Close Knit

For sisters Kaki McGrath and Lauren Stephens, Mom really does know best. After all, they have their mother, Bonnie, to thank for sparking the idea that led them to create DUDLEY STEPHENS, a fashionable fleece line with a devoted and rapidly growing following. An avid boater, Bonnie would grab outerwear pieces that worked on the water but didn’t translate to an evening out once on shore. Armed with a plan to come up with a stylish solution, she helped Lauren create the design and prototype for their iconic Cobble Hill turtleneck, with a stand up collar and flattering fit that have become the brand’s signature.

As young moms around town (Kaki lives in Darien, Lauren in Greenwich), the sisters were the perfect models for their label. It didn’t take long for their turtlenecks to become the uniform for stylish women-on-the-go. Beyond Fairfield County, the direct-to-consumer company utilized Instagram to introduce Dudley Stephens to the rest of the country. The sisters credit the app with building a community that has remained loyal, while showing off their designs on real women.

Lauren, Bonnie and Kaki

As their popularity grew, Kaki and Lauren remained focused on strategic partnerships, starting with pop-ups in boutiques and more recently, appearing at the Goop store in Chicago and online at Tuckernuck. In February 2019, they set up shop in Greenwich in what they call the Dudley Stephens Townhouse—a showroom space to host trunk shows, events and meetings.

In only four years, the company has expanded to include more silhouettes, accessories, outerwear, pants and options for kids and men. All the pieces are made of high-quality fleece (the majority spun from plastic bottles) sourced in the U.S. and manufactured in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. What started with one turtleneck has grown to a full collection with new designs introduced each season. Mom Bonnie is still involved (unofficially as a full-time promoter), and the sisters attribute their success not only to the timeless styles that appeal to women of all ages, but to their focus on keeping Dudley Stephens a family business.

Each style is named after a Brooklyn street or neighborhood

The original design in neon pink, one of the twenty available colors

One of the brand’s newer outerwear pieces in double layer Vello fleece

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