Tag Archives: Sweetest Sin Boutique

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

30 Jan

The winter weather has arrived!  It has been incredibly brisk here in New York.  And I understand there was a bit of snow in Paris during the 50th Anniversary edition of Salon International de la Lingerie as well.  Despite the delayed flights and mucky city streets, I bet the flurries inspired a certain romanticism. 

Salon de la Paris_ICE imageI can only imagine the Paris city lights twinkling through a nighttime snow fall… It seems apropos that the theme of the renowned show’s trend forum was “Ice Land” which featured four “universes” — Romantic, Innovation, Savage and Neo Nude.  I first saw this emerging trend last year at a preview of the Marlies Dekkers Winter 2012 “Ice Queen” – Cool Scandinavia collection.  At first glance, I fell in love with the icy, frosted, muted hues which were presented in delicate snowflake-inspired laces and embroideries adorned with crystal embellishments.  The colors are quite a departure from the more traditional lingerie colors- black, nude, pink and red.

Speaking of pink and red…  Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away!  How do you celebrate the only day dedicated to romantic love?  Do you cherish this day to honor your lover or has it become just another “Hallmark Holiday” for you?  Do you shower your partner with intimate gifts, a handwritten love letter, red roses, confections, jewelry?  Is lingerie in your Valentine’s Day forecast?

Rouge Seduire_Pin It To Win It V Day Contest_Jan 2013If you are looking to seduce your partner with a little something special this Valentine’s Day…. Dare to enter Rouge Séduire’s “Pin It to Win It” Valentine’s Day Contest to win a Bra and Panty set that is sure to tease and tempt the senses, intrigue the soul, and entice the very essence of self.  The unparalleled, sexy and seductive, luxury lingerie line, Rouge Séduire has launched the “Pin It to Win It” Valentine’s Day Contest.  Fans of the brand have the opportunity to express their originality by creating a dedicated Pinterest board representing the theme #TheArtofSeduction.  On February 4th, the brand’s designer, Sharon Fan, will select one winner to receive a Rouge Séduire Bra and Panty set of their choice (valued up to $500 USD.)  The winner will receive her new lingerie set just in time for the hottest holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day!

Linger MinglerLinger in Spring Lake, N.J. is hosting the “Linger Mingler,” a Men’s Night Out this Thursday, January 31st from 6:30-8:00pm.  The “Intimate Affair” will feature a LIVE Fashion Show and complimentary cocktails.

sweetest sin_soiree_flyer2013_facebook[1]Sweetest Sin in Red Bank, N.J. is hosting their annual Valentine’s Day Soiree on Thursday, February 7th from 6:00-9:00pm.  You can expect free gifts from brands such as Hanky Panty & Booty Parlor AND the event will feature special guests from LELO, the world’s leading designer brand for intimate lifestyle products.

Fleur du Mal monogrammed pantiesFleur du Mal has launched the Say My Name bespoke panty service exclusively on http://www.fleurdumal.com … just in time for Valentine’s Day.  Order beautiful silk chiffon panties with a custom embroidered name or monogram for $98 in sizes S/M or M/L in either Blush or Fever.

This year, technology enabled brands like Ampere are making it easier for men and women to give or receive lingerie.  Here are a few great Valentine’s Day gift options from Ampere: 

Romper Productthe Madison Romper constructed of the finest silk charmeuse and accented with silk chiffon and lace details, the Gramercy and/or Chelsea Thongs which are designed to make a woman look and feel sexy while being comfortable enough to take her from day to night, the Gramercy and/or Chelsea Bras which are crafted with a luxurious scalloped, gold bourdon yarn embellished lace and silk lining (each bra order comes with a FREE matching panty,) or an E-Gift Card for $25 – $145.

femmy2013The Underfashion Club is hosting its annual FEMMY Gala on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at Cipriani 42nd Street, NYC.  Again this year, the “Intimate Affair” will be hosted by Carson Kressley.  This year’s Student Design Contest is sponsored by Penn Asia Co., Ltd., Regina Miracle International Ltd. and Stretchline Holdings Ltd.  The theme is “Midnight Garden” – Seduction of Flowers.  The Underfashion Club will be presenting FEMMY Awards to Bloomingdale’s, Cosabella and The Lenzing Group, the Innovation Award is being presented to Hautelook, and the Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient is Josie Natori of The Natori Company.  For additional information regarding ticket purchase or to sponsor a table or to advertise in the event program, visit www.underfashionclub.org.

