Crane’s Dress Boutique in Oak Ridge North highlights 'sweet Southern' style

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Crane’s Dress Boutique, an expansive fashion showroom in Oak Ridge North’s Wood Ridge Plaza off I-45, features a wide array of gowns for formal and semiformal dress shoppers of all ages.

Store owner and President Debbie Crane, who moved to The Woodlands in the 1990s, brings 25 years of industry experience to the boutique through her previous roles in dress sales, store management and manufacturing. Crane said she developed a love for the types of dresses she now sells while working in those earlier positions and kept a goal of running her own store for years until Crane’s opened in November 2017.

Despite a number of boutiques already established throughout The Woodlands area, Crane said she wanted to develop her own concept to provide a range of products that were not otherwise available.

“We have so many fine stores and fine restaurants, [but] there was nothing out here,” she said of the local dress market. “This was my life’s dream, this is where I lived, and nobody was doing it. It was just kind of waiting for me.”

Customers entering the boutique will see dresses in a variety of colors and styles suitable for occasions such as prom, homecoming, cocktail events and weddings. Crane said her inventory is sourced entirely from name-brand designers including Jovani, Morilee, La Femme, Daymor, Ursula and Alyce Paris that are exclusive to specialty dress stores.

Customers shopping at Crane’s can browse through racks of dress options in search of their favorite styles and the perfect fit. Crane’s also maintains an online inventory of its own stock as well as the full lines of every designer with a presence at the boutique and offers sizing for all in-store products and special orders.

“It’s a fun experience, and you just have to come in with an open mind,” Crane said. “Trying on different silhouettes and colors and styles is so important in the dress business because you really don’t know what a dress is going to look like until you put it on your body and you get a feel for it.”

Crane said both she and store Manager Michelle Barahona enjoy helping customers find a wardrobe match for their anticipated events, and they have begun attracting customers from throughout the Greater Houston area and as far away as Louisiana. Crane said she works to keep up with seasonal fashion trends while maintaining a distinctive “sweet Southern” style for the boutique’s dress collection.

“I make sure that I’m giving people their money’s worth,” Crane said. “I’m very strong into the details and the styling of what’s being offered, and I’m very selective as to what I choose to make sure that the value’s there.”

In addition to its broad dress selection, Crane’s sells shapewear and other accessories, including jewelry and shoes. Crane also said she plans to grow the boutique’s reach by becoming more involved in community events, such as fashion shows, or by hosting private gatherings at the boutique, while keeping a focus on the shop’s signature outfits.

“A woman never feels more beautiful than when she’s wearing a dress, so it’s a big event for her. That’s what we’re here for,” Crane said. “I’m just looking forward to serving more and more people.”

Crane’s Dress Boutique
27858 I-45 N., Oak Ridge North
Hours: Sun. noon-5 p.m., Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., closed Mon.

By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2019 and is a reporter for The Woodlands edition.


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