Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Last-Minute Little Something

Just because there are only a few days left 'til Christmas, it doesn't mean your gift has to reach eager hands incomplete. No matter how big or extravagant your present, there's no denying that the best touches are the ones that come from the heart, often at the last minute!

If you're still befuddled about just what to throw in her Christmas stocking at the 11th hour, never fear! We've got a few tips and suggestions to help you out.

1. Forever New. Before you scoff at a gift of detergent, know this: nothing says you want her beautiful lacy things to last forever better than our favorite soap. Forever New is specially crafted for intimates and delicates, and is organic and biodegradable. A bottle of Forever New along with a gift of lingerie says you put in the extra effort to make sure you'll both enjoy her underthings for many years to come. At only $10, a 16 ounce bottle won't break the bank either.

2. Viv & Ingrid birthstone studs. These earrings are simple, uncomplicated, and undeniably lovely. No matter how specific her taste in jewelry, you can't go wrong with a pair of birthstone studs. Since we recieved them just over two weeks ago, they have been our hottest seller. At $15 a pair, they're going fast!

3. Zinke's Goodnight Lovely Eyemask. An elegant delight! Zinke's Goodnight Lovely eyemask is fashioned in a delicate silk satin with light padding within the eye pillow. It's a classic gift for just about anyone: friends, spouses, relatives. It screams luxury, so they'll never know it was only $30. Even better, it comes in a lovely little box, so all you need is a ribbon to seal the deal!

4. Panties! You don't have to buy a whole set to make an impact, especially when it comes to a stocking stuffer. We have an excellent range of styles, colors and prices to peruse. From cozy and colorful fleur't tangas at just $25, to cream-of-the-crop Millesia boyshorts at $170, we have something to suit every style and budget!

5. Cervin Hosiery. We've been singing the praises of Cervin ever since their dreamy hosiery arrived at our store, and now we have more styles than ever to choose from! From the oh-so-scandalous Pigalle and Lido styles, to utilitarian leggings and Micromodal tights, our shelves are overflowing. Our most recent shipment included fully-fashioned Couture Bicolore stockings with blue, red and gold backseams. Trust us, nothing rounds out a gift of lingerie better than a pair of seamed stockings! Cervin hosiery ranges in price from $22 to $48.

6. Viv & Ingrid Jeweled Bobby Pins. Viv & Ingrid's bobby pins are another home run. They're as lovely as any piece of jewelry and at just $35 a pair, they are a seamless melding of form and function. Jeweled bobby pins are the perfect gift because they're sure to go with any holiday outfit and their sparkle is oh-so-New-Years-Eve!

7. Garment Guardian. Our customers have been asking for lingerie bags for ages, and we finally can oblige... just in time for Christmas! The Garment Guardian is meant to assist in the careful care of your delicates when machine washing. Simple, yet indispensable, the Forever New Garment Guardian is only $8, the perfect price for that last minute gift!

If you're still scratching your head, stop by and say hi. We'd be happy to help you organize your special someone's perfect gift!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Favorite Holiday Cookie

We A La Folie girls LOVE sweets. If you've attended any of our lingerie events, you know we have a soft spot for all things sugary: macrons, Jordan Almonds, champagne cocktails splashed with rose syrup...

And ever since our first shipment from Rosy arrived, we've found something equally sweet, equally drool-worthy with none of the calorie count. Meet Sublime: a lovely molded balconnet bra reminiscent of a sugar cookie, or a Barbie doll accessory. The cups are fashioned out of a divine shimmery nude satin, with high-relief pinked edges and a cheeky trompe-l'oeil scoop band. Add to the delightful French aesthetics a one-piece construction with no seams (really!), and you have a dreamy treat of a bra!

Rosy's Sublime Balconnet

Our Sublime offerings also include satin and net boyshorts and thongs inspired by vintage girdle styling.
Rosy's Sublime Boxer

So don't worry about holding off on that last holiday cookie. Sublime guarantees a sweet treat with none of the guilt!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Hours

It may not be a white Christmas here in California, but it certainly feels like it should be! At just 40 degrees Fahrenheit, Fourth Street is teeming with bundled up patrons sporting scarves, gloves and hats. But never fear! A La Folie has the heater on full blast, so come on in and join us and all of Fourth Street for extended holiday hours!

Throughout December, A La Folie will be open from 11am til 7pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Regular store hours are in place Sundays through Wednesdays, but the store will be open late on the 21st through the 23rd for all you last minute shoppers!

As if you needed yet another reason to visit Fourth Street during the holidays (besides the stunning evening light displays, Santa's cottage and that special winter je-ne-sais-quoi), Chocolatier Blue is giving away free cups of cider and hot chocolate to shoppers throughout December!

For more information about goings-on down on Fourth Street, check out the street's official website!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh-So-S'Huit to Celebrate With You!

