The owners of SOL, the largest independent, women-owned lingerie boutique in the country, provide tips for upgrading your undergarments.
Pretty up your lingerie drawer.
From left: Empreinte Cassiopee full cup bra, $196, and shorty, $118; Lise Charmel's Splendeur silk demi bra, $192, and thong, $150; PrimaDonna Madison Side Sling wire bra, $126, and thong, $46; Available at SOL
January is the perfect time to refresh your wardrobe basics, and there's no better place to start than your lingerie drawer. If yours is in need of an overhaul, head straight for the bra-fitting experts at Cherry Creek's SOL. Having opened a new, 5,400-square-foot, Tuscan-style flagship this past October, sisters Cindy Johnson and Jeanie Peterson continue to bring luxe European lingerie to Denver women. After 20 years, their hard work has paid off: Today, SOL is the largest independent, women-owned lingerie boutique in the country, and many of the lines they carry are not available anywhere else in the U.S.
So what makes SOL's brands special? It comes down to construction. As Peterson and Johnson explain, mass bras are made from about eight pieces—two cups, two underwires, two straps, and two bands. When you look at one of SOL's most popular lines, Marie Jo, a whopping 65 pieces are used to construct their bras, and that’s not including the company’s custom-designed lace and embroidery.
The construction also affects the way the bras are sized; mass bras simply add more fabric as cup and band sizes go up. But SOL's lines take into consideration items like the width of the hooks and straps to ensure proper support. Basically, they're closer to having a custom-made bra. “When you look at all the know-how that goes into these bras, it’s insane they’re priced at only $150 to $200,” says Johnson.
But a good bra is more than just great support. As Peterson and Johnson explain, the right foundations will make your figure look better and your clothes more flattering. “The right bra sets the tone for how you’re going to feel and look for the entire day—and we can help you be more confident and more comfortable,” says Johnson. So if you’re tugging at your bra or worried about a strap falling down, read up on the sisters’ tips for updating your collection:
1. Out with the old. Look into your bra drawer—actually, Johnson encourages customers to hang them, so they can be easily seen in your closet—and anything that’s not your right size or that's tattered, discolored in any way, or stretched out, get rid of it. For a lot of people, if a bra is expensive it’s hard to discard; but if you’ve had it for five years, it’s time for it to move on.
2. Make an annual budget for your foundations. The sisters suggest $1,000. Since they recommend that women own at least seven bras to get through a week, this amount will cover the cost of replacing a majority of what you already own.
3. Clean your bras regularly. A bra should be cleaned after every wearing; if not, it gets stretched out. Although bras shouldn't be washed in the machine, if it’s the only option, then go for it. Just don't let it end up in the dryer! Tip: Hand or machine wash your bras with a gentle detergent, like Forever New, $15
4. Rotate what bra you wear. Don’t just wear the same nude bra every day because it’s the one in front of you. Walk into your closet, pick out your outfit and then choose the foundations to go with it.
5. Wear color. There are other bra colors besides black and nude, so experiment with some new hues. As Johnson says, "If you’re not wearing a sheer white T-shirt, then why wear a nude bra? It would be much more fun in the morning to put on a green bra with your green shirt."
6. Reconsider lace. The European brands SOL carries have developed new lace technologies, which eliminate the raised pattern some women dislike seeing through their clothing. For example, Empreinte has created lace that’s completely flat and smooth.
7. Be open to bras with cup seams. Foam cups are fine, but ones with seams give you a nicer silhouette. Plus, today the seams are sewn fairly flat, so they’re harder to see through your clothing.
8. Buy sets. It’s impossible to match colors or lace from different brands, which is why designers create matching sets. Plus, as Johnson says, "It makes women feel prettier—it’s something you do for yourself."
SOL's new boutique is located at 3010 E. 6th Ave., 303-394-1060, solgirl.com