LingerieFW_imageSAVE THE DATE – Lauren Rich, founder of RICHPR and LingerieFW, is planning a party to celebrate the close of Lingerie Fashion Week (LingerieFW) which is set to debut on February 22nd.  The “Intimate Affair” will be sponsored in part by The Lingerie Journal and The Lingerie Alliance and will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2013 following the last runway show of the day.  Details to follow….

Mark your calendars for these upcoming “Intimate Affairs” which are taking place here in the USA and around the World:

Pure London in London- February 10th – 12th, 2013

Moda Lingerie and Swimwear in Birmingham- February 17th – 19th, 2013

Curve NV in Las Vegas- February 18th – 19th, 2013

Lingerie Fashion Week (LingerieFW) in New York- February 22nd – 23rd, 2013

The Lingerie Collective in New York- February 24th – 26th, 2013

Curve NY in New York- February 24th – 26th, 2013

INDX Intimate Apparel Show in the UK- March 19th – 21st, 2013

China Sourcing Fair in Hong Kong- April 27th – 30th, 2013

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

10 Jan

Happy New Year!  For me, the New Year is a great time for reflection.  Many years ago I started a habit of keeping a journal.  I am not one to write in it daily; but I make it a point to pull it out in the first part of January to write out my accomplishments from the previous year and to list out my goals, hopes, dreams and initiatives for the coming year (both personal and professional.)  It’s fascinating to look at what was written the previous January.  Most of the time, I forget what I wrote!  Usually, the goals that were set have been accomplished (in some shape or form.)  And more often than not, the outcome is far better than I could have imagined!  So before I get you up to speed on the upcoming “Intimate Affairs,” I’d like to reflect back on 2012.

Dear Kate Ms MoxieIn 2012, we saw the launch of several new independent brands including Angela Friedman, Nevaeh Intimates, Fleur du Mal, Cheeki brand and Rouge Séduire among others.  Julie Sygiel re-launched the revolutionary, absorbent, leak-proof and stain-resistant underthings now known as Dear Kate.  And the Empowered By You panty was launched which enables underprivileged women to spearhead their own businesses. 

The lingerie blogosphere expanded to include new bloggers and other independent intimate apparel professionals including my personal new fave, Caro the Lingerie Lesbian!

In ecommerce retailing, we saw new methods of marketing and selling intimates from sites including True & Co., IntiMint, AdoreMe.com and Ampere.  Ecom retailers are offering lingerie subscription services and other innovative methods of retailing. 

I witnessed an increased awareness of the importance of a proper fit. There were numerous online “debates” regarding the best way to fit, vanity sizing and so on.  More and more brands, manufacturers and retailers are paying closer attention to the needs specific to the full-figure and full-busted consumer.  Early last year, Bare Necessities launched their sister site, Bare Plus, which is an online shopping environment dedicated to this consumer.

Freshpair Pic 1Several e-tailers made an attempt to answer the question of how to get a proper fit when purchasing online.  HerRoom.com launched the proprietary “Know your Breasts Bra Finder” questionnaire which purports to help you discover your best bra styles.  And Freshpair.com re-launched their website which now includes more personalized services such as an At-Home Bra Fit Service and a Men’s Underwear Club.  Freshpair also celebrated the 10th Anniversary of National Underwear Day by hosting a one-of-a-kind “It’s Time for a Change” pop-up store experience in New York City in August.

LingerieAlliance_horizontal logoIn August of 2012, my partner Luis Paredes, publisher of The Lingerie Journal (and The Business of Pleasure,) and I launched the online collaborative community of intimate apparel professionals known as The Lingerie Alliance.  The Lingerie Alliance was inspired by the Brand Affair Marketing and PR Panel Discussion we hosted during February Market 2012.  The Brand Affair proved to us that there is a need for a collaborative community of lingerie professionals as well as education, information and resources.  Throughout the year, we sponsored several events including NOLCHA Fashion Week’s Closing Party and the non-profit fundraisers PinkChoseMe’s BRA Day USA 2012 and Go Naked and Check Yourself.  We ended the year with a fun “Festive Affair” Holiday Networking Social which represented our vision for The Lingerie Alliance.  The coming year will bring more events, workshops and seminars tailored specifically for today’s intimate apparel professional and we hope to have the membership functionality for the site itself completed before Summer.