Sugar cookies, egg nog, cider and champagne cocktails aren't the only sweet treats popping up this holiday season! Join us in celebrating three sweet years of A La Folie on 4th Street, filled with lingerie, laughs and libation, not to mention mouth-watering underthings from quintessential French brand, Huit!

Let our Huit-swathed models give you holiday gift ideas, or sneak a peek at what's to come for Spring!

The party is from 11 am - 6 pm on Saturday, December 5th. Fashion shows are at 1 pm & 3 pm.

Satisfy your sweet tooth! For every $100 you spend, A La Folie will enter you for a chance to win a delicious Huit lingerie set!

Enjoy treats and music courtesy of DJ Cecil, and help us celebrate an anniversary that is truly S'Huit for us!

A La Folie is located at 1816 Fourth Street between Hearst Avenue and Delaware Street (click here for Google map) in Berkeley. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Think it's a little early for a holiday-related post? Think again!

One of my favorite blogs, The Consumerist, routinely covers a phenomenon called "Christmas Creep", in which retailers (mostly big box) break out the tinsel, Christmas tunes and animatronic Santa Clauses months and months before the big day. Instead of sweltering in the summer sun, you can swing over to your favorite air conditioned mega mart for mega deals on ornaments, candy canes and Christmas lights... in August! So trust me, I'm not taking it that far when I post about the perfect holiday gift in mid-November... and this one can't wait.

We just received our first shipment from one of our favorite va-va-voom lines, Lejaby, and it's definitely something worth caroling about. As a line, Lejaby expertly bridges fun and function. Their bras are absolute masterpieces, with the little details that lingerie aficionados drool over. The collection is called La Garconne (the French word "garcon" means "boy") and uses elements of men's fashion, like pinstripes and clean lines, to give a refined flair to a truly beautiful lingerie that exhibits just a hint of cheekiness.

The La Garconne balconnet bra makes the ideal gift for the holidays, even if it's just for yourself! The sleek molded cups are covered with a deliciously smooth satin stripe tulle and Chantilly-style lace. Even sweeter, the whole package is finished off with a delicate bow embellished with crystals.

Lejaby's La Garconne balconnet

Mes belles, pair the La Garconne balconnet with either the boxer or Brazilian brief and there's no doubt that you'll be the perfect holiday treat!

The Garconne Boxer is sweet and sassy.

Be cheeky with the La Garconne Brazilian Brief!

In addition to the La Garconne balconnets and bottoms, from the same collection we also received a lovely cami with built-in bra-like support. It's a dream, just modest enough to wear under a blazer with jeans, and just sassy enough to move the holiday party back to your place!

So deck your halls with with La Garconne this holiday season, or gift it to someone you love. It's a present that will turn heads, and that NEVER goes out of style!

(Plus, the icing on your Christmas cookie: For every Lejaby purchase you make, you'll get a free Lejaby lingerie bag! Make sure to ask for it at the register!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

One, Two, FREE! Featuring fleur't Loungewear and Benefit Cosmetics!

Triple creme cheese, The Three Musketeers, three wishes...
There's no denying that good things come in threes!
And at A La Folie, voila three more things to be excited about...

1. Beauty consultations with Benefit Cosmetics expert, Amanda!
2. Treats, sweets, tunes, good times!
3. The ultimate deal: Buy two of our delightful fleur't boy shorts and get the third pair free, plus enjoy discounts on our lovely lingerie storewide!

Join us on Saturday, November 7th from 11am - 6pm
for a day of beauty, fun and unbelievable bargains.

Call us to make an appointment with Amanda.
Beauty consultation fee is $30, applicable to your cosmetics purchase.
Receive a gift with a three item purchase of Benefit Cosmetics products.

See you there!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Jenna Leigh is the Lovely New Girl on the Block

As a girl with a lot up top, I can say that there are lots of reasons to embrace a bigger chest. Today, I will do nothing of the sort, because this post concerns girls A - D: my new archenemies. You want an explanation for my hostility, you say? You ladies have all the luck, as evidenced by our newest arrival: sumptuous offerings from Jenna Leigh.

While I love everything at A La Folie, there have been a few shining stars that have caught my eye. These bras are works of art, truly lovely specimens that turn people like me green with envy.

Jenna Leigh's Elle Balconnet and Hipster

Take, for example, the Elle balconnet. Truly well-constructed longline bras really only come by once in a blue moon and this specimen fits the bill. It's built in sturdy satin and powermesh with a lovely chiffon trim. The band is fully boned and the bra operates as either a regular balconnet, criss-cross or strapless. The Elle collection also features a hipster brief that is to die for!

Jenna Leigh's Notting Hill Camisole and Thong

In the mood for something a little less structured? Jenna Leigh's Notting Hill line is the perfect combination of sassiness and comfort. Each piece in the line (including a bralette, camisole, thong and boyshort) is made from an impossibly soft modal/milk cotton rib knit, with a lovely flourish of ashy purple lace. The Notting Hill collection makes a perfect gift for that special someone, or just a special treat for yourself.

