French Style & Lingerie
Ah, French Style. The subject of an uncountable number of books, blogs, and magazine articles; so many women are in search of that certain je ne sais quoi that seems to permeate the French culture. As regular visitors to the city of light, we’ve noticed a trend that is largely untouched in conversations about French style, abandoned in favor of tousled tresses and the perfect red lip. We’re happy to share, though. It’s lingerie.
If ever there were a capital of lingerie, it would be France. The term itself is French, a linguistic catchall that is shared across a multitude of countries and languages, with its first known usage back in 1835. The vast majority of luxury brands in the lingerie industry are based in France, with Italy and the UK following a few paces behind. But far beyond etymology and production, French style and lingerie are inexorably linked.
As a lingerie aficionado, visiting Paris is a dream come true. Tiny independent lingerie boutiques are scattered across the cobblestone streets, each beckoning with it’s own unique aesthetic and a profusion of feminine style. Larger brands abound as well, with more mainstream offerings holding huge storefronts next to their apparel counterparts. But one unique place where you can truly see the French devotion to lingerie is in the department stores.
In the US, the lingerie department is usually relegated to a corner, occupying a minimal amount of real estate in the furthest reaches of the store. Even in the higher end stores, the lingerie on offer tends to be pedestrian and unremarkable, a sea of beige t-shirt bras and scratchy one-size thongs. There are few places that we find more soul crushing.
In Paris, the lingerie departments are enormous, spanning multiple rooms and stocking everything from the highest-end brands in production to a paltry offering of the same lackluster garbage you can find in the US. This diversity of offerings is breathtaking, and watching the Parisian women shop them even more so.
This is a culture that believes in quality; unrelentingly. While far too many in the US see beautiful lingerie as an indulgence that’s only worn to seduce a lover, the French see it as a distinct segment of their everyday wardrobe. Just as they have apparel for different occasions and different temperatures, they have a similarly wide-spanning selection of lingerie, each piece serving a distinct purpose. And it is all beautiful.
Largely absent are the hideous shaping garments, the sea of rigid nipple-hiding bras that conceal every possible shape of breast behind identical rounded molds, and the rainbows of crappy lace. In their stead: an understated elegance, and a belief that even the most functional of garments should be held to the same standards of quality and aesthetics as their other apparel.
These are the treasures we scour the European markets to bring to you: wearable, functional, and inarguably beautiful. They may not look like the basics you’ve worn before, but if you allow yourself the luxury of wearing them everyday, you’re sure to understand why they are an integral part of a French wardrobe.
We have gorgeous new lingerie collections coming to our online boutique this week from Madame Aime, Lise Charmel & Epure – keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for updates as they are posted!