Tag Archives: Breasts

Intimate Affair: Independent Lingerie Professionals- Chicago

8 Dec

Members of the Independent Lingerie Professionals group living in the Chicago area gathered together for an Intimate Affair on Monday evening, December 5, 2011.  The event was hosted by Stephanie Kuhr of Dottie’s Delights.  Bra La Mode was unable to attend the Intimate Affair (although I really did consider making the cross-country trip in the name of “lingerie love”!)  But lucky for us, the fabulous Norma Loehr of Orange Lingerie offered to share the experience (and some great pictures) with Bra La Mode readers.  Thanks, Norma!

The Dottie's Delights Studio, Chicago

Who knew there were so many lingerie companies in the Chicago area? Being new to the area, I certainly had no idea. Luckily I found Stephanie Kuhr of Dottie’s Delights. As a 2010 designer in residence at the Chicago Fashion Incubator, she is plugged in to the local lingerie scene and graciously hosted us all in her studio earlier this week.

Designers Norma Loehr and Stephanie Kuhr

The goal of the get-together was to meet everyone and learn about what they are working on. As it turns out, we all take a different approach to our respective lingerie businesses and have our own unique style so our gathering was very collaborative. It was great to be in a room surrounded by people who speak “lingerie” and, like me, think nothing of whipping out a lingerie set in a meeting at the local Starbucks!

So, who are the lingerie professionals in the Chicago area? On the designer side, there were five of us at the Intimate Affair:

Dottie’s Delights which specializes in vintage-inspired shapewear and foundations.

Evlove run by Jenny Dombroski lets you design your lingerie on their website or at an Evlove lingerie party.

Naughty4Nice is a line in development by Maggie and Matt. They plan to use organic fabrics and donate a portion of their profits to charities that benefit women. Note that they are still looking for charities to work with!

Orange Lingerie is a company I started to make custom tailored bras and lingerie for individual clients in Chicago and New York.

Urban Fox is the work of Lizzie Cook. Each piece from her line is dyed and sewn by hand from machine-processed bamboo and organic cotton blends in the U.S.

Daniel, Denise and Matt

On the blogger front we were joined by Sarah of StackDD+, a blog with researched reviews, tips, and clothing ideas to support the DD+ woman. Daniel from Directory Sexy, the go-to resource on the web for all things lingerie, made the trip to Chicago to show us the new features he is adding to the site in the first part of 2012.

There were also some newer lingerie entrants at the party.  Denise of Sinsational Nights, a company that puts together in-home lingerie parties was at the event and Lena from her as yet unnamed company which is working on a sports bra for larger breasted women.

It was fun to see samples from other designers. I enjoyed talking to Stephanie of Dottie’s Delights about bra construction and fitting. I also loved seeing her work close-up to really appreciate her use of vintage stitches. I also got the chance to feel the eco friendly fabrics that Lizzie uses for Urban Fox. I really like the trim she uses on her pieces too. It is made of mostly organic linen with some spandex.

Lizzie and Lena

Lena brought sketches for the sports bra she is working on. Sarah of Stack DD+ was very helpful in offering her perspective on Lena’s designs. She knows a lot about fitting DD+ cups and what is currently available in the marketplace, so she is a great resource for feedback on new bra ideas. Happily, I discovered she is on the hunt for a strapless bra as well as a plunge bra. Of course I can make custom fit versions of both for her so I gathered details about exactly what she is looking for. Yes, it is possible for DD+ to have pretty and supportive versions of both!

Daniel shared the enhancements he is making to Directory Sexy in early 2012 and since I don’t want to spoil his thunder, I won’t say too much here other than he is adding flexibility via editing features for those in the directory as well as incorporating some very interesting social networking elements. It was great to get a sneak peek of the new features so we can start thinking about how they may impact our listings in the directory.

Lena and Sarah

Throughout the evening a few themes emerged. All designers have faced the difficulty of finding good patternmakers for lingerie and finding sewing contractors willing to sew bras. In fact, several of us currently handle the production of our own product to get around this problem. Of course, the day is approaching for each of us where it will be necessary to have help producing our garments. This is one of the areas we can help each other the most – sharing our experiences with contractors and other resources.