LingerieFW_imageLauren Rich of RICHPR announced that she will be launching LingerieFW in New York City in February 2013.  LingerieFW will be the first fashion week dedicated to intimate apparel brands.

In late October, the northeast suffered the wrath of Hurricane Sandy which delayed the quarterly wholesale market week and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses including my friend Marla Wink’s lingerie store, Indian Summer, in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, New Jersey.  (I’m happy to report that Marla is as determined as ever to rebuild her store and is hopeful that she will re-open her doors in time for the busy Summer selling season down the shore.)

The Lingerie Collective is coming to New York City in February 2013!  The boutique trade show is well-known in London for featuring British and international emerging brands with a focus on innovation and luxury.

Jene Luciani and Moira Nelson_2012 HUG Awards GalaThe non-profit Underfashion Club and the Intimate Apparel Square Club continued their programs in 2012 including the FEMMY Gala last February, the H.U.G. Awards Gala in November, various other programs throughout the year and their annual Holiday parties in December.  Both organizations make significant contributions to our industry and raise funds to support their respective causes.

Angie Courtney, owner of Sweetest Sin

 

Other charity events included Go Naked and Check Yourself which was hosted in part by Sweetest Sin Boutique in Red Bank, New Jersey and included sponsors LELO and The Lingerie Alliance.

Overall, 2012 was a year full of growth and advancements.  I am motivated by the forward movement in our industry and look forward to seeing further progress throughout 2013.  I wish all of you the best of health, happiness, a sense of well-being, success and prosperity in your professional lives and in your personal endeavors.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming “Intimate Affairs” which are taking place here in the USA and around the World:

The Lingerie Collective in London- January 13th – 15th, 2013

Salon International de la Lingerie and Interfiliere in Paris- January 19th – 21st, 2013

Pure London in London- February 10th – 12th, 2013

Moda Lingerie and Swimwear in Birmingham- February 17th – 19th, 2013

Curve NV in Las Vegas- February 18th – 19th, 2013

Lingerie Fashion Week (LingerieFW) in New York- February 22nd – 23rd, 2013

The Lingerie Collective in New York- February 24th – 26th, 2013

Curve NY in New York- February 24th – 26th, 2013

INDX Intimate Apparel Show in the UK- March 19th – 21st, 2013

China Sourcing Fair in Hong Kong- April 27th – 30th, 2013

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com

Intimate Affair: The Lingerie Alliance Sponsors “Go Naked and Check Yourself” Fundraiser

29 Oct

This November ELECT TO CHECK as Red Bank, NJ businesses unite!  A hip charitable event raises the roof and awareness of detectable cancers at Teak Restaurant in Red Bank, NJ on November 18, 2012 from 5pm – 8pm where 100% of proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Young Survival Coalition, Livestrong and The American Cancer Society.

In addition to The Lingerie Alliance (based in New York City,) Wells Fargo, Sugarush, award-winning lingerie store Sweetest Sin Boutique, TEAK Restaurant and a bevy of other local Red Bank businesses have joined forces to help bring awareness to detectable cancers.  The call to action — Elect to Check!  Awareness, education and resources enable individuals to detect cancers before they grow to an unmanageable state.  Angela Courtney of Sweetest Sin and Chris Paseka of Sugarush created this annual event to empower, encourage and remove the embarrassing stigma of  “going naked” to check yourself.  Early detection is key and can save a life.  Last year’s SOLD-OUT event raised almost $9,000 and encouraged more people to “go naked.”

The night will include complimentary champagne, appetizers, and cupcakes along with drink specials, a generous gift bag, fun prizes from local sponsors and auctions to further raise funds.

Experts, such as Lisa Frank, president of the Young Survival Coalition & DonnaLyn Giegerich, motivational speaker & survivor, as well as doctors from Riverview Medical Center will be on hand to share knowledge & answer questions regarding detectable cancers, such as skin, breast and testicular cancers, reinforcing the importance of preventative care.

To make the crowd feel more at ease with the idea of preventative self-checks; lingerie and boxer clad models have volunteered to join the party and campaign to Elect to Check (no nudity of course!)

To purchase tickets, please contact Angie Courtney at Sweetest Sin Boutique- phone (732) 747-3550.  Advance tickets are $35; $50 at the door.  A limited number of VIP tables will be sold for $500 (4 tickets, VIP gift bags, wine and champagne.)  Tickets are going fast, so get yours before they are sold out!

