by Ali Cudby
It’s always exciting to discover brands that are thinking in new and innovative ways about lingerie – particularly when it comes to bra fit. La Fille d’O is one of those brands. A Belgian company that was created in 2003, their architectural take on lingerie and unique approach to sizing challenges is a great example of designers understanding the existing issues with fit and seeking solutions for their customers.
Owner/designer Murielle Scherre created La Fille d’O out of a desire to combine function and form in lingerie. The name is derived from the erotica classic “The Story of O,” and Scherre’s inspiration, “indicates a new generation of women who are eager to please whilst keeping their self respect and wit.”
Stemming from that philosophical approach, Scherre began with a belief that her product should be pleasurable for her customers. According to Scherre, “many women think of themselves as having ‘difficult breasts.’ To me, there is no such thing.” [NOTE: The psychological issues that affect women when bra shopping is also documented in my book, Busted! The Fab Foundations Guide to Bras That Fit, Flatter and Feel Fantastic.] Scherre’s customer and fit orientation gets translated into design.
What makes La Fille d’O particularly innovative is its approach to sizing, which stems from the design. The bras have more opportunities for customized adjustment. Generally speaking, bras have a 5cm adjustment in the band via stationary hook and eye settings. La Fille d’O bands do not use the standard hook and eye closures, and their adjustment system allows for a 15cm adjustment, which means three different back sizes in one bra. This is good for consumers, who then have more options to customize fit.
Increased flexibility in adjusting band size is helpful on several levels. First, not all bodies are designed to fit into the exact increments of hooks and eyes in standard bras. A slider means that a woman can adjust her fit more precisely. It also means more opportunity to fine-tune as the garment stretches with use. Finally, for women who experience more dramatic shifts in size – such as when breastfeeding or going through their monthly cycle – a slider allows for a more customization. This fit methodology is also beneficial for retailers, as they are able to stock fewer SKUs to fit their customers.
Once freed from a band/cup combination, the sizing must change, and La Fille d’O uses sizes that progress numerically, from 1 to 7. With fit being paramount to the brand, not all styles are made in all sizes.
La Fille d’O uses a very basic color palette – white, “nude” and navy – and plays extensively with sheer fabrics. The sheers are brought into the designs in surprising places – areas of the body other brands generally seek to conceal. It is this combination of architectural lines and voyeuristic sensuality that makes La Fille d’O visually arresting and original. The brand is unapologetically not for everyone, yet is full-service for the women it appeals to, offering styles ranging from post-mastectomy to maternity to swim.
(“Going Exact” maternity bra and “Bright Blue” brief)
Ali Cudby is the author of the book Busted! The Fab Foundations™ Guide to Bras That Fit, Flatter and Feel Fantastic (December 2011), and CEO of Fab Foundations™, an intimate apparel consulting company.
Ali can be found on Twitter@alicudby, and you can be a fan of the Ali Cudby’s page on Facebook. To learn more about bras that fit,download a free chapter of Busted!