Story & Photos by Devon Rademacher
Helen Chase remembers being gifted a burgundy sweater monogrammed with pink letters in high school.
“I was so excited, I was thrilled.”
That sweater was from Trillium Fine Clothing in downtown Mount Pleasant, which Chase has owned since 1982.
She previously managed, and worked at the store part-time while she was a Central Michigan University student.
“I’ve loved fabric and fiber since I was a little girl,” Chase said.
There’s no better match for Chase than at Trillium, which carries everything from winter coats to cashmere sweaters, to party dresses and Vera Bradley galore.
The Trillium Legacy
Since opening in 1947, Trillium has been one of the longest running businesses in downtown Mount Pleasant, and the longest open women’s clothing store.
The store, and Chase, have seen so many different styles come through.
“What I like about now, is there is so many different looks that are in,” Chase explained.
She said even 25 years ago, if one style was “in,” everyone would wear it – no matter if it was flattering or not. Now, Chase said, with so many different looks “in,” it’s easy to find your own style.
“You have your own look, you are your own person.”
Big Name Brands
Trillium has an abundance of Vera Bradley bags, lanyards and laptop cases. They’re also a Estée Lauder retailer, with fragrances and makeup.
Chase said it’s rare for a store of Trillium’s size to carry so much Estée Lauder, but they have been a retailer for 22 years.
Those brands sell the best with CMU students, as well their soft sweaters and party dresses in almost every color.
Some of Chase’s favorite brands at the store include Eileen Fischer, White & Warren, Tribal and Karen Kane.
Chase’s Fashion Rules to Live by
“Fashion rules are always bendable,” Chase said.
But, she does tend to stick by a common law: proportions. Chase explained that if an outfit doesn’t look right, it can be because something needs to be longer, taken in or rolled up.
For example, a long shirt would go well with skinny pants. If the pants were baggy too, then it might look a little “off.” Chase said that tends to make a world of a difference.
The Trillium owner says a staple piece in her closet are black pants of ‘every length and every width.’
Out with the Old
Chase said the store is slowly receiving spring styles, and she’s excited for more colors to be brought into the selection.
All of the fall clothes and bags will be on sale to make room for the incoming styles.
Owning Trillium is full circle for Chase – from pinning over a gifted sweater, to pulling the latest styles for purchase.
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