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My name is Rebecca, and I am a lingerie enthusiast. Note, I’m not talking about underwear. I’m talking about lingerie—those pretty little underthings that are the first garments you put on in the morning, and the last ones you take off at night. Lingerie is so often underestimated. Considered frivolous. Condemned as steamy. And, worst of all, saved for special occasions. But the right lingerie can do more than change your look, it can change your outlook. When you choose to wear your best bra and prettiest panties, you’re preparing for a completely different kind of day than when you wear your saggiest and baggiest. Beyond making or breaking an outfit, lingerie has the ability to transform, allowing a woman to reinvent and revitalize herself, or simply to remember who she is. That’s why I’ve devoted my life to spreading the gospel of lingerie. And that’s why I named my store La Petite Coquette (that’s French for “the Little Flirt”). I believe that everyone has a little flirt inside just waiting to be revealed. If your attitude toward undergarments is no frills, no thrills, think again. Stop wearing underwear, and start wearing lingerie! Undergarments have been popping out of tops and peeping from pants for years, but in most circles intimate apparel remains somewhat of an unmentionable. Intimates are, by definition, private and personal. Yes, we see them everywhere, spread across advertisements, paraded across television screens, and plastered larger than life on four-story billboards. And yet, after all that, people know very little about what lies beneath. I’d say that nine out of ten women who come to me for a fitting walk in wearing the wrong size bra. What you wear under there is an area of fashion that even the most fashionable neglect. Women have been known to pop into my store and then spend the entire afternoon. It happens all the time. Why? Because when they walk in, it’s as if they’ve entered an alternative universe, a candy store for grown-ups where silk robes stream from padded hangers in cascades of color and baskets overflow with soft, sumptuous fabrics and the lightest of lace. If it’s their first time in this kind of environment, they are usually stunned at just how much they’ve been missing out on. This ignorance about intimates is pandemic. All across the world, women who would never think of going outside in torn shirts or ripped pants have stashes of undergarments in sorry, stretched-out states—and probably in the wrong sizes too—that they consider perfectly suitable for wear. It’s like cleaning the house before a guest arrives—we scramble and fuss to make sure we look good in the eyes of others, and end up stuffing things under the the Lingerie handbook 4 Successful store windows are like a beautifully dressed woman: They reflect the personality— and the substance—of what lies inside. bed and inside the closets. Similarly, an outfit might look outwardly presentable, but it’s sloppy just below the surface. And those bumps and bulges you’re hiding might not be as invisible as you think! Lingerie is the complex layer of a woman that exists between her inside and the outside she shows to the world. It is the oft-overlooked middle area, the in-between. What’s going on there? And more important, how can we make it better? I understand that not everyone shares my aversion to bland, boring undergarments. “If it’s not broken,” they say, “it doesn’t need to be fixed.” Au contraire! As a bit of a provocateur, I challenge this complacency toward intimates daily. It is my mission to make women feel sexy, to bring out that fire they’ve long since forgotten or never knew they had in the first place. The way I see it, you only come around once in life, so you might as well have a good time. In other words, if you don’t expect a lot out of your underwear, you won’t get very much from it. Exquisite lingerie is one of life’s pleasures that, once experienced, is impossible to deny. The feel of luxurious fabrics against your skin helps you view the world through different eyes. It’s true! Whether I’m appearing on television or running everyday errands on my to-do list, I can’t stop smiling if I’ve got something special on underneath. It’s thrilling! If people ask me what occasion is appropriate for a particularly beautiful item, the answer is “Any time!” Someone once asked me, “Even when you’re cleaning the kitchen floor?” Especially then—you might get very lucky! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a businesswoman, not a Pollyanna. I know that it’s easy to feel stressed, less than enthusiastic, even invisible from time to time. But what I’m telling you is that lingerie can help counteract life’s not-so-little negativities. It’s so gratifying to me when I help a client try something she never would have considered and have her respond with, “Wow, it’s amazing!” Or, I’ll send a woman off in a new bra that looks beautiful, is actually comfortable, and makes her feel like she just dropped ten pounds. The transformation is remarkable. And it makes a difference. Many people never get kudos in life, you know? They don’t. Some have boring jobs, or they live alone. Some numb themselves to their sexuality. They are afraid of being intimate, and so hide themselves in unflattering underwear, rather than fortifying themselves with lovely lingerie. I make it a point to guide these women to find comfort within, to reawaken their sensuality and sometimes even their personality, to tease out their inner coquette. Lingerie is feminine armor. It’s not made for battle or to defeat the world with brute force, but rather to softly protect and empower women against the hard breaks in life. Lingerie is a big part of who I am. Not only because I work in the lingerie business or wear the actual garments (you bet I do!), but because it defines my approach to life. Lingerie is more than a bit of lace or a sliver of satin. It’s about the small ways we spice things up and make our worlds a little better. I like to surround myself with a beautiful environment— soft lighting, great music, a sweet scent . . . my ways of creating a pleasurable existence. If this sounds like it’s coming from a lady who lives a life of leisure, someone who has too much time on her hands, it’s exactly the opposite.