Another theme was our belief that production in the USA (and preferably locally in Chicago) is important to our respective businesses. Admittedly, we may be biased on this point either by the size of our business or by our independent spirit!

We plan to continue getting together regularly to share ideas.  Perhaps we will invite boutiques so they can meet the designers in person and have a more personal story to tell about the garments in their stores.  And, we can hear more from them on what their clients are looking for in our lingerie!

Intimate Intro: Everywoman by Liz

1 Nov

Liz is a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend.  I’ve known Liz for over twenty years.  We grew up together…. Both literally & figuratively.  We’ve experienced life together; we’ve supported each other throughout life’s joys and tribulations….  Education, part-time jobs, careers and changes in career, boyfriends and break-ups, hobbies/interests, ideas and crazy hair-brained schemes, buying homes, moving cross country (and back again), the illness of parents, the birth of her daughter, marital bliss and marital decline, my divorce and so on….  Throughout our lives, we’ve gone months without speaking (simply because life got in the way) and we’ve gone years where we’ve been inseparable.  We’ve watched one another evolve and grow as women- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. 

Having been in the intimate apparel industry for over ten years, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my perspective may be a bit biased (or perhaps even distorted).  So, I have asked Liz to join me in writing for Bra La Mode.  As a novice, Liz brings a fresh perspective to Bra La Mode.  Her opinions reflect her own experience and are not necessarily the opinions of me, Moira Nelson, or of Bra La Mode as a company.  We do not edit the content of Liz’s articles.  This is intentional.  We want our readers to hear her authentic perspective as a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend.

Join me in welcoming my friend Liz to Bra La Mode…….

Does the title alone have you humming Whitney Houston, possibly accompanied by an Oprah style montage in your head?  Are you slightly ashamed to admit that, even across this computer screen?  Yeah, me too.

My name is Liz.  But I could be Sue or Jodi or Laura or Debbie or whatever your name is.  Although my seven year old daughter likes to say we are all unique and different, the truth of the matter is we wives and mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and grandmas are all alike in some ways.  We are too busy to think about our breasts and what to put them in.
Me and My girl

I buy my bras at Target, where I  buy the rest of my clothes, in the five minutes I have between picking up things for the rest of my household and running another errand.  I wear leggings and dresses and flats to work because that’s what Target carries and it takes too long to try on pants.  When I take a day, or who am I kidding, a few hours to go shopping with a girlfriend, I spend that time slogging from store to store in search of clothes for my daughter, not myself.  I buy everything for myself on borrowed time, or at least that’s how it feels.

I don’t personally know one woman, married or single, with or without kids, who does it any differently.

So, that often quoted statistic comes as no surprise to me: 85% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra.  Frankly, I’m surprised that number isn’t higher

I’ve been bra fitted before, about 3 years ago after I lost a great deal of weight.  When I put weight back on, it never occurred  to me to go get re-fitted.  I’m going to tell you right now that I have remarkably healthy self-esteem and the least amount of body issues in my circle of friends and yet I didn’t think being properly fitted for a bra was something I should make a point of.  That’s kind of stunning to read now, but it’s true.  I have my child’s feet measured regularly, in local, quality stores by professionals.  I buy her clothes to suit her body.  I make time to shop, try on, return if necessary, and otherwise manage and cull her wardrobe and I buy myself whatever is cheap, easy, and convenient.

In other words, I am a mom.

If you’re still with me, I bet you have done the same.  You’re too busy.  I know you are.  I’m singing your song, sister.  And, yes, maybe it is to the tune of Whitney Houston.

So when my good friend Moira asked me to write for this site, I jumped at the chance.  I think my feelings about bras and lingerie and fit and time and expense are in line with every mom I’ve spoken to in the last 7 years.

I want it to be different, I do.  My time and money are precious and yet I want to look and feel good, all the time.

I don’t have the answers on getting an extra 24 hours out of your day.  But I am willing to explore how a perfectly average wife and mom like me can find comfortable and attractive intimate apparel.  That sounds so formal, doesn’t it?  Let’s say this: I’m taking the girls on a trip, and I hope you’ll come along for it.

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