I discovered a new shop at the weekend, and I kid you not, it was the best shopping experience I have ever had. Fact.
Sweeping statement? Let me tell you more…
The brainchild of Theo Paphitis (well, he provided the funding at least), Boux Avenue is a ‘sparkling new lingerie brand’ selling beautiful lingerie, swimwear and nightwear both online and at 8 stores throughout the UK. Their aim (taken straight from the About page of their website, if you’re wondering) is ‘to bring traditional service, superior fit and outstanding quality to a modern and beautiful setting’. And I can tell you, they do. In spades.
Fortunately for me, they have a store in Bluewater. Open a year now, I had walked past it many times but never ventured inside, partly because it looked expensive, but mainly because I never buy underwear. Like, ever. Underwear for me is practical, not pleasurable. If I ever have a spare £20, which is rare, I’d much rather spend it on a new top than an ‘essential’ that no-one but my other half is ever going to see. When I do buy underwear, it’s because an ageing bra has finally succumbed to bra heaven, and I end up having a mini tug-of-war with the person at the cash desk; I’m that loathe to handing over my debit card.
So for a bra shop to make me want to spend money, it has to be pretty special.
Fortunately for Boux Avenue, my one and only nude bra had recently given up the ghost, so with spring/summer fast approaching and a plethora of white and light-coloured tops positively begging to be worn, I ventured inside for the first time on Sunday.
First impression? Bright, spacious, modern interior with a definite air of New York-meets-Parisian-chic. Very nice… and probably very expensive.
Second impression: Hmmm…(she says, surreptiously checking the nearest price tag), at £18 for a pretty, lace bra in a lovely pale pink, these prices are actually ok.
Third impression: It’s ‘nicely’ busy, with customers happily browsing and several staff members dotted around the shop floor. I was welcomed with a big smile and a “Hello”, which is much better than being pounced on with “Can I help you with anything?” before you’ve even had time to browse. I did eventually get asked if I was looking for anything in particular- but that’s because by that point I was, and she could probably tell from the concerned look on my face. As the lady took me over to the ‘non-padded’ section, she talked me through the range of bras and pointed me towards her drawers, should I not be able to find my size. Lo and behold, she meant the actual drawers located under each rail of bras, and I was very impressed to find in each numbered drawer (in back sizes from 30 through to 38) further piles of neatly stacked bras going back in order of size. I liked.
I asked if I could be measured and was led in to a changing room by a very lovely assistant called Charlotte. She asked me my name (nice touch), told me I was in the ‘Lace’ room, (I didn’t care but “oohed” anyway), and showed me how to use the dimmer switch… Yes, they actually have 3 different light settings for you to scrutinise (or ignore) your half-naked body. Completely unnecessary but I kinda liked it. After measuring me and asking about what sort of bras I liked she nipped out to fetch me a selection and waited patiently outside whilst I tried them on, only popping in occasionally to check the fit.
I usually live in black lace bras, but I actually fell for the ‘Jen’- a silk balconette plunge bra which looks a little bit sexy-1950′s-housewife but is incredibly comfortable and gave my boobs a fantastic lift (and boy, they need it). I liked it so much I got it in ivory and black, plus a matching silk thong (with a nice thick waistband so it doesn’t dig in to the love handles).
It came to £68. A little more than I had wanted to spend but I was so enamoured with the shop and service I had received I didn’t care. As the lady behind the till wrapped my purchases in tissue paper and scattered scented rose petals in to the little pink bag, she asked if I would like to become a VIP member and create a loyalty card (5p for every £1 spent, if you’re interested). I was so pathetically grateful I practically screamed “Yes!”.
And now here I am, a new lover of lingerie and VIP member of Boux Avenue.
Do I think I think the bras are a little over-priced for the actual quality? Mmmmmmm…. Yes. Are they made in China? Probably- but then again most things are nowadays. Will I buy from them again? Definitely. I already have my eye on a particularly lovely bikini which I shall be treating myself to next payday…
With superb attention to detail and truly wonderful service, all housed in a modern and chic setting, it was a bra-shopping experience like no other, and one I would thoroughly recommend. And no, this is not a sponsored post.
(Although Theo, if you’re reading, the Bluewater store had run out of the ivory Jen thong in my size if you fancy popping one in the post… Ta.)
Anyone else been to Boux Avenue yet? What’s your underwear shop of choice? Have you spotted a particularly cute bikini you’re planning on purchasing? Let’s talk undies on this lovely, sunny afternoon…