Good Foundations
At Lahaska’s Lace Silhouettes Lingerie, women discover everything they need to look and feel their best
by Sharon A. Shaw


Foundations may be the basis for a women’s success, but they are also a crucial component to her wardrobe. While one interpretation includes, of course, her experience, family and knowledge, the other refers to the intimate apparel she relies on to keep her looking and feeling her best.


Karen Thompson is familiar with both meanings of the term, and assists other women in finding their own. Nearly 25 years ago Thompson opened her store, Lace Silhouettes at Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, with the vision of providing personalized, knowledgeable service in a comfortable shopping environment. Today Lace Silhouettes has two additional locations in the New Jersey towns of Princeton and Cape May. For most women, looking good also means feeling good. “It all relates back to whether a woman is comfortable,” Thompson says. With this in mind she has created a store that feels like a home where “everyone is a guest.”


Thompson describes intimate apparel as the very personal side of fashion. “At any age—18 or 80—women want to look put together and be fashionable,” she says. Often when a woman comes in for a fitting she has typically “had it” with her existing bra. During one of Lace Silhouettes’ complimentary Bra Therapy consultations, guests will often discuss their family, health and lifestyle. All these details are important bits of information that the consultant uses to recommend the best undergarments. In addition to these questions a proper fitting requires only two measurements and is not invasive. Thompson suggests making a complimentary appointment to allow ample time for one-on-one consultation. Lace Silhouettes then writes a “prescription for comfort,” recommending a bra based on the guest’s body type and lifestyle.


Contrasting some lingerie stores that one might find at the mall, Lace Silhouettes carries apparel from more than 150 brands in order to provide each guest with the best fit for her needs. “Certain manufacturers cater to specific body types,” Thompson says. “We carry the brands found in better department stores with the service of a boutique.”


In addition to foundation pieces such as bras and underwear, the store also offers pajamas, robes and fine lingerie. Thompson loves to see generations of women shopping together in her store; mothers, daughters, teens and their grandmothers all feel comfortable shopping in the environment Thompson has created. “There are not many places you can inter-generationally shop like that,” she says. “It’s fun.”


Lots of Support

Several generations of Thompson’s own family are involved in her store. Her sister is one of the buyers, her mother assists in the office, and her son will help out when he returns home during college breaks.


“They don’t all work here, but it is a family business,” she says. The staff, too, is like family. Some have been with Lace Silhouettes for 15 to 25 years—long enough, Thompson says, for her to see them go from being parents to grandparents. “A support team is crucial for any woman. If you don’t have family, you have to have great people around you.”


Thompson admits to “spinning a lot of plates” with three stores, on top of charity work and other business ventures, but does it in the hopes of leaving a legacy.


“You do the same thing every day: open the door and serve the guests. I’ve done this job for 24 years,” she says. “As a visionary I would hope that the company will be around for 100 years. I put these things in place to sustain it, to do something more. It is more than a corporation to make money.


“I always ask women what their passion is,” Thompson continues. “I want to know what drives them. It doesn’t matter if it is financial or if you want to have it all—it works when you are passionate.”


She is an active mentor, having spoken at Bucks County Community College, the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Business Forum and Philadelphia University—and yet she still looks for others who can mentor her. “I still have to grow,” she says.


Thompson believes that there is power in writing down one’s hopes and goals. Her “Wishes for Women” collection includes a Wish Wrap, which offers the simple luxury of a super-soft plush fabric. Each wrap comes with a Wish Card that encourages women to define their aspirations by committing them to paper. A percentage of the profits from the sale of Wishes for Women items are donated to charitable organizations, thereby granting wishes for women 365 days a year.


Another signature item available from Lace Silhouettes is the bridal trousseau. While the traditional trousseau was once a collection of jewelry, linen and personal items gathered by the female family members in anticipation of marriage, the modern interpretation includes the lingerie that a bride wears under her wedding gown, as well as the ensemble she wears on her wedding night and honeymoon. The store also carries accessories such as garters, a handkerchief, or silk boxers for the groom. Girlfriends will often purchase fun, flirty lingerie to give at the bridal shower. Lace Silhouettes packages these multiple items into several boxes, forming a tiered “wedding cake” of gifts.


This Christmas Lace Silhouettes will again be hosting its Men’s Night, a 24-year tradition featuring appetizers, shopping assistance and gift wrapping to help guys find the perfect gift.


“The first year we had eight men, and now 150 attend,” Thompson says. For some, it’s an annual event, including dinner with the guys, followed by shopping for the ladies in their lives.

Whether through exceptional service and products at Lace Silhouettes or her personal passions, Karen Thompson is always looking out for the needs of others. 


Lace Silhouettes Lingerie

Peddler’s Village

Lahaska, PA 18931

Phone: 215-794-3545

Web: |


Kim Billingsley is a freelance photographer based in Doylestown.