Jenna Leigh's pieces are a must-see, and when matched with a sexy pair of Cervin stockings... the sensual possibilities are endless!

Spanx You Very Much

I am a curvy girl. If there is one certainty in my life, it is the fact that I have hips. And given the comments I get on the street from frighteningly astute drifters, I assume that just about everyone I encounter knows it too. I not only have hips, but I have a derriere. And not a small derriere either. My bottom is so prominent that I have trouble fitting into jeans fabricated for "normal" women, and have a few tried and true brands I've pledged my undying devotion to. Jeans can be difficult, but dresses can be even worse. Nothing drives a dagger through my heart more than putting on a sheath dress only to discover that my thunder thighs are the main attraction.

I'm lucky. I actually like my shape, but sometimes it needs help. I'm fallible. I don't go to the gym enough and I like wine and chocolate more than is normal or reasonable. Hence, I'm curvy, but I'm not firm. I "move" when I walk. I will embarrass myself no further by describing the scope of this "movement", but suffice it to say my body can not be trusted to make some things look good.

That's where Spanx comes in. Laugh at the name if you will, but Spanx has become the holy grail of smoothness that every woman has been searching for. Go ahead and grab that extra doughnut... Spanx products are the workout you wanted to do this morning, and they do a great job of masking any imperfections! And don't think Spanx are only for girls with a little more around the middle, the back or the rack... even itsy bitsy Hollywood starlets swear by them!

Katie Holmes

Eva Longoria

See? Even LA's most poised and perfect wear Spanx, and with the holidays approaching, there's no better time to join the ranks of devoted Spanx fans! We have a variety of offerings from Midthigh Bodysuits ($72 in beige and black) to Midthigh Shape Suits ($98 in beige and black) and gently shaping Criss Cross Camis ($45 in beige and black).

Spanx' Criss Cross Cami and Mid-Thigh Shape Suit

Even more exciting, we received Spanx' Convertible Leggings, which are gently bodyshaping and fully opaque, the icing on the cake for your fall wardrobe. The Leggings are $28 and come in black, violet, charcoal and bittersweet.

Spanx' Convertible Leggings

Shaping, comfort, AND fashion-forward style? Spanx you very much!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PJ Harlow is Here!

Even though I have one of the most preposterous lingerie collections in the San Francisco Bay Area I will admit that when I'm lazing around at home, sometimes (OK, most of the time) I prefer a good pair of cozy pajama pants to a lacy chemise. I'm a sucker for comfort. My husband just last year made me throw out a pair of pajama pants I got from Victoria's Secret in 7th grade. (I'm now 26. You do the math.) I relented. He insisted. "They're gross!" he said. "They're comfortable!" I said. I finally gave in, mostly due to the horrified look he mustered whenever I put them on. Having my favorite person in the world glare at me in disgust is generally a deal breaker. I threw the pants in the trash, and have finally, a year later, moved on. Despite the constant desire to dress as sexy as possible, we all have those evenings where it's extra nice to bundle up in some ultra soft PJs instead of our lacy intimates, and until now it's been a struggle to find brands that bridge the gap between cozy and sexy when it comes to loungewear.

That's where PJ Harlow comes in. Before you even see their collections, their name suggests the perfect bridge of comfort (PJ -- pajamas) and sensuality (Harlow -- reminiscent of movie icon Jean Harlow).

PJ Harlow's Josie Robe

Their loungewear is undeniably comfortable, sweet and sassy. From mid-length (hooded!) robes to long satin pajama pants, PJ Harlow has it all. Each piece is durable and built to last, yet made of luxurious satin and extra soft knit. Never again will you have to give up comfort for beauty or beauty for comfort. Now you can have both! And there's one more adjective to add to the mix: easy. PJ Harlow's loungewear is entirely machine washable. Their prices are fantastic too, with the Josie Hooded Robe at $92, the Mike Satin Boxer Shorts at $51, the Jolie Satin Pants at $74 and the Charlie Racerback Tank at $46.

PJ Harlow's Mike Satin Boxer Short & Jolie Satin Pant

Swing by to check out the new collection, which just arrived in pink and teal. Their loungewear pieces will be arriving in black in early November.

Following Flint

We know how much you love Flint. How could you not? Irena Kudlicki's jewelry is head-turning to say the least. Her lovely offerings span a wide range of lengths, styles and materials, and she always has new and exciting pieces for us. We feel honored to carry Flint jewelry at A La Folie, and we're delighted that Irena has grown so popular, both with our customers and with celebrities alike!

If you consider yourself a Flint fangirl (or fanboy), there is no better blog to add to your RSS than Irena's Flint Jewelry Blog! It's the best way to keep yourself updated on what Irena's been up to, and will give you a rare glimpse into the mind of one very prolific and very talented jewelry designer!

