WHETHER YOU WEAR IT, or simply appreciate those who do, you know that somewhere between matronly beige briefs and brothel-ready thongs is lingerie that’s just right: the lacy bra that’s pretty enough to peek out from a blouse, and panties that offer ideal coverage of one’s bottom line. You also know that finding such perfection can be a potentially soul-crushing task. Enter Lille Boutique, a retail haven for Portland women seeking garments that make the most of their natural resources.
Inside the E Burnside Street store, an emphasis on vintage-inspired underpinnings reflects owner Sarah Wizemann’s affinity for 1920s Paris and the unfettered flappers that marked the era. “I think we owe them a debt of gratitude for liberating us from corsets,” says Wizemann, noting that French gals are still ahead of the curve when it comes to displaying their wares. “They aren’t afraid to show a little bit of nipple, whereas the padded façade is very big here.”
Best-selling items at Lille Boutique include bralettes (underwire-free bras) and cheeky boy shorts that invite weekend lolling. And when it’s time to try things on, the shop’s spacious, boudoirlike dressing rooms turn what is typically a disheartening process into something thoroughly pleasant—especially if one has company. Wizemann’s playful touches support her belief that fun and sensuality should go hand in hand. “Women should think of lingerie as a treat—a way to feel feminine and sexy under our clothes.” And out of them, for that matter.