Best Dressed

July 2019 View more

Casey Plasch helps a customer at Mes Amies Boutique.

By Annemarie Mannion

Need a dress for a special occasion or for any day of the week? 

Look no further than Mes Amies Boutique in Naperville (120 Water St.,, where owner Casey Plasch is determined to make every woman feel dynamite when donning a dress for a wedding, a work party, a summer festival, or any other event.  

Plasch’s business started about 10 years ago with a boutique in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. While the store offered all sorts of apparel from jeans to skirts to blouses, she noticed many of her customers were looking for dresses rather than separates.  

“We were getting an exorbitant number of women who were looking for dresses for special occasions—work, weddings, corporate parties, job interviews, vacations—you name it,” she says. 

The demand led Plasch, who operates another Mes Amies Boutique in Middleton, Wisconsin, to decide to focus solely on dresses. She also recently added long gowns to her offerings. Many of her customers are looking for a dress that’s not cookie-cutter and that they won’t see others wearing to the same event or walking down the street.  

“They’re looking for more unique dresses and quality,” she says. “Our mission is to stick to offering better quality.” 

Her sales staff provides a high level of service and helps customers find the ideal dress for them. 

“We talk people through their event,” she says. “We ask questions. Is it indoors or outdoors? What is the temperature going to be? What is their role at the event? How do they want to feel that day?”

The store carries dresses from about 50 different designers who mostly create the garments under the Mes Amies private label. 

“Each designer has a different
size offering and style,” she says. “Our staff are able to explain the features
of the different designers and why they’re so great.” 

On a recent day, a bridal party was sorting through the selection, looking for dresses for the mothers of the bride and groom, while another customer was choosing a dress to wear to the swearing-in of Naperville’s new mayor. 

Susmita Kavthekar of Naperville was looking for a dress similar to one she purchased last year, but in a different color. She says she’s become a regular at the store. 

“I love the variety,” she says. “I
think there’s something for everyone. Every time I come in here the selection is different.” 

The store carries sizes from 00 to 18, and can order up to size 26 for formal wear. The prices range from about $90 for a casual dress to about $500 for a long gown. The average price is $130 to $180. 

Plasch says some customers visit her store after being unhappy with the quality of a dress they ordered online, or with the selection and quality of dresses at a discount or department store. 

“We’ve had people in tears over trying to find a dress for a wedding,” she says. “So many women come here and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I wish I’d found this earlier.’ ” 

She says part of her goal is to teach people about how to recognize dresses that are well made.  

“We have a good customer base and we build trust,” she says. “We teach people to be educated shoppers.” 

Plasch says she wants customers to find dresses that are timeless in terms of style and that they will wear for years to come. 

“If a color is very much on trend we’ll pick up on that and do it in a classic shape so that it will be worn over many seasons,” she says. 

Besides emphasizing quality, Mes Amies—which translates to “my friends” from French—features a
supportive atmosphere where Plasch hopes any woman will feel at ease as they sort through the ever-changing assortment of dresses. 

“This is about women being supportive and offering positive things, rather than being negative,” she says. 

The store’s decor features soothing tones of cream and gray and is marked by a crystal chandelier and large windows to showcase the dresses and let sunlight stream across the light wood floors. And while the focus is on dresses, the store also carries ancillary items like shoes, hats, fascinators, and shapewear. 

Mes Amies has become a destination for Kavthekar, who frequently finds dresses she feels great wearing. 

“Every time I’ve worn something from this store, I’ve gotten compliments,” she says. “I haven’t had a miss yet.” 

Photos courtesy Mes Aimes Boutique