PS: New pieces arrived today, featuring vintage brooches, crystals, pearls and delicately knotted cords. You're in for a treat!

A little sneak peek of Flint's new offerings!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Secrets of Cervin

There is nothing quite like a good secret, like, for example, how in elementary school my sweetly nerdy good friend told me she was in love with my football playing neighbor. Scandal! Or how my husband's rough-and-tough college pal used to wear a lavender-scented eye mask and listen to Enya when he was stressed out. Or, juiciest of all, how a certain A La Folie owner (we're not stooping to naming names here, people) wears her pink bathrobe upstairs in the store when no one's around. It's understandable that there are some secrets that are meant to be kept, well, secret. After all, my friend and my neighbor never would never have worked out anyway, and my husband's pal was trying to win the ladies (not an easy thing to do when you're a confessed male fan of Enya).

Being the secret hoarder that I am, I was VERY excited to discover that a big beautiful box of Cervin hosiery was waiting for me when I arrived at A La Folie this morning. Cervin is in the business of secrets. Their stockings are expertly fashioned and provide an uncompromising fit... and a few other little bells and whistles that any A La Folie girl can appreciate. The Lido, for example, and for all intents and purposes, is a very regular pair of tights, except for the sexy 'v' of lace on the back at the waistband, a detail that screams "vamp"!

Cervin's Lido

My personal favorite is the Pigalle, a pair of tights with integrated garters. Paired with a pencil skirt and button down, your sensuality will be your secret!

Cervin's Pigalle

Want something a little more day-to-day? We have a variety of stockings, fishnets, tights and leggings to suit your fancy, with many more to come. And with prices ranging from $35 to $50, French stockings are as affordable as ever!

Blossom, is that you?! Cervin's Leggings

Consider Cervin a brand of secrets, but these are ones that won't embarrass, humiliate or heart-break. Instead, they'll stay whispered, veiled, and revealed only when the time is right! (And speaking of secrets, pink bathrobes are nothing to be ashamed of, Mama Bear!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Don't be Ashamed to be Plain (A Love Letter to Hanro)

Dear Hanro,

We love you, Hanro!

I would like to be the first to formally welcome you to your new home at A La Folie. I know it took a really long time to get you here, but now you're making yourself quite at home, and I really couldn't be happier. The girls at A La Folie have been anticipating your arrival for awhile, and our customers have been asking about you for years. YES, years!! No one has ever been that patient for my arrival... you should be proud! Look at the stir you create!

I know that, at first, the store may seem a little intimidating to you. In every nook we have lace, frills and bright colors, but we don't want you to feel out of your element. Things at A La Folie are always fun, sumptuous and beautiful, but being the new plain girl in town is really nothing to be ashamed about! Plain is an asset, and let me tell you: our customers relish having pima cotton bras they can wear everyday. Not every designer excels at plain, and that's why Hanro is so special to us. You fill a void in our store, and a void in our hearts!

Our customers will be delighted to know that your first shipment includes bras that are supportive and un-wired and no-fuss bikinis and thongs that are soft and long-lasting. We're also very excited that you offer something for everyone, with chemises, camisoles, wired bras and underthings galore to suit just about any taste, all of which can be seen on your website. You're about as far from run-of-the-mill as you can get, and we're proud to have you has part of the A La Folie family!

Poupee Russe

A Prima Donna & Marie Jo Fitting Event!

Are you one of the 85% of women who wear the wrong bra size?
Don't be just another statistic!

Join us on Saturday, October 17th from 11am - 6pm for A La Folie's bra fitting event, featuring new collections from Prima Donna and Marie Jo. These new bras possess fit, construction and style that are often imitated, never duplicated, no matter what your size! Sip champagne & nibble on delicious sweets as our expertly trained staff matches you to the bra of your dreams. Best of all, enjoy discounts on all merchandise, including ordered items!

Treat Yourself!
  • 10% off all merchandise!
  • Hard-to-find sizes (32A - 44H)!
  • Fall sample collections available for viewing and special order!
  • Consult with our Prima Donna & Marie Jo rep, Anna Ortiz!
  • Guaranteed delivery on special orders within 15 days!
See you then!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bodysuit Blues

I was recently watching old episodes of Seinfeld from the mid-90's and noticed just how rampant the bodysuit trend was at that time. The hottest of Jerry's bevvy of girlfriends each wore some sort of impossibly-slim-fitting-without-riding-up top, showing off her sensual shape, while undoubtedly enhancing it at the same time.

"Oh by the way: they're real and they're spectacular!"

At that time I was 12 and bodysuits were all the rage: especially scoop-necked long-sleeved bodysuits, paired with jean shorts and pristine white Keds. But hot outfit of the moment or not, my mother was having none of it. "Too sexy for your age" she said, thereby quashing my dreams of coolness. I stared longingly at the Victoria's Secret clothing catalog at those gorgeous, chesty, be-bodysuited models with their long legs. I wanted to be just like them, forget the fact that I didn't have anything remotely close to breasts at that point. To me, Victoria's Secret catalogs contained pretty stuff -- I had no concept of sexual implication. I just wanted to be pretty and cool! Was that so much to ask? (Mom?!?)