This is a community-wide event for businesses and residents to join together and kick off the holiday season raising money to help those affected in Monmouth and Ocean counties.  At press time, several businesses in Red Bank and beyond have already contributed to the event including: Kathryn Barnett School of Dance, Via 45, Brandi Grooms Photography, Sounds To Go, New Corner, The Red Bicycle, Kravings, Dish, Red Bank Family Eye Center, the Glam Bar, Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals, Ten Thousand Villages, Front Street Trattoria, Red Bank FLAVOUR, Yestercades, The Cheese Cave, Fred Astaire Dance, McKay Imaging, The RiverCenter, The Bistro, Soapmarket, Emilia, Leonardos, Red Ginger, The Molly Pitcher, The Oyster Point and the list continues to grow.

Go Naked and Check Yourself on Facebook

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

8 Aug

It’s that time of the year….  Too much lingerie; not enough time to do all of the things I want to do!  From trade shows to press previews, market week kick-off parties, fashion shows, seminars, conferences and other events….  There’s no rest for the weary!

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, The Intimate Apparel Council hosted an Intimate Affair at the Union League Club in NYC.  Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst of The NPD Group, presented “50 Shades of Intimates.”  He discussed retail trends and the “consumerology” impacting our industry in particular.  Marshal provided invaluable intimate insight such as current “distractions” that are affecting consumer spending and he emphasized the importance of value and innovation. 

On Thursday, August 2nd, I had the privilege of attending a Press Preview Event where I was introduced to the EMPOWERED BY YOU (“EBY”) panty.  The high-tech panty incorporates a patented silicone “flocking” technology and side-seam fusion technique to prevent slippage, impart smoothness and ensure steady wear.  A cause-brand initiative, $1 from the sale of every EBY panty will fund Seven Bar Foundation, a non-profit organization that extends its trademark “ladder” to women out of poverty and into business through microfinance.  Each panty includes an insert with a testimonial from a woman who has been empowered by the Foundation, which works closely with both international and local partners such as Project Enterprise which benefits women in the New York City area.  Project Enterprise is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support and develop entrepreneurs and small businesses in under-resourced communities in New York City.  The Seven Bar Foundation lends women a “hand up”, not a “hand out” by giving them a “first break”.

Luis Paredes and Moira Nelson

The Lingerie Alliance Launch Party and Lingerie Fashion Show held on Saturday, August 4th at The Griffin lounge in NYC was a huge success.  The Intimate Affair introduced industry leaders, buyers, media and press to the online collaborative community of intimate apparel professionals created by me and my partner, Luis Paredes.  We are so pleased with the way things turned out and are motivated by the enthusiasm and support we have received from the industry.  The Fashion Show featured the SS13 collections from the event’s key sponsor, Affinitas & Parfait, as well as the imaginative designs of independent brands Angela Friedman, Clare Bare Eco Intimates, Dirty Dolls Lingerie, Nevaeh Intimates, Ombrato and With Love Lingerie.  Buyers that missed the Intimate Affair on Saturday night can still get a look at the six emerging brands at the Lingerie Journal Designer Showcase today, August 8th at the AKA Hotel, Times Square, NYC.  The Showcase gives buyers that are looking for innovative, new collections the opportunity to meet one-on-one with these indie designers in a relaxed setting. 

The Best of Intima’s Best Shop Awards were held in the Penthouse at 230 Fifth Ave on Sunday, August 5th.  Last year’s winner of the Best of Intima’s Choice Award, Angela Courtney of Sweetest Sin Boutique in Red Bank, New Jersey, was an honored guest at this year’s awards ceremony.  She said, “It was a great night in Lingerie-land.  It was such an accomplishment for me to win last year’s Best Shop Award and reliving the night with the industry’s crème de la crème again this year was incredible.  I mingled with other boutique owners and CEO’s of the biggest lingerie brands.  Plus the venue was fabulous…a rooftop lounge overlooking the empire state building.  I’m truly looking forward to next year.” 

The 2012 Best of Intima Best Shop Awards were presented to:

Concept Store: Knickers of Hyde Park

European Flair: Forty Winks

Personal Touch: Toujours

Reference Shop: Sara’s Lingerie

The Best of Intima’s Choice: Le Boudoir, Inc.

And Special Recognition Prizes were awarded to:

Best Unexpected Location: Bella Fine Lingerie

Best Niche Product: Kaori’s Closet Tokyo

CONGRATS to the 2012 Best Shop Award Nominees and Winners!

