VALENTINE’S DAY is not too far away, and that particular holiday is synonymous with flowers, candy, and more importantly, lingerie. Most people get their lingerie from Nordstrom (which is a good place) or Victoria’s Secret (which is a LAME place), but did you know Portland is overflowing with local lingerie brands and boutiques? If not, here’s your crash course.
Lille Boutique (1007 E Burnside), Oh Baby Lingerie (722 NW 23rd), and Jane’s Vanity (janesvanity.com) are just a few of the awesome local lingerie retailors Portland has to offer, and they all sell independent, national, and international brands you can’t necessarily find at the bigger chains. Notable brands from each include Stella McCartney, Fortnight, and Else from Lille; Mimi Holliday, Aubade, and Maison Close from Oh Baby; and Fleur of England, Lise Charmel, and Cadolle from Jane’s Vanity. Their staffs are knowledgeable and helpful, and they have no problem answering myriad questions and bringing you lots of different sizes and styles to try on whilst you stand around naked in the dressing room (I can personally attest to this). Also, as I have preached before, the dollars you spend at these retailors go straight back into the Portland economy.
If you’re a bustier lady, there’s a place specifically for you. The Pencil Test specializes in D+ cup bras and has professionals on hand who have intimate knowledge of the issues full-cup women face. Most of the time they sell bras, sports bras, tops, swimwear, and sleepwear, but they have a special pop-up shop forthcoming that will offer apparel that fits with their ethos. Exclusively Kristen sells American-made shirts, blouses, and dresses specifically designed to fit and flatter DD+ women who are size 4-20. These garments have precise proportions and fabrics that provide stretch and eliminate gaping, and are made with the professional woman in mind. Bonus: All Exclusively Kristen items bought at the pop-up event will be marked 10 percent off.
The Pencil Test, 2407 NE Alberta, Sunday February 5, 11 am-5 pm
Portland designers have slowly been upping their lingerie game over the last couple of years. Some have always sold lingerie exclusively, like VAVA Lingerie, while most started out making apparel and later added lingerie to their repertoires, like REIFhaus, Altar Houselines, and many more. Luckily there’s an annual event showcasing mostly local lingerie lines so you can see what the city has to offer in one fell swoop. Now in its sixth year, Unmentionable: A Lingerie Exposition will feature 14 designers including local favorites Make it Good, Piper Dalton, Allihalla, and Rogue:Minx; plus-size lines Chubby Cartwheels and Copper Union; and Aniela Parys, who’s originally from Portland, but now based out of Barcelona, Spain. The show will also include Fräulein Couture, Tush and Bush from Washington, newcomers Poetic Works Lingerie, Seeker, and Changewear, selections from Lille Boutique, and a special collaboration from VAVA Lingerie and jewelry designer Iron Oxide. The premise of Unmentionable is inclusivity, with pieces appealing to ALL body types, featuring models of all shapes and sizes. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, because PP needs all the help they can get in this current political climate. (Full disclosure: The Mercury’s Sold Out crew are all over this event. Cassie Ridgway and I are co-producing and Marissa Sullivan will emcee.)
Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Wed Feb 8, 7 pm, $15-$25