Oh La La Cheri and Real Lingerie: Curve-Friendly Looks to Spark Imagination
By HOLLY JACKSON
Every year, the New Orleans Mardi Gras season starts with the same parade: Joan of Arc rides through the French Quarter on her birthday, while the rest of the moving drama behind her reenacts her life story. The parade happens at twilight, which means that by the time Joan gets to the cathedral the light is just low enough to create a glow around her angelic crown, ermine robe and her gleaming armor. It’s costuming and pageantry at it’s finest, all in the service of one young girl whose conviction and determination changed the world forever more than 600 years ago. Standing in the crowd as Joan raised her sword after it was blessed this year, it was easy to feel like it was all almost real. Costuming has real power, whether in private or as part of a Mardi Gras parade.
Like other parts of the industry, curvy customers have had fewer choices in the sexy lingerie department than core size customers until recently. Oh La La Cheri was one of the earliest “sexy” brands to embrace curvy consumers and now replicates almost every piece in their collection up to a 4x, without any design dilution. While these pieces aren’t supportive in the traditional sense, each one is designed with an eye towards maximizing curves and hiding areas that customers might not be so comfortable with – the use of ribbon waist bands to create an hourglass shape is a particularly nice touch.
More importantly, Oh La La Cheri offers several brands with different takes on what “sexy” looks like. The main brand features pieces that are pure drama and costume, including a truly fantastic Rose Lace Teddy that mixes romantic lace with tulle bows in a perfectly over the top way. Real Lingerie takes a more everyday approach to sexy, featuring lace and mesh pieces that are trendy and alluring but easy to wear on a regular basis. I could even see some of these pieces, like the Amalie Crushed Velvet Teddy being worn as part of an underwear as outerwear look. Both lines stick to fairly traditional colorways, although the new rose pink collection brings a great pop of color to the Oh La La Cheri collection.
Many curvy lingerie customers grew up dreaming of access to affordable lingerie that allows them to take on another identity for a night or bring out a new part of their personality, without much access. It’s great to see Oh La La Cheri leading the way and embracing their plus-size customers along with their core size customers. It’s notable that this line is carried in lingerie stores and in mainstream department stores like Nordstrom: it’s proof that everyone wants to try on another look for a night, no matter where you usually shop.