Holiday Shopping 2023: Claudette


Inside the boutique Claudette at 101 Main St. in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

For today’s installment of our local holiday shopping series, we visited Claudette Rothman, owner of the eponymous women’s clothing and accessories boutique Claudette on Main Street. (In addition to the clothing featured below, the shop offers many gifts, such a Kate Spade puzzle at $24, as well as picture frames, flasks, napkins, coffee table books, trays and toiletries.)

Here’s our conversation.


Weill crepe with gold buttons, double breasted, $665, pants are $343 at Claudette boutique, 101 Main St. Credit: Michael Dinan

New Canaanite: Please give us some background on yourself and on the boutique.

Claudette Rothman: I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and I’ve been in this industry a very long time. I’ve worked for a lot of the big guys,  and then I got out of the industry right around when dot coms were beginning. I remember I was working for Lord & Taylor when the dot coms were just coming up and I remember I had a blazer in my hand and it was $1,200 and I said, ‘People can’t even put food on their table and here’s a $1,200 blazer.’ I got out of the industry… I said, ‘I need a job but I’m not going to go work for anybody. I went to college for this. I have a lot of experience in it. I’m going to try and open my own store.’ I’d never had my own store before. It was on Putnam Avenue, then I opened a second store in the Greenwich Hyatt and eventually moved into Old Greenwich… I was there for seven years, but in those seven years, the building was sold. And that landlord raised my rent by 21%. And so I’m like, ‘This is crazy, I’m going to be paying the most in Old Greenwich—Old Greenwich is not Greenwich Avenue.’ And I was in the store working on a Sunday and a couple came in and they were shopping and we were talking, and I said, ‘It looks like I’m going to be leaving’ and the man said, ‘Have you thought of New Canaan?’

From Weill, a crepe, wool blend in hot pink with rhinestone buttons, $639 at Claudette boutique, 101 Main St. Credit: Michael Dinan

So you found this space and signed a lease?

I closed in Old Greenwich in June of ‘22  and I started here in August of ‘22. So this past October was one year since I opened. 

And how do you describe what you have on offer here? What’s the overview? 

Burgess cotton-and-cashmere blend sweater, $212 at Claudette boutique, 101 Main St. Credit: Michael Dinan

I would like to think that three generations can walk into the store and shop: Mother, daughter, grandmother. I have price points from $20 up to $6,000. When you walk in, you see the designer section. And some of the designers that I have are Diane von Furstenberg. Edward Achour and Edward does a lot of Chanel-inspired stuff. He used to work for Chanel. I carry Escada every once in a while. Pinko is an Italian brand. I carry brands for a successful businesswoman or a businesswoman who is retired but is very socially active and who wants to look good, but she doesn’t want to spend $20,000 for a Chanel blazer. So instead, she takes this by somebody who used to work for Chanel and it is $1,400. So that’s what you see when you walk in and that would be for the mother, the 55-plus to the grandmother. And then for that hardworking woman, I have the mid price range items, such Joseph Ribkoff, Peace of Cloth and Burgess sweaters. And so that price point is around $250. And then for the daughter, the fresh college grad, I have moderately priced items—jeans for $114 instead of $500.

Faux suede shirt jacket from Love Tree, can be worn as a shirt or as a jacket, $65 at Claudette boutique, 101 Main St. Credit: Michael Dinan

Tell me about how the foot traffic has been this holiday season. How’s it going?

Soft. Extremely soft.

What are some of the items that you find people are looking for? 

Because it’s been soft, we’re not getting a lot of people looking for holiday gifts yet. This Saturday was the kickoff with the Holiday Stroll, so we’re hoping that this is when we see it pick up.

Cotes of London puffer vest, $248 at Claudette boutique, 101 Main St. Credit: Michael Dinan

What would you say to someone who has been around downtown New Canaan and has seen your store but hasn’t stopped in yet? What would you say to that person who is out doing their holiday shopping?

They see the name ‘Claudette,’ I say come in, don’t get fooled by the window. Because when you see the window, with this particular space, and when people walk in, they get intimidated.The message to get out is, ‘Come see, look, touch, feel.’ We’re a very big store. We’re probably one of the biggest single stores in New Canaan because of the layout. We have five dressing rooms. So don’t be intimidated by what is in the front. Come in and see what else we have to offer.

Claudette at 101 Main St. (here on Instagram) is open Mon-Sat 10-5:30, Sun 12-4.

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