First Impressions Boutique

first impressions before after

Before the pinup treatment -- and after

By Amy Brozio-Andrews

Say you wanted to get hair extensions, buy a cute handbag and take a pinup girl photo all in the same day. Yeah, OK -- but just say you did. There actually is one place in the Capital Region where you can go for all three.

Lorraine Murphy pursues her three passions under one roof at a little boutique she calls First Impressions.

First Impressions bags.jpgThere's a lot going on at First Impressions Boutique on Central Avenue. First, it's an eclectic boutique filled with jewelry, hats, hair accessories and handbags. There are strappy rhinestone heels, hair clips, hats, evening clutches, reusable totes in funky styles, and more. It's definitely worth checking out the sale sections. There's a $5 jewelry table and purses (mostly toile and denim styles) for less than $30, plus totes on sale for $9 and $15 (polka dots, toile, and geometric designs).

First Impressions.jpgThe whole setting is informal, girl-positive, and energetic, from the dark purple walls and pastel stained-glass effects on the windows to the upbeat music. You're welcome to shop with children -- Loraine even has a stash of toys to occupy little ones. But heads up-- you have to go on Thursday or call for an appointment. Lorraine says she's happy to make appointments for groups or solo shoppers.


There's also a full selection of hair extensions and wigs. The clip in hair varies from extensions for $65 (synthetic) to highlights for $12 (human hair), plus ponytails starting at $40 and bridal dos (think fancy knots and updos) starting at $60. Custom orders can be had in a week. And you'll get lessons on how to handle them. For full wigs, there's a nonrefundable sitting fee of $25 (includes a sanitary wig cap) that's applied to the cost of your wig purchase (you can try on up to five at one sitting). Wigs start at $150 and these are way more stylish that the ones my grandma would wear, long, short, and everything in between.

And then there's the pinup makeover studio where Lorainne transforms everyday women into vintage pinup models. Pinup makeovers start at $195 and sessions are generally booked a month in advance. She supplies the make-up, wigs and costumes (think nurse, 50's swimsuits, sailor suit and more in sizes 0 to 12 -- ask about plus sizes). Intrigued? Check out the photo gallery.

The pinup sessions take about two hours. You get a disc of 120-160 low-res pinup photos before you leave the shoot. Then you can order prints (4x6 for $6, 5x7 for $10, 8x10 for $20, plus other sizes available too), t-shirts ($45+), a calendar of 13 photos ($50), a cigar box with your pinup photo on the top of the box ($25 plus the cost of the print), laminated and mounted wall art ($30+), and more.

Coming in April, First Impressions will also be offering basic and intermediate "Beauty U" classes, where makeup artist Genn Shaughnessy will teach application techniques. Registration is required. You check out the website for details.

Find It

First Impressions Botique
1720 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12205

Open Every Thursday 11-7
and by appointment


Lorraine at First Impressions is awsome!
She has a great eye for fashion and knows how to bring out the best in every woman.

Walk into First Impressions and you'll be surrounded by everything that is fun in the fashion world.

Use Lorraine as an image consultant and you will love how she can bring out the best in you.

Want to capture your best look in a photoshoot? That's where Lorraine and First Impressions excel. She has teamed up with Genn Shaughnessy (makeup artist to the stars) to create pure magic with her camera. They work the makeup. They style the hair. Set the lights and set the mood.
You so have to treat yourself...

Still not convinced? Stop by First Impressions and prepare to be (for lack of a better way to say it) impressed!

A collection of Lorraine's pinup photos will be exhibited Friday evening at the Fuze Box as part of the 1st Friday event.

Lorraine is so creative in her pin-up shoots!! I've been to the boutique and it's the most adorable place ever!! It's like a life-size doll house....

I highly recommend Lorraine for your photo shoot and I can't wait to do one myself!

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