BUSINESS July 8th, 2011

By Caitlin Orr

Bra shop's new digs

Linea Intima comes to Andrews at Hazelton Lanes

The road to a good bra is a one-way street — once you get one, there’s no turning back.

Such gems of boudoir know-how can be mined from Liliana Mann, owner of Linea Intima lingerie stores.

For 16 years now, the trained architect and interior designer has been turning her talents to sculpting the feminine form.

“I always had a love for lingerie,” she says.

Mann celebrated that love with a party on June 23 that marked the opening of her newest store inside Andrews, a fashion department store in Hazelton Lanes.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Mann said of the business partnership with Andrews president Darren Mason.

Mann already has shops at Bayview Village, Avenue Road and Richview Plaza in Toronto, Unionville and London, Ontario, and will soon be opening a new store in Oakville.

The Hazelton Lanes shop follows similar styling to the existing locations, with chandeliers, white armoires with crystal knobs and fuchsia zebra-patterned chairs for a unique touch.

“I’ve done more with stores than with kids,” says the mother of two, who’s celebrating her 40th anniversary this year.

“You see what the love of lingerie does to a marriage?” she asks jokingly.

It’s playful, but bra fitting is serious business for Mann, and she says women should invest accordingly.

A good bra should last one to two years if you don’t wear it every day, she says, so the value justifies paying more.

She advises buying a selection of bras for different occasions, pointing out that no one wears the same clothes or shoes every day.

“You cannot have one bra that is right for all your needs,” she says.

That way you can wash each one after wearing, too, which is necessary to retain their support and elasticity, she says.

Too many women underestimate the importance of their bras, Mann says, thinking they’re less important because they’re not visible. In fact, bras are the foundation of every outfit and their impact can be the most visible element of an ensemble.

“Underwear is the thing that everybody sees the most,” says Mann, who came to Canada from Romania. “In Europe, every woman is taught to dress from the inside out.”

That impact is proven by examples of customers who, Mann says, have gotten a bra fitting and afterward fielded compliments to show the impact proper support can have.

Not only does it improve posture and let women breathe easier, she says, it should boost self-confidence along with your bust.

“One of the things that I love in bra fitting is helping women and making them look good and improving their self-esteem,” Mann says.

Frustration with incorrect and uncomfortable methods at other stores drove the Linea Intima owner to teach herself the trade.

“I actually learned by myself on myself,” she says.

Mann credits her secret bra fitting technique to her design background.

“I’m capable of seeing things in three dimensions,” she explains. “I have a very good sense of proportion and, of course, beauty.”