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!