When I saw my perky next door neighbor Danni wearing my dream outfit one day, I was overtaken by a jealous rage. Keds! Jean shorts! BODYSUIT! WTF? She was younger than me! And her mom was letting her wear that outfit?!? "Life is so unfair!" I wailed to myself in my diary.

And then an amazing thing happened. A few months went by, and the trend waned, stuttered to a groaning halt, and in what seems like a moment's time now, I stopped caring. Danni's style was at once cute but passe, and she and I were suddenly friends again, free to sell lemonade to our neighbors on her front lawn, just like old times.

Simone Perele's Nina bodysuit in purple.
Don't be hatin', Danni!

It may not be the mid-90's anymore, but bodysuits ARE back. Never fear, though, mes belles: there are no long sleeves to be had, at least in the world of fine lingerie. Simone Perele's new Nina bodysuit is a flawless foundation garment -- it slims, shapes and is built around a very supportive, yet very lacy bra. For you thong-wearers, the bikini-cut leg holes are cut low, from double-thick fabric, so forget those dreaded panty lines. And, just like the bodysuits of the mid-90's, this bodysuit has a hook-and-eye crotch so there's no need to take off the whole shebang when you need to use the ladies' room! As the weather cools down, the Nina bodysuit can also act as an extra layer of protection from the chill. For a foundation garment, the Nina bodysuit already has a loyal following, and our customers are snatching them up in pairs. And why not? We have them in both a warm ivory and a beautiful dusty purple, and anticipate more colors and styles from Simone Perele in the coming months.

The next time I go home to Pennsylvania, I'll be sure to wear a knotted tee and my new Nina bodysuit, maybe pair the set with jean shorts and Keds for old time's sake, and hunt down Danni. It will be fun to make HER green with envy for a change!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sweet or Sassy, We've Got a Huit Bouquet to Suit Your Style!

I just returned from visiting my family on the East Coast. Needless to say, it's been a few weeks since the last time I worked at A La Folie... but walking in today, I forgot why I ever left! When I opened the front door, I was greeted by some of the most lush colors and textures hanging from our walls that I've ever seen. Huit really has outdone itself for their early fall collections and I'm so excited to show you some of the offerings we have these days at A La Folie!

No matter what your style: mellow and sensual or playful and flirtatious, we have collections to suit your every mood. Best of all, these are not save-in-your-lingerie-drawer bras; these are customer favorites that can be worn day-to-day. Who says your Monday-Friday bra has to be ho-hum?

So what's your style?

Are you sweet and sensual?Top to Bottom: Echappee Belle, Courant d'Air, Deci de La, Numero

...Or daring and sassy?
Top to Bottom: Echappee Belle, Courant d'Air, Deci de La

Courant d'Air is a lacy wonder, trimmed in delicate scalloped net and barely-there bows, available in Cheche (ivory) and Hot Red (just that -- hot red!). In both colors, we have balconette demi-cup bras, plunge push-up bras, thongs and bikinis.

Deci de La is a deceptively comfortable, frilly collection, with gently molded soft cups (we know, it sounds impossible, but it's not!), lace trim and understated accent bows, available in Bengali (fuchsia) and Tutu (a light fleshy pink). In both colors, we have a molded triangle bra, thong, bikini and boyshort.

Numero is an impossibly soft collection with a retro sensibility. It comes in Cafe (light coffee) with a bold black lace trim and buttons. We have a non-underwire bralette, full-cup bra, thong, bikini and boyshort.

Echappee Belle is a basic bra in disguise, in the softest of stretch lace with sweet little rosettes for a little extra something special! It comes in Tient (nude) and Velvet (deep purple). In both colors, we have the underwire triangle bra and boyshort.

We hope you'll come by to check out Huit's newest offerings. We know you'll love them just as much as we do. Like beautiful flowers, they're meant to be out and on display... who knows, you may be inspired to take home a bouquet of your own!

Our Sexiest Piece Ever: A Riddle

Nafissa, Mlle. Piplette and I are ecstatic to announce our sexiest-ever piece at A La Folie! And you'll never guess where it's from.

It is the absolute creme de la creme, the ultimate exclusive, something we are proud to display for you on our walls. And may we say it looks stunning behind our counter!

It is beautiful, colorful, barely-there, yet SO there, so very stylish, chic and coveted.

Trust us, you will not find this little number in another East Bay lingerie store, guaranteed!

Sadly, though, mes belles, you can't try it on.

Qu'est-ce que c'est? What is it?

Our sexiest piece ever!

It is East Bay Express' "Best of the East Bay 2009 -- Best Lingerie" award!