On Monday evening, CURVENY presented The So Curve Fashion Show.  From ballet to burlesque… From a Gotye remix to a touch of the Material Girl…and intervals topless…. The So Curve Fashion Show performed by the renowned Crazy Horse Paris dancers at CurvExpo was a spectacular performance.  The dancers wore selected styles from exhibitors at CurvExpo including Affinitas, Fantasie, Fauve and Freya, Hanky Panky, LOU Paris, Simone Perele and Wacoal, among others. 

The bi-annual Lingerie Trade Show CURVENY just wrapped up and now they’re headed to Las Vegas.  CURVELV runs from August 21st through the 23rd at The Venetian.  Guests can register at www.curvexpo.com.

Last night, the Underfashion Club hosted “A Paris Report” which was presented by Mayouri Sengchanh of Carlin International.  The Intimate Affair featured a report on the MODE City and Interfiliere Trade Shows as well as highlights of the coming SS14 Season.

And tonight, the gals from ILOVEAGOOD are hosting Chantelle’s Fall/Winter 2012 Collection Preview.  The Intimate Affair is being held at the brand’s NY Showroom on Madison Ave and will include cocktails, professional bra fittings and gift bags!  Oooo La La!

What’s next?  Anyone planning a Fashion’s Night Out Event?  Let us know so we can spread the word here on Bra La Mode!

Got Insight?  Having an Intimate Affair?  Let us know!  Everyone can be an Intimate Insider!

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com

Intimate Affair: Get Naked with Sweetest Sin Bras

16 Nov

This year’s winner of The Best of Intima’s “Best Shop” Award, Sweetest Sin Boutique in Red Bank, New Jersey is partnering with local “cupcake bar” Sugarush and popular Teak Restaurant to promote awareness of detectable cancers including skin, breast and testicular cancer.  The three local businesses are hosting the Intimate Affair “Go Naked and Check Yourself” on Sunday, November 20, 2011.  The event is being held at Teak Restaurant located at 64 Monmouth Street in Red Bank, NJ from 5-8pm.  Tickets to the charity event are $30 in advance or $40 at the door and all proceeds will benefit the Monmouth & Ocean County American Cancer Society.  Numerous local businesses have joined together to sponsor and/or support the Intimate Affair which promises to be a fun evening of free champagne, cupcakes, door prizes, auctions, raffle prizes and more.  Models wearing boxers and lingerie will be volunteering their time to promote the idea of “checking yourself.”  (Don’t worry… they won’t “get naked.”)

Owner of Sweetest Sin Boutique, Angie Courtney, is no stranger to promoting causes which are important to her and she is an active member in the local community.  Even before she opened the award winning intimate apparel boutique in October of 2009, she showed up at the Red Bank River Center and told them “I want to get involved!”  She walked up and down the town’s bustling streets and personally introduced herself to the local shop owners…. She made herself a part of the community and it has paid off.  Upscale boutique Coco Pari refers her clients on a regular basis and the bridal salon in town, Mustillo’s (which has been in business since 1942) sends their brides to Angie to complete their bridal ensemble.  Red Bank, which happens to be my hometown, has always been an active community and is host to community events at least once a month.  Angie says that she involves herself in everything that happens in town… whether it is the annual Sidewalk Sale or the annual Holiday Tree Lighting event, she and Sweetest Sin participate in any way they can.  Regarding the “Go Naked and Check Yourself” event, Angie said “We want to let people know that they shouldn’t be embarrassed… Go get checked!” 

Angie opened her bra boutique in 2009, however she did her “homework” for years before actually signing the lease.  She researched the industry and did market research, she shopped the stores, familiarized herself with the brands….  She felt that most of the lingerie stores in the market were too old fashioned or (on the opposite end of the spectrum) were too sexy or trashy.  She wanted to open a shop that was sexy yet sophisticated and she wanted to incorporate everyday basic bras.  She honed her skills at bra fitting in the years before opening her own store and discovered she was quite good at it.  Thus, Sweetest Sin was born.  Angie and her husband live in the neighboring town of Aberdeen, NJ.  But when she walked the streets of Red Bank, she knew this was the place to be.  Angie said, “I fell in love with the town.  It’s cute and quaint.  And there’s no lingerie or bra fitting boutique in town.” 

