I’ve always had an affinity for lingerie. Something about intricate lace, smooth satin, and delicate fishnets really puts me in touch with my feminine side. While walking in Toronto’s West Queen West neighborhood I found there was always one store that instantly stopped me every time I’d approach it.
The mannequins in the display window of Kallone Intimi have a sultry, mesmerizing quality about them. They definitely live up to the store’s name, meaning “beauty” in ancient Greek. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I decided who better to teach me a few things and get me in the spirit than store owner, Rachel Avery.
Avery says of starting Kallone, “I always had an issue finding bras that fit me properly and I felt there was a lack of stores in the market that had proper fitting garments that catered to a younger demographic.” She saw a niche in the market and she went for it. Armed with a degree from the Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario, Rachel decided she would rather start her own business than become a consultant or business banker like many of her peers.
She opened her first Kallone store in Woodbridge, a suburban community north of Toronto. She opened the Toronto location just over two years ago and when she found it was doing better then the first location she closed the Woodbridge store to focus more energy on growing the business online.
What I like about Rachel’s business strategy is that she has no desire to change customers views on lingerie but rather to provide them with good products whether they’re looking for a basic bra or something more luxurious. “I would never ever try to convince someone to buy lingerie if they weren’t interested in it,” Avery says. “If they’re not looking for that then we’re not going to try to push that on them because it’s a very personal thing.” That’s a refreshing change in the type of sales tactics I often encounter.
So what are the top sellers at Kallone? Avery tells me Love Haus by Beach Bunny does very well for little bralettes and other fun, sexy pieces. Goosebery Intimates is also a customer favorite (and a personal fave of mine). What makes Kallone extra special is they’re the only retailer in Canada to carry the French brand that has been gaining a lot of popularity on Instagram for their lacy styles. Avery also recommends Implicite for their attention to crafting perfect fitting garments.
Speaking of fit, when it comes to getting a great fit, Kallone has you covered. “Everyone is wearing the wrong size bra,” Avery states going on to explain that 85% of North American women are wearing improperly fitting garments. “They’re not getting measured at a proper store [that] does measuring. A lot of the mass stores are literally just trying to get you in a bra so even if you don’t fit into their size range they’re putting you into whatever size that’s gonna work. They’ll squish someone who’s a G cup into [what they call a triple D].
Naturally, upon hearing that my next question was to ask how women can know if they’re wearing the wrong size cup.”If you’re bulging out,” Rachel explains. “If you’re wearing a shirt and it doesn’t lay flat. If you can see a line where the cup is and there’s a bulge, your cup is too small. And if it’s the opposite, your cup is gaping, the cup’s too big.”
“And the other common thing is everyone’s wearing their bras too loose. You should only be able to put one or two fingers between your bra strap and your back. We’ve had people come in who say they’re a 36. We measure and they’re 30 inches around. At max they should be wearing a 32. That happens every day. And again that’s just the big brands trying to put people in sizes that work.”
For smaller-busted women like myself, Rachel recommends The Little Bra Company or other bralettes that don’t necessarily have a lot of support but are pretty and fun to wear. For our more well-endowed sisters she recommends they focus on underwire and support with brands like Curvy Kate, Empreinte, or Simone Perele.
Just like ready-to-wear fashion, lingerie has trends that come in and go out of style. Avery tells me bralettes and multi-strap styles like those of Marlies Dekker are gathering a lot of attention these days but stresses again that it’s very much about personal preference.
For shoppers buying specifically for Valentine’s Day she recommends looking into more negligee-style pieces that you aren’t necessarily going to be wearing multiple times. “Pearl G-strings fly,” Avery tells me in regards to her top sellers around this time. She also mentions a pair called “The Bow Set” which is a bra and panty combo made of open caging with strategically placed satiny bows. “Things like that I’d say are better for this time of year because you can have a little more fun.”
Sitting down with Rachel Avery showed me that there really is something for every woman and gave me a ton of brand and style recommendations that I’m happy to share with you guys to help you find that perfect piece to share with your special someone (or enjoy by yourself). The photo set below features some great pieces that I pulled from Kallone including the ‘Stripe Illusion Bralette’ by Love Haus, the ‘Bisou Skimpy Racerback Bra’ by Cosabella, the ‘Stripe Illusion Long Bralette’ and ‘Cheeky’ by Love Haus, and the ‘Pulsion Push Up Bra’ and ‘Shorty’ by Implicite.
Click here to shop their lingerie brands and here to keep up with them on Instagram. If you’re in Toronto and would like to visit them in person, the store is located at 309 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A4.
PS – Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of my Valentine’s Day series if you haven’t already <3