Today Baltimore shop Linens & Lingerie turns 30! That’s a long time for a small shop tucked away in Ruxton to stay in business. (Although it’s no wonder; it is a local gem!) In honor of the occasion, we re-publish an “Insider” we posted on the store last November.  Congratulations to our friends at Linens & Lingerie. – The Eds.

Inside Baltimore’s Linens & Lingerie

Originally published November 9, 2012 –

Linens & Lingerie‘s straightforward name belies the stylish sophistication that awaits within: bespoke linen, pretty lingerie, smocked dresses for little girls, cashmere throws, monogrammed towels and more fill the shelves. This is no Bed, Bath and Beyond: the distinctive products promise decadent comfort not found in a strip mall chain.

The central source behind all the panache? One Baltimore family who has owned and operated the shop for nearly 30 years with a certain kind of Baltimore graciousness that mixes equal parts good manners and good taste. One can almost see the polished silver that will sit atop the hemmed-stitched table linens they sell and visualize the mahogany four-poster bed the monogrammed comforters will snugly embrace.

Southerner Elizabeth Franke first opened the store in 1983 after her husband died — she didn’t want to be a “lunch lady” her daughter says — and long after the kids had graduated from Gilman, Garrison and Bryn Mawr. She modeled the shop after Gattle’s in Palm Beach and Hannah’s, a fine linen store that used to be on Howard Street. Her daughter Blair has run the shop for nearly a decade, carrying on a genetic predisposition for refined elegance.

The special occasion table linens standout, ranging from beautiful white linen and damask for the holidays to colorful everyday washable cotton (napkins to go with, too, of course). There’s still time to order tablecloths for holiday dinners.

Thick and luxurious bath towels — the monogrammed ones are my favorite –and special order bed linens from lines like Matouk (including the chic Lulu DK line) add a personal touch.

The lingerie hits just the right note: modest enough for flipping pancakes with the kids, but much prettier than sweats and a T-shirt.

One of the best kept secrets about the store is its adorable items for children.  It’s perfect for gifts and special occasion outfits.  The clothing goes up to size four.

The needlepoint booties are my go-to-gift for newborns.

The traditional children’s clothing dresses toddlers in styles appropriate for their age. It’s sweet, not sassy.

And there’s more: hand knit sweaters, colorful blankets, soft stuffed animals, to name just some of the items on display.

They stock gifts for grown-ups, too. I ordered these jewelry pouches and makeup bags for friends as gifts.  Twice a year the shop holds sales with 20 percent off all special orders.  Smart shoppers take advantage of the sales, held once in the spring and once in the fall, and make all special orders then. I did not!

Year round, I stop in for linen hand towels for a sure-to-please hostess gift.

A range of comfy throws, from washable acrylic to soft cashmere, make a great gift, too.

Drawers and drawers of merchandise fill the built in shelves in the front of the store.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for, be sure to ask.

The staff has already begun to stock the store with special treats for Christmas.

Linens & Lingerie proves you don’t need to leave Baltimore to find fine things and special gifts.  You just need to know where to look.

Susan Gerardo Dunn is the founding editor and publisher of Baltimore Fishbowl.