Angie’s boutique Sweetest Sin was open less than two years when she won the Best of Intima’s “Best Shop” Award.  She was nominated by Wacoal America which she considered an honor, but she never expected to actually win!  She attended the awards ceremony which was held at the posh NYC event space 230 Fifth and was literally shocked when they announced the winner!  From my own first-hand experience, I can honestly say that it is well deserved.  Angie is very hands-on and is meticulous.  She says that most women come into her shop saying that they hate bra shopping.  Angie’s approach is that she does the shopping for them.  She said it’s all about customer service.  She is personally in the store every day that the doors are open.  Emphasis is placed on proper bra fitting.  Sweetest Sin carries hard to find sizes in a variety of styles.  She carries traditional styles as well as contemporary, fashion pieces.  Most popular brands include Chantelle, Wacoal and Marie Jo in bras.  For underwear and loungewear, popular brands include Eberjey, Hanky Panky and Between the Sheets. 

Angie Courtney, owner of Sweetest Sin Boutique

For anyone considering opening their own lingerie boutique, Angie suggests that you really think about it because it is a lot of work and she puts in a lot of hours.  She also says “Do your research.”  Is there a market for your product in the location you are considering?  You don’t want to be one of a dozen lingerie shops in town!  But Angie concluded by saying, “If you love it, you will be successful.”

Sweetest Sin Boutique is located at 11 White Street in Red Bank, NJ.  Owner Angie Courtney provides personal bra fittings and isn’t satisfied until her customer finds the perfect bra for her!  Sweetest Sin also offers private “Bra Fitting Parties” for bachelorette parties, birthdays, lingerie bridal showers, mom’s night out, girl’s night out and for charities/ fundraisers.  To read Bra La Mode’s contributing writer Liz’s experience at Sweetest Sin, click here.

Resources:

Angie Courtney at Sweetest Sin

www.SweetestSinBras.com

Follow @SweetestSinBras

Go Naked and Check Yourself

http://www.redbank.com/2011/10/23/go-naked-and-check-yourself-teak

Sugarush

www.ExperienceSugarush.com

Follow @NeedASugarush

Teak Restaurant

www.TeakRestaurant.com

Follow @TeakRestaurant

Intimate Insight: The Sweetest Thing by Liz

9 Nov

I live in a great town, with a main drag and side streets full of stores and restaurants, shops and bars.  It’s toted as “the Hippest Town in NJ”, but that moniker makes it seem a little square. 

Downtown Red Bank, New Jersey

In any case, it’s a destination.  Are you ready for this???  People actually move out of NYC to live in my town!  Shocking, but true.  And those that don’t actually move here… apparently they drive in for the day or night to take advantage of all that the town has to offer (if the license plates and the line at Starbucks can be believed.)

I am in our downtown five days out of seven, as I drop off and pick my child up from school mere steps from the action.  Part of that time I spend running errands in my town.  I’m into shopping local.  I like parking and walking, and I enjoy local shopkeepers and good old-fashioned customer service.  I will pay more for a CD from the local record store; I will run through the rain for something I can download at home for less money.  I’m dedicated.  Still, I’d never been inside the local lingerie shop.  I walked past this store time and time again, preferring my mad dash through Target for my undergarment needs.  Why?

Simple.  It didn’t look like me.

To me, this local, attractively merchandised store screamed two things– “money!” and (forgive me, Angie) “mistress.”  Oh, you know what I mean.  The kind of store that sells high-priced lingerie to women who are skinny, rich, having an affair, or possibly splurging for a marriage rekindling 25th wedding anniversary trip.  I assumed they would not have anything that I could afford or that would fit me.  So I walked by.  Time and time again.

When Moira took her mom for a fitting, I asked if I got to go for one, too.  I’d already picked out the store I wanted to try, a well-known lingerie boutique in Soho.  Clearly everything in the city is better!  They would know how to fit me.  Moira replied that, yes, it was my turn, but we were going to a store in our hometown.  We were going to the very store I’d told her, in an impassioned conversation over coffee, wasn’t for me.

I knew my local store, Sweetest Sin, had won a Best of Intima award for Best Store, but that didn’t mean anything to me.  What do I know of industry awards?  Target, sometimes Kohl’s, maybe Victoria’s Secret if I’m feeling indulgent… To say I’m not aware of the industry is possibly overstating things.  So instead of relying on an award, I made my friend Moira promise me.  She swore she wouldn’t let me buy anything that wasn’t perfect for me.  She promised that if this store was indeed what I’d thought of it, I could leave.  If at any moment it turned snooty, awful, or embarrassing, I could skeedadle.