Thank you, dear customers, for voting us the best lingerie store in the East Bay! We are so thankful for your continued business and loyalty over the years. From our infancy in Oakland to our 4th Steet heydey: mes belles, you have made us what we are, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Merci for trusting us with your most intimate of needs, and for letting us outfit you in the most beautiful and best-fitting fine lingerie out there. We look forward to many more years ahead, chock full of trunk shows, bustiers, lace, fashion shows, champagne and laughter.

We couldn't have done it without you, so pour yourself a glass of bubbly tonight! You, our customers, are what make the A La Folie world go 'round!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Scandalous fleur'tations...

When I arrived at A La Folie today, I noticed something a bit... enticing... about our mannequin...

There's something very special about our mannequin...

What could it be?

Her lovely shape? No. She does look beautiful in just about everything, but her shape wasn't it.

Her strategically placed necklace? No. Sure she's being sassy, but that wasn't quite it either.

Hmm... what could it be?

I shot a quizzical look at our beloved Mlle. Piplette, who had been diligently working upstairs... "Mlle. Piplette," I said, "That mannequin is fleur'ting with me!"

Indeed! That was it! That soft texture, that easy carelessness, that effortless structure! Our mannequin WAS fleur'ting with me! And why not? fleur't knows the way to a woman's heart. After all, what could be more enticing than a bouquet of panties, tangas and bralettes, fashioned in the softest rayon jersey, trimmed in feminine lace? And in bright colors too? Gorgeous! Plus fleur't's prices are to die for, with tangas at $25, boyshorts at $35 and bralettes at $36.

fleur't's boyshort in blue coral

Come down to A La Folie to check out our fleur'tatious mannequin. Who knows? You may just be inspired to fleur't back!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Girls love bells and whistles!

After working at A La Folie for the past three years and encountering some of Europe's most beautiful lingerie innovations, I thought nothing could surprise me anymore. Sure, we get gorgeous new collections almost every week, but as far as innovation, there's only so much you can do with lingerie that hasn't already been achieved or surpassed. From the paste-on bra to the bustier to the strapless to the convertible halter, lingerie seems to be at its absolute technical peak right now. But sometimes I'm still pleasantly surprised, as I was when I glimpsed Anita's newest offering... and it's for a very special part of the population!

Anita's new underthings will satisfy one of the top ten requests we regularly get, for something that's pretty staid in terms of lingerie: the maternity bra. Even though the Bay Area is teeming with childless 20- and 30-somethings, the contingent of those who have and want kids is remarkable, especially on 4th Street.

In general, what you see is what you get with a maternity bra. It's hard to find ones that are remotely attractive, as they exist to serve a very basic, yet important purpose. Although I've never had kids myself, I imagine pregnant women approach buying nursing bras the same way they would approach buying tampons: with a begrudging sense of necessity, not with a sense of fun and femininity.

But Anita is changing all that! Their underwire nursing bras are downright supportive, pretty, and have some of the most useful and innovative little features! Believe us, shopping for a maternity bra can be fun, as fun as finding that Victorian-styled jacket with the secret pockets, or the jeans with recycled silver hardware. Don't you love how it feels to covet something truly fun? Let's face it: girls love bells and whistles, and Anita's maternity bras do not disappoint.

Anita's Lace Maternity Bra (Style #5041) in white

Anita's lace maternity bra is truly beautiful. (Yes, we did say lace!) The cups are soft and stretch enough to accommodate your changing shape, but are still strong enough to offer the day-t0-day support you'll need as a nursing mother. The bra features Anita's patented KwikKlip system, making for effortless nursing at any time. My favorite feature is the Anita Memo, a pretty pink slider between the cups that allows you to mark the breast last fed from. You have enough on your mind -- let your bra do the thinking for you!

Anita's Basic Smooth Cup Maternity Bra (Style #5068) in nude

For those of us who are all about utility and don't want or need the extras, we're also offering Anita's smooth cup maternity bra in nude. The design is simple and functional, again using Anita's KwikKlip system to make nursing easier and faster than ever.

Anita's nursing bras all feature thick and supportive straps with fully encased underwires for added comfort. And the price? To die for. Only $59 to $79 for your second newest love... first being your little one, of course! So if you're expecting, we wish you congratulations, and hope you'll give yourself the gift of support by visiting A La Folie soon!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Anita Hit the Gym!

Do you have that pit-in-your-stomach feeling that your jeans just aren't fitting quite the same anymore? You see a muffin top that wasn't there mere months ago, try to deny its existence, then mope every time you catch your reflection in the mirror. You think: Maybe I shouldn't have indulged in that scrumptious creme brulee, or that honey toast, or that second martini... or that Chinese dinner for two... (Hey, I was hungry!)

You pull on your favorite Sevens only to find out they don't pass your derriere anymore, and you wonder: What happened to me? Didn't I used to love the gym?

