à la mode started out as a quaint & quirky fashion lingerie and gift boutique in the heart of uptown Annapolis. Nestled among hip restaurants, trendy shops & upscale hotels, it soon became the premier fine lingerie retailer for all of Annapolis.

“Well it was either lingerie or kayaks.”  Jokes co-owner and –founder, Sharon Borland. “Patti retired first so lingerie it was.” While kayaks may have been more fun to test drive it was ultimately a sense of need and wonder that inspired the creation of à la mode.

“I always had trouble finding bras that were both comfortable and fashionable. I wanted to feel pretty and supported. I knew that I couldn’t be the only woman to feel this way so I set out to find beautiful lingerie for women of all different shapes and sizes,” says à la mode co-owner and –founder, Patricia Platt.

The need for more variety in sizes and styles is what made Platt & Borland so determined to have every member of their sales staff complete a rigorous training program to become Certified Bra Fitters and to keep as many sizes in stock as possible (currently between 80 and 110 different sizes at a time).

Even from the start the founders of à la mode knew they were on to something big. “Customers would ask us time and again; ‘How do I know if this is the proper bra fit?  How can I measure my correct bra size? What is the formula to finding a good bra fit? What’s the best bra for a full-figure or large cup size? Why can’t I find a comfortable bra that makes me feel beautiful too? What comes after DD? How do I determine the right band size or cup size?  What does it mean when the back of my bra rides up?  Why does my underwire dig and pinch?’ We knew then that education had to be a part of our mission.”

 à la mode’s bra fit mission was greatly helped during the last few years when poplar media figures such as Oprah Winfrey began openly talking about the importance of bra fit. Since that time more than a dozen national shows have aired brief segments about bra fit. In an effort to keep the message spreading locally, à la mode regularly hosts bra fitting events, trunk shows to preview the latest lingerie trends and a series of professional guests to discuss topics from puberty to maternity to menopause and beyond.  “We built our store to house the best collections from all over the globe; Fine French Lingerie from Aubade, Chantelle, Huit, and Simone Perele, Italian luxury from Cosabella and Levante; a range of sizes from Fantasie, Freya and Goddess out of the U.K.; the best in American ingenuity from SPANX, Wacoal, DKNY, OnGossamer, LeMystere and several hot Canadian brands like Arianne, Treesha and iMode by Keenan Enterprises,” proclaims Platt proudly, “to give women access to luxury, quality, comfort and fit.”  The selection at à la mode is always changing but the quality of the product is constant.

“There are so many small companies and unique designers who are really thinking about the wants and needs of the modern woman.  It’s our duty to call attention to these breakthroughs, to make sure that every woman is making the most these opportunities.”

The à la mode staff makes regular visits to New York, scouring various fashion shows and new designers. “We really try to keep an eye out for hot new designs like Mary Green Silk, Honeydew Intimates, and anything from our customer favorite Hanky Panky,” adds Borland.  “But we also look to smaller sources and niche products, to keep up with the next big trends. We’ve uncovered a lot of unique products like NuBra adhesive bra, Fashion Forms’ Buty Panty and a range of undercover secrets from Commando, Edith’s Bra Discs (nipple concealers) , The Strapper and  Fashion Essentials; Hot Flash sleepwear from Wild Bleu, nursing and maternity bras from Anita, Emma Jane, BelaBumBum, maternity hosiery from SPANX and gorgeous nursing loungewear from Larrivo.”

Since it’s creation in 2002 à la mode has continued to grow and change with the needs of its customer base which now expands far beyond the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro areas. With loyal customers spread from New York to San Francisco and new customers around the globe, this humble boutique has truly become an international force. à la mode has stayed true to its roots in bra fitting and education but added confidence, luxury and an unmistakable sense of style.

Are you in the mode?  We’d be delighted to help you find fashionable lingerie that fits. Please visit à la mode’s boutique storefront: 32 West Street in Historic Annapolis or check out the great features on the à la mode webstore: http://www.alamodelingerie.com .  Since our “bricks & mortar” is only so big, this webstore allows us to expand our walls and create a virtual shopping experience that can be enjoyed anywhere, at anytime. In addition to reaching out to a global market, our webstore offers us the opportunity to showcase items not carried in our storefront, and our on-line auction adds some fun & excitement to the traditional “clearance rack”. So whether you’re strolling through our shop displays or clicking on our categories, we know you’ll enjoy the à la mode experience!

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