“That’s very boudoir”
It’s a phrase I have never heard at a business meeting before, but, until today, I had never sat in on the preview of a new line of lingerie. I stumbled into this opportunity by joining three friendly, fashionable women who were perched together in the lobby, sipping champagne and enjoying each others’ company. The trio of women work in the lingerie industry and were gathered together to view products and make plans for the 2019 lingerie offerings in the Milwaukee area. I was thrilled when the group offered to let me join them for the unveiling of the new collection.
For all three, this business isn’t necessarily about undergarments, it is about making all women feel beautiful and confident. The beauty these women celebrate isn’t the one narrowly prescribed by fashion magazines, but the loveliness that each woman possesses, regardless of her size and shape. The mission here is to outfit each woman, from the smallest to the largest, in garments that fit perfectly and honor her assets.
Soon, the trio got down to business. Before long, the table was a blur of silks and lace in a dizzying array of colors. It was all there: the skimpy and the modest, the flashy and the demure. Cuts both high and low, and lace galore was on display for the group to see.
As an outsider, I was lost in the giddy fun of the moment. Intimate wear was passed around and as each new set came out of the case we got to see it on a model displayed on a digital device. For me, it was like the very best version of online shopping, but for the buyer, there was serious work to do. Never having seen this process, I was fascinated: seams were examined, fabrics were stretched, and decorative embellishments pulled. They considered everything from the size range available to the colors and shapes that are most popular in the Milwaukee area. The typical wearer of the garment in question was imagined, as were the scenarios where the garment might be worn. I was unaware of the amount of analysis that went into these decisions and it was thrilling to watch the behind the scenes process.
All of this is not to say that fun was not had, any business meeting that involves a splash of champagne and unmentionables is bound to be sprinkled with giggles and high spirits. Some of the laughs were sparked by the reaction of the other tables as the lingerie made its way around the table. The women have been meeting in the lobby every six months to review new collections for years, but this was a new experience for those seated at nearby tables.
The lobby was filled primarily with men taking a break from a trade convention happening in the hotel, so the ladies at a table strewn with lingerie attracted a number of wide-eyed glances and surprised smiles. The result was delighted bemusement rather than scandalized shock. The tradesmen seemed to be in on the fun, doubtlessly excited to add another anecdote to the tale of their adventure at The Pfister.
Exiting at the close of the fashion show and before the business of contracts and orders were discussed, I thanked the women for letting me join them. It was a fun glimpse into the serious side of underwear, where female empowerment and self-esteem is woven into the fabric of each dainty piece.