Ahh, the gym. You heart it, you hate it. Never has anything so healthy been such a struggle. Let's be honest: we all need incentive to hit the elliptical and the free weights (besides the obvious). For me, the hardest part is simply getting my workout clothes on. It's easy peasy from there... which is why we're so ecstatic about our highly-anticipated addition to the A La Folie collection.

The Anita Sports Bra in black with grey trim

Meet Anita's Sports Bra, an un-wired wonder for those of us with a little more up top. Whether you're guilty of wearing your favorite frilly underthings to the gym, or have simply been wearing lung-smashing armor for the past few years, the Anita Sports Bra will be a breath of fresh air!

I know what you're thinking: No wire? No way.

Yes way. And for big cup sizes too. We're not just talking D's and E's. We're talking 32C - 40G, with as much support and coverage as you'd expect from a wired bra. It's true -- German engineering isn't just for cars anymore. No binding, no chafing, no bouncing (really!). The thing I like most about the Anita is that it looks and feels like a regular bra -- no uniboob to speak of. The design is sleek, sporty and feminine, and we're excited to offer it in white and black with grey trim. Even better, the Anita Sports Bra is one sweet deal: $75 for all the support you'll ever need.

The Anita Sports Bra comes in white and black with grey trim.

Come get yours today, and get back on track at the gym in style!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trash the Tape Measure!

So many women enter A La Folie convinced they’re one size, when they’re clearly quite another! With all due respect, mes belles, we do know what we’re doing!

Please don’t ask us to pull out the tape measure. We work without one for the simple reason that too often, traditional measuring methods don't accurately determine size. I’m the perfect example. Measure me and I should be a 36G. But what size do I actually wear? A 34F. That’s quite a leap – not only am I smaller in band size than my supposed “real size”, but I’m also smaller in the cup. We’re sure we don’t have to tell you that wearing the wrong bra size can be a painful experience, which is why we’re here to help.

Fitting bras and bustiers isn't nearly
as painful as it once was!

Nafissa has trained us in the fine art of spotting a woman’s size just by looking at her. We know everyone’s told you this a billion times, but chances are, unless you’ve been fitted recently, you’re likely wearing the wrong bra size. Don’t panic. It’s ok. It happens. Fluctuating in size each month is just part of the pleasure of being a woman. Some women can jump or drop as much as a cup size over the course of their cycle. That’s why it’s so important to get a good bra that really, truly fits you so you’re not constantly battling it out against your chest as you change sizes.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had my own star-crossed relationships with pretty, yet badly-fitting bras in the past, but I’ve walked away a stronger woman, and I’m going to share with you a few signs (based on my own experience) that you’re wearing the wrong bra:
  1. Muffin tops. You know exactly what I’m talking about. If your breast(s) balloon even slightly above the cup of your bra, chances are you’re wearing the wrong cup size. If you’re not quite sure if that barely-there bump is a muffin top or not, submit yourself to the tee-shirt test. Put a white tee shirt on over your bra, jump around a little, then look in the mirror. If you can see the line where your cup ends and your breast begins, it’s time to get re-fitted.
  2. Popover sides. This phenomenon happens when your breasts peek out over the band of your bra, past the straps. There are two reasons why you’d get the “side peek”. Firstly, you could be wearing a cup size that is too small for you. Secondly, you may just need a bra that offers an overall differently shaped cup. Some bras have cups that are closer together, and that’s often the culprit when size isn’t to blame.
  3. Sagging swag. If you can grab your bra’s cup material just below the strap and get more than an inch’s pinch, you might be wearing a cup that’s too big for you. Before you head out to buy a new bra, try tightening the straps. If that doesn’t fix the problem, consider getting re-fitted.
  4. Under-cleavage. Ouch! If your breast tissue is poking out from underneath your underwire, but the rest of your breast still adequately fits the bra, you need to promptly remove your bra-turned-torture device and go up at least one cup size in the style you’re wearing.
  5. Hiking band. Put your bra on, move around a bit, then look at yourself from the side in the mirror. Your band should be absolutely, positively horizontal, meaning absolutely, positively parallel to the floor. If it’s hiking up in the back, guess what? Your band has either stretched out over time or it’s simply too big for you. Try going down a band size.
  6. Shoulder dents. Your bra should not feel like an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. Red welts or dents in your shoulders often have very little to do with the shoulder straps themselves. They suggest an overall poor fit or construction. Big-busted gals should aim for bras with wide shoulder straps to avert this issue. Bra strap width aside, I’m always inclined to check and make sure the band is tight enough. Hypothetically, the band of your bra should be doing all the work (read: tight enough to hold up your breasts sans straps). Straps and cups are more for shaping than anything else. You should be able to slide your fingers behind the bra’s band at your spine and pull outward only one inch without discomfort. If you can pull back more than that, wear your bra using a tighter hook, or buy a bra with a smaller band size.
We encourage you to check all your bras for these issues. Your arsenal should be in tip-top shape, with phenomenal fit. If you’re still unsure about your size, we’re always around, ready to eye you up and put you in a fantastic bra that you’ll love for a long long time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Félicitations à...

