by Bill Koelzer
Alan and Joyce Russ offering casual wear for women.A female customer in her forties browses through the clothing-packed Fun In The Sun Boutique at 142 Ave Del Mar, picks a pair of blue jeans off a rack and asks owners Joyce and Alan Russ what the fabric is made of. The Russes love this, because these are the new ‘Not Your Daughters Jeans-Tummy Tuck’ brand that have been selling so well since their arrival in the store.
Joyce tells the woman that “these jeans stretch and move with a woman’s body,” and “they’re made for real women with real curves. They’re comfortable and they’re slenderizing.”
The woman tries them on, waxes enthusiastic about how they make her seem taller and thinner, she bends and twists ten different ways in the mirror, and boom, and she’s sold.
Alan says, “I don’t think we’ve had one woman in here who tried on those jeans who didn’t buy at least one pair.”
That’s the way it is these days at the Russ’s renovated store…these are not your daughter’s jeans, nor are the other fashions carried there, either. These are nifty fashions for women from age 30 to whatever age who want to look good.
Alan says, “Women have three categories of clothes in their closet: The clothes that they wear all the time, the clothes that they seldom wear, and the clothes that they never wear. We carry clothes that women love to wear all the time because they look great, they’re extra-comfortable to wear and they’re extremely easy to take care of.”
Joyce says that one featured line, Sea Breeze, is popular among women who like complete outfits. Sea Breeze features coordinated jackets, tops, and pants that can be bought as an ensemble or as separates and are made of 100% pre-shrunk cotton for easy care. The same goes for their new Focus line of coordinated separates, which features great jackets and comfortable pants as well.
Another key line carried is Wild Palms. Joyce says, “This line features garment-dyed coordinated knitwear in 100% pre-shrunk cotton. It’s perfect for casual wear and ideal for travel.”
For a more casual look, they also have the largest area selection of I Cantoo sweats, tee’s, cover-up dresses, shorts and Capri’s in bright fun colors.
Other lines include Jess & Jane, J. Shadow, Avalin, Zashi and many others. The store is packed with inventory. You’ll be in there days if you look at everything.
Their Pure Juice sandals are considered by many to be the most comfortable sandals in the world. They have been recognized as healthy footwear by podiatrists, orthopedic surgeons and reflexologists worldwide. You wear them a half-hour and they conform to the exact shape of your foot. They even have an adjustable toe strap for proper foot alignment.
The store also carries a svelte line of sunglasses decorated with Swarovski crystals, plus scarves, necklaces, earrings, pins and plenty of fashionable small gift items. Despite the high caliber of clothing quality and styles, prices at Fun in the Sun Boutique remain most reasonable.
The couple, who are very stylish themselves, have lived seven years in Mission Viejo. They have been in the clothing business all their careers, and achieved great success in the design, manufacture and retailing of their own line of clothing, Pandemonium, in Cambria, California, near Hearst Castle in San Luis Obispo County
Alan says, “Unfortunately, we were flooded out of business when the flood of the century hit Cambria in 1995. Ten inches of rain in ten hours, coupled with an extremely high ocean surge, brought six feet of mud and water into our store and throughout the town. Well, we lost everything that day.”
Undaunted, they stayed in the clothing business by becoming involved with computer-aided clothing and handbag design. Alan, an award-winning photographer, was able to focus on expanding his love of photography as well during that time.
But the yen for the retail clothing business never waned, says Joyce. “And when this opportunity came up, we jumped on it fast.”
The Russes bought the store in September from Fran and Mike De La Vega who had the store for 18 years.
“We fell in love with San Clemente a few years ago and especially liked the feel of Avenida Del Mar, a real old fashioned ‘downtown,’” says Alan. “We asked around and finally found Fun in the Sun Boutique up for sale. We’ve been here three months now, and can’t get over what a warm and friendly welcome the people of San Clemente have given us.” b