Retail Heaven: 6 Lingerie Boutiques To See Before You Die
Someone once asked me what my biggest vice was. Did I have one weakness or addiction that I struggled to keep under control? For some it's junk food. For some it's cigarettes. For some it's something far worse. But for me, I love to shop. Not in an occasional, every-few-weeks kind of way but more of an every-waking-moment-I-can kind of way. Yeah, it's a problem but luckily I've taught myself the importance of self-control and how to be responsible with my finances to keep out of debt.
Being a shopaholic is rough. And being a lingerie addict who is also a shopaholic can be a very dangerous thing. The stacks of boxes in my closet full of cute bras, garters, babydolls and corsets are proof that this is by far my biggest (and hopefully only) vice. But lucky for me I chose the career path of a lingerie designer/writer/buyer, which has allowed me the good fortune of traveling the world in search of beautiful and unique underthings - and often on the company’s dime.
After shopping my way through countries like France, England, Spain, Japan and of course the US, I realized my list of top lingerie boutiques was a lengthy one. But what makes a lingerie boutique worth visiting? Is it the unique brands that they carry, the femme ambiance they curate or the top-notch customer service that they aspire to? When a shop strives for and perfects all 3 of the above, it’s hard not to take notice. They are the boutiques that make me feel womanly and sensual yet comfortable and safe at the same time. Their unique selection intrigues me each season and their staff often goes above and beyond to cater to my needs. These are the signs of a worthy boutique in my book and today I’m sharing with you 6 of my favorite lingerie boutiques that continually dedicate themselves to their customers and their craft.
1) Only Hearts (386 Columbus Ave, New York City, NY USA)
When I’m looking for something romantic and sweet to add to my collection, I head over to Only Hearts. This Manhattan shop with additional locations downtown (as well as California and Italy) has been stocking its stores with feminine underthings since 1978.
Hand made in NYC, they carry tons of high-end lingerie and sleepwear in super soft lux fabrics. Hearts are everywhere in this cozy boutique making me feel girlish and nostalgic. Each visit I can’t help but touch every buttery chemise and gauzy bralette on display while fantasizing about lazy Sundays in bed. Luckily the welcoming staff is on hand to bring me back to reality and help me pick out the perfect pretty underpinnings to suit my mood.
2) Fifi Chachnil (231 Rue Saint Honoré, Paris, France)
Also specializing in feminine attire, the Fifi Chachnil boutique in the heart of Paris is the pink powder-puff boudoir of my dreams. Located in the 1st arrondissement, this quintessential Parisian lingerie boutique always makes me feel giddy and elated with its frilly selection of babydolls, knickers and dresses.
Fifi began designing lingerie in the 90’s and never fails to set my heart aflutter in her pink, red and gold shop. Her small space is chock full of marabou and mohair with bows, ruffles and polka dots around every corner. What else would you expect from the woman who outfits the famous Crazy Horse cabaret dancers? Floating through this boutique is a dream for me and each visit inevitably requires me to leave with armfuls of flirtatious bloomers, petticoats and dresses.
3) Coco De Mer (23 Monmouth St, London, UK)
On the other side of the spectrum, when I’m feeling a bit more mischievous I like to plan a visit to Coco De Mer in central London. Shopping this upscale fetish boutique makes me feel bold and brazen with its unapologetic eroticism that manages to be both sophisticated and upscale. At times their fine lingerie, toys and gifts can be intimidating – especially for first timers. But once you accept the quality (and prices) of their merchandise you’ll stop thinking of them as a sex shop and start seeing them as a luxury destination.
This is where I come for brands like Nichole de Carle and Lascivious. I’ll also pick up a naughty accessory or two as a conversation starter and to entertain my friends at home. Though I don’t participate in the BDSM scene I feel this is a great place to safely explore the idea and satisfy one’s curiosity about bondage, kink and fetishism.
4) La Petite Coquette (51 University Place, New York City, NY USA)
At times, perusing the selection at La Petite Coquette makes me feel like I’m searching through the closet of my bff’s cool older sister. It’s filled with some of the flirtiest and coolest lingerie brands around with a laid back, relatable vibe. This modern day boudoir has retro pin up illustrations, pastel walls and pretty curtains guiding you through their cute displays. You’ll also notice the wall of framed celebrities who have visited, speaking volumes of their long-standing reputation in the lingerie world.
Staple brands like Hanky Panky and Wacoal sit alongside more edgy labels like L’Agent and Mimi Holliday for a boutique that I would feel comfortable even bringing my grandmother to. The lower level showcases their private label sleepwear and has a sultry feel to it while the knowledgeable staff is always on hand to help me find what I need (and often what I never knew I needed)!
5) Trashy Lingerie (402 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA USA)
Ask any lingerie-loving Angelino and they’ll tell you that Trashy Lingerie is an institution in the LA shopping scene. A visit to this pink palace of over the top, flirty unmentionables requires a membership card to enter but don’t worry – membership is only $2 a year and you can sign up right there on the spot. Super provocative and trashy (in the best way possible) this store doesn’t take itself too seriously!
Designed in house, the lingerie here is displayed anywhere and everywhere within the shop, organized by theme and color. They have a long history outfitting celebrities, lingeristas and Playboy bunnies, which has garnered them worldwide attention. Trashy also creates custom designs for their most affluent customers and is a Halloween destination for those looking for something seriously sexy. A fun and playful experience, shopping this trove of treasures is an adventure every time!
6) Oh Baby (722 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR USA)
Walking into Oh Baby makes me feel like a sultry vixen shopping for my next item of seduction. It feels like a plush little boudoir where you’re treated like royalty and made to feel like a million bucks! The romantic space is filled with everything needed for a steamy night in. It’s sexy, it’s sophisticated and it’s won tons of praise for its superb customer service.
With an array of brands from Aubade to Bordelle, this shop stocks sexy separates, sleepwear and accessories. They also offer bridal wear and are available to host showers, birthdays and girls’ night out, which I would fully take advantage of if I lived out here!
Have you visited these boutiques before? Which other lingerie shops can’t be missed?