Un grand merci to everyone who came to our Huit Trunk Show and Fashion Show in June. We had a wonderful time and hope you did, too! As you may recall, all customers who made a purchase during the show were entered into a drawing to win a fabulous prize. So, who was the winner?

Trumpet toots and drumrolls, please!

Followed by a long, drawn out pause...

...and three dramatic dings from the triangle!

...followed by another, slightly longer pause...

cough, cough...

...sorry, what were we talking about again? Ah yes, announcing June's lucky winner:


Félicitations, Kayoko! She has won a little summer suitcase filled with treats from local sweet shop Lulu Rae, a swimsuit from Huit's Summer 2009 collection, and a wonderful gift box brimming with all-natural summer salves and beauty treats from one of our favorite neighbors, Kiehl's Since 1851!

Thank you, Kayoko, for supporting A La Folie... and for graciously allowing us to snap your photo. We hope you enjoy your prizes and have a wonderful summer. As for the rest of you, keep checking our blog for more chances to win treats, eat cake and dance your troubles away!

Prima Donna's Got You Covered

You’d never believe how many E+ cup women walk into A La Folie, demanding low cut bras. Not just plunges, but traditional half-cup balconnets, bras that do next to no work from the top (hence, a “balcony”). Sometimes they scoff when we tell them that most high-end lingerie designers don’t make itsy-bitsy balconnet bras past a D cup, but there’s truly a good reason for it. A more voluptuous figure demands a more voluptuous bra: one that will support you in every undertaking and make you look and feel great. If it sounds like I’m describing a best friend, that’s because that’s what a truly fantastic bra should be.

Less isn’t always more.

I know what you’re thinking – this girl can’t possibly be writing about lacy underthings. Isn’t the whole concept of lingerie based on a “less is more” attitude?
Au contraire, mon amie! I spent my college years squeezing my chest into Victoria’s Secret bras that didn’t fit me, all because I was convinced (as many women are) that the more skin I showed, the sexier I was, adequate support be damned! I moved as slowly and stealthily as possible everywhere I went, so as not to “dislodge” anything. Quelle horreur! When I moved out to the West Coast, A La Folie’s owner, Nafissa changed my whole perspective. After all, what could be more alluring than a woman who wears a bra that fits so well that she stands up straighter, and completes her glamorous everyday tasks without having to constantly adjust herself? That woman exudes confidence and grace. Ask any man you know and they will surely confirm: those qualities are what makes a woman sexy.

Prima Donna's Odeon full cup

When I discovered Prima Donna bras, I simply couldn't stop checking myself out in the mirror. I was supported, comfortable and, dare I say it, sexy! The amazing thing about Prima Donna bras is that they not only make full cup bras that span a variety of colors, styles and shapes, but they also craft the most sturdy and supportive plunges I’ve ever encountered. Even better, those of us that like to wear lower cut clothing can still get all the amazing support of Prima Donna’s full cup bras with a notable difference: a lower bridge, and hence, a daring plunge without the risk of any… ahem… surprises!

A parade of full cup bras:
Prima Donna's
Odeon (nude), Deauville (black) and Satin Boudoir (lace print)

It’s funny – young women seem to associate a full-cup bra with being frumpy. I could not disagree more. Here I am, in my mid-20’s, and wear full-cup bras almost every day. I’d like to think I’m relatively youthful and fashionable. When I wear my Prima Donna Kyoto, Goa or Samui, I get more attention than I could possibly want, and I feel privileged to pass along everything I know to A La Folie’s beautiful customers. One of our recent Prima Donna converts told me this: “My mother always said that the more you cover, the more you leave to the imagination.” That’s certainly true, but Prima Donna’s bras allow us to meet halfway – all the coverage and support a big bust requires, with all the provocativeness and mystery of fine French lace.

What are you waiting for? Come by A La Folie and try one today!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wedding Daze

June is well underway, and it's officially open season. Those months and weeks before the wedding are thundering by in tornado of tulle and letterpressed card stock, pelting Jordan Almonds at everyone in it's path. It's a busy time not only for brides, but for mothers, sisters, friends, Sigma Nu class of '92, and Betty White, who reminds us all how we'd much rather be home watching Golden Girls re-runs in this summer's The Proposal. With all the preparations and pre-wedding events clamoring for your attention...

...Do you ever get the feeling that you've forgotten something?

No, that wasn't it, I still feel like something's missing...

You know how sometimes you find what you were looking for, only to realize you now can't find any of the things you already had?

I do come up with some of my best ideas in the shower.

Shower! That's it! These bustier sets by Marie-Jo make excellent bridal shower gifts...

Like the lovely, figure-flattering Diane collection we just received at A La Folie, for the busy bride who might not be able to remember every single little, bitty, eensy detail...

...like the fact that her wedding was last Saturday.