"The Ladies" at our Sweetest Sin "Bra Fitting Party"

We gathered some other ladies for a “bra fitting party” and set a date.  There was wine, there were snickerdoodles (don’t knock that combo until you’ve tried it) and there were bras.  And bras.  And more bras.

First off, the store was not what I’d expected.  Yes, it was nicely laid out and had pretty things and I’ll be darned if I could have found something on my own.  But it wasn’t the intimidating  monster I’d thought it would be.  Maybe it’s because I had a friend at my side, and more friends inside.  Maybe it was the owner, Angie, who, yes, was young and skinny and wearing impossibly high heels, but who was just so open and friendly and normal.  She didn’t make me feel like a schlubby mom who should head back to the discount rack.  Instead, she made me feel like I should have nice bras and it was just a matter of finding the very nicest one for me.

Moira told me ahead of time that most women are wearing the band size too big and the cup size too small.  I believed her, but only in the general way.  As in, yes, you have lots of experience, I am sure you are right…but not about me.  I didn’t think it applied to me.  I’m different, and special…hmm I wonder where my seven year old gets that from!  Well, right away Angie said my band size was too big.  The space I’d thought I needed wasn’t right at all.  More give in the band means less support for the girls, and why wear a bra if you’re not going to hold them up?  Also, I was wearing my straps way too loose, a common problem.  And, naturally, my cup size was too small.  Hmm, I guess I’m not so special!  Back to average woman for me!

Sweetest Sin Boutique's 2011 Best of Intima Award for "Best Shop"

Angie brought out a huge selection of bras for me to try on.  I never would have thought there could be this many – in my size, or in the store!  It made me realize how much we settle for the “fits most” approach we get with so many things, from bras to shoes to jeans.  What works for me might not work for you, and at every stage in our lives, something else might work.  I tried on many bras, but unlike most shopping trips, it didn’t feel depressing or exhausting.  It felt kind of fun.

I soon discovered that the idea we have in our heads of cup size is completely irrelevant.  Completely.  Actually, most of what we think we know about sizing and clothing and certainly intimate apparel is way off base, but for now, let me assure you that your idea of a D and an actual D are not the same thing.  You have to let all that stuff you think you know fly out of your head, and you have to be in the moment.  You have to be in your body, seeing what’s in the mirror and not your interior image of yourself and your breast size.

I also learned where your breasts were supposed to be.  I’ve always worn bras because that’s what you do.  It never occurred to me to think about where bras placed my breasts…in truth, I think very little about my breasts, or my lingerie, or my intimate apparel.  I think a lot about what to make for dinner, and if we can get a babysitter for Saturday night, and how much homework my child does or doesn’t have.  But not a lot about something which I guess I should know.

A good bra, it turns out, should place your breasts front and center –  not off to the sides, or too scrunched up in the middle.  They should look rounded and soft, not pointy and hard (unless you’re going for the 40’s pin-up look, in which case I think you’ve got that covered without my help.)  A good bra fits snugly, because as time goes on it will stretch out.  You should be able to hook it on the very last hook, and as you wear it you will stretch it until it needs on be on the first set of hooks.  A good bra has straps that lay flat on your body and those straps should be a bit tighter than I bet you are wearing them.  Mine for instance, were way down and then I’d be annoyed they slipped.  There should not be gaping or riding or any movement at all.  Think corset.  No, really, a good bra makes you feel like it’s holding you up.  You stand a little straighter, a little taller.

Also, there is this essential trick that I managed to go 37  years without learning; you have to place your breasts in the cup.  Yes, its true.  Lift them up and put them in the cup, and see the difference!  Wow.  Totally changed how I tried on bras.

In the end, after my glass of wine and a few snickerdoodles, I bought two bras.  One was Lace Tisha by Le Mystere in Natural and the other was Rhapsody in Lace by B.tempt’d by Wacoal.

So my advice is this: get yourself to a local lingerie store, stat.  Give yourself a few hours, and a realistic budget.  Don’t rush this.  Make an appointment, and bring a good friend.  Choose this friend wisely: not too critical, truth telling, but complimentary.  Go in with an open mind and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.  And let me know how you do!

Jodi and I in our new bras – fully supported and ready to go out!

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Resources:

Sweetest Sin Boutique – Red Bank, New Jersey

www.SweetestSinBras.com

Follow @SweetestSinBras

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