I could really directly impact one-on-one,” Jennings said. “I don’t know when the right timing is, but with this, it was a deal I couldn’t refuse.”
Petersen had opened Rouge eight years earlier in a smaller location on Witherspoon Street before moving to its current location five years ago.
Rouge is located at 51 Witherspoon St. in Princeton. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call the store at (609) 921-0280.