No One Dies in Lingerie

No One Dies in Lingerie...though it is to die for. From ER nurses to high-end intimate retailers: Maison Bleue founders elevate women.

by Heide Brandes

Selling the wispy lace and creamy satin of high-end lingerie is a far cry from saving lives in emergency rooms, but both jobs are designed to help others feel better.

Melony Chambless and Rachel Stiger, founders of Edmond’s new Maison Bleue Lingerie boutique, said they help women not only feel exceptional about their bodies, but improve their posture and health by wearing the correct bra size. In their former lives, Stiger and Chambless also spent their days caring for people as ER nurses, but there is one major difference that came with the change in occupation--no one dies in the lingerie business.

“We want women and men to feel good about the body they are in, and I love that about this business,” said Chambless.

The concept developed over cuba libres in the Dominican Republic. When Chambless was still an ER nurse, she and her then-boyfriend were shopping for men’s underwear and visited the high-end La Perla Lingerie website. Instead of buying men’s underwear, she splurged on a matching cami and panty set.

“I was shopping mainstream, and I had a hard time finding things that fit right,” she said. “I got my first piece, and I loved it.”

They brush concerns about conservatism aside. For these ladies, it’s about loving your life and your body, and feeling empowered within that.

Chambless fell in love with the world of lace and satin and tiny little ribbons. She researched different brands, attended lingerie markets in Las Vegas and decided to open her own boutique in Edmond offering ooh la la brands like Audelle, La Perla, Sapph, Kirby Kate, Lise Charmel, Commando, Maison Lejaby, PrimaDonna, Bluebella, Mad Mac and Elila.

Stiger wasn’t sold on Chambless’ idea in the beginning. She had her own business investing in and flipping houses, but Chambless was passionate and persistent. Over shared rum cocktails during a girls’ trip in the Dominican Republic, Stiger began to see her friend’s vision, especially after buying her first nice set of quality, pretty underthings. Italy sealed the deal (these women know how to live).

“We went to Italy and visited the La Perla boutique.” Stiger said. “I fell in love and we had a vision on how to do the layout of the store.”

The shop is reminiscent of a Parisian boutique {Ed: please forgive us for not showing more photos of the divine lines, this is Oklahoma, after all}. Silky burgundy negligees hang demurely on gold hangers. On the wall a black lacy bra twinkles with a string of black pearl-like beads that highlight its wearer's cleavage. In the back, scotch and wine sit under some of the more spirited selections of harness bras designed to titillate and seduce. Matching panties are never far from their bra partners, each color-coordinated in dainty sets. The lingerie is more than just "pretty." It is designed to support and to last.

The ladies worried no one would show up to the opening last summer. By the end of the day, Maison Bleue was nearly sold out of inventory--and there’s only been one complaint about the mannequins wearing lingerie in the window.

Most women come into the store wearing the wrong sized bra, Chambless said. But the boutique specializes in hard-to-find sizes--and designs that are pretty in those sizes. “I never thought I’d know this much about underwear,” said Stiger said, “ get the best lace, you go to France. The satin is Italian. Most of the handmade lingerie comes from Europe. If we don’t have your size, we will special order it.”

They brush concerns about conservatism aside. For these ladies, it’s about loving your life and your body, and feeling empowered within that.

Campbell Corner, 130 N. Broadway, suite 130, Edmond; (405) 531-9053.

Photo courtesy Maison Lejaby, the prettiest lingerie line you ever did see.