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Deborah Winthrop Lingerie Moves from Thames to Brick Marketplace

Expert bra fitter and successful Portsmouth business owner isn't sitting her laurels.

Deborah Winthrop, owner of Deborah Wintrhop Lingerie in Portsmouth, recently moved her shop in Newport from Thames Street to Brick Marketplace. (Photo: Mark Schieldrop)
Deborah Winthrop, owner of Deborah Wintrhop Lingerie in Portsmouth, recently moved her shop in Newport from Thames Street to Brick Marketplace. (Photo: Mark Schieldrop)
Generations ago, the rich women on Bellevue Avenue in Newport were visited by Madame Tougas, who helped them fit their bras, brassieres and girdles. It was a time when everybody came to the mansion or estate to sell their wares, from the neighborhood doctor to purveyors of fine goods.

In her day, Tougas was a woman of choice for the important job of keeping the island's best-dressed women in fine form. Her daughter, Flora Doré Tougas, carried that tradition, fitting Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for her first fitted bra.

Today, women of all stripes rely on a similar expert touch to make sure their bra is fitted properly. Her name is Deborah Winthrop, owner of Deborah Winthrop Lingerie with locations in Portsmouth and Newport.

Winthrop regards the younger Tougas, now 87, as her mentor. When she first opened her lingerie shop in 1999, Tougas came to offer fittings and a crowd of 38 women came through the door once word spread that she would be there. 

Today, Winthrop's business is thriving as she carries the tradition imparted by Tougas.  But it's in the confines of a modern shop that not only fits bras, but sells dresses, jewelry, accessories and lingerie of all kinds, from elegant and modest to steamingly sexy.

"We sell a little of everything," Wintrhop said. "Thongs, sleepwear, Spanx, jewelry. Something for everyone."

In Newport, Winthrop has moved her store from Thames Street to a cozy corner in Brick Marketplace. She hopes the new location will increase visibility and improve traffic at her Newport store.

The store is open weekends for the next few weeks but should be open most days from 12 to 5 p.m.

Winthrop's reputation is far reaching in Rhode Island, having earned Best of Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly in 2009 and other awards.

In Portsmouth, hours at the store, located at 103 Clock Tower Sqaure, are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Thu and 10 to 5 p.m. Fri-Sat. On Sunday, she's open from noon to 4 p.m.

In Newport, the shop, Deborah Winthrop Downtown, is now located at 209 Goddard Row. The number is 401-846-3999.

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