Esther, a thirty-five-year-old spinster African-American seamstress in 1905 Manhattan, earns a living creating exquisite custom lingerie for women of the boudoir and the brothel alike. The intimate undergarments become a metaphor for the intimate relationships she develops with her clients. Painfully lonely, she dreams of a better life and finding a husband. She becomes a new woman when she falls in love with a handsome Barbadian laborer who woos her through a series of romantic letters, while her friendship with a shy Jewish fabric merchant grows in unexpected ways. The winner of five national awards for Best Play, Intimate Apparel tells the story of one woman's passion to break free and be herself
in a society where she cannot quite fit into the set patterns that are